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FM-2 Wilder Cat

Eduard ProfiPACK Limited Edition, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 145 parts in grey coloured plastic (including three marked not for use); 26 parts in clear (nine marked not for use); colour photo-etched fret with around 57 parts; self-adhesive masking sheet; markings for ten aircraft
Price:

USD$49.95 plus shipping, available online now from Eduard

GBP£26.28 (£21.90 Export Price) plus shipping available from Hannants

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Very high level of detail; substantially new kit; world beating surface features including crisply recessed panel lines, raised and recessed rivets, fabric texture, rib tapes and stitching; includes colour photo-etched parts; separate control surfaces; many options, some applicable to future releases.
Disadvantages: No open cowl flap option.
Conclusion:

Eduard's FM-2 Wildcat is just as impressive as its predecessors. I think the subtle fabric and recessed textures on these new Wildcats here are their best yet. The cockpit is a gem right out of the box, but the inclusion of colour photo-etch in this ProfiPACK edition will lift it to even greater heights. Eduard has also released a slew of multi-media update sets for the cockpit, undercarriage, wheels, guns and more, so you can decide for yourself whether to go straight from the box or super detailed. Yet another winner from Eduard!


Reviewed by Brett Green

Background

 

General Motors / Eastern Aircraft produced 5,280 FM variants of the Wildcat.

Grumman's Wildcat production ceased in early 1943 to make way for the newer F6F Hellcat, but General Motors continued producing Wildcats for both U.S. Navy and Fleet Air Arm use.

Late in the war, the Wildcat was obsolescent as a front line fighter compared to the faster (380 mph/610 km/h) F6F Hellcat or much faster (446 mph/718 km/h) F4U Corsair. However, they were adequate for small escort carriers against submarine and shore threats. These relatively modest ships only carried two types of aircraft, Wildcats and GM-built TBM Avengers.

 

 

The Wildcat's lower landing speed and ability to take off without a catapult made it more suitable for shorter flight decks.

At first, GM produced the FM-1, identical to the F4F-4, but reduced the number of guns to four, and added wing racks for two 250 lb (110 kg) bombs or six rockets.

Production later switched to the improved FM-2 (based on Grumman's XF4F-8 prototype) optimized for small-carrier operations, with a more powerful engine (the 1,350 hp (1,010 kW) Wright R-1820-56), and a taller tail to cope with the torque.

*Historical summary adapted from Wikipedia

 

 

FirstLook

 

Eduard's debuted their Wildcat 1/48 scale family with the F4F-3 around August in 2022 followed by other F4F variants in late 2022 and 2023.

The clan is now expanding with this new 1/48 scale tall-tail FM-2 Wildcat Limited Edition.

Eduard's 1/48 FM-2 Wildcat Limited Edition ProfiPACK edition comprises 145 parts in grey coloured plastic (including three marked not for use), 26 parts in clear (nine marked not for use), colour photo-etched fret with around 57 parts a self-adhesive masking sheet and markings for ten aircraft.

 

  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Eduard Kit No. 11175 - FM-2 Wilder Cat ProfiPACK Limited Edition Review by Brett Green: Image
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Eduard has taken no short cuts when depicting this beefiest Wildcat. The main parts have all been retooled. Three sprues are brand new covering the fuselage (Sprue B), wings (Sprue K) and specific FM-2 characteristics such as the engine, cowling, two styles of propeller and rockets (Sprue P).

 

Detail is excellent. The cockpit is built up from plastic and photo-etched parts. With its tubby fuselage, there is plenty of space to build the cockpit up from the bulkheads to the accurate see-through floor, pilot's foot rails, busy side consoles, rudder pedals and the instrument panel.

Colour photo-etched parts are supplied for the instrument panel, but alternative dial decals are offered as an option if you prefer.

The crisply pre-painted panels for the side consoles are another highlight, as are the impressively shaded harness straps.

 

 

The firewall doubles as a rigid base for the wing spars.

The engine mounts are made up from three cleverly designed pieces that plug directly into the back of the engine.With careful handling this should be an impressive looking structure.

 

 

The textures on this model are superb.

I really like the stretched fabric effect on the control surfaces, along with rib tapes and stitching detail.

 

 

The combination of recessed and raised rivets on the fuselage is a nice touch too. It is very subtle - more of a touchable texture than an obvious feature. The lines of recessed rivets are particularly fine.

 

 

Parts breakdown is conventional. The upper and lower wings are split into port and starboard halves. They will slide onto the stout wing spars later in the assembly sequence. All control surfaces are separate.

The wings depict the four guns, the panel line arrangement, subtle rows of rivets as well as the recessed lines for the wing folds.

 

 

The inside of the lower wing halves are moulded with a number of flashed over holes to accommodate rockets and bombs.

 

 

The characteristically spindly undercarriage is built up from a number of fine plastic parts. Their assembly is cleary illustrated in the instructions.

Main wheels are moulded with radial tread and a separate covered hub. The tyres are not bulged or flattened.

Two styles of tail wheel are supplied - one with a pneumatic tyre and another with a smaller solid rubber type.

The engine is simply broken down into four parts - two rows of cylinders, a ring of push rods and crankcase cover. Ignition harness is not included.

 

 

You are also offered the choice of three different forward cowls and two side cowlings. Cowl flaps are closed on all options. The instructions advise which parts are applicable to what marking option.

Two styles of rockets plus bombs are included.

 

 

The clear sprue is free from distortion. There are a number of options here, including different parts for open and closed canopies.

 

 

Instructions are supplied in a 16 page stapled A4 booklet. As you'd expect, the diagrams are logical and easy to follow.


 

Markings

Markings are supplied for ten schemes with some interesting and varied markings from the the Pacific to the Atlantic:

  • Ens. Darrell C. Bennett, VC-10, USS Gambier Bay, August 1944. Three colour mid-war scheme

  • Lt. Leopold M. Ferko, VC-4, USS White Plains, November 1944. Overall Gloss Sea Blue

  • BuNo. 55643, VC-69, USS Guadalcanal, spring/summer 1944. Grey and White Atlantic scheme

  • BuNo. 74626, VC-8, Lt.(jg) Harry N. O’Connor, USS Nehenta Bay, August 1945. Gloss Sea Blue with yellow and white markings.

  • VC-80, USS Manila Bay, autumn 1944. Three colour mid-war scheme

  • Lt. O’Neill, VC-13, USS Tripoli, spring 1944. Grey and White Atlantic scheme

  • VC-93, Lt.(jg) Robert Sullivan, USS Petrof Bay, Okinawa, April–May 1945. Gloss Sea Blue

  • VC-14, USS Hogatt Bay, November 1944. Three colour mid-war scheme

  • VC-27, Lt. Ralph Elliot, Jr., USS Savo Island, January 1945. Overall Gloss Sea Blue

  • JV640, Sub-Lt W. Park, No. 881 Squadron FAA, HMS Pursuer, August 1944. Fleet Air Arm camouflage of Dark Slate Grey, Etra Dark Sea Grey over Sky.

 

 

The decal sheet is perfectly printed by Eduard.

A separate decal sheet with two sets of stencil markings are included.

 

 

Four view colour diagrams and historical notes are included for all of the schemes.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Eduard's FM-2 Wildcat is just as impressive as its predecessors.

I think the subtle fabric and recessed textures on these new Wildcats here are their best yet.

The cockpit is a gem right out of the box, but the inclusion of colour photo-etch in this ProfiPACK edition will lift it to even greater heights.

Eduard has also released a slew of multi-media update sets for the cockpit, undercarriage, wheels, guns and more, so you can decide for yourself whether to go straight from the box or super detailed.

Yet another winner from Eduard!

Thanks to Eduard for the sample


Review Text Copyright 2023 by Brett Green
Page Created 13 August, 2023
Last updated 15 August, 2023

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