Model Airplane News
August, 1955


Model Airplane News Cover for June, 1942 by Jo Kotula Grumman F4f Wildcat    Model Airplane News Cover for August, 1955 by Jo Kotula Grumman F4f Wildcat

Grumman F4f "Wildcat"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for June, 1942 and August, 1955
by Jo Kotula
The 1955 cover shows the F4F R.A.F., known as the Martlet
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The Grumman F4F Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy as the Martlet.

 Grumman Wildcat Fighter      Grumman Wildcat Fighter

Grumman "Wildcat" Fighter
left: the Real Thing
right: what the stick-and-tissue paper model is supposed to look like
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The Wildcat was the only United States Navy or Marine fighter available in the Pacific Theater during the very tense 194142 period. Although the Wildcat was outperformed by the Mitsubishi Zero,its ruggedness resulted in an air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 6.9:1. Lessons learned from the Wildcat were applied to the faster F6F Hellcat which could outperform the Zero on its own terms. The Wildcat continued to be built by General Motors throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where larger and heavier fighters could not be used.

On the June, 1942 cover, artist Kotula paid tribute to the aviators of VF-72, the "Fighing Termites". This squadron was staioned aboard the carrier USS Wasp. They flew the F4F Wildcat, although, as shown below, the aircraft markings were somewhat different from those shown on the cover.

Cover Art for VF-72  :  Squadron patch for VF-72  :  Aircraft markings for VF-72

Tribute to Squadron VF-72
The "Fighting Termites"
Left: Art form the June, 1942 cover Middle: an actual VF-72 Patch, Cloth, about 6" in diameter
Right: squadron Markings for VF-72

Click to Enlarge


Here is a video of the Wildcat in action.



The Cleveland kit for the Wildcat has very detailed plans, but (as shown above) the tissue-paper covering does not lend itself to versimilitude. If you wanted something that "looked real" the structure had to be "planked" with balsa to simulate the aluminum skin. However, a model made this way was much to heavy to fly, so it would have to hang in a corner of the room.

Cleveland Model of the Grumman Wildcat Fighter      Cleveland Model of the Grumman Wildcat Fighter      Cleveland Model of the Grumman Wildcat Fighter

Note that early sets came with paint; this one had a pre-carved cowling

Cleveland Model of the Grumman Wildcat Fighter

Cleveland Model of the Grumman Wildcat
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You can buy the plans and patterns that will enable you to make this model right now. Click Here to go to the exact location on the Cleveland Website to get them.

Cleveland Site Location of the Grumman Wildcat Fighter

The Grumman Wildcat Fighter at the Cleveland Site
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Click Here for more information about the Grumman F4f "Wildcat".

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