Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat “White 2”
Pilot & Markings
Captain Marion Carl — Marine Fighter Squadron 223, VMF-223, 1942
Scale & Kit
1/48 Tamiya Scale Model Kit
The Grumman F4F Wildcat depicted in this airplane model kit, was an American fighter that first saw action with the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. Designated as “Martlet” by British forces; the F4F scored its first victory against a Ju 88 bomber on December 25, 1940.
By the early stages of the Pacific War, The F4F was the only effective fighter available to the United States. However, Navy and Marine units flying the Wildcat saw their aircraft outperformed by the faster and more manoeuvrable Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Despite this, the F4F was very successful. The rugged design had self-sealing fuel tanks and heavy armour, which allowed it to endure far more damage than its lightweight Japanese rival. By the end of the conflict, FM and F4F Wildcats flew a total of 15,553 sorties and tallied 6.9 victories for every lost aircraft. The F4F-4 variant represented in this airplane model kit was the definitive version. It entered service in 1942 and featured six 12.7mm machine guns. It was also designed with folding wings, which allowed for up to double the amount of aircraft to be parked on a carrier. However, these features were unpopular among pilots, as they added weight and reduced aircraft performance.
Captain Marion Carl, who flew the Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat “White 2” featured in this airplane model kit, was the Marine Corps first ace of World War II. He recorded his first victory on June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway. On the dawn of that day, a patrolling PBY Catalina flying boat reported the sighting of incoming enemy aircraft. Soon after, F2A Buffalo and F4F Wildcat fighters of Midway’s VMF-221 Squadron scrambled to intercept the formation of 108 Japanese aircraft. Heavily outnumbered, 15 of the 25 aircraft that flew into action that morning were destroyed within minutes. During the ordeal, Marion Carl scored a victory against a Mitsubishi A6M Zero and was one of only a few pilots to survive the encounter. He achieved the “ace” status by recording 4 additional victories on August 24, 1942, under assignment with the Marine Corps VMF-223 Squadron and the “Cactus Air Force” at Guadalcanal. By the end of the campaign, his victory total stood at 18.5.
Tamiya’s excellent 1/48 airplane model kit, along with Eduard’s photo-etch seatbelts, were used to create the famous Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat “White 2” flown by Captain Marion Carl. The project was completed with victory markings on both sides of the fuselage, surface oil stains and a dirty Blue Grey over a Light Grey colour scheme for an authentic appearance.