F4F-3 Build Report – Stuck



These Hobbyboss Wildcats have been staggeringly inconsistent. Some of the pieces are just perfect. Detail and fit are spot on. Hell, the entire cockpit assembly can hold together without any sort of adhesive. But then you turn around and there’s this part that just doesn’t fit.

Still, they’ve gone together very quickly, and apart from primer, they’re pretty much ready for paint.

Well, they’re almost ready for paint except for two issues…

First, I’m planning on laying down the tail colors and the yellow wings and fuselage bands first, then masking them and painting the natural metal finishes. However…I’m still waiting for my Gunze-Sangyo Orange Yellow paint to arrive.

Second, I discovered during the course of assembly that the canopies have a severe misalignment issue. Specifically, the windscreens are too tall. This wouldn’t be a problem at all if the main canopies could be posed open, but they’re too thick to fit the fuselage. And, posing them closed, the misalignment is apparent, even after attempting to carefully file down the bottom of the windscreens.

In addition to the paint, I’ve got two vacuformed canopies on order (at a whopping $3 each!). But my attempt at just-in-time manufacturing has hit a snag. I still haven’t received shipping notifications for anything, and it generally takes 3-5 days for things to arrive once they ship. All of which means the soonest I’ll see the paint and canopies would be Wednesday. I have a few more things I can do on the Wildcats – paint the wheels and props, attach a few small remaining bits – but for the most part I’ve hit an impasse.

So while I wait, I’m going to crack open the next kit on the list: Zvezda’s 1/48 Lavochkin La-5.

Like so many aircraft that started to reach the front in 1943, the La-5 has a wonderful development tale. In this case, it starts with the Lavochkin Lagg-3, which boasted a solid airframe but an absolutely anemic engine. Pilots hated it, Stalin got pissed, and began reallocating Lavochkin’s factory space to rival Yakolev. Lavochkin himself spent a winter in a hut beside an airfield grafting the more powerful M82 engine on to the Lagg-3 airframe, with the result being the La-5. Given proper power, the La-5 shone, and with the Mig-3 and Yak-3, emerged as one of the best fighters over the Eastern Front. Not bad, considering half or so of the aircraft was made out of wood.


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