Sweet 1/144 FM-2 Wildcat






Five aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Two kits included in the box


The final Wildcat to be built was the FM-2 version. It incorporated all the fixes and updates of previous versions with a newer and more powerful engine. As Grumman was fully involved in the Hellcat, construction of the type (originally called F4F-6) was turned over to General Motors, who had also built the FM-1 (basically an F4F-4). The reason for keeping the now obsolescent Wildcat in production as it was able to fit on the small escort carriers that were being hurriedly built. They were still able to hold their own against enemy intruders that were mostly bombers and recce birds. They provided sterling service in the role of convoy protection until the end of the war when they were, for the most part, hurriedly scrapped. Fortunately, many were around long enough to be purchased by individuals after the war, and, to my knowledge, all current warbird Wildcats are of this variant.



If you read my review of this company's Hurricane kit, then you know that this is one of the finest 1/144 kit to have ever been produced. As with the previous kit, there are two complete aircraft in the box. One is in the nice light grey plastic shown while the other is in a dark blue. A small sprue carries the two canopies. The aircraft comes with a nice engine front and underwing drop tanks, which were carried by most FM-2s while on patrol. I should mention that the image above is pretty close to life size, so we are not talking about a large model when it gets finished!

All the detail is engraved and so way over scale, but it does add a lot to the model. You also get a small pair of wheel chocks and a little model of the black cat mascot that is prominent on the box artwork. There is no cockpit at all, just a small shelf, but judging from the Hurricane, you won't be able to see anything through the canopy anyway.

Instructions are very well done, though entirely in Japanese so I'm not sure just what is being said about the colors and such. Construction should be an absolute breeze, though the landing gear are a bit on the complicated side and may take a little concentration!

Markings are provided for five aircraft in three different camouflage schemes. First is an all gloss sea blue VC-93 plane with a shamrock on the tail. Next is the box art plane from VC-80 in the tricolor scheme. Also in that scheme is a VC-94 version. In the Sea Search greys and white is an Atlantic based VC-36 aircraft. Finally, from the Naval Air Test Center comes this tricolored one with a red surround insignia. The decals should work superbly if the previous kit is any example. You also get a decal deck section to apply to your favorite background. Wing walk decals are also provided.



If ever there was a no-hassle kit, then this is probably it. Not only should it go together quickly, but it should go together well as the Hurricane was superbly engineered. Highly recommended for just about all skill levels.

My thanks to Kevin Krajniak for providing the review sample.

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