**** DONE: GB-57 1/48 F4F-4 Wildcat Mk.V FAA – WWII Foreign Service

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Vic Balshaw

Brigadier General
Jul 20, 2009
Username: Vic Balshaw
First name: Vic
Category: Advanced
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Model: Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat Mk.V
Scale: 1/48
Extras: Cam 48111 Wildcat Decal and Eduard ED49246 Inst Panel, ED948816 Wheels & EX092 Canopy Mask.

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Just for a bit of fun I'm entering this Royal Navy FAA 890 Squadron Wildcat, a/c number JV435 the decals of which are provided on the CAM decal sheet. According to CAM this aircraft was on the aircraft carrier HMS Atheling in 1945. However, though I've had no luck in finding this aircraft number save for an incident when JV435 was damaged on landing with Sub-Lt. A. N. Pym, RNVR of 896 squadron at the yoke when he made a barrier crash and overturned in JV435 while on HMS Pursuer in February 1944.

Having been unsuccessful with the aircraft serial number and taking the CAM information as being correct I then looked at the aircraft carrier history and eventually found that HMS Atheling was involved as a spare deck and CAP carrier during Operation Councillor, which was a diversionary operation during Operation Forager on the 11 to 13 June 1944. The carrier then had a compliment of 10 Seafire Mk.F.IIIs of 889 Squadron and 10 Wildcat Mk.Vs of 890 Squadron. HMS Atheling was to support HMS Illustrious on a decoy mission while the Americas staged an attack on Saipan in the Mariana Islands.

As far as the 890 Squadron and the Wildcat is concerned, the squadron formed with the aircraft in October 1943 before joining HMS Atheling in May 1944 where they remained until July 1944 and were disbanded in August 1944. So, I'm making a wild assumption here that this aircraft JV435 was part of the contingent and that the date of 1945 on the decal info sheet is a misprint.

As an interesting foot note, it was discovered during Operation Councillor that HMS Atheling was not capable of maintaining sufficient speed and was some 12knots slower than the fleet carrier, thus making Atheling non-viable for fleet operations and she was returned back to aircraft ferry duties before becoming a troop carrier. Also being a lend lease ship, was eventually returned to US charge.

Information sources through many Internet sites.

Thought this would be an interesting pic:

Wildcat JV508 of 890 Squadron goes into the barrier, May 15, 1944, while HMS Atheling worked up with the Royal Navy's East Indies Fleet.
JV508 of 890 Squadron .jpg

Made a start on this little beast today. My subject was the 110th F4F FM-1, designated Mk.V Wildcat by the British for Fleet Air Arm use that was built by Eastern Aircraft Division after the F4F production was moved from General Motors. Colouring of these aircraft when production first started at Eastern Aircraft was according to GMs specifications i.e. an interior green (more a bronze green) cockpit, with a grey colour for other internal parts. This was okay until Eastern Aircraft ran out of the pains that came across from GM at the time of the production transfer, then things got a bit haywire with varying mixes of green in the cockpit and anything from grey or chrome yellow/green internally. So for the cockpit I've opted for as near a bronze green as possible without splashing out on more paint. I've used SMS PL78 Foliage Green.
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Having got the majority of the internal part sorted, it was time to work on some detail. This is what I've done do far.
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Am hoping to get stuck into more detail work tomorrow and thanks for taking an interest guys. :D
Many thanks guys for the kind words and interest.....................................Moving on its been a good productive day getting all that fiddly cockpit detail sorted and almost buttoned up. Here is the evidence:
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I have to say I'm quite chuffed with the outcome of this cockpit, the fit is quite good and the detail with the help of a little PE is very good.
Now I have a question and am seeking advice or theory's.

The F4F FM1/Mk.V Wildcat's main feature was the reduction of armament from the normal 6 guns of the F4F - 2 to 4. The F4F 2-4 fitment of the 6 guns was 2 inboard and 1 outboard on each wing while the Mk.V had 1 inboard and 1 outboard of each wing. My question is, can anyone tell me which of the 2 inboard wing gun would have been removed. I've looked at as many pics as I could find but have not been able to asses which gun port remained.

20230301 4 Mk.V Wing gun placement 1.jpg

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Many of the accounts I have read also commented on how the pilots liked having the extra ammunition which indicated to me that the wing inboard ammo belt chamber must have been modified to feed the one gun. :D
Actually nothing was removed. Just the FM-1 ( RN Martlet V/ Wildcat V ) had the two MGs per a wing installed like the F4F-3. The wing structure was slightly changed in order to accomodate the different ammo feeding system. It means that the wing skin panels got the different layout.

Below there are two images I found via the net. The first one shows the one of the first FM-1s ( believing the caption) while the second one the British Martlet V s/n. JV337. As memo serves there were small teardrop-shaped fairings behind each of the shell ejection port for each of the MG installed. Can you see the layout and the number of the bulges? If you can, you already know which guns were installed for the RN Wildcat Vs. ;)



the pic source: the net.

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