In May of 2017 as part of my 75th anniversary of the Pacific War battles of 1942 I built a 1/72 Academy/Minicraft F4F of Butch O’Hare’s F4F from when he won the Medal of Honor for engaging nine Japanese bombers attacking his carrier, the USS Lexington (CV-2) in February.
For some time now I have intended to replace or at least update this model. For one thing, I was using the Testors paint colors then, and I have now switched to the Vallejo, which is a darker shade, both bluer and greener in color (compare the old wings to the new ones above). I also realized after building the model that O’Hare’s F4F was a -3, not a -4 with folding wings, which is what the kit was. Last weekend I ran across a set of resin aftermarket -3 wings, and decided on a redo. And before you ask, no it’s not as simple as just filling the wing fold – the panels are completely different – so I would probably not have done a rebuild without new wings – I’d have just waied until I ran across a -3 kit.
I replaced the kit wings, applied a light primer coat, and top coated with the Vallejo colors. I had a spare vacu-formed F4F canopy so I added that so I could show an open canopy, and replaced the Academy pilot with one from the new tool Airfix F4F-4. The tail striping decals did not fit the model, so I anticipate doing some trimming once the decals are completely dry.
It’s still not a good build, but it’s closer than it was, and not affirmatively incorrect – either in color or because it was a -4, not a -3. It now sits on the Lexington shelf with its stablemate “Sail 12”. The Wildcat below it – Bill Leonard’s from the Yorktown at Midway is a far better kit (it’s a new-tool Airfix) and model, but it’s a -4, so it wasn’t a candidate for an O’Hare.