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Diecast Airplanes
1/48 Warplanes
Carousel 1 United States

Type Fighter
Carousel 1 item no. 6181
Production run unlimited

Photographs Copyright © Collin Riley 2005-2014
F4F-4 (Wildcat), VMF-121, Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, October 1942, Capt. Joe FOSS, Medal of Honor, 26 Victories
Rotundity set to diecast, and beautifully executed for all that. The F4F is continually maligned as inferior to Japanese types, and even inferred to be outdated for its time. In my oh-so humble opinion, the Japanese A6M has been somewhat overrated, while the F4F has been somewhat underrated in turn.

A spiel. Because Japanese pilots valued maneuverability over just about any other quality in their aircraft, and because Japanese aircraft engines were not up to international power standards, the designers of the Zero were forced to make their design as light as possible. To do this, they left out a lot of the robustness that US aircraft of the time included in the basic structure. Self-sealing fuel tanks are a case in point, though heavier framing and thicker skinning were two other qualities often ignored. Because of the extra strength of US planes, they were able to absorb more damage, and were capable of performing a wider range of duties, such as dive bombing and ground support. (As an aside, to save weight, the Zero was built with a monocoque (unibody) structure that made its manufacture more difficult and time consuming.) Note also that the Martlet (the Wildcat by another name) was much prized by Royal Navy pilots for its maneuverability in the European and Mediterranean theaters.

And lastly, when a Zero was finally captured during the Battle of Midway, testing in the US showed that at speeds over about 300 mph the stick on the A6M required the strength of a sumo wrestler to move, and Allied pilots were warned to keep battle speeds up above 300 mph to restrict the Zeros ability to maneuver.

Read on. No one can go wrong in a good winter read (or summer read if south of the Equator) than a history of the Pacific war, especially those early nose to nose battles around the Coral Sea and Rabaul. There was much more to those early battles than the aircraft involved, one of those factors being the tactics that were developed, another being the bravery and resourcefulness of the pilots on both sides. It was a most interesting time.

Copyright © Collin Riley 2005-2014 Email Diecast Airplanes & Waterline Ships Next