IXO Models IXJP019 USMC Grumman F4F Wildcat Fighter - Robert E. Galer, VMF-224, Guadalcanal, September 1942 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
The Grumman F4F Wildcat was the standard carrier-based fighter of the United States Navy for the first year and a half of World War II. An improved version built by General Motors (the General Motors FM Wildcat) remained in service throughout the war, on escort carriers where newer, larger and heavier fighters could not be used.
The Wildcat was outperformed by the Mitsubishi Zero, its major opponent in the Pacific war, but held its own by absorbing far more damage and wielding more firepower. With heavy armor and self-sealing fuel tanks, the Grumman airframe could survive far more than its lightweight, unarmored Japanese rival.
The original Grumman F4F-1 design was a biplane, which when proving inferior to rival designs was recast as the monoplane F4F-2. This was still not competitive with the Brewster F2A Buffalo which won initial US Navy orders, but when the F4F was fitted with a more powerful engine, the Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp, it showed its true merits and became the F4F-3. US Navy orders followed as did some (with Wright Cyclone engines) from France; these ended up with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm after the fall of France. In British service initially these were known as the Martlet I, but not all Martlets would be to the exact same specifications as US Navy aircraft. The F4F-3A would enter service as the Martlet III(B), the FM-1 as the Martlet V, and the FM-2 as the Martlet VI. The name Wildcat was still commonly used for these aircraft inspite of the official name change.
A new version, the F4F-4, entered service in 1942 with six guns and folding wings, allowing more to be crammed on a carrier; this was the definitive version and the one that saw the most combat service in the early war years including the Battle of Midway.
Grumman production ceased in early 1943 to make way for the newer F6F Hellcat, but General Motors continued producing them for both US Navy and Fleet Air Arm use, as larger fighters such as the Hellcat and the Vought F4U Corsair were too large for use on escort carriers. At first they produced the identical FM-1 model but then switched to the improved FM-2 (based on Grumman's F4F-8 prototype) with a more powerful engine and a taller tail to cope with the torque. In all, 7,251 Wildcats were built.
All versions of the Wildcat used hand-cranked landing gear with a relatively narrow track, making landing accidents where the landing gear were not fully locked into place distressingly common. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6.25 inches
Length: 4.75 inches
Release Date: June 2006
Historical Account "Advancement" - First Lieutenant Galer returned to the United States in June 1940 and in July reported to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in San Diego, California and assigned to Marine Fighting Squadron 2 (VMF-2). On 29 August 1940, Galer ditched Grumman F3F-2, BuNo 0976, c/n 374, off the coast of San Diego while attempting a landing on the USS Saratoga (CV-3). (The fighter was rediscovered by a navy submarine in June 1988, and recovered on 5 April 1991. It was restored at the San Diego Aerospace Museum). In January 1941, he was ordered to Hawaii and was appointed a captain in March 1941. Galer was serving at the Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Oahu with Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211), when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
In May 1942, Galer assumed command of Marine Fighting Squadron 224 (VMF-224) and on August 30, 1942 led the squadron to Guadalcanal as they became part of the Cactus Air Force. It was while in command of VMF-224 that Galer would be credited with 11 confirmed victories and be awarded the Medal of Honor and a rare British Distinguished Flying Cross for the same acts of heroism.