For my next project I've gone for the New Tool 1/72 Martlet. As I've already built the Wildcat boxing, which is practically identical apart from the nose I'm not anticipating any problems with this build.
The first job for me is always carrying out research on the subject I'm about to model, which is always one of the most enjoyable parts of the exercise for me as I'm finding out stuff I may not of been aware of.
I use paper research as well as the internet. The six different marks of RN Martlets/ Wildcats are quite complicated as several were unique to British service. Here is a brief rundown incase you are interested;
Mk I. 91 aircraft ordered by the French Navy. when France fell the order was switched to Britain. 10 aircraft were lost at sea, the others were all delivered in 1940. The Mk I was based on the American fixed wing F4F-3 but with a single row Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G205A replacing the Pratt & Whitney R-1830, and a new propeller. Because the engine was shorter the fuselage was slightly lengthened ahead of the wing to preserve the centre of gravily.
Mk II. 109 aircraft delivered in 1941 and 42. The first 10 were fixed wing the rest folded wing. These aircraft had the two row Pratt & Whitney engine, but with a simplified supercharger which reduced performance at height. Again the prop was different, as was the pitot tube which was located above the wing similar to an Avenger. The American designation for these aircraft (folding wing) was F4F-4A.
Mk III. 30 aircraft delivered in '41. Originally ordered by Greece, they were at Gibraltar when Greece fell and were used instead by the RN shore based in the Western Desert. These aircraft were the same as the US Navy F4F-3A, including prop, with the simplified supercharger.
Mk IV. Subject of the Airfix kit. 220 aircraft delivered in '42. Folding wings, extended fuselage and single row Wright engine. Known to the Americans as the F4F-4B.
Mk V. 322 aircraft delivered between 1942 and '44. Same as the US Navy FM-1, which was similar to the F4F-4 but with only 4 guns instead of 6 and built by General Motors.
Mk VI. 340 aircraft delivered in '44 and '45, the only aircraft to be delivered as Wildcats after the name change from Martlet on 1st January 1944. Same as the FM-2, with lghtweight airframe, extended fin, single row engine and no oil coolers under the wings.4 wing guns.
Anyway, now that's over with back to the kit. Two new sprues are included with the fuselage extension, two new cowlings (?), the new prop and a half relief Wright Cyclone. There is also a choice of two Operation Torch aircraft on the decals, both from 888 Sqn on HMS Formidable, or so they say.
The new parts
All of the plastic
The decals, both are Royal Navy, even though one looks like US Navy.
Painting and decalling guide.