After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese Navy’s A6M Zero fighters dominated the skies over the Pacific with great success, so much so that they achieved a reputation of invincibility. This dominance began to be challenged when F4F Wildcat fighters began flying from USAF airfields to meet the Zeros.
The Grumman Company produced the first F4F prototype in 1937 and, despite failures on early models, the Navy asked the company to continue with the project until a reliable first version of the project was completed: the F4F-3.
In 1942, during the most decisive stages of the war in the Pacific, the F4F-4 Wildcat variant (reproduced in 1/48th scale in this Tamiya kit) was introduced. The F4F-4 had folding wings, was armed with 3 12.7 mm machine guns and carried a more powerful engine than the previous 1,200 P&W R-1830-86 Twin Wasp versions, which allowed this aircraft to reach top speeds of 512 km/h. But the most outstanding feature of the F4F-4 was its resistance to enemy hits, it could be hit many times without being shot down, this contrasted greatly with the weakness of the Zero and that was the quality that most exploited the American pilots in air combat against their Japanese enemies.
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