Martlet? What’s a Martlet?

For each of my projects from the past six months or so, I’ll be describing the challenges (i.e. the crazy-making, insanity inducing problems that SHOULD NOT HAPPEN EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE THING…you get the idea).

Expensive decals. Cheap kit. Perfect match.

This is the Academy Wildcat in 1/72 scale. I chose to build it because I just do not enjoy building superkits that turn out to look like ordinary models. There is no difference. To me. I like the cheap, old kits.

But I’m ashamed of this (I have issues). I think I should like the high-quality kits from the finest manufacturers in the world. Like Eduard. Like Tamiya. Thems. I should love thems. But I do not.

For fun, give me an old, funky little monkey like this horrible little Academy kit, that was, I guess, ripped off from the body of the dead FROG (god, if you can follow this you know WAY too much about model kits).

Taken outdoors during a break in the weather.

I have an expensive set of Xtradecals titled “Yank planes in limey gear” or some dumb name like that, and here is one of them. Xtradecals piss me off because they seem to live on the Britmodeller forum and every delusion that results from excessive tea consumption and is shared on that forum ends up in their instructions for their decal sets.

I mean, every time some pompous fool on that forum decides that a shadow is a color (“Perhaps that B-17 has a streak of blue under the cockpit? Compare it to the national insignia.” FOR GOD’S SAKE IT’S BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO!).

Anyway, this looked appealing to me so I slapped the kit together and painted it. The decals worked well.

So what was the problem?

The propeller, mostly. It absolutely could not be installed so that it would spin. Spinning propellers is a something (along with a persistent rash) that I picked up over at the Airfix Tribute Forum. This model, alas, has a non-spinning prop–something I now equate to an earlier, sadder time in my modeling life.

By the way, I decided to weather the finish like it was 1999. I went full Barcelona on it–just for fun.


3 Replies to “Martlet? What’s a Martlet?”

  1. Wildcat is my favorite of the Cat family. I knew that they held their own and better vs, Zeros. I have seen a couple of accounts of them engaging Zeros in mano a mano dogifghts and prevailing. “Dontcha wanna know why?” Kermit weeks explains as follows…
    The Wildcat has an interesting flap system that is activated by the vacuum system. Instead of using positive pressure to operate the flap cylinder, this aircraft uses negative pressure or suction. A large tank in the rear of the aircraft stores the “negative” air pressure. At higher speeds, the negative pressure does not create enough force to overcome the air loads to lower the flaps. It will not hurt the system, as in some aircraft, to put the flaps down at high speed. They just simply won’t come down! Pilots used this to their advantage in dogfights and could select the flap handle down before engaging another aircraft. If, during the dogfight, the airplane happened to slow down below a certain speed the flaps would creep out. This gave the Wildcat a tighter turning radius, which was a major advantage in a dogfight, as they could potentially turn inside the opponent and get on his tail.

  2. Thanks, I watched both of Greg’s Wildcat videos. He does a great job of making these things comprehensible to middlin brain power, like mine.

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