Aircraft Pictorial #4
F4F Wildcat

Reviewed by Sean Hert

The Classic Warships's series Aircraft Pictorial is out with volume #4, covering the F4F Wildcat. The Wildcat was the primary carrier based fighter used by the United States Navy at the start of World War 2. While it was later suppplanted by the Hellcat and Corsair in frontline service from the fleet carriers, the Wildcat continued to serve on escort carriers in a variety of roles until the end of the war.

This book by Dana Bell, noted aircraft author, is laid out like the others in this series- a general history of the aircraft, followed by lots and lots of pictures! These images document the Wildcat from early versions, later production types, and even a few rare birds. These images also have some great close-ups of details which modelers will always find interesting, from the front to the rear of the aircraft, and some great shots of the interior of the fuselage (you don't see those very often).

Scans are reduced quality.

This book also has some great color plates in the center, showing some United States Navy camoflague patterns, as well as some options for Royal Navy Martlets (as the Wildcat was known in RN service [see above image]) In addtion to these color pages, Mr. Bell has also compliled data on which squadrons operated the F4F, and even provides the unique tail markings for the Escort Carrier squadrons.


Classic Warships continues to produce great references by modlers, for modelers. This does mean it is not a "scholarly" work, diving in depth into the the theory, design, production and effectiveness of this aircraft; this topics are rightfully beyond the scope of this reference. That being said, these images are all excellent; crisp and clear, and many are newly published, and this book will serve useful for modelers, aircraft afficionados and general reference needs. Highly Recommended!

Next in the Aircraft Pictorial series is a departure from previous naval aircraft subjects; the P-40 Warhawk! Look for it later in 2012.

Aircraft Pictorial #4 F4F Wildcat ISBN-13: 978-09823583-9-9. Price is $18.00. For a list of vendors that carry the Aircaft and Warship Pictorial series see the Classic Warships website.