Two Things On My Mind

As the title of this article suggests, I would like to address two topics in this Tail End Charlie issue. The first concerns engines. Specifically, I mean our Brassin engines. I will directly follow up on the step by step article by Honza Baranec, who, in my opinion, assembled and painted the engine for the F4F-4 Wildcat in an absolutely fantastic way. I approached him with the idea of an article on the construction of a separate engine right after I saw the result of his work. Little did I know that at this year’s Iron Bunny event, the competitors would be literally racing Brassin Wildcat engines. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the contestants for the fact that the printed instructions do not mention the need to cut the plastic parts, and I recommend that all modelers, in case of confusion, check out the instructions on the product page of our e-shop, as they are always the most up-to-date versions. If we find any discrepancy or error, or if we receive feedback from customers that some steps during construction are not clear to them, we modify the instructions. And since it is not possible to send them to all customers afterwards, we update them on the product page of the e-shop.

Engine with two magnetos on the reduction gear housing.

But there is one more type of question we are receiving from our customers regarding the Wildcat engines. This brings me to the second topic, which is a certain modeling laziness, and maybe I would even go so far as to call it pampering. And we at Eduard are probably to blame for this. We get a lot of questions from modelers about which version of the Brassin engine for the F4F-3 they should actually buy, because there are four on offer – for the early, mid, late and also for the F4F-3A. This also corresponds to the concept of the plastic kit, in which we also deal with several types of cowlings and engine cooling systems, as well as two versions of the engine. In short, Grumman changed and improved these items on the F4F-3 several times during the war. And that’s not even addressing the cowling of the first 19 production machines, which was composed of two halves!

Engine subtype without two magnetos on the reduction gear.

Our recommendation is quite simple. Each modeler must first clarify what camouflage he wants to model and thus what specific aircraft he will build. Subsequently, according to the selected camouflage in the instructions, the choice is made with respect to the appropriate version of the engine, cooling and engine covers that correspond to the chosen camouflage. We have all this conveniently indicated in the instructions for the kits, and it is therefore also a reliable guide for choosing an appropriate Brassin set. A general question like “Which set should I buy for such and such a kit” is often impossible to answer because it deals with multiple variants of the engine. If you don’t have the instructions for the kit with you at the moment, you can access them on the e-shop in electronic form. By comparing the plastic parts specified in the kit instructions with the resin sets, you will get answer to the question of which resin set to buy. To illustrate, I am attaching renders from the construction of the engines so that all readers can see the differences.

F4F-3 early version engine. Reducer without the two magnetos, side intake for air cooling on the front of the cowl ring and one cooling flap on the side covers. 

Yes, it may seem complicated to some. If we didn’t care about the design of the F4F-3 model and made only one cover (as most model companies would probably do) and then offered one aftermarket engine, we would have greatly simplified our lives. But then it wouldn’t be us! Our philosophy is to cover the given subject with the highest possible degree of accuracy and historical faithfulness. It requires the study of all available and most up-to-date references and a series of discussions with experts on the given topic. And we think that even modelers should devote some time to studying the materials and also the texts that we publish in the instructions when preparing to build their model. We provide this information to modelers precisely to help them choose camouflage schemes and to clarify as much as possible the technical and camouflage specifics of each aircraft offered in the kit. Short and sweet: We put a lot of effort into preparation, and we expect modelers to put in some effort as well. Through this joint effort, models faithfully corresponding to the originals according to all available materials can be created. In the end, we won’t have to spend time through customer support answering questions that the modelers can answer relatively easily on their own. The days when a modeler had to make such an engine from scratch are not so distant, and the effort required for such scratchbuilding was quite considerable. Today, you only need to decide on which one to choose from our options. And I think that’s decent progress ...

F4F-3 mid production version engine. Reducer with two magnetos, side intake for air cooling and two types of upper intake on the front of the cowl ring; variant with one or two separate cooling flaps on the side covers. 

F4F-3 late version engine. Reducer with two magnetos, side intake for air cooling and two types of upper intake on the front of the cowl ring; three cooling flaps in a row above each other on the side covers. 

F4F-3A engine. Reducer without the two magnetos, no side intake for air cooling; single cooling flaps on the side covers.

Text: Jakub Nademljenský