J4F Widgeon

The Grumman J4F Widgeon got its start as the G-44 Widgeon, a utility amphibian flying boat designed for commercial purposes. It flew for the first time in July of 1940. The first production model was however a three seat anti-submarine patrol and utility model designated the J4F-1 for the U.S.Coast Guard. Twenty five were delivered in 1941. The J4F-1 could only carry one depth bomb attached to a rack under the starboard wing root and with the crew reduced to two still could not maintain altitude with one engine, making it unsuitable for use at any distance from the shore. Nevertheless in 1942 a J4F-1 of Coast Guard Squadron 212 sank the U-166 just off the Mississippi Delta. Sixteen similar aircraft were delivered to the Army Air Corps under the designation OA-14 and a further 135 were built for the Navy as J4F-2's, these being used primarily as five seat utility transports. Fifteen were transfered to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease and were originally known as Gosling I in British service. These were later renamed Widgeon I and served in the communications role, primarily in the West Indies during 1943 - 1945. One additional J4F-2 was allotted to the Foreign Commission in Miami and several other aircraft of this type were delivered to the Portuguese Naval Air Service and the Brazilian Air Force. In U.S. Navy service the J4F-2 served principally as a light personnel transport and as an instrument trainer.

The Kit

The Classic Airframes J4F Widgeon comes in a two part top open box with nice artwork on the top. Inside the box is one large zip lock bag with all the injection molded parts in gray and included in the bag is a smaller zip lock bag with the resin parts. A separate zip lock bag in the box contains the clear parts. My kit apparently had a rough trip and numerous parts had separated from the sprues. None fortunately seemed damaged or worse the wear. The parts are molded in gray similar to that of other recent kits from CA. All the parts in my kit exhibited a light amount of flash. The surface detail features recessed panel lines and fasteners and raised detail where applicable such as rib tape on the fabric surfaces. The exterior surfaces feature a smooth glossy finish while some of the interior parts and other small parts had a smooth but flat finish. The parts had no sink holes or other major surface irregularities. The ADF loop in my kit was split across the middle apparently the result of sprue movement during shipping. Two different shaped bow pieces are supplied in the kit with no explanation other than one is X ed out. Both were off the sprue in my kit so some research will be needed to figure out which one is to be used. There are two bombs supplied with the kit which was only capable of carrying one. The landing gear is nicely detailed as is the interior. Altogether there are 84 parts molded in gray. See photos below.

The clear parts are relatively thin and clear with nicely molded frame lines, altogether there are 11 clear parts. See photo below.

As is fairly common with CA kits it includes to resin parts. In this kit it includes two weighted wheels, two engine fronts, two gear wells, pilots seats, four cabin seats and booth style seat. All parts are crisply molded in gray with minimal flash. I found no bubbles or short shots on any of the parts. All together the are 13 resin parts bring the kit total to 108 parts See photo below.

The decals are thin, in register and have a glossy finish with minimal clear material. The colors look good and appear to be opaque. Even the smallest print is readable. Marking are provided for four aircraft, two Coast guard, one two tone the other natural metal, one Navy in a three color scheme and one Royal Navy scheme, see photo below.

The instructions are printed on an A4 size sheet folded in half with a half sheet inserted in the middle creating six pages. The first page has a brief history and specifications. following that there are 17 assembly steps plus a page with a parts map, symbols used and colors with color names only. A separate A4 sheet folded in half has the exterior painting information, each section containing the marking information for each of the four aircraft markings supplied. Color call outs on this page includes color name and FS number.

After Market Goodies
Nothing available at the moment but I suspect they won't be long in coming.

This appears to be an excellent kit and will go nicely with the Goose. Like all limited run kits there are no alignment pins and test fitting before each assembly step is a must. I wouldn't recommend the kit to beginners but with the relatively low parts count it might make a good first limited run kit for someone with a few main stream kits under his belt.

Links to kit build or reviews
Another in box review can be found here.

"War Planes of the Second World War Volume 5, Flying Boats" by William Green

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Updated 7/27/08