Road to Top Gun — Phillip Koury and his Wake Island Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat

Road to Top Gun — Phillip Koury and his Wake Island Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat

Traveling from Picayune, Mississippi, Phillip Koury will be competing in the Expert class with his impressive Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat. Built with laser cut parts for the Jerry Bates plans, Phil’s 1/5-scale Wildcat was not build it initially for scale competition.

LeftfrontPhil enjoys reading Military History and one day he checked out the book “Wake Island Pilot” by John F. Kinney and after reading the book he decided to start building the model and model it to represent a Marine VMF-211 Squadron’s F4F-3 Wildcat. It was initially built with basic detailing i.e.; panel lines, dutz fasteners. rib stitching, and a matching color scheme from the art work from the book and the few photos of the Wake Island Wildcats.


In 2015 Phil  entered in the Pro-Am class at the Scale Masters Championship held at Bomber Field, Monaville TX. From there he went to the Baton Rouge RC Club’s Red Stick Classic scale contest, and was able to gather enough material to compile a good documentation package and finished in first place in Expert. After finding more information he started to improving the Wildcat by adding more details.

landingThe Wildcat is a basic balsa and plywood model and has the sheeted areas finished with .5 ounce fiberglass cloth and West Systems epoxy using the Dan Parsons method.  The fabric covered control surfaces are covered with the last of his Super Coverite fabric.



It has a combination of flush and overlapped panels and both dome and flush rivets.  Panel lines were originally replicated using chartpack pin-stripping and masking tape edges  build up primer.  The rivets were made by using glue drops for dome rivets or by burning the flush rivets into the primer with a sharpened brass tube in a soldering iron.  The Wildcat’s color coats and all markings are painted using Behr exterior Latex house paint custom mixed at Home Depot.  A top coat of flat Klass Kote clear was sprayed on to seal the latex paint.

Wildcat1After Phil started to enter the Wildcat in scale competitions that required static judging, I decided to add more panel lines, rivets, and other details. Additional panel lines were scribed in and more flush rivets and dutz fasteners were added to the finished model.  Additional weathering and a dirty wash were then applied to highlight the new details.

The Main retracts are pneumatically-operated Robart retracts with Yellow Aircraft wheels. The tailwheel assembly uses a Robart spring-loaded tailwheel strut with a 1970s vintage Kraft-Hayes wheel. The Wildcat is powered with a 15-year-old Zenoah G-62 equipped with C&H Ignition and it turns a Xoar 20X10 3-blade propeller (Just Model Props).

Engine closeupPower to the ignition is supplied from a TechAero BEC.  The dummy radial engine is a modified Top Flight product. Phil uses a Futaba 14MZ transmitter and a 14-channel receiver.  Servos are a mixture of Futaba 3010, 3305, and 3004 servos powered by a 2500mAh A123 battery from RadicalRC.



Wingspan: 92 inches

Length: 69 inches

Weight: 31 pounds


  1. Good article but a simple job of proofreading would have sufficed to rid this article of grammar errors and repetition.

  2. LOOKING GOOD and Good Luck at TG

    Jim Martin

  3. Go Get Em Phil!

  4. If you are interested in WWII Wake Island, you would want to read Building For War – The Epic Saga of the Civilian Contractors and Marines of Wake Island in World War II by Bonita Gilbert. Much researched and well written. I read Wake Island Pilot and John Kinney is mentioned in the above book. Favorite planes…F4F-3 and PBY5-A; That’s why I read your article. Wonderful job on your Wildcat…happy landings.
    Maybe Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Company still has copies of this book as it was listed in my last catalog. Hard cover, published at $32.95 and selling for $4.95 – – item number 3669033.

  5. That is absolutely beautiful!! I would have loved to see your landing gear in operation.

  6. I think I can see some oil stains from some hurried repairs by the mechanics. God bless those guys. GREAT JOB!!
    Good hunting!!

  7. Phillip
    Great job on one of my favorite planes. When applying the Latex paint, how thin do you mix it ( ie:5-1, 10-1) and do you mix it with straight water and/or other products?
    May TG be good to you……Bill

  8. Those are Dzus fasteners, not dutz. Would have liked to see more about the LG construction.

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