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How to be an Ace in the F4F


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NemesisStar #1 Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:20 PM

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The F4F is one my most Adored Aircraft, as are its big brother(s) the F4U-(x)  Many people love the F4U but the F4F is greatly under-appreciated by many.  Today I am going to give you you tips to play the F4F to its fullest potential and be as deadly a force in the skies as any aircraft. 

 

 

F4F : The Basics

 

  • Maneuverability :  High, Avoid Turn and Burn with  Rus' or Japanese Planes. 
  • Fire Power :  Low, Use conservatively. 
  • Hit points : Moderate, The Plane CAN take a hit but don't get careless.
  • Speed & Altitude performance : Both are moderate, The plane performs well in most situations. 

 

The Key to the F4F

 

This plane is best played in a conservative style, making the Key to the F4F wise target acquisition.  While most planes have a specific nitch they do best in, the F4F is more well rounded but lacks its Big Brother(s) firepower and so many people dislike it for its lack of having any one particular strength.  The F4F embodies the saying " Jack of all trades, Master of none."  But that is oke.  You can be be damn deadly in this aircraft if you know a few simple rules. 

 

Avoid Heavies and G.A.A.s if possible :  The lack of fire power leaves the F4F at a serious disadvantage against Heavies and G.A.A  Their ability to take a hit is greater than your ability to dish it out.  Exception is when there is no good way to avoid a HF or a GA.   Your best suited to fight a GA or an HF that is already messed up from fighting. Below 40% is ideal.   Because you are not fast enough to catch a HF in a flat run, you will have to be very careful to make the time its in your sights count.   As always, avoid Head on fire power matches with heavies, but in the F4F, Avoid Head on fire power matches with ANYTHING, You don't have it. 

 

Be an opportunist : The best target for the F4F is a target thats busy doing something else.  This is true for most planes but its ESPECIALLY true for the F4F.  I call it a Mid-pack type fighter meaning it does best in the middle of the flight in first engagements its best of staying out for a couple of seconds until front line fighters from both teams acquire their targets.  Most pilots have a tendency to get tunnel vision which works to your advantage. 

 

Disperse damage :   Don't be afraid to switch targets alot especially if your in a Ball formation dog fight.The F4F has a some what whimsical side to it in this respect, Again the best target is the target that's tunnel visioned on their target.  the F4F could even be called a support plane. 

 

In combat :  Anyone who has flied the F4F is quickly frustrated by its weapons.  Its not just that they lack a punch, they over heat very quickly and so the F4F pilot needs to be very conservative about firing the weapon.  For this the Ball formation mentioned above is actually where the F4F is at its peak. It does exceptionally well in close combat where its targets are too close to miss due to dispersion.  the F4F is Weakest in One-on-one engagements.  But in the ball formation is where it really shows through as a co-operative plane. 

 

Targeting range guides

<500m : Ideal targeting range. 

500~600M : Favorable range. 

700~ M : Is extreme range. 

 

Even though the guns are in range at 700-some odd Meters, I suggest holding your fire until the target is with in 700M  and  The Ideal range is with 500M.   The difference is if a target is 700 or so Meters out, you want to tap the fire key and fire in short bursts.  Only Hold the key  if you are inside the 500M range and preferably as close as 300M before you give it " The whole 9yards".  This particular tip is universal and can applied to most aircraft, how ever the F4F specifically needs to be extra careful how it fires its weapons and so the Burst-fire Guide line is much more strict.  Avoid firing at targets in extreme range all together unless its the only chance you're going to get to put a few shots off at the target. Chances are, in the main sequences of the game, you have better targets to spend your weapon energy on. 

 

Bombs and Rockets :  I prefer to  fly with neither in the F4F but I some times ride with the Bombs on.  Some players like to supplement the lack of fire power in the F4F with Rockets.  Against the slow and Cumbersome GA this works well, how ever the penalties to Air speed and maneuverability are too great a trade off on the F4F and rockets can leave the plane effectively neutered in a Dog Fight.  For this reason I typically fly with out them. Unless you really know what your doing with the Rockets, they are more trouble than they are worth. Bombs are more favorable as you regain the vast majority of your performance once the bombs are dropped. 

 

The Nemesis!! Lagg 3 :   This planes greatest enemy is the Lagg 3 in tier.  While the F4F is faster,sturdier and has more altitude performance than does the Lagg, its not fast or sturdy enough to Beat the Lagg who is considerably better in a turn than you are.   The F4F is Maneuverable Enough to Maul a Lagg if its starts off on its tail, but any prolonged turning is distinctly to your disadvantage.  The Higher you are, the better you will fare against a Lagg, and while it may sound like the Zero is a big issue too ( they are)  the Zero lack the Lagg's 30mm Death ray.  On your tail that makes all the difference. 

 

This plane fares best

Ironically against the Zero. Zero Piltos are often over confident and  our fire power is a good match for how fragile the Zero is. If you end up with a Zero on your tail  you face many of the same problems as with the lagg. how ever both planes do poorly at higher altitudes so your best shot is going Up and over in a loop  rather than around in a turn. How ever, in good position the F4F has the right combination of maneuverability and speed and just enough fire power to Eat a Zero. The greatest advantage is the typical playing style of the A6M1/2. 

 

 

 


Edited by NemesisStar, 18 April 2014 - 11:46 PM.

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gunlion #2 Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:14 AM

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Cool guide, NemesisStar!

bearrick #3 Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:27 AM

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This could just be me, but I was never truly bothered by the gun damage with the F4F.  It's got .50 cals when other planes it'll go up against can sport 30, 37, even 45mm guns.  It's the current overheat rate that I feel is the plane's only truly undesireable trait.  I mean once you get the 6 gun upgrade, it poses a potentially serious threat to even the heavies (unlike its RW presence).  And I personally feel that, even being wing mounted with a slightly wider positioning than the 6 gun P-40, the F4F has slightly better accuracy than the other.

 

But I agree that this is an underappreciated plane that deserves some player love.


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NemesisStar #4 Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:31 AM

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View Postbearrick, on 19 April 2014 - 02:27 AM, said:

This could just be me, but I was never truly bothered by the gun damage with the F4F.  It's got .50 cals when other planes it'll go up against can sport 30, 37, even 45mm guns.  It's the current overheat rate that I feel is the plane's only truly undesireable trait.  I mean once you get the 6 gun upgrade, it poses a potentially serious threat to even the heavies (unlike its RW presence).  And I personally feel that, even being wing mounted with a slightly wider positioning than the 6 gun P-40, the F4F has slightly better accuracy than the other.

 

But I agree that this is an underappreciated plane that deserves some player love.

 

It can mess up an HF especially in close, but its still weakest against the tankish aircraft.  Also, its poor cool down rate gives a strangely "trainer" quality. it teaches you to be accurate in a way most aircraft don't quite.

 


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bearrick #5 Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:44 AM

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View PostNemesisStar, on 18 April 2014 - 09:31 PM, said:

 

It can mess up an HF especially in close, but its still weakest against the tanky aircraft. 

 

And I don't disagree with that.  Taking on a full hp Il-8/10 would be foolish.  And without even the two extra guns the firepower is a bit lackluster because of the hp/armor values that compensate for those higher caliber guns.  But It's fairly versatile plane being able to outrun some and outturn others.  I would say that, prioritizing the gun upgrade first and knowing how and when to engage, as you mentioned in the op, it can make significant contributions.


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pyantoryng #6 Posted 19 April 2014 - 08:29 AM

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I run mine with 4 guns now because 6 guns overheat too quickly and not adding any significant power against light targets.  4 guns also allow me to keep up with cannon Spitfire 1.

 

That said, Boom and Zoom utterly disagrees with me.



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bearrick #7 Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:19 PM

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View Postpyantoryng, on 19 April 2014 - 04:29 AM, said:

I run mine with 4 guns now because 6 guns overheat too quickly and not adding any significant power against light targets.  4 guns also allow me to keep up with cannon Spitfire 1.

 

That said, Boom and Zoom utterly disagrees with me.

 

Really?  I thought that the spit could outrun and outclimb the F4F no matter what.  I'll have to try that out.


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SOGRick_Cranium #8 Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:25 PM

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NemesisStar,

 

Excellent guide!  Only thing I would add is that the plane has good energy retention and if you start out at a higher altitude and keep that energy up, the plane can really run with most all in it's tier.  It is an excellent BnZ trainer as it forces you to watch your energy more and if needed can out turn most of the competition if caught down on the deck.  The roll rate isn't bad either when you need to evade and disengage.

 

DH   



WanderingGhost #9 Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:29 PM

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I'm slightly inclined to disagree on avoiding HF. The 410 maybe with it's rear guns, the positioning seems to give them a harder blind spot. But otherwise your talking flying against tier 7 (109Z, Hornet, F7F) none of which has a rear gun, but you can out maneuver and eat up, though more controlled burst, just have to watch if they climb or run and be ready to dodge. Tier 6 (410, mosquito, 38j) the 410 gunner can be a bit tricky, but the other 2 again, no rear gunner so if they turn fight you game over man, game over. Tier 5 and below, I've seen the p-40 or wildcat, both in and against, tear apart heavy fighters with good aim. Have to watch as you may need to let the weapons cool if you go all trigger down, but they can eat up heavy fighters.

 

Ground attack, thats another can of worms. Definetly not a priority target, unless its a TSH-3, the wildcat can def handle that quickly. Tier 4 and 5 if your getting on the last planes go for them, but don't just sit on their six, make a run, break, re-engage. Can't tell you how many times I've had pilots of all planes sit on my bsh/il2 tail pecking at me, only for me to slam the breaks so that either A: there caught in a bomb blast or B: end up missing the bomb but running into me and dying. Tier 6 and 7 GA though, if its the last thing that needs to be taken down, it better be badly damaged, or you better have help and some HP, they will eat you up, quite effectively I might add.


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losttwo #10 Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:57 PM

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Great post and I have to concur with most of what you wrote as I am finding the same results and experience with my F4F.

Magdalna #11 Posted 28 April 2014 - 02:45 PM

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View PostNemesisStar, on 18 April 2014 - 07:20 PM, said:

Be an opportunist : The best target for the F4F is a target thats busy doing something else.  This is true for most planes but its ESPECIALLY true for the F4F.  I call it a Mid-pack type fighter meaning it does best in the middle of the flight in first engagements its best of staying out for a couple of seconds until front line fighters from both teams acquire their targets.  Most pilots have a tendency to get tunnel vision which works to your advantage. 

 

Disperse damage :   Don't be afraid to switch targets alot especially if your in a Ball formation dog fight.The F4F has a some what whimsical side to it in this respect, Again the best target is the target that's tunnel visioned on their target.  the F4F could even be called a support plane. 

 

Thanks for the guide. Still struggling to get consistent with the F4F but these 2 things have helped me greatly.

 

 



Wolfrum #12 Posted 30 April 2014 - 04:28 PM

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I run my F4F stripped down with 4 guns. I have better speed and Climb as a result, and for the most part I can turn well enough to energy deplete most planes that are on my tail.

The F4F is not the monster it was in Beta but it can still do well, you just need to have great trigger control and get in close and hold on with the fire. I close the gap even closer than 500m before I fire. I want all 4 guns to hit at once and do the most I can before I need to break the engagement.

 

Play it in the vertical, never keep on the same course when you have something on your tail. This plane has a decent amount of energy Retention and if you are conservative with your Boost you can force a break as the other plane has to recover energy.

I love the F4F, one of the Best Tier 5's in terms of overall effectiveness out there (my opinion obviously).

 

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steelhealer #13 Posted 30 April 2014 - 04:59 PM

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HZero has the F4F down pat. Good pilot in that plane. SH

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NemesisStar #14 Posted 17 June 2014 - 09:52 AM

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I just saw my post got easter egged, wish I would have seen that during the event, lol. Thanks for the feed back.

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HZero #15 Posted 17 June 2014 - 02:48 PM

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And because of that, I just saw the props that Steel gave me, lol.  I have to disagree though.  The F4F was a painful learning experience for me.  While my win rate is not bad, I never Ace'd in it and my K/D is not great either.

 

If I were to run it again,  I would do it with 4 guns and Aircraft Polish. 

 

On the bright side, it teaches you to hold your fire, save your boost, and to play smart (ie, not overly aggressive), which do make it a valuable "trainer" plane as someone else said.   Its also a great preparation for the P-40 M105, which (I think) has a similar play-style.


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