I used to play an arcade game back in 1987 (first year high school) and I can't remember what it was called. The screen scrolled from the top (very much like 1942) but you flew a spaceship.
Some defeated enemies dropped stars and collecting each one progressed an upgrade selection along the bottom of the screen with speed-up, different weapons, etc. When you had moved to the upgrade you wanted you selected it.
As you continued to select the same upgrade (for a weapon) your ship gained extra 'modules' and became wider, eventually reaching nearly full width of the screen — and being very powerful.
I have an idea the title had some sort of 'wing' connotation but that may be wrong. I'd love to play it again but without the name that's impossible.