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1/48 scale Ironworks Cat
Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

by Chris Evenden

 

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

images by Brett Green


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F6F-5 Hellcat is available online from Squadron

 

Introduction

 

We all have our favourite World War Two aircraft. For some it is the Bf 109, Spitfire or Mustang. For me it is the F6F Hellcat.

 



Hasegawa's 1/48 kit seems to have a love/hate relationship with modeller's if the comments on various websites are anything to go by. I kind of sit in the middle. While I like the kit, it does have it's problems. Chief amonst these are that the kit is an F6F-3. To make a Dash 5 all Hasegawa did was give you a new canopy and tell you to modify the cowl.

 

 

Construction

 

Fit wise the kit went together well. I do a lot of test fitting on my models and try to eliminate, or at least reduce, fit problems before I glue. I found the only real problem was the area between the fuselage and rear underside wing. However, I shimmed the top bit near the wing's trailing edge with some 10 thou plasticard and this brought the are level, getting rid of the step.

As stated earlier, the kit is a Dash 3 with a -5 canopy. As I was making an F6F-5, I filled in some panel lines on the wings and scribed others to make the latter model. I used the plans in the Aerodetail book on the Hellcat as a guide.

 



I used the kit cockpit but reworked it slightly. The control column between the pilot's legs was modified as this is more accurate for an F6F-3. New armour plate behind the pilot's head rest was fabricated from 10 thou plasticard. I then used a Ultrcast seat. These are beautiful products and I use them almost exclusively in my aircraft. I added the bar that the seat belt goes over from brass rod and then remade the top of the seatbelts on the resin seat from lead foil to go over the bar.

The sliding portion of the canopy wouldn't fit over the aircraft's spine when in the open position so I used a Squadron vac form canopy for this part.

The kit's cowl was used even though it is a bit out of shape. It looks like someone has given it a good uppercut. It was only a cost thing. To get a replacement cowl would have cost me as much as the kit itself and I couldn't justify that. I added some mesh to the inside of the cowl's middle intake. The engine got some ignition wiring from cotton thread that I coated in wood glue (Selley's PVA here in Australia) to minimise the excess hairiness factor!

 



I also used True Details wheels on this kit. The detail on these wheels is fantastic, but I think they are bulged too much. Aircraft tires are, on the whole, pretty high pressure and I have heard naval tires especially so (?) In the future I will sand some of the bulge out. The fuel tank got some new sway braces from stretched sprue. Sprue was also used for the aerial wire.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The model was painted in Testor's Model Master enamel paint.

Weathering was done with artist's acrylic paint. I used a fairly dark grey as I found it dried to a lighter tone. I did a few panel lines in a light colour at first but found it dried VERY light and provided too much contrast with the dark blue.

Exhaust and gun staining was done with pastel chalks. Paint chips were done with Humbrol Silver Fox with small amounts of black mixed in to tone it down. I didn't go overboard with the chipping, keeping in mind the adage "less is more" when it comes to using silver paint, particularly on a dark paint scheme.

 

 

I used Aeromaster decals from their Carrier Based Hellcats set, but I painted the geometric symbols on rather than use the provided decals. I thought this easier than trying to get a decal to conform over a flap/rudder join.

The kit was then given a final coat of Testor's Flat Cote which, when applied over a gloss paint, gives a pleasant eggshell sheen.


This model was photographed at the ACT Scale Modellers' Society Annual Competition held during May 2004 in Canberra, Australia's national capital.

 

Hellcat Aces of World War 2
Aircraft of the Aces 10
Author: Barrett Tillman
Illustrator: Mark Styling
US Price:
$19.95
UK Price: 12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 July 15, 1996
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1855325969
Shop cart
Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model and Text Copyright 2004 by Chris Evenden
Images Copyright 2004 by Brett Green
Page Created 07 June, 2004
Last Updated 07 June, 2004

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