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Airfix 1/24 F6F-5 Hellcat


Clunkmeister
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                                                   Airfix 1/24 Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat

 

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This kit was announced with much fanfare at Telford, and has been eagerly anticipated ever since. With this kit, Airfix fills a huge gap in the Large Scale Model world, as a decent modern kit of the Grumman Hellcat has been missing. The 1/32 Hasegawa kit is generally accurate in shape, but is sorely lacking in detail and modern refinement. 

The big question was, could Airfix follow up on the home run they hit with their masterful Hawker Typhoon.  i’m here to tell you that from what I’ve seen so far, the answer is a resounding YES!

The history of Grumman’s F6F Hellcat fighter has been discussed and rediscussed now for decades, and launching into a detailed history of this big, tough fighter is redundant here, other than to say that the Hellcat, along with the Vought F4U Corsair helped the Allies finally gain complete air superiority over Japan’s much vaunted A6M fighters.

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Creative parking space. Pack ‘em and stack ‘em.

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Check out the bootfull of right rudder that pilot is holding in. To counteract the huge torque of that massive R2800. Without that rudder, it’d roll over and die.

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Now for some Sprue shots....

The big top opening box is nicely packages with all sixteen sprues individually bagged and sealed in the standard clear poly.  Clear parts are wrapped in soft tissue and wrapped in bubble foam before being bagged and sealed. They are well packaged to prevent scratches and damage.  My kit showed no shipping damage whatsoever, although I expect the sturdy box would protect the parts nicely.

 

Pour biggest sprue consists of four parts: fuselage halves and upper wing halves.

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These big molding look stunning on the sprues. 

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A dual sprue! A beautiful and complete R2800 engine one one, and landing gear on the other.

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Well, we have two sprues in one mounding. Armaments on one, and cockpit internals on another

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I hope you like building internals, there’s plenty of it here.

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Wing structure.

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More cockpit and structural components. So far, the parts are presenting clean and free of flash.

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A few mould marks and possible low spot are present in the stabilizers. More on this in a bit.

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The clear parts are definitely,.. umm, clear. On mine I see no sign of crazing, blushing, or fogging whatsoever. But like all other transparencies, a dip in Future will make them sparkle.

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So far, I'm really liking what I see!

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Airfix gives us four different schemes on the decal sheet, two US Navy schemes, an FAA scheme, and one French scheme.

We are also given a full stencil placement guide, although with the postwar French version one may want to check references in cas stenciling had been overpainted.

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The major airframe surfaces are moulded with “oil canning” effect, which is a neat effect. It looks overdone on the sprue, but should settle right down under a coat of paint. I love this effect, and it can be fully utilized to great effect in these larger scales.

Grumman fighters were notoriously well built, strong and tough and not many pictures show oil canning, so again, check your references and further research on your specific prototype is certainly warranted.  

One of the oft quoted quotes regarding these Grumman fighters is that upon return to the ship, mechanics would comment that there's a lot of holes where big parts of the airplane used to be.

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Thank you for the review there Ernie.  IT definitely looks like a kit that HAS to be in the stash.  I am going to do a bit of looking around and see what AM is out there.  I haven't really looked in to this kit until I saw it in the front seat of the car you were driving  :construction:

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1 hour ago, IainMackayDall said:

Have you found moulding flow results in anything reproduced on post painted surfaces?

No Iain I haven't. That's why I said that I want to shoot a thin shot of primer on it to see if it goes away. 

My gut tells me it's just a simple flow issue that gave an unsightly appearance, but on other kits I've seen sink marks develop in these places as well.   I'll let you know.

What I can say is that this kit looks to be a serious bargain for what you actually get in the kit. Our local Hobby Shops seem to be quoting $169.95 as a retail price, which is alot of money, but still about on par with the latest Tamiya F4U Corsair release.   So far, I'm really liking what I see.

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13 minutes ago, JohnB said:

I'm trying my best to hold off on getting this kit until some after market decals are available. The schemes provided just don't do it for me. ;)

I know that several companies have already announced decal sheets for this kit.  Personally, I like the FAA scheme, although for me, when I think US built FAA fighters, it's either the Martlet or Corsair that spring to mind. yeah they were the glory birds, but the Hellcat was utilized as well.

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OK, here’s the bad news.  Those aren’t flow lines, they’re sink marks. I looked at it under a good light and yeah, there’s some significant depression there. BUT, it’s on the tailplane, so it’s small, and a bit of elbow grease fixes it.

pics to follow after the primer dries.

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Ernie, Nigel has a build started on you tube, he has also found some short shots in the cockpit, for his, the left sidewall bracing and some tubes are short shot that he had to fix. I’m guessing that when I get back from vacation, the one I ordered will also have some issues.  Hopefully they will be minor. 

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36 minutes ago, 1to1scale said:

Ernie, Nigel has a build started on you tube, he has also found some short shots in the cockpit, for his, the left sidewall bracing and some tubes are short shot that he had to fix. I’m guessing that when I get back from vacation, the one I ordered will also have some issues.  Hopefully they will be minor. 

I'll certainly look on this one, but initial inspection found nothing of concern.  I check Nige's stuff often, but haven't checked this one yet. 

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2 hours ago, jsontag said:

Fantastic review. Does this come with two sets of wings for folded or unfolded, as that's what it looks like to me.

Yes it does, you have to build it one way or the other. The wings do not actually fold.

 Hey Ernie the P&W R-2800-10 in this thing is the most accurate representation that I have ever seen. Look for my build of it for correct painting and detailing.

Ron G 

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2 hours ago, CrankyCrafstman said:

Yes it does, you have to build it one way or the other. The wings do not actually fold.

 Hey Ernie the P&W R-2800-10 in this thing is the most accurate representation that I have ever seen. Look for my build of it for correct painting and detailing.

Ron G 

Thank you, Ron. That is awesome.

James   

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