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Backstory: The Hellcat was never intended to be the mainstay of the USN fighter force, as the F4U Corsair, with its generally superior flight performance, was intended to be the Fleet's premier fighter. However the ineradicable problems with the latter's deck landing performance prevented it from being fielded on even the large USN Fleet carriers. Even then, the need for a successor to the F6F-3 in advance of the advent of the F7F and F8F was not widely appreciated. However, despite the US blunting the advance of Imperial Japan in a series of major sea and land battles during late 1942 and early 1943, new and improved types were coming into service with both the Japanese Army and Navy, particularly the Ki-84 Hayate and A7M Reppu. Pre-war Japanese naval attaches sent grave reports home regarding the awesome industrial potential of the US and Japan acted on these reports, developing a series of massive underground production facilities. They also developed advanced production methods, rewarding factory line workers for their ideas to improve efficiency of production and indeed design improvements. Their military was not exempt from changes, too. The recognition that pilot training needed expanding and improving was also acted on, together with increased cooperation between the IJAAF and IJN. The net result of these policies was an improvement in both quality and quantity of Japanese aerial opposition by late 1943, together with increasing losses among Hellcat units. Grumman resolved to tackle the shortfall in key areas of Hellcat performance and developed an effective response in the Grumman F6F-7, conceived in a phenomenally quick time and deployed in combat for the first time in late 1944 . . ." The F6F-7 incorporated a Wright R-3350 engine of 3000hp combat rating, an improved 'bubble' canopy and revised armament of 2 20mm cannon and 2 0.5in machine guns. The machine shown below is my interpretation of the famous #155 of Cdr Roger Hedrick, CO of VF-84 based aboard USS Bunker Hill. It is depicted as at the beginning of the 2nd battle of Saipan in November 1944. Hedrick, and #155 were fortunate to have been airborne escorting a TBM strike when Bunker Hill was sunk by shore-based Judy dive bombers, which had evaded the CAP, which was fully engaged the Ki-84 escorts. Unfortunately, although Hedrick was able to recover safely aboard the USS Wasp, #155 was unceremoniously dumped over the side to make space for Wasp's own aircraft. The model was based on the Eduard F6F-3 Weekend edition, with bits from the Airfix Skyraider, the NT Airfix P-51D and a Matchbox Tempest II. It was built as part of a "what if" GB on another forum, and the link to the build thread is here: http://uamf.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=311&t=11040. Mods, I'm not sure if linking to a build thread in another forum is within forum rules / etiquette. If not, either delete or ask me to do same. regards, Martin