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Hellcat Mk.I - 1:48 Eduard Weekend Edition


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Hellcat Mk.I

1:48 Eduard Weekend Edition




The Royal Navy received 252 F6F-3s as Hellcat I under Lend-Lease. Production continued until November 1945 by which time 7870 F6F-5s had been built, of which some 930 had been supplied to the Royal Navy as Hellcat II and 1434 of the total had been completed as F6F-5N night-fighters. Ultimately, the Hellcat equipped 14 FAA front-line squadrons. The first Hellcat Mark Is started to be delivered to the Fleet Air Arm on 13 March 1943, FN321 and FN323 arriving three months later, in June 1943 to the A and C Flights of A&AEE, Boscombe Down for service trials by RN pilots, and in July 1943 FN330 was tested by 778 squadron at Crail. Very soon afterwards the Hellcat was distributed to operational squadrons, 800 Squadron received its first Hellcats in batches in July, August and October 1943, and 1839 squadron from December 1943. Not long after this, on 31 August, 1943 the first combat sorties were being flown by the USN VF9 and VF-5 squadrons aboard USS Yorktown against Japanese targets on Marcus Island (Minami-tori Island) some 700 miles southeast of Japan.  The first and second batches of 188 F6F-5 Hellcat Mark IIs started to be delivered to the Royal Navy from May 1944, primarily to 1840 squadron. By this time many Hellcats were being shipped to overseas FAA squadrons directly from Norfolk, Virginia, USA to HMS Thane 14 August 1944 and on to RNARY Wingfield, then onto 804 Squadron in September 1944. The subsequent batch of 295 Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat Mk F.II was also shipped directly to RNARY Wingfield in HMS Ranee in September 1944, and on to RNARY Coimbatore. Many of these Hellcats were still in service in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after the end of the war and into 1946. However, quite a number were surplus to requirement after VJ-Day and dumped in the sea off Australia by HMS Colossus in 1945. The final 293 Hellcat II to be delivered to the Fleet Air Arm arrived between January and May 1945, the very last aircraft, being delivered on 11 May 1945. The Hellcat served post war and some of the earlier batches managed to remain in RN service, in 709 squadron. After this aircraft was paid off it went to Fairey Aviation at Hayes in 1946. Whilst Grumman F.II KE209 remained as the personal aircraft of the Lossiemouth Station Flight Commanding Officer Caspar John until 1952, and the Aircraft Holding Unit in 1954, (this aircraft is now on display in the Fleet Air arm Museum at Yeovilton, Somerset).

The Kit
The Eduard kit has now been with us since 2008 and has been regularly re-issued in multiple boxings. The moulds still look good today though. Construction starts in the cockpit. The seat, rear bulkhead and control column are attached to the cockpit floor. Next the side consoles and instrument panel are added (a decal can be used for the panel if you don't want to paint it), Once the cockpit is complete it can be added into the fuselage halves along with the tail wheel. Don't forget to open the hole for the centre line tank if you want to use it.




Next up the engine is made up. This has two banks of cylinders to which the gear box is added at the front, along with the shaft for the prop. Once complete this can be added to the front of the fuselage and the cowling built up and added over it. Construction then moves to the rear of the fuselage with the addition of the tail surfaces and rudder.




The main wings are next on the build schedule. They are conventional upper/lower, left & right. The wheel wells need adding as does the appropriate wing armament before the two sides are glued together. Separate control surfaces are supplied for both wings. Once the wings are on construction moves back to the main fuselage with lights being added to the underside.




Next step is the construction of the main wheel bays with some additional details. Following this the main wheels are built up and attached to their legs. The gear doors can then be added. Is using it the main fuel tank can be built up and added. Lastly the canopy, prop, and night fighter radar unit can be added.





Decal options are provided for two aircraft as seems to be the norm for weekend editions now.


  • Hellcat Mk. I 1/48 - s/n JV105, No. 800 Squadron FAA, HMS Emperor, Aegean Sea, September 1944
  • Hellcat Mk. I 1/48 - s/n FN430, flown by P/O Hannay, No. 1844 Squadron FAA, HMS Indomitable, Indian Ocean, August 1944





Each option is illustrated with a four-view profile. The decals, which are printed by in house, they look crisp, thin and glossy and the colours used are nice and bold.

This is a great kit from Eduard, good to see it in this configuration. Recommended. 






Review samples courtesy of logo.gif

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