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Torbjorn

Indomitable Hellcat

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The Eduard F6F seems popular and I uderstand why. It is a wonderful kit. I’m afraid I’m going to be unoriginal and contribute with yet another. I will be building the Mk.I Hellcat on the left, FN430 of 1844 squadron. If I have not bungled, it took part in Operation Banquet in August ’44 as well as Operation Meridian in the following January. I willattempt to represent it as it looked during the latter: the attack on Palembang.

 

Still searching for pictures - etienne posted some beautiful colour photos of planes of the same units, showing dirty planes and heavily faded paint jobs. Thread:

 

WQ9iBY8.jpg

 

 

I’ve spent the free hours of the Christmas holidays on the cockpit and engine. The kit is nicely detailed: to the cockpit I only added the black sheet under the head rest and some wires on the bulkhead behind the seat, plus some structure on the back side of the bulkhead that will (maybe) be seen through the little back windows. The space behind was apparently grey: I painted it gray white since it’ll be pretty dark.

 

 

bGLVGxI.jpg

 

 

 

 

nxK9xNSl.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Torbjorn
Added some stuff

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 I also replaced the guns with brass tubes - much easier than drilling centrally in such small rods. The gun pipes are attached to blocks to be inserted between the upper and lower wing halves, to enable different armament presumably, but which also makes the replacement task a bit easier. 

 

The brass is blackened chemically, but the photo reveals that the insides still appear bright.

 

Comparison with original:

Q06NhA7.jpg

 

 

Edited by Torbjorn

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The kit is detailed and doesn’t leave much to fiddle with, but I’ve replaced the exhaust with brass tube. Here’s the original:

 

 

GhY9gIa.jpg

 

 

The fairing over the upper exhaust outlets (with triple pipes, my photo shows it upside down) is a bit exaggerated, compared with e.g. this image: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-grumman-f6f-3-hellcat-wwii-navy-fighter-on-static-display-at-the-naval-19584816.html

 

I’ve reduced it a bit, and thinned the inside of the cowling to give an appearance of thin plating. Current status:

 

 

IrmHUf7l.jpg

 

 

The wing tip lights are molded as part of the wings. I cut this away and replaced with a pieces of clear plastic. Hopefully the superglue is strong enough to take the strain when sanding them to shape.

 

The photos contained in the thread I linked show well-worn planes, with faded paint and scratched wing surfaces so the primer shows through. I have started preparing by painting a yellow primer layer there. I use Vallejo, but for the upper surface colours I bought Xtracrylics, hearing them to be most accurate, without checking if they are compatible. Just now I read that apparently they are not: Xtracrylics might eat the Vallejo, so this’ll be interesting.

 

BOxhPNzl.jpg

 

I had problems to fit the wings by the way: they wouldn’t fit into the recesses in the fuselage without surgery.

Edited by Torbjorn

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Sorry for a lengthy post. I’m happy with the engine and want to document it for another time. 

 

 

What is spinning the propeller is a venerable R-2800 Double Wasp, and I wanted to do it justice. Eduard has provided a fantastic four-piece injection-molded piece. The kit also contains PE parts for the Pratt & Whitney logo, a spec plate with “text” and the ignition wiring. I will use the two first, but the wires are flat and much overscale and makes the engine look toyish. I would either skip the wiring or replace it. Having two weeks off for Christmas and being blessed with unspeakeably bad weather I went for the latter.

 

You can see the original here (we need a -10 I have understood, but it looks very similar to the -21 on display at wiki): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_&_Whitney_R-2800_Double_Wasp

 

The collecting harness tube for the wires is actually included as part of the plastic cap piece. It is therefore straightforward to file slots to secure the wires on its unseen back side ( I used some wires salvaged from my son’s RC car which had broken down after 1 hour of calm and safe driving). Some wires were glued to the distributors (the Mickey Mouse ears). Like so:

 

tVCXQh5l.jpg

 

For comparison the PE part has wires thicker than the pushrods:

uJjM5X4l.jpg

 

 

Each cylinder has two wires, one attached to the plug on the front side and one to an unseen plug. I pre-drilled the location of the front side plugs, 0.2 mm drill. After that I painted the pieces and glued them together. Some additional wiring was added to the magneto box (between the “ears”, containing what controls the ignition system), It is then just to secure wire after wire, those to front plugs inserted into the holes, the others just liberally glued to the top/backside of the cylinders . I started with the front row of cylinders:

 

CEYnLzol.jpg

 

 

I have also added the missing oil scavenge pump (stuff on the “chin”) and rocker box (little box with pipe at 6 o’clock between bottom cylinder heads).

 

I have never been more happy with the painting of an engine, so for the next time:

 

Cylinders airbrushed dark gray, the cooling flanges brushpainted metal. This way the pushrods don’t need separate brushpainting. The gearbox/cone was airbrushed with paleblue/light grey mixes. Wires and the metal wire ring harness were also brushpainted. Finished with black and brown washes, a dark black pin wash on the inside edge of the ignition ring to create the appearance of a gap. The wires shouldn’t be metallic, being covered in brown(?) insulating material so I might try to matten them. That’ll be later, since it gets easily scratched off while handling.

 

About handling, kudos to Eduard for the clever moulding. The sprue gates holding the cylinder rows are very weak, so the sprues function as work holders until the engine is finished. No problem cutting it off. Two thumbs up!

 

Almost there (wash drying):

 

7r28lprl.jpg

 

3vOzO5Ul.jpg

 

 

Couldn’t resist dryfitting it all, which was good, since it revealed you can see too much of the empty insides of the cowling, including the alignment pins. Ooops, have to do something there.

2khx3V1l.jpg

42Vho0Zl.jpg

 

 

Edited by Torbjorn

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To prevent view of the empty insides of the cowling I constructed a simplified air duct from scrap plastic. Not perfectly round but no need - it is dark and will barely be seen with the last piece in place.  It appears to me the cylinders are sitting too deep inside, but it might be just me. I’ve glued everything big together and next up is painting.

 

3AnOhl5l.jpg

 

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Coming on really well there.  I have now built three Eduard Hellcats (2xMkI & 1 MkII).  The last one I built was a weekend edition and didn't have the PE.  TBH I made most of what I needed by scraps of wire etc and like you did the ignition hardness, throttles etc. Round wire looks some much better than the PE in so many uses (Keep your big instruction book as if you do a weekend edition it has simpler views).

 

Make sure you have the right cowling for your aircraft (don't ask now I know this)...

 

I'm looking forward to the forth coming Airfix 1/24 Hellcat, it will make an interesting comparison. I have already identified the Operation Iceberg I Aircraft I want to do, just need to identify the side number.. 

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Thanks for tip on the booklet: even if not, I’d keep it, it feels bad to throw such a nice instruction book :D For details, I also use Eduard’s instructions for the corresponding 1/48 kit - they contain even more.

 

I believe I got the right cowling - FN430 should have the little fairings over the exhaust outlets, and this was the only out of the three included versions that had them. 

 

1/24 sounds crazy - I have no idea what I would do with sich a monster :)

 

 

—-

 

I have painted the first colour - Xtracrylics slate grey. It looks a wee bit dark, but I will apply lightening layers of thinned white/grey afterwards. Here she is, waiting for the next colour. Masking paper attached with rolls of bluetack:

 

4R4B13Yl.jpg

 

Edited by Torbjorn

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I used Xtracrylics too..  I think they look OK but it depends on how weathered you want them..

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2 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

I used Xtracrylics too..  I think they look OK but it depends on how weathered you want them..

Unfortunately very weathered (see link). Can’t buy new colours, since it will take ages to get here, and I don’t think I can mix with what I have else (Vallejo). Will see what I can do with lightening layers and oil paints.

 

 

 

In the mean time, preparing for a base. This is something I have not done before, but I wanted to represent the feature that saved the Indomitable from Franklin’s fate (or worse), namely the armoured flight deck. The deck was covered with 3” thick plates, fastened by rivets flush with the deck. Trying to find drawing or pictures showing the plating, preferably also the support structure. The images in the link above suggests plates which in scale would be roughly 2x4”, but will try to see if I can find something more trustworthy than measurements in a picture.

Edited by Torbjorn

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The way I do this kind of weathering is to initially spray the aircraft aluminium (I use an easily available car acrylic spray).  I use Tamiya Yellow/Green acrylic for the Zinc Oxide sprayed over the Aluminium, they do my Xtracrylics over that.  Once the Xtracrylics is dried, I do my chipping by chipping away the top paint layer with a cocktail stick, through to the Zinc chromate or the aluminium as I want and the abrasion of the camouflage paint through to the chromate or aluminium using fine wet and dry.

 

For staining use you usual washes etc...

 

For your armoured carrier hangers and carrier deck (not all of the deck was armoured) have you tried here?

 

http://www.armouredcarriers.com/

 

 

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On 04/01/2019 at 00:02, Torbjorn said:

I’m happy with the engine and want to document it for another time. 

What is spinning the propeller is a venerable R-2800 Double Wasp, and I wanted to do it justice.

Lovely work on the engine, Torbjorn and thanks for sharing this. I want to do a good job on the smaller Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp fitted to the Wildcat I'm starting so I'm delighted to be 'borrowing' your techniques as far as I am able. All the best. Mike

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18 hours ago, Ventora3300 said:

Lovely work on the engine, Torbjorn and thanks for sharing this. I want to do a good job on the smaller Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp fitted to the Wildcat I'm starting so I'm delighted to be 'borrowing' your techniques as far as I am able. All the best. Mike

No worries, I’ve ’borrowed’ it from elsewhere anyhow. :)

 

 

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23 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

The way I do this kind of weathering is to initially spray the aircraft aluminium (I use an easily available car acrylic spray).  I use Tamiya Yellow/Green acrylic for the Zinc Oxide sprayed over the Aluminium, they do my Xtracrylics over that.  Once the Xtracrylics is dried, I do my chipping by chipping away the top paint layer with a cocktail stick, through to the Zinc chromate or the aluminium as I want and the abrasion of the camouflage paint through to the chromate or aluminium using fine wet and dry.

 

For staining use you usual washes etc...

 

For your armoured carrier hangers and carrier deck (not all of the deck was armoured) have you tried here?

 

http://www.armouredcarriers.com/

 

 

Thanks: the aluminium is a bit late, but I did add the primer since it clearly shines through on the pictures. I protected it with a satin lacquer layer, hopefully I can manage to sand only the colour. I assume you use quite fine grade paper? Applied wet or dry? I need to do some experimentation.

 

 

I checked that site (lovely site, highly recommended for those who didn’t) and found pictures that gave me rivet patterns and approximate dimensions pf the plates, but I haven’t found conclusive or written data.

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24 minutes ago, Torbjorn said:

Thanks: the aluminium is a bit late, but I did add the primer since it clearly shines through on the pictures. I protected it with a satin lacquer layer, hopefully I can manage to sand only the colour. I assume you use quite fine grade paper? Applied wet or dry? I need to do some experimentation.

I used a cocktail stick around the panel lines over the Xtracrylics and a worn piece of very fine wet and dry (I think wet) over high traffic areas around the wing roots, cockpit edge and panels around the nose..  

 

Needless to say go slowly a bit at a time and stop well before you think you have done enough.  Walk away and come back later...

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That is a good tip - it’s a bit apprehensive to apply sandpaper to a nice finish. Should be fun though :)

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Finished the main painting. There was no reason to fear problems with  Vallejo and Xtracrylics not cooperating. In fact I mixed the dark slate grey with Vallejo yellow without problem.

 

Underside mixes of 71.009 Duck egg green and 119, off white. Several thin layers with different ratios for variation.

 

Top side xtracrylics dark slate grey for the “green”. The grey was airbrushed with mixes of 71.048 and 71.110 Dark sea grey resp Extra dark sea grey. 

 

Afterwards I did a bit of handbrushing (big soft brushes) with thinned mixes of the above for more variations. Next, gloss for protection before I start trying to achieve the faded and scratched appearance of the original.

 

DYVrBaJ.jpg

 

 

 

9iL6Xq5.jpg

 

Except the wheels and prop the sticking-out bits have been attached. I replaced the gear doors with home-made substitutes since I found the originals distractingly thick.

Edited by Torbjorn

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Change of plans, decided to paint te upper wing roundels. Decals that big I never get to look natural. 

 

Made masks using a compass: this is when I discovered the provided decals have 45” roundels. I believe they should be 55” - these masks are 55” in scale, they look pretty accurate in size compared to photos:

 

V3P3fKPl.jpg

 

 

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Your Hellcat is coming along really well. My next one will be FAA example. I like your idea to paint the roundels I have attempted that but could not get clean circles with my compass cutter. Can I ask what kind you have?

 

Cheers Allan 

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1 hour ago, almac said:

Your Hellcat is coming along really well. My next one will be FAA example. I like your idea to paint the roundels I have attempted that but could not get clean circles with my compass cutter. Can I ask what kind you have?

 

Cheers Allan 

 

I picked it up it an art store once. Not good enough to have a name on it, but it was in the 25 pound range and the knife is sharp. I used the small one. First, firmly put the tape on a hard cutting surface (my old desktop in my case). Try making a few very light initial passes, leaning it forward, dragging the point so it doesn’t rip.

 

jlBMueUm.jpg

 

 

 

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Thanks for the tips I’ll give it a try. 

 

Cheers Allan 

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Now I’m finally waiting for that glosscoat to dry. Some touchups will be needed with the roundels, but one thing I’ve learnt is to wait with that until all else is finished.

 

MKmIWac.jpg

 

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Followed up the glosscoat with stickers (not many, no stencils at all) and started the fade and wear process. I free-handed the exhaust stains with the airbrush. With lack of other things to show: here’s my test rabbits for freehanding exhaust stains:

 

u6fpL7W.jpg

 I was satisfied with that, so proceeded without delay to the main subject:

 

79EITi3.jpg

 

S1iSPzr.jpg

 

The first step of fading and smearing was made by random dots of white and yellow artist’s colour which were spread with an assortment of brushes loaded with a bit of thinner.

 

There is a lot of silvering on the big “430” on the nose, aswell as on the serial. Trying with microsol currently, and will continue for while. In the worst case I’ll have to resort to masking and airbrush for the 430. It looks ok on the photo, but it is unfortunately from a flattering angle.

 

edit:spelling, grammar, I’m onviously ready for bed...

Edited by Torbjorn

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Getting there, but no time to make a base unfortunately.

 

Been using the model as a canvas for oil painting to achieve something like the images linked in the opening post. 

 

DNGDTErl.jpg

 

 

l6M378Hl.jpg

The wingroot is maybe a bit dark, but so is the original and maybe a protective coat will dampen it a bit.

 

 

I am in the process of adding the antenna. Without more info, I will add the aerial and the whip antenna as suggested by the instruction booklet.

 

 

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I really do like what you’ve done to achieve a weathered look. It’s something that I am scared to try in case I ruin all the work I’ve put into a model. Anyways your Hellcat is looking very nice. Do you think you will get it finished in time?

 

Cheers Allan

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Thank you - I used to dislike it, but in this case the original was to battered and faded I couldn’t possibly ruin or overdo it :D And it does make painting easier: you don’t have to worry about scratches or uneven paintjobs. 

 

I’m adding finishing touches now. I painted the pitot tube in American style - red bracket and bare metal tube, not sure if correct but looks neat.

Edited by Torbjorn

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