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Mike

F6F-3 ProfiPACK Edition (8227) 1:48

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F6F-3 ProfiPACK Edition (8227)

1:48 Eduard

 

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The Grumman Hellcat was a US Naval World War II carrier based fighter aircraft designed to replace the earlier Grumman Wildcat. Although the two aircraft do look externally similar, the Hellcat was a completely new design from the ground up. The aircraft featured the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 as used by the Chance Vought Corsair and the Republic Thunderbolt.  It proved to be a well-designed fighter able to stand up to carrier operations and the rough air fields used in the Pacific Theatre of operations. Grumman's initial design was so good that the Hellcat was the least revised aircraft of WWII. In total 12,200 Hellcats were built for the US Navy, The US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. The Hellcat is credited with more kills in WWII than any other allied fighter.

 

Post war the Hellcat was phased out of day fighter service but continued in US service as late as 1954 as a night fighter. One notable exception was in late 1952 when F6F-5K Drones carrying 2000lb bombs were used to attack bridges in Korea. Post war the aircraft were also used by the Aeronavale (French Navy), using them in Indochina; and the Uruguayan Navy who flew them until the 1960s.

 

 

The Kit

This marks a welcome re-release of Eduard's range of Hellcats from earlier this millennium, with a few tweaks and changes to the package, including using their new blue/grey styrene instead of the old chewing gum beige of yesteryear.  The tooling is still the same, and that's already a well-known quantity, with plenty of detail that's augmented by the extras that come with the ProfiPACK boxing.  Inside the orange-themed box you will find five sprues in the aforementioned grey styrene, a clear sprue, two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass - one of which is nickel-plated and painted, a sheet of pre-cut masks (not pictured), two decal sheets, and the glossy instruction manual that has the colour guide printed on the rear pages.

 

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Detail is good, although it's not leading-edge technology that you can now expect from Eduard's brand new releases, but it's a good kit that captures the look of the Hellcat and gives the modeller plenty of options for markings.  Construction begins in the cockpit, with the instrument panel upgraded with a lamination of PE parts that have glossy printed domes over each dial for ultimate realism.  The side consoles have decals to lay over the details, and if you don't fancy the PE instrument panel there are also decals included for that area too.  The controls are added to the floor along with the seat with PE belts, rear bulkhead, control column and rudders, and the fuselage is then closed around it after some interior painting.  The small rear windows have PE parts glued across them (I'd suggest clear gloss as your adhesive), the tail wheel and a belly insert are also added at this time, along with a slot that should be opened up if you're portraying an aircraft that carried a drop-tank.  The elevators with separate flying surfaces are next, and the rudder is added to the tail fin at an angle of your choosing, in case you wanted your model to look a little more candid.  Up front the two banks of pistons are fitted together and have a PE wiring loom added, with a diagram showing how it should be bent around the pistons, and the bell-housing at the front contains the shaft on which the prop will later spin if you're careful with the glue.  This is fixed in place on a stub at the front of the fuselage, then enclosed in a three-part cowling with a PE grille installed in the bottom section during assembly.  The exhaust stubs are glued into their troughs, and peek out from under the cowling once in place.

 

The wings on this kit are relatively unusual in that they fit into recesses in the sides of the fuselage, rather than the usual tab and slot or full-width lower that you often see.  This is due in part to the barrel-like fuselage and the wing placement on the lower sides of the fuselage, rather than at the bottom.  Each wing has two halves and these trap the gear bay and gun inserts within, and accept the flying surfaces at their trailing edge before they are slotted into the aforementioned recesses on the fuselage sides.  Small details such as gear bay parts, landing light and recognition lights are added to the underside, then joined by the main gear, which are sturdy single struts with separate oleo-scissors, retraction jacks, captive bay doors and very crisp resin wheels with a separate outer hub to show off the internal structure of the hub.  The spaces between the spokes are flashed over, so will need to be cut or sanded away before fitting, and while this is a little fiddly, it is well worth the effort when you see the finished article.  The gear is fitted in place with a small forward-folding door, the correct location of which is shown in a pair of scrap diagrams to ensure you get it just right.

 

Depending on your decal option you can fit empty bomb shackles under the wings, and an additional fuel tank on the centreline, with PE sway-braces attached forward of the main lug.  The last aspect is adding a few small lights and antenna on the upper fuselage, then gluing the canopy in the open or closed position, for which two sliding parts are included to achieve the best fit.  The masks are all die-cut to match the frames, so masking should take only a few minutes thanks to this helpful inclusion.

 

 

Markings

There are five decal options in this boxing, all of which are painted in some variation of the Naval Sea Blue/Intermediate Blue/White scheme that is synonymous with the Hellcat, varying little in application in three of the options, and differentiated mostly because of the markings and crew personalisations.  From the box you can portray one of the following options:

 

  • flown by Lt. Oscar Chenoweth, VF-38, Segi Point airstrip, New Georgia Island, September 1943
  • flown by Ens. Gordon Arthur Stanley, VF-27, USS Princeton (CVL-23), October 1944
  • VF-8, USS Intrepid (CV-11), Summer 1943
  • flown by Lt. Lochridge, VF-34, Nissan island, 1944
  • OTU VF-2, NAS Melbourne, United States of America, October 1944

 

 

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The main decal sheet is printed by Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  The stencil sheet is printed by Eduard, and is also up to scratch, with the locations of each stencil noted on a separate set of grey-shaded profiles on the very back page for clarity.

 

 

Conclusion

A welcome re-release of this plucky, robust WWII naval fighter that saw extensive action in the Pacific, and a nice broad choice of decal options that show plenty of individualism despite using the same base scheme.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Excellent kit. It is also very nice to see that this edition of the F6F-3 has resin wheels in.

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