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Toryu

Into hell - The 'cats of VBF-12 go to war

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February 16, 1945 marked the combat initiation of yet another Hellcat formation in the air war over Japan. USS Randolph had joined Task Force 58 with VF-12 and VBF-12 on board. Sixteen F6F-5s, led by VBF-12 CO Lt Cdr Pawka, attacked Chōshi Airfield. When they entered hostile airspace the approaching Hellcats were awaited... (read the opposition's account here).

 

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I first built this 1963 Monogram kit in the nineties more or less OOB with a few scratch upgrades. It is one of those toy-like Monogram creations that had a number of workable parts but lacked accuracy and detail. In 2015 it returned to the bench for a complete overhaul. The general dimensions are OK and the raised rivet detail looks more realistic than on later products - so why not try it?

 

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The most substantial modification is a Quickboost replacement cowling of which I used only the nose ring and the lower half to trim the width to the fuselage. Inside works a Verlinden P&W R-2800-10W that I had in storage. The propeller is a surplus Corsair unit the origin of which I forgot, and the gun barrels are from Quickboost again.

 

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Another area of major improvement is the undercarriage assembly. A wheel bay consisting of Aires resin and Eduard PE parts was inserted into the big Monogram emptiness after the outer wings had been removed. The undercarriage legs and tailwheel are white metal parts from Scale Aircraft Conversions, completed with wheels from CMK. The bomb racks are scratch-built.

 

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After reassembly of the wing I re-scribed the folding joint, the landing flaps and the gun access doors because Monogram's panel lines were 'a bit' off. The decals except stars-and-bars are home-made.

 

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The external tank was provided once more by Quickboost, and the 5 in. HVARs were taken from the Accurate Miniatures 9900 Armament Set.

 

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The cockpit, finally, is embellished with parts from an early Reheat PE set, which was one of the first I ever used when I built the original model in 1994, and is topped with a new Squadron vacuform canopy. The gunsight - you guessed it! - comes from Quickboost.

 

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Well, I suspect I used aftermarket parts of nearly all suppliers in the modelling universe to bring this model up to date. I hope my venture was not in vain.

 

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To finish the story, VBF-12 returned to their carrier also recording a success when LT Lou Menard destroyed a Ki-61 'Tony' which crashed in the water after he had fired a rocket at it.

 

Thanks for your interest, Michael

 

REFERENCES

GRUMMAN F6F HELLCAT, FAMOUS AIRCRAFT OF THE WORLD NO.22, TOKYO, 1972

F6F HELLCAT, AIRCRAFT IN ACTION NO.36, JIM SULLIVAN, CARROLLTON, 1979

HELLCAT, DAVID A. ANDERTON, JANE'S, LONDON, 1981

U.S.NAVY CARRIER FIGHTERS OF WORLD WAR II, AERODATA INTERNATIONAL, CARROLLTON, 1987

F6F HELLCAT WALK AROUND, RICHARD DANN, CARROLLTON, 1996

HELLCAT ACES OF WORLD WAR 2, OSPREY AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 10, BARRETT TILLMAN, LONDON, 1996

F6F HELLCAT AT WAR, CORY GRAFT, MINNEAPOLIS, 2009

GRUMMAN F6F HELLCAT, NAVAL FIGHTERS NO.92, CORWIN MEYER / STEVE GINTER, SIMI VALLEY, 2012

GRUMMAN F6F HELLCAT, WARPAINT SERIES NO.84, CHARLES STAFRACE, DENBIGH EAST

 

More naval fighters? Visit my Corsair here

 

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Strikingly good! All the work really paid off in the end.

 

Would be nice to see whst it looked like before you refurbished it.

 

DennisTheBear

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Superb 

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This is truly an amazing piece of modeling. I truly enjoy bringing these older kits up to snuff and you did an amazing job on this one...and being one of my favorites

from my childhood makes it that much more appealing. Thank you so much for sharing.

 

All the Best!

Don

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Excellent build! It is hard to believe that somewhere in all of that plastic and resin there is a Monogram Hellcat lurking.

Back in the mid seventies I built one as a kid.  It was probably one of the first 5 Monogram fighters that I had built.

 

                                                               

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Thank you guys!

 

On 11/01/2020 at 14:29, DJJunis said:

I truly enjoy bringing these older kits up to snuff and you did an amazing job on this one...and being one of my favorites

from my childhood makes it that much more appealing.

On 11/01/2020 at 15:22, Todders said:

Excellent build! It is hard to believe that somewhere in all of that plastic and resin there is a Monogram Hellcat lurking.

On 10/01/2020 at 20:35, DennisTheBear said:

Would be nice to see what it looked like before you refurbished it.

 

I looked for a picture of my original build. Thought I've got one but didn't find it. That's the problem with restoration - you never take pictures of the before.

The Hellcat, at first glance, would probably not have looked much different. I remember that it had been an eye-catcher in my US Navy collection before but wouldn't have stood up to any of the close-up photos.

 

Cheers, Michael

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I love this Michael!  But then, you knew I would, didn't you😉   That's some great work and it really brings the old girl to life!   Congrats on a fantastic restoration of a true scale modeling classic.   If my Photobucket account ever becomes "operational" again, I might show my Monogram Hellcat too.   It was built back around '89 or '90.  Thanks so much for showing this one; oh, what a silk purse made from a sow's ear!  😁

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I failed to add a picture of the true Hellcat No.65 for comparison. It's now included at the end of the topic.

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Really nice Hellcat, looks superb. Great choice of markings too

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