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HobbyBoss 1/48 Grumman F6F-5 "Hellcat"


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Hello everyone!

 

I am a newbie, but I've finally¬†found the "courage" to post my work for you to see¬†ūüėĄ¬†I would like to share with you my building process of the HobbyBoss 1/48 F6F-5 Hellcat.

A small introduction: I have been told on this forum that this kit has some rather serious scale issues. At first, I decided to put it aside, and got the Eduard 1/48 F6F-3 Profipack kit. However, when I started building the Eduard's kit, I realized that such a plane would require some good weathering techniques, e.g. the smoke stains on the fuselage and wings. This will be my first propeller aircraft kit since I got my airbrush, so I have no experience in using it for weathering. Also, I have only built 1/72 jet planes with no or very little weathering. To remedy this, I've decided to build the Hobby Boss kit and use it as a test bench to try such techniques before using them on the Eduard's kit.

 

Having said that: I've decided to build the aircraft in the closed wings position. When looking at the instructions, I noticed that many internal parts, particularly behind the firewall, are modeled but are completely unaccessible after closing the fuselage. Therefore, I've decided to modify the kit and build it in a "maintenance" state, with some panels removed. This is also a first for me¬†ūüėĄ

 

Following the instructions, I've started by building the cockpit: I've decided to try some paint chipping. I've used the hairspray technique, decanting the hairspray and applying it with the airbrush. I've found it to be very easy to use, and I'm satisfied with the result on the seat. Probably the chipping is excessive (I have not found reference of such worn planes) but it was a test :D I some points I applied to much force and got down to the bare plastic. Luckily it's not too visible.

I had an accident while applying the instrument's panel decal: I started using Revell Decal Soft to conform the decal to the slightly recessed instrument holes, but it was not strong enough. So I used Tamiya's Mark Fit Strong, which in turn melted the decal¬†ūüôĄ¬†I have stripped everything away and hand painted the instruments, using some PVA glue for the "glass" effect. I have painted the instruments using "F6F Hellcat in detail and scale", as well as pictures from the Web, as reference. As a small modification, I have added the metal tube above the seat, and I have fabricated the seatbelts using 0.5mm aluminum wire and masking tape, painted in khaki.¬†

 

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Having decided to "open up" the fuselage a bit, the engine required some additional work. I have added ignition wires for all (36¬†ūü•ī) spark plugs using the same 0.5mm wire as before. I've also used some 2mm wire to build the intake and exhaust manifolds. I've used the instructions for the 1/24 Airfix F6F as a reference to understand how the manifolds are arranged, but I have not been able to replicate them perfectly as they would not fit in the available space. I have used some Tamiya accent line black to higlight some details, but I still have to remove the excess, as well as giving a flat clear coating (those exhausts are way too shiny). I still have to paint the "bell" in the front of the engine and do some minor touch-ups.

 

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This is where I am now. I would be very grateful if you had any comment or suggestions, I know I still have to improve a lot!

Thank you!

 

Kind regards,

Davide

 

  

Edited by Pax_1601
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Nice start on this!:popcorn:

 

BTW, you're doing an excellent job wrangling Al and copper wire. You might also look at lead wire or perhaps solder (which does come in lead-free versions). It's available in various sizes (0.2mm and larger), very malleable, and takes paint well.

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Some additional work for today.

I have opened the hole for the front left fuselage panel, which, as I understand, gives access to the engine rear pack (generator and such). Also, some putty to fix some scratches. 

I have cut the front cowlings to remove the panels, and I have started to rebuild the underlying frame. Since the plastic thickness is clearly not to scale here, I could not just glue the frame from the inside. To partialy solve that, I have formed the plastic frame and attached it to the "side" of the cut plastic. To form the frame, I have 3d printed a small jig, which kept the frame in shape. I have submerged everything in hot water and then put it into cold one. The frame retained the shape perfectly with no spring back.

Next, I will give a good coat of flat clear on the engine. Those shiny exhaust are just wrong¬†ūü•ī

 

Here you can see a dry fit. Something is touching somewhere, so I will probably have to do some filing!

 

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As a side note, I have not been able to find much reference on the content of the space between the firewall and the cockpit. I understand that the generator and what appears to be the water injection tank is located there. Could anyone help me find some more info the rebuild the contents of that space? ūüėÉ

 

Kind regards,

Davide

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Since I was not very happy with the way the exhaust manifolds looked like, I've decided to partially cover them with the engine cowlings. I've seen many pictures of aircraft under maintenance which had the engine panels removed but the cowlings were still on. The cowlings are made from .2mm metal sheet and glued in a partially open position using CA and epoxy glue. In the pictures you can also see the framing being built. I have bent it with the method described above. Naturally, the right side must still be completed. 

I am assemblying everything "in place", with the fuselage "dry fitted", to be sure everything fits.

 

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Cheers!

Davide

Edited by Pax_1601
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone!

 

I hope you had good holidays, even in the middle of...everything going on in the world right now :) We are in lockdown here in Italy, so Xmas away from my family. Worked on the model to fill the free time! :D 

 

I have completed the construction of the modified engine cowling by building the right and top sides. In the pictures you can see it after applying the base flat aluminium color which will be used for the paint chipping method. Bending, building and glueing the frame was not an easy task. I have read that keeping the engine aligned is not simple in the original model too, so you can imagine. Had to file some cylinder valve cover to have everything fit.

You may also notice that I have painted the cylinder valve covers black, to add some color and contrast (I have found many different paint schemes for the R2800). I painted the exhaust pipes with a steel color too, because the red "rust" color I tried to paint before was simply...bad. I find the final look of the engine to be somehow "acceptable", giving the fact that most of the details were hand built, but I do not like it that much, particularly if compared to some engines I have seen built here.

 

The internal of the fuselage was painted zinc chromate yellow (or at least, my version of it :D) as it was done on late Hellcats, to provide more contrast with the fuselage paint scheme and to have some more color variety. I have added a couple of details in the engine access compartment but those are not really visible.

I have glued the two sides of the fuselage. The fit is good but some "cut" line choices are very odd. I will show you in future posts. All glue lines have been filled with Tamiya putty. Finally, I have painted the landing gear, because it must be installed at this point of the construction. The engine must be installed now too. Normally, it would be covered by the cowling, but now I have to find a good way to mask it for the rest of the build without ripping the spark plug cables.

 

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I hope you like the build, and as usual comments are more than welcome! :)

 

Have some good holidays!

 

Cheers,

Davide

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Hello everyone! I wish you all a happy new year!

 

A big update this time. Time to pump up the compressor and spray some paint!

 

After sanding down the putty I previously applied on all the joints and some masking, I sprayed the model with Tamiya Fine Surface light gray primer. After some additional putty and sanding, I was finally ready to paint some base color.

I started by painting the entire model with a base of Tamiya flat aluminum XF-16. On top of that, I applied a good isolation layer of Mr. Super Clear Gloss to protect the base paint, followed by hairspray, which I first decanted and then applied using my airbrush.

I then started applying the base color. I opted for a very dark blue, which I obtained by mixing almost equal amounts of Black and Dark Sea Blue (XF-54). This was because I wanted to try postshading the panels, which is a first for me. In fact, I have used the preshading technique before, as almost all my previous models were light colored, but I never tried postshading.

 

Sadly, this is when "disaster" struck. I went a bit too "happy" with the first hand of blue paint, which turned out to be a rather wet coat. This activated the hairspray underneath the paint, which caused a very strong "spider web" effect, showing the alumininum paint in many places. Luckily, however, I was cautious, and painted the wings and the tail only, saving the fuselage for last, which greatly limited the damage.

 

Armed with Laquer Thinner and some patience, I stripped everything from the wings and tail, and started all over again. Primer->sanding->aluminium->clear->hairspray. This time, however, I came prepared to the blue paint step :)

I applied extremely light mist coats first. Only when I achieved a decent coverage I started to be a bit braver and apply more paint. In total, it took 6-8 very fine coats of paint to achieve full coverage.

 

As you can see from the pictures, the final result was very dark, almost black paint. Only under strong light it was possible to clearly see that indeed some blue was there.

 

At this point, I started shading the inside of the panels. I mixed some Dark Sea Blue with some Medium Blue XF-18 to obtain a lighter blue color. It took me 2 hours to paint all the panels, my longest session by far! In the end, my right index finger was quite stiff :D Finally, I have blended everything by giving a very light coat of Dark Sea Blue, which decreased the contrast between the "light" and the "dark" parts.

 

I have to say, this base coat was a difficult journey, but being my first time trying postshading, I am quite happy with the final result, and I can't wait to finish the remaining parts, apply the decals and start some weathering!

 

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Cheers,

Davide

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Hello everyone! 

 

Some more updates. I have had my very first swing at paint chipping. I know that I have probably exceeded in the amount of paint damage, I don't think that the US Navy would have let a plane to be so worn, but I have decided to use this kit as a test bed for new techniques (this was the purpose of the build from the very beginning). Indeed you will notice that the tail is missing. That is because I started chipping from theret, and definitely went overboard. I have discarded it, I will strip it and do it again, so I have hidden it because I am ashamed of the result¬†ūü§ę

Naturally, the front cowling must still be painted, as well as some of the cockpit!

 

What do you think about the effect? I really need some opinions on this because it is my first time and I need some help to understand how to improve. I will greatly appreciate any input!

 

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Thank you!

 

Cheers,

Davide

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Hello everyone,

 

some more updates. After inspecting the chipping and referencing to others work, I was not satisfied with the result. In particular, I noticed that both real plane photos and other model planes showed that chipping would most often reveal the underneath yellow primer rather than the bare metal. So using a small brush, I tried to add some primer to the chips. The effect I wanted to give was that in some places only the top blue coat had chipped away, while in some other places it went down to the bare metal. I insisted on the leading edge at the wings root because I've seen that is where mechanics would stand while working on the engine and I assume that would be the most worn down spot.

 

Now, I know I have overdone it and that it is not very realistic in terms of "how much", but what do you think about the technique? I would like to have someone else's opinion on this :) I also think that now the chipping "pops" a bit too much, which excessive contrast. I hope that after washes and smoke/oil stains, the effect will be a bit "toned down". Do you think that will be the case?

 

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I have decided I am not satisfied with the result, particularly at the wing root, so I have started to strip the paint in some regions. Later today I will strip it more with some thinner and repaint it, and try it again, this time I will try to be less "happy" when chipping.

 

Do you have any suggestions on how to handle the situation?

 

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Cheers,

Davide

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Hello everyone!

 

A final update about the build. After my dissatisfaction with the paint chipping effect, I have tried to recover the paintjob and start again. I'm not going to lie, I was quite frustrated by the idea that I had ruined the original paint, which I liked quite a lot and was definitely my best up to now. 

While trying to repaint the model and cover those "chipped" areas, I had quite a lot of trouble. Particularly, such a bright yellow paint was very hard to cover by the blue, and many many coats where required. By the end, I found myself with very visibile "blobs" of blue paint which frankly were much worse than the chipping. I had a bad 10 minutes during which I was very tempted to throw everything away and be done with it. Luckily I persisted, and worked to blend the repainted areas using lighter tones and more airbrush work. To my relief, I think I have done "well enough" to consider the rescue operation a success. Naturally I have not recovered the state of the paint job prior to the chipping debacle, but it seems to be acceptable nevertheless.

 

What do you guys think?

 

I have also painted the engine cowling, and I am quite satisfied with the result there. I quite like the effect of the visible engine and the contrast between the dark exterior color and the yellow primer.

 

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Cheers, 

Davide

 

 

 

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I don’t think the chipping was wrong per se but I think there might have been too many areas chipped. Areas where there is footfall can be very heavily chipped as can areas that are exposed to grit or dirt but most of the airframe will only be exposed to wear and rear from airflow and probably will be dirty but not chipped. 
 

i think as with all things modelling study your references, but don’t be afraid to try things too. 

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Davide,

 

This is all looking very good! :thumbsup:

 

I wish I could offer useful advice on weathering, but my forays into that have been wholly unsatisfying.

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13 hours ago, Marklo said:

I don’t think the chipping was wrong per se but I think there might have been too many areas chipped. Areas where there is footfall can be very heavily chipped as can areas that are exposed to grit or dirt but most of the airframe will only be exposed to wear and rear from airflow and probably will be dirty but not chipped. 
 

i think as with all things modelling study your references, but don’t be afraid to try things too. 

Thank you very much for your feedback! I agree with you 100%, I tried to go for a "used" look but I have overdone it in an unrealistic way. I have not found many references for chipped F6F, probably it was just something that was not allowed to happen!

 

12 hours ago, dnl42 said:

Davide,

 

This is all looking very good! :thumbsup:

 

I wish I could offer useful advice on weathering, but my forays into that have been wholly unsatisfying.

Thank you very much! This is my first real try at weathering, but I find it so hard to "ruin" a nice and shiny bird as if I had to scratch a real one :D :D

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Personally I tend to leave my aircraft factory finished with maybe a small amount of exhaust staining in types where it was prominent. But for some reason I weather my armour.

 

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