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F6F-3/5K Hellcats.


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OK, I'm in uncharted territory for me, so bear with me. Many years ago, when I used to build wingy things, one topic that interested me were the drones and drone controllers of the USN, mainly the Hellcats. I haven't built an aircraft for about 20 years, but I felt as though I needed a change. My problem now is that I sold all of my kits, bits and decals and all of the many books which I had on the subject, so now I will be starting from scratch again (oh swmbo is gonna love this!!)

I prefer 1/48th scale, but a quick look through Hannants site threw up zilch (no surprise really as their search engine isn't up to much). So my question is, can anyone recommend any kits, decals, conversions, books etc. I will be at Telford at the weekend coming so hopefully I will be able to pick something up there.

Thanks for any help.

 

John.

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It depends which Hellcat drone you want to do: the early A-bomb test aircraft were quite different to the machines used at China Lake etc for Sparrow (and later) AAM tests. I have some info on both and recall that there is a decal sheet available for the Bikini test machines.

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16 minutes ago, Sabrejet said:

It depends which Hellcat drone you want to do: the early A-bomb test aircraft were quite different to the machines used at China Lake etc for Sparrow (and later) AAM tests. I have some info on both and recall that there is a decal sheet available for the Bikini test machines.

Basically, any machine that was very colourful.

 

John.

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You've probably seen these: F6F-3Ks used during Operation Crossroads, 1946. Pairs of drones wore overall red schemes with colour-coded tails. Each drone pair was assigned to an F6F-5 drone controller which had the corresponding colour painted around the engine cowling. Note that '14/pink' has the name 'Janie' on the cowling.

 

F6F-3K (3a)

 

F6F-3K (4)

 

F6F-3K (8)

 

And a few F6F-5Ks, mainly operated by VU-3/VU-3K: note the thickened wingtips, which (IIRC) housed cameras and miss-distance indicators.

 

F6F-5K (2)

 

F6F-5K

 

F6F-5Ka

 

For info, the F6F drone controllers used by VU-3 (etc) were even more colourful, wearing the engine grey/red/yellow scheme.

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4 minutes ago, Orso said:

A search at Hannants for Hellcat, 1/48 scale, decals gave this: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/LFMC4889?result-token=24fEv

In 1/72 one have more choices, there are three sheets two of them with multiple options.

Those are the only 1/48 decals I'm aware of. 1/72 does indeed seem to be a better choice. Platz produced two 1/144 boxings; Eduard reboxed the plastic with 1 drone scheme.

 

And of course, any discussion of Hellcat drones needs to mention the Battle of Palmdale.

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Alley Cat Decals makes a 1:48 set but mistakenly call them F6F-5Ks. There is one F6F-5K on the sheet which is the one I modelled using an old Monogram kit, the one with the folding wings and no interior. Two things to note. The antennae coming off the cross beam on the tail both enter the left fuselage at the same location. Look at the second photo down in sabrejet's second post, the tail wheels have extensions. I added 2mm of round stock for mine. Decals https://www.alleycatmodels.co.uk/post-war-test-f6f-5k-hellcats-4247-p.asp

 

blackadder57-161209-584b154c0125e.jpg?17

Edited by fubar57
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If you are going to do one of the -3s in Post #2 and not "Jane" try and acquire just numbers from spares or a friend. Alley Cat provide the decals for mine, one set of Stars and Bars and then a bunch of numbers. The numbers for the tail are about 9mm and for the cowl about 5.5mm. No other special markings

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3 hours ago, Duncan B said:

Does anyone know the reason for the taller tail wheel leg? Just wondering what particular issue that was addressing.

 

Duncan B

 

Best I can do is to suggest that this mod was to give clearance to novel/non-standard stores installed beneath the centre fuselage. It's stated as part of the F6F-3K/5K conversion requirement but I can't find a definitive reason.

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Hello mate

 

The antenna and tail wheel mods have already been covered but the attached might be of interest detailing some of the black box mods incorporated into the drones. Another Britmodeller member very kindly forwarded this last time I made a similar enquiry.

 

72DF48A3-C72C-467F-9DB4-BF9BA4D45BDB

 

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5 hours ago, Duncan B said:

Does anyone know the reason for the taller tail wheel leg? Just wondering what particular issue that was addressing.

 

Duncan B

Probably one of the two reasons cited for the longer tail wheel strut on the F4U Corsair, improved directional control on landings (the other was forward visibility on takeoffs and landing rollout). Why was the strut not lengthened on the piloted F6Fs if directional control after touchdown on landing was a problem? Probably because a pilot would be quicker to react to a swing developing (tail-dragger driver imperative: never let the back end get a good look ahead) than the remote control operator standing off to the side.

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2 hours ago, Tailspin Turtle said:

Probably one of the two reasons cited for the longer tail wheel strut on the F4U Corsair, improved directional control on landings (the other was forward visibility on takeoffs and landing rollout). Why was the strut not lengthened on the piloted F6Fs if directional control after touchdown on landing was a problem? Probably because a pilot would be quicker to react to a swing developing (tail-dragger driver imperative: never let the back end get a good look ahead) than the remote control operator standing off to the side.

Ah but some drone control F6Fs had the lengthened tail wheel leg. Thus I think it's more related to external stores than anything else.

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