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Tom Cleaver
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Some other Eduard Hellcats

August 6, 2013 · in Aviation · · 13 · 1.9K

All OOB:

The F6F-3 is from the first Profipack release, in the markings of Lt. Jim Shirley of VF-27, the "Hell Cats" and the most successful CVL VF squadron of the war, with 200 victories between the Marianas Turkey Shoot and the first day of the Battles of Leyte Gulf, when they lost their home (the Princeton) and got shanghaied into VF-15 aboard Essex (where the first thing that happened was they lost their faces, since Admiral Frederick Sherman didn't approve).

The F6F-5N was flown by Bruce Porter (a very nice guy to have for a friend) on Okinawa, where he became the only USMC nightfighter ace.

The I is from the "Fleet Air Arm Hellcats" double Profipack kit. 800 Squadron aboard HMS Emperor at the invasion of Southern France. A Hellcat with D-Day stripes, what's not to like?

The Profipack kits give you everything you need to turn out a really good-looking model - all the necessary photoetch to do a detailed cockpit, a resin engine and wheels. The kit itself is easily the best Hellcat kit available in any scale.

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

19 additional images. Click to enlarge.

13 responses

  1. Very nice. Pretty much says it all.

  2. Great collection. I like the English version: something different in appearence from the USN colors, visually striking.

  3. Tom, Nicely done! Love the Hellcat which was really the work horse of the USN-Seems that Admiral Frederick Sherman didn't have a sense of humor!

  4. Tom,
    Absolutely outstanding. Agree on two counts; I met Bruce Porter and he was indeed a true gentleman, and Sherman definitely did not show any class.

    • Actually, I have put some study into Admiral Sherman, for the book I am doing on Air Group 15. He was very by-the-book, and if you look at the rest of the Navy, you'll notice that VF-27 was one of a kind, nobody else had individual artwork like that. The CO of Princeton was willing to turn a blind eye to the Hell Cats since they were running a score like they were (top CVL VF at the Marianas Turkey Shoot with 30 victories their first time out, etc.), but the Admiral wasn't. He was the one who ordered McCampbell to stop "notching victories" when his job was to be CAG and nearly relieved him as CAG on October 24. If McCampbell hadn't scored 9 and Captain Weiber of Essex hadn't recommended him for the MoH, Sherman would have relieved him for disobedience of a direct order not to fly that kind of mission. So I don't think it was so much F.C. Sherman lacked "class" as he was a by-the-book martinet, something you can get away with if you have two stars on your collar. Especially when enforcing a Navy-wide policy about markings and taking a popular position against a guy a lot of other "regulation" Naval Aviators thought was "show boating" with a bad case of "Zeke fever." (not to mention Dave was outscoring them)

      • This explains why so many Navy Aces have such boring a/c from a modeler point of view. Air Superiority Blue or the three shades of dark blue, light blue and white or gray. Lots of generic aircraft and yet so many of these guy's made ace and had nothing to show for it. No fancy paint jobs or scores painted on their a/c. Nothing like Don Gentile, Gabby Gabreski
        or Dick Bongs a/c ...No photos of Marge,or scores for some of these naval guys. The generic navy.

        • It also had to do with the fact that there was little way to fly "your own" airplane on a carrier, since the flight deck crews didn't spot them that way - you flew the airplane on deck that was spotted to be the airplane for your position in the formation. The only guys who had their own airplanes were the CAG and the squadron COs and the Squadron CO's didn't always fly their own airplane. VF-6 and VF-9 did assign particular airplanes and guys did have their own scores but even Alex Vraciu told me he flew "Gadget" on maybe 10 missions total.

          BTW - Gentile only flew Shangri-La on five missions. It was in the shop for two weeks after the first Berlin mission.

  5. Another set of your usual stellar builds, Tom - your work is consistently of the highest quality.

  6. good Lord man what do you do with them should start a museum...prolific dosen't even describe it...well done

  7. Terrific, prolific, I can't think of any more words just now that end in 'ic'!

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