F6F-5 Hellcat / Eduard 1/48 scale
For years I’ve seen the pictures of the burning Hellcat on the deck, with the pilot ducked down trying to escape the flames. The picture of this incident prominently displayed in almost every World War 2 book covering the war in the Pacific. The most popular picture is the one of #58, with the sides wrinkling due to the heat of the fire.
While researching this project I came across a video showing the entire incident. It occurred onboard the USS Randolph in April or May 1945. As Hellcat # 59, carrying an older style white belly tank, landed, the belly tank ruptured, (It appears that the fuel tank went through the prop). The spreading flames engulfed #59, but also spread to #58 waiting to take off.
Both pilots escaped and are seen leaving the scene with some assistance from the firefighters, but are walking on their own.
The assigned pilot of # 59 was Lt. Daniel Carmichael. However he may not have been the pilot on the day of the incident.
I was trying to come up with an interesting marking for an all blue Hellcat, as an over-all / dipped in blue paint scheme is difficult to look like anything but just blue.
I always wanted to build one of the Hellcats from this incident but because of the large & unusual font of the large numbers, the project escaped me. But finally, thanks to the wonderful people at fundekals.com # 59 had emerged.
The model build did have its problems, (some self inflicted) but after resisting numerous thoughts of tossing the entire project against the wall. I completed the long desired result.
The national insignias were painted on by using mask, produce by Miracle Mask (they work great).
Photographing this color is extremely difficult, for some reason it keeps insisting on being darker than it really is.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.