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Scratch built 1/32 f6f-3 hellcat

I acquired some cockpit and wheel well photo’s, so I did my best to duplicate all of these items into this 1/32 scale model. I had to call upon my art talent to draw some logos that the pilot had someone paint on his airplane and/or apply decals.

((I wonder! Were there decals made during WW-II for Navy airplanes?)) Look at my last photo, which shows the “Bull & Cat” logos. The “Jap” kill marks came from one of my many spare decal sheet’s.

It’s been 20 year’s since I built this model and I once knew how many scratch-built parts I made for the cockpit & wheel wells, but now I don’t remember, so it’s up to your viewers to count all the parts and let me know.

The cockpit area was painted with a few Tamiya paint colors. I was informed that

the backing plate for the instrument panel was painted a bronze color so I had to mix some colors together to achieve a bronze looking color. The outside of the model was painted with Tamiya’s white on its’ bottom and I used their Navy Blue color on the top. The center light blue color was a standard light blue color made by Tamiya. The overall model was overcoated with Future, then I added the decals and over sprayed more Future with some dullcoat added. When I took the model to our IPMS/USA San Jose’s annual contest in 2000 I displayed the model on a mirror ’cause our club rule was: “Your model has to be finished as good on the bottom as it is on the top. I was our club’s “Contest Director & Head Judge” so I had to adhere to the rules too!

A week or so later my client sent his friend out from the Eastern part of U.S.A. to San Jose to pick up the “CAT.” A few week’s later I received a photo showing the model sitting in his dust proof show case. Wonderful end to a nice looking model. I never tried to scratch-build in a cockpit not the wheel wells into my 2 1/48 scale F6F-3 models.

Remember to count all the parts and let me hear from you.



31 additional images. Click to enlarge.

13 responses to Scratch built 1/32 f6f-3 hellcat

  1. Rodney, these past few scratch built models have been simply amazing. They make me want to quit building and take up knitting or some other endeavor, hahaha…

  2. Masterful and crowning achievements, for sure. Truly Rodney, thanks for taking the time to retroactively share all your beautiful work. Though I’ll likely never achieve what you had in the way of scratch building, it does inspire many here, I’m sure, myself included.

  3. A lot of this scratch-building was done by clients requesting it so I made a price list (eg: drop the landing flaps for extra $$$, or add special decals for extra $$$, or wire up the engine, etc). 20 years ago we didn’t have the web and I only took the photo’s for the clients as they were the proof to show the client that my next payment was due. We were in the letter writing mode and we agreed on what was written for a stated price.

    Today I show the photos for one reason which is to inspire other modelers like you to add something more to the model than whats in the kit. I spoke on the phone to Mr. Waldron in the mid 1980’s who was making photo reduction instrument dials for airplanes. His reason was simple: It made the cockpit more realistic so I started to do the same. BTW: I have a few dozen models that are strictly built right out of the box and here is 2 of them.


    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  4. Everything said above is true, Rodney. I ‘m definitely light years below your level. However, seeing in step by step detailed all this magnificent work acts as inspiration to me (and I’m for sure not the only one) to improve and refine my job (and my life, but that’s another story…). All this shared mastery work is the motivating force to rise up from my level to a better one.
    Once again, thank you Sir.
    All the best!

  5. You, sir, have been an inspiration to me as a modeler since the early eighties when I first saw your work in Fine Scale Modeler.

    • Hi Jim:
      FineScaleModeler; (FSM) was paying over $200.00 per story in the ’80’s, but sometime’s it took over 6 months for my story to be posted. A couple of times they added items that I did not do and/or they left out important things that I done. Our IPMS/USA editor of the bi-monthly Journal magazine ask me to post storied in our magazine, which I did. One time the editor left out all my 1/32 scale P-40E drawings. I ask why and his letter reply was: “I’m the Editor.” That was fine with me, screw him as I never wrote another story for a very long time.

      I post my stories the way I built certain items and I don’t like editor’s to add/subtract things that never happened. I post all my stories for one purpose only and that is: “TO SHOW OTHER MODELERS HOW I BUILT SOMETHING & ENCOURAGE THEM TO TRY AND DO THE SAME BY JUST LOOKING AT MY PHOTOS.”

      From 1987 to 2004 I opened up a work shop in San Jose, CA/USA and had a weekly Friday night get together. There were about ten modeler’s coming ever week. We built models together, they learned from me and I LEARNED FROM THEM. This is the only reason why I post stories on the web, club newsletters, as it is not to show off my models. Yes! I proud of what I accomplished over the years and I hope that my stories and photos have helped at least one modeler. RJW…….

  6. Yep, I think cooking might be better for my sanity than modelling… each time I see some master scratch builder work, like your amazing Hellcat, I think about that

  7. Having been around the real thing, you certainly nailed it. I take it all that work went inside the Hasegawa kit (Still the onlyu outline/shape-accurate 1/32 Hellcat out there)?

  8. Count the parts you said. I gave up after s**t loads. Another masterpiece.

  9. What can I say to all of the above comments. I also learned to cook food when I joined the American “Boy Scouts” in 1937 @6yrs old, so that knowledge helped my marriage of 57,9 years.

    I have a couple more “S-B” model part’s to show off, then it’s back to “OOB” stuff.
    As said before, I’m showing these models with hopes to inspire you guy’s/gal’s to do something, even if it’s only adding the valve stem and cap to the tires.

  10. Here is the valve stem and cap………..

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  11. Great build, but you missed one important element of this particular bird/pilot. Vraciu shrouded his dash cowl with black tagboard or construction paper. Very obvious in photos of him by the cockpit. I assume it was for sun glare off the instrument panel. 😉

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