1/48 F6F-5N Hellcat
This is the Eduard Weekend Edition kit built with a few add ones. The model represents the Hellcat flown by VMF(N)-533’s Captain Robert Baird on Okinawa in the summer of 1945. Baird became the Marines’ first night fighter ace with this plane. Assembly is smooth and proceeds fast with these kits. The cockpit is nicely detailed and looks great with some careful dry brushing and the use of the kit provided decals. I used Eduard belts not included in the kit. The cowling is assembled from three parts , two sides and a front piece. Many have been frustrated by fit/step issues with this assembly. I glue it in stages starting with one side piece at the top of the cowl ring. Some slight bending will get you good fits on the sides. Repeat the process on the other half and you should have good smooth joins on top and both sides. You will however have a tiny gap on the bottom of the cowl. Temporarily fit the cowl to the completed fuselage and carefully fill the gap with CA. Hit it with accelerator, remove the cowl and sand the CA down. This whole problem is caused by the cowling sides being about .25mm too short. It’s an easy fix and shouldn’t discourage anyone from building this kit as it really is superior to the Hasegawa Hellcat in every other way except propeller shape. The Eduard blades are a bit wide but I can live with them. The other area of this kit that needs help is the wheels. Eduard’s plastic wheels in the Weekend kit are too narrow and have no tread detail. I used a set of Aires wheels on this one. This kit came with a nice resin radome that fit very well to the starboard wing. It also features a set of resin guns that include the 20mm cannons on this plane. I used the kit plastic .50 cals for the center and outer guns. I removed the 20mm barrels from the resin castings and installed them late in the game for a better fit and less chance of breaking them. One final addition was straps for the belly tank made from scrap PE. The kit includes no straps.
I painted the model with a 40 year old tin of a Humbrol Authentics GSB. This was such great paint, I’m glad I still have a number of these! The decals came from the kit and are outstanding. They might be the best decals I’ve ever used. Nothing silvered in the slightest and I used no setting solution anywhere except on the black codes over the lap joints. This was just because the large area of clear decal film made me nervous. I probably didn’t need it. Final finish was a 4:1 mix of Testors Glosscote and Dullcote thinned 3:2 clearcote to lacquer thinner.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.