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neil foster
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Hellcat F6F-5 1/48 Hobbyboss

A few years ago I was at a local club day admiring the work done by my fellow modelers and mooching through the boxes under the tables of models for sale (always the best bit of the day for me) when I came across the Hobbyboss , I picked it up taking in the lovely high quality art work on the box "can I look inside ? " I enquired "yeah , yeah course you can mate, help yourself " was the reply , a bit eager I thought to myself , what was inside was a beautifully packaged kit of parts that looked crisply moulded and well presented with the clear parts wrapped and bagged separately and the same for some of the more delicate parts a nice looking decal sheet complete with stencils and a lovely ,full colour glossy painting guide and better yet a wings folded option. I had a crafty look at the price on the sticker , a tenner ,wow ! I thought, this guys an i***t I thought hee hee I casually waved my tenner under his nose which he almost snatched and pocketed in one quick movement like a catching a fly with its sticky tongue, SOLD ! he shouted and did a little victory dance ( he didn't , I made that last bit up lol), so my prize went home with me and sat on the "to do" pile until this year when I completed the dual combo Hellcats which you may have already seen and I decided to finish of the set with this little beauty - wings folded obviously, a first for me. I decided to do a bit of reading up on the kit first in case there were any problems to be encountered with the wing folds etc... Ah ! now I see , the cheap price , the eagerness of the vendor it all became clear , this kit is a turkey, a lemon , there are a ton of things wrong here, firstly the dimensions of the fuselage around the cockpit area look to be about 20% oversize , Homer Simpson would probably find it roomy in there ! , next there is a ton of un needed detail inside which makes it difficult to close the two fuselage halves and which I eventually dispensed with , the external fuel tank is the wrong shape but luckily I had one left over from the Eduard kits ,there are no guns provided by Hobbyboss even though the Hellcats weaponry is clearly visible , the exhaust stubs didn't fit and had to be snipped of. I was able to source guns and exhaust stubs from Hannants along with camera ports to build the FAA option I wanted.

At this point I could do with some advice , I'm fairly sure the American missiles provided with the kit wouldn't have been used by the British FAA however I do have a set of British missiles from a ,does anyone know if I could use them accurately on this kit ?

I used the decal sheet "Yanks with roundels - part 1" to build a Hellcat II flown from HMS Ameer around Dec 1944.

In conclusion there are a lot of things wrong with this kit the worst being the oversize dimensions which cannot be fixed but can be hidden by going with the wings folded option ,the other problems can be fixed ,on the plus side if you do want a wings folded Hellcat in which I did then as far as I know this is the only game in town and if you're not too hung up on detail it does eventually build up into a decent kit.

Cheers Neil.

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.


26 responses

  1. There’s always a reason for something going cheap, Neil, but you’ve managed to overcome those difficulties with this wing-fold beauty, great work.

  2. Nicely done Neil, triumph over adversity I say. And she looks like a Hellcat as well.

  3. You did a fine job on this one, Neil! Wing fold looks great!

  4. Having fun is what its all about. The Hobby Boss Hell Cat reminds me of the movie " Thelma and Louise" after the car has been driven off the cliff. No need to point out the fatal flaws. Everything is D.O.A.. But, there are some good points like the folding wings and the tail section along with the landing gear leaving, no doubt that this is a Hellcat. I might add that the thrill of the hunt, the deal and the steal is a part of the hobby and the fun.

    Great article Neil and the kit looks like a fun build.

  5. It's all about having fun with the build and doing the best you can with what you've got. I'd say you scored pretty highly on both counts!

  6. Nice work on a less then stellar kit, Neil! I actually bought one of those for the decal sheet some years back. The old Squadron mail order store here in the US was unloading them for $6 apiece.

  7. Excellent job, my friend Neil, over a seemingly less than perfect kit. The final result is, simply, superb!

  8. Kind words Spiros, thanks

  9. I don't worry too much about slight differences in size and shape, as long as the overall result looks like it is supposed to. Your Hellcat looks like a Hellcat, so it gets a big thumbs up from me, Neil (@neil-foster).

  10. British Hellcats didn't carry rockets, as I discovered doing two Hellcat books.

    You've run across the perfect way to fix the "unfixable" problem with the kit. Hide it between the wings! The result looks very nice.

    That modification to a photo Hellcat is very snazzy. Excellent work overall on all of this problematic kit, solving all the problems.

    • Well thanks for that Tom , I had a feeling the advice I needed would come from you. The camera ports were from Hannants.
      It would be nice to engage in conversation but you will need to unmute me for that to happen...
      Cheers

  11. Great result on a difficult kit- I appreciate the write up as I will be building this one soon, the cheap price lured me in as well. After seeing what you did, looks like I'll be going wings folded too!

  12. Hi Dave, the kit itself is pretty straight forward but there are support struts and an oil tank inside the fuselage in front of the cockpit that you don't need and for some reason the arrester hook is designed so you can slide it in and out but again very fiddley (and pretty pointless)to set up when closing the fuselage halves so I just snipped it off and glued the end bit in place.

  13. Nice find and a better build...well done, Neil. Thanks for sharing, love to read the personal stories behind model builds!

  14. Thanks for looking Joe, I decided to add a bit of humour to the back story...

  15. Looks great - I'm not much of a stickler for those slight "differences from reality," but either way, it cam out very nice!

  16. Cheers Greg, it's really not that bad and like I said if you want a wings folded Hellcat it's the only game in town as far as I know.

  17. Nice job on this build, Neil! Looks great with the wings folded.

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