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F6F-5N Hellcat

Eduard, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Eduard Kit No. 8226 - F6F-5N Hellcat
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 125 olive coloured plastic parts; 17 clear parts; 19 parts in cream and grey coloured resin; 1 x nickel plated photo etched frets; 1 x coloured photo etched fret; masking sheet for canopy and wheels; large decal sheet covering five markings options
Price: USD$44.95 plus shipping available online from Eduard's website
and specialist hobby retailers worldwide
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Superb detail; excellent surface texture (combination of recessed panel lines, lapped fuselage panels and fabric control surfaces); straightforward parts breakdown; separate control surfaces; ample options including centreline fuel tank and bombs; excellent clear parts with different sliding sections for open and closed options; perfect moulding; excellent quality decals; improved wheels and tyres.
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Brett Green


Eduard's 1/48 scale F6F Hellcat will be available online from Squadron.com
 

FirstLook

 

The Grumman F6F Hellcat was designed as a stop-gap upgrade of the lightweight F4F Wildcat, almost as an insurance policy in the event that the F4U Corsair, then under development, did not live up to expectations.

Despite the clear family resemblance to the earlier Wildcat, the Hellcat was an all-new aircraft. The resulting naval fighter was stocky in profile, large, powerfully armed and armoured, and heavy. The Hellcat secured its place in history with a remarkable kill ratio of 19:1.

A number of 1/48 scale Hellcat kits have been available for some time now. The old Monogram kit was a typical product of the 1960s with gimmicky moving parts, accuracy problems and poor detail. The ARII / Otaki offering from the 1970s was much better, but was let down by a low level of interior detail. Hasegawa's F6F family dates from the mid-1990s, but it is still a nice model - well detailed with petitely recessed panel lines. Perhaps the most frequent criticism levelled at that kit is the slighty squashed and undersized shape of the lower cowl intake - the Hellcat's distinctive "grin".

Eduard entered the fray with a brand new 1/48 scale F6F-3 Hellcat kit in February 2008 - time flies, doesn't it - to be followed up with their FAA Hellcat Mk.I and Mk.II, the Royal Class packaging and, most recently, a separately boxed F6F-5.

Eduard has now added an F6F-5N to their 1/48 scale Hellcat family. For a detailed look at the plastic parts, check out the earlier HyperScale reviews of the F6F-3 and F6F-5 Hellcat kits.

 

 

Eduard's 1/48 scale F6F-3 Hellcat comprises 108 olive coloured injection moulded plastic parts; 17 clear parts; 2 x nickel plated photo etched frets; 1 x coloured photo etched fret; masking sheet for canopy and wheels; and a large decal sheet covering five markings options.

Note that this model features a specific and accurate wing and fuselage for the F6F-5 variant. You won't need to fit inserts or fill panel lines with this model.

Surface texture on Eduard's latest releases has been superb, and all of their Hellcats meet their very high standards. In addition to crisp, finely recessed panel lines and selected rows of rivets, the Hellcat fuselage employs a subtle lapped panel effect. This really works well. The fabric ribs on the control surfaces are also very convincing.

Details are equally good. The cockpit is supplemented with the usual compliment of colour photo-etched parts including a layered instrument panel, switch panel and harness straps. For those who prefer to paint their cockpit, an alternative (and very nicely detailed) injection moulded instrument panel is also supplied.

 

 

The engine is a simple assembly with only five plastic parts, but detail is barely compromised. Pushrods are moulded in place, a photo-etched ignition harness is included, plus several colour photo-etched parts for the crank case.

 

 

The undercarriage legs and wheel wells are suitably busy. Similar to the Eduard's 1/48 scale F6F-5 released in 2009, this Hellcat includes later version resin wheels to supplement the narrow items supplied on the plastic sprues. These new wheels feature a diamond tread pattern and separate hubs - a big improvement over the plastic parts.

In fact, there is a much higher than average resin content for an Eduard kit. Other resin parts include the characteristic wing radone, flame damper exhausts and machine gun barrels.

 

 

The delicate antenna post on the fin is a separate part that may be installed following construction and painting. This is a thoughtful touch that will avoid the almost inevitable damage to a post moulded in place on the top of the fin.

The canopy parts are crystal clear and thin. Separate parts are supplied to permit the sliding canopy to be displayed open or closed.

 

 

Control surfaces are all supplied separately. These are tabbed to assist precise alignment in the neutral position. It appears that the ailerons and elevators may easily be repositioned after slicing the tabs off.


 

Markings

Five marking options are included on the large decal sheet:

  • VMF-511, USS Block Island, April 1945

  • 'Butch', VMF-511, USS Block Island, April 1945

  • VMF(N)-541, Falalop island, Ulithi Atoll, May 1945

  • BuNo. 72627 (?72827?), VMF(N)-533, Ie Shima, May 1945

  • BuNo. 78669, Maj. Bruce Porter, CO of VMF(N)-542, Yontan airfield, Okinawa, May 1945

 

 

All five marking options are finished in the late-war overall Gloss Sea Blue scheme.

The decals, printed by Cartograf, look absolutely beautiful on the sheet. The nose art in particular is gorgeous. Eduard's decals have alsways been trouble free in their application for me too.

As usual, Eduard has supplied self-adhesive die-cut masks for the canopy and wheels.



 

Conclusion

 

Eduard's 1/48 scale F6F-5N Hellcat is beautifully detailed, features excellent surface texture and offers plenty of useful options to the modeller.

Whereas Eduard's last two new-tool offerings, the Fw 190 and Bf 110 families, have been challenging to build in some respects, their Hellcats are noticeably more straightforward. Eduard has responded to comments about kit complexity with a model that is quite simply broken down without compromising detail in important areas such as the engine face, cockpit and undercarriage. I have built the F6F-3 kit and I can assure you that uilding the Eduard Hellcat will present no hurdles to the average modeller.

In a sprue by sprue comparison, Eduard's new 1/48 scale Hellcat is also clearly superior to the ten year old Hasegawa F6F kits in terms of detail and surface texture.

In my opinion, Eduard has delivered the best F6F Hellcat available to date in any scale.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Eduard for the sample


Review Text and Images Copyright 2010 by Brett Green
Page Created 12 January, 2010
Last updated 12 January, 2010

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