Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
by Ian Robertson
The F6F Hellcat epitomized the US Navy's preference during WWII for large, pugnacious radial-engine fighters. This philosophy served the Allies well in the Pacific theatre because the Hellcat could take alot of abuse in combat and still make it home safely, whereas the same could not be said of its Japanese counterparts like the A6M Zeke.
Despite its successes in combat the Hellcat was, for the most part, withdrawn from active service soon after WWII.
I built Hasegawa's 1/48 F6F-5 Hellcat in the markings of an aircraft from VF12 aboard the carrier USS Randolph around the time of the invasion of Iwo Jima in late February 1945.
The aircraft is depicted shortly after recovery on its flight deck, with one wing already folded and the other in the process of being folded by a pair of deck crewmen. These figures, which were derived from numerous different figures, were removed from all but one photograph to show the model better.
The wings were repositioned without the aid of aftermarket accessories, although a resin wingfold set is now available for the Hellcat from Dangerboy Hobbies. Using Signal/Squadron's "Walk Around F6F Hellcat" as a reference, I cut the wings along the appropriate panel lines prior to gluing the upper and lower halves together. Structural details of the exposed wing cross sections were scratch built using sheet styrene, miscellaneous plastic parts and wire. The repositioned wings were attached securely to the centre wing section using small metal rods fastened with 5-minute epoxy. The rods are, for the most part, hidden from view.
I used decals from AeroMaster sheet #48-202, Fighting Hellcats. AeroMaster's instructions indicate that the ailerons of #32 were white on the upper surface only; however, photographs of other VF12 Hellcats show that both upper and lower aileron surfaces were white. It is possible that aircraft #32 was different in this respect, but I went with the photographic evidence. I painted the model Glossy Sea Blue (FS 15042) using Testors enamel.
Exhaust stains were applied with paint followed by chalk pastels. The flight deck was made from strips of wood purchased at a model train shop and "metal" tie-downs cut from Verlinden's cardboard "US WWII Aircraft Carrier Deck Section" (#1269).
Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2000 by Ian