Eduard, 1/72 scale
u m m a r y
||Eduard Kit No. 7076 - F6F-3 Hellcat
|Contents and Media:
||68 olive coloured plastic parts; 8 clear parts; 1 x nickel plated photo etched frets;
1 x coloured photo etched fret; masking sheet for
canopy and wheels; decal sheet covering five markings options
||USD$24.95 plus shipping available online from Eduard's website
and specialist hobby retailers worldwide
||Superb detail; excellent surface texture (combination of recessed panel lines, lapped fuselage panels and fabric control surfaces); straightforward parts breakdown; ample options including centreline fuel tank, bombs and three styles of engine cowling; excellent clear parts with different sliding sections for open and closed options; perfect moulding; excellent quality decals.
||Side opening box; all plastic parts packed into one bag.
Eduard's 1/72 scale F6F-3 Hellcat will be available online from Squadron.com
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 1/72 scale F6F-3 Hellcat kits have been available for some time now. Hasegawa's is an older kit with raised panel lines and a basic cockpit; while the Academy 1/72 scale Hellcat has thick trailing edges, an incorrectly shaped fin and sparse detail.
Eduard entered the Hellcat market with their 1/48 scale F6F-3 kit, first released in early 2008. This was an excellent kit - well detailed with lots of options and state-of-the-art surface detail.
Eduard has now released a 1/72 scale version of their F6F-3 Hellcat. The downsized kit compares remarkably well to the 1/48 scale version. In fact, to look at the photographs here, you'd be hard pressed to tell that it was a small scale kit.
The kit comprises comprises 68 parts in olive coloured plastic; 8 clear parts; one nickel plated photo etched frets; one coloured photo etched fret; a masking sheet for the canopy and wheels; and a large decal sheet covering five markings options.
Surface texture on Eduard's latest releases has been superb, and this new Hellcat continues the tradition. In common with its 1/48 scale cousin, this Hellcat fuselage employs a unique and subtle lapped panel effect. This really works well.
The balance of surface detail is a combination of crisp, finely recessed panel lines and selected rows of rivets. The subtle ribs on the fabric 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 well-detailed engine is made up from five plastic parts. Pushrods are moulded in place, a photo-etched ignition harness is added, plus several colour photo-etched parts enhance the crank case.
The undercarriage legs and wheel wells are suitably busy. The wheels are supplied with separate hubs and tyres. Two styles of tyres are included - diamond and radial treads. While the tyres in the initial release of the 1/48 scale Hellcat were a little undernourished, the width of these look good.
The delicate antenna post on the fin is moulded in place, so some care will be required when handling the model during construction and painting.
The canopy parts are crystal clear and thin. Separate parts are supplied to permit the sliding canopy to be displayed open or closed. The rear cockpit windows are moulded as separate clear panels (the window sections of the panels are covered by self-adhesive masks during painting), and parts are also provided for the later windowless F6F-5 variant, although they are not for use in this version.
Control surfaces are all moulded in place and in neutral positions. The wings are specific to the F6F-3 variant.
The cowl is broken down into three pieces, and three different cowl styles are offered:
The earliest, with exhaust fairings and lower cowl flap on each side
Next, with the exhaust fairings but with the lower cowl flap deleted from each side
The later F6F-3 variant with no exhaust fairing.
Optional parts are included for two styles of bombs, centreline drop tank and rockets (although the rockets are not used in this boxing).
Just about the only thing I don't like is the side-opening box - flimsier than Eduard's usual top-opening box and harder to sift through the contents - and that all three olive-coloured sprues are packed into a single bag (a la Hasegawa), resulting in some minor scuffing on the fuselage parts.
Five marking options are included on the large decal sheet:
F6F-3, Probable BuNo 66016, VF-16, USS Lexington, Hawaii, September, 1943
F6F-3, BuNo 25813, Lt. C.K. 'Ken' Hilderbrandt, VF-33, Ondonga, December, 1943
F6F-3, BuNo 40090, VF-1, Lt. William C Moseley, USS Yorktown, June, 1944
F6F-3, BuNo 40467, Lt. Alexander Vraciu, VF-6, USS Intrepid, February, 1944
F6F-3, Lt. Richard E. Stambook, VF-27, USS Princeton, October, 1944
All five marking options are finished in the mid-war three coloured scheme.
The decals are opaque, with good colours and perfect register. My experience with Eduard decals has been very positive. They are thin and settle down well into panel lines and contours, responding well to Micro Set and Micro Sol.
As usual, Eduard has supplied self-adhesive die-cut masks for the canopy and wheels.
That Hellcat Grin...
The question of the Hellcat's chin intake shape has long been the subject of lively discussion.
The shape of this "grin" is instantly recognisable. It may appear to be a simple crescent, but its exact contours are quite subtle and have proven elusive to some model manufacturers. Below is a wartime photo showing the intake.
Note that there are several factors at play in this photograph (and most others) that make it difficult to determine the exact shape of this intake. First, the angle of the aircraft, tilted slightly back, means that we are looking up into the upper intake lip, and the crescent is slightly distorted. Secondly, the light is shining brightly into the front few inches of upper intake lip, possibly exaggerating the height.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, this photo is a pretty good representation of the intake.
Eduard has done a very good job at capturing the size and the subtle shape of this distinctive grin in 1/72 scale.
We have seen some standard setting 1/72 scale kits recently, including Dragon's recent gorgeous Gloster Meteor releases.
Eduard has now upped the ante with their new 1/72 scale F6F-3 Hellcat. The surface detail is as good as any I have ever seen in this scale. The overlapping fuselage panels are especially appropriate and beautifully executed. The addition of colour photo-etched detail parts for the cockpit and the engine crankcase are genuinely useful enhancements, especially in this scale where fine painting is more of a challenge.
There are few compromises when compared to Eduard's excellent 1/48 scale F6F-3 Hellcat. The cockpit and engine feature the same level of detail; there are actually more options with the two styles of wheels in addition to the ordnance, and the same five marking options are supplied in both kits. The main difference is that the smaller kit does not have separate control surfaces.
Eduard is not new to 1/72 scale kits, but their F6F-3 Hellcat certainly sets a new standard. This kit will be warmly welcomed by US Navy aficiandos and 1/72 scale modellers alike.
Thanks to Eduard for the sample
Review Text and Images Copyright © 2011 by Brett Green
Page Created 12 August, 2011
14 August, 2011
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