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1/48 Hellcat Diorama Adventure! (WiP)

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  • Member since
    November, 2013
1/48 Hellcat Diorama Adventure! (WiP)
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 11, 2017 11:36 AM

This plans to be a big thread, as I am working not only on the Eduard 1/48 F6F-3 with extra bits, but also making it into a diorama display!  


First pics are of the Eduard Brassin R-2800 engine in its completed state.  Painted with Vallejo Metal Colour Aluminum, AK engine wash and dark panel liner, dry brushed with square bottle Testors enamel silver.  Gear reduction housing done in a mix of Model Colour neutral grey and field blue, again with engine wash and dry brush with silver. Headers painted with Mission Models burnt iron and dusted with AK rust pigment. Ignition harness done with 0.3 lead wire. Wires and pushrods painted semi gloss black. 


 2017-08-11_09-34-31 by Brian Starr, on Flickr


Next, work begins on the Aires resin cockpit. . .


  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by bvallot on Friday, August 11, 2017 12:00 PM

bstarr, very cool!! I've actually got Vraciu's Hellcat next on deck to be built and I've been itching to do Eduard's R-2800 Brassin engine. What are your thoughts on how it builds up and the outcome?

Can't wait to see more. =]

On the bench:  

Tamiya P-51D-conversion: F6-D William Shomo

Accu Minn P-51A James England

Tamiya F4F-3 Butch O'Hare

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 11, 2017 12:24 PM

Thanks for the kind words!  This is my first time working with resin, and there's definitely been a learning curve for me.  First thing I realized was the relative brittleness of resin compared to styrene.  I broke a few pipes off the exhaust collector ring when removing it from the casting block.  I found an invaluable tool in a small grinding burr attachment for my dremel.  Using it, I was able to remove all the casting flash and separate the exhaust manifold from the block without damaging the part.  I would recommend using something similar if you can.  Using a grinding/cutting wheel to remove the parts from the block also worked for parts like the gear reduction housing. Make sure you use a mask and eyewear for this, because resin dust is flying!

Another thing I found was that there is less guidance in the shapes of the parts for how things go together than you get in a styrene kit.  Each of the cylinders attaches to the block individually.  Although it's easy to see the difference between the front and rear cylinders, it is definitely possible to attache the parts incompletely.  They come with a peg that presses down into a hole in the block.  If you don't snap them in perfectly, the alignment is wrong.  This picture shows a bit of that misalignment, although it looks worse from the other side.  

 2017-08-11_10-11-46 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

This, in turn, makes the alignment of the exhaust headers tricky.  Again, there is little guidance on exactly where the part needs to be glued.  I ended up getting the main kit out and taping the fuselage halves together so I could dry fit the engine and make sure the exhaust tips came out at the right place. At this point the Dremel again came in handy, grinding a little bit on the resin engine so that it fit properly on the fuselage.  One thing I've read about working with resin, and have definitely found it to be true so far, is that there is a lot of grinding, sanding, trimming required to get the fit just right.  

Overall, I feel like the Brassin engine was a worthwhile investment since I plan to do a maintenance diorama scene with cowling panels removed.  The engine kit comes with these parts as well.  If you are keeping it buttoned up, the kit engine looks plenty good enough, especially with some ignition wires added (included in photo etch on the profipack)

I was originally planning to do the cat's mouth markings on this one.  After watching the old Wings Dogfights documentary with Vraciu being interviewed, I'm torn about whether to model his plane instead.

  • Member since
    September, 2014
Posted by rooster513 on Friday, August 11, 2017 12:55 PM

bstarr that engine looks great! Really well done!


  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, August 11, 2017 12:59 PM

Lovely job on the engine, off to a good start.

 ''I am a Norfolk man, and I glory in being so''


On the bench: Dragon 1/35th Pz II Ausf F

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:41 AM

thanks for the kind words all! Worked quite a while on the pit last night. Sadly not too much to show for that. Now, though, some thoughts:


Unlike the engine kit, I do not feel like the resin cockpit is worth the effort, especially in this plane where you truly can't see any of the detail after it's closed up, even with the canopy open. 

 20170812_020344 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

 20170812_020337 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

Beautiful detail, but it's all going to hidden inside that deep cockpit.  

Instrument panel:

 20170812_020410 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

This is a nice piece.  Acetate film with photo etch framing.  I painted the back of the panel white so the instrument markings would show through, affixed with future. Also includes an acetate film for the gunsight, which will look nice (assuming I don't lose it!)

Difficulties with separating from the casting block continued for me, as I inadvertently sawed through the bottom of the pilots seat and had to repair with some styrene scrap.

 20170812_094508 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

I ended up losing or breaking multiple photo etch and small resin parts such as throttle levers, and unfortunately even the right lap belt. I annealed the lap belts over a flame with good results. Made them more flexible for more realistic folding without metallic looking creases. I would recommend assembling and painting the parts as much as possible, and adding the levers at the last feasible moment too avoid damage while handling. This may seem obvious but it wasn't to me.

Since I like building and painting cockpits, I plan to build the one from the kit with the Eduard photo etch as well, and posting pics here for comparison.

Final word, my first time working with Mission Models paint. Their interior green seems quite yellow in the bottle. Not sure about a accuracy, but didn't match up with my previous preferred option, model Masters interior green. However, once sprayed on over black primer, it fried to a perfect shade.

I'm very impressed with this paint. It's goes on in beautiful thin even coats, dries quick but not too quick, and had virtually no tip dry. I sprayed for about fifteen minutes continuously and only had to wipe the tip once. Huge improvement compared to Vallejo. I thinned it according to their recommendations and used their poly additive. Sprayed at 15psi, again per their published recommendations.

Only experiment I did with it was to try spraying it very thin as I was cleaning the last out of the cup. Sprayed very nice thin lines on paper. They caution against over thinning but it didn't seem to cause problem here

 20170812_094520 by Brian Starr, on Flickr 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Sunday, August 13, 2017 11:30 AM

Finished painting and detailing cockpit.  I'm pleased with the results.  Usual steps taken: dark wash with AK panel liner, drybrush with silver for chipping, drybrush with chromate yellow for some highlights, a few spots of gloss enamel red with a toothpick for individual buttons/levers.

 20170813_083606 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

 20170813_083552 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

 20170813_083540 by Brian Starr, on Flickr

Nice as it looks, I can't overstate the fiddliness of assembling this sub-kit and getting in the fuselage.  Now that I have it at this point, it looks like I'm going to have to shave 1/4" off the cockpit sidewall sections from the outside.  I've already shaved all the detail off the kit fuselage so it's smooth.  But it still leaves a huge gap when I try to dry fit it - as in, the fuselage halves don't even go together.  

The paint stripping on the starbord side of the cockpit floor seems to be from when I used white glue to 'dry' fit it.  I'll have to follow up with some testing about white glue and mission models paint to see if this is a problem. The mess at the front of the cockpit floor is where the instrument panel/rudder assembly has not stuck properly several times, and left with a lump of hardened CA that had to be drilled out. 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Sunday, August 13, 2017 8:47 PM

another update. I am beyond frustrated with this resin cockpit. I ground all the raised detail off the inside of the fuselage, as well as thinning it out as much as I dare, and there was still like a 10mm gap. I thinned the resin sidewalls almost all the way to the inside, as well as drastically changing the shape of the cockpit floor and the rear bulkhead. I think I can get it to fit, but it might still be gappy. I'm considering making it like the kit cockpit and just cutting off the radio parts etc and gluing to the floor. 

2017-08-13_06-27-26[/url] by [url=]Brian Starr, on Flickr

The fit has been so poor and problematic that I checked to make sure it wasn't for another kit. For the amount of work I've put in, I feel like I could have scratch built a cockpit. 

Another thing I've learned is that it's definitely best to dryfit the parts that are going to go into the fuselage prior to painting. If I could do it over, I would have done all this fitting and trimming, then painted and assembled. Of course, if I could do it over, I would probably just use the kit cockpit.

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 2:43 AM
Looking good. Resin is a pain in the a@@ no question. The key is sand it until it's almost see through. Get yourself a cordless Dremel and it will make your life easier. .

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"





  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 5:47 PM

Lawdog thanks. Fortunately I have been using my Dremel for all this.  It works great for resin, not as well for styrene. 

Sadly, there was an incident this morning.  Trying to affix the sidewall with epoxy, and trying to reposition after it was just a little too set, resulted in several fractures of the part. So I'm officially cutting my losses and moving on to the kit cockpit.  Working with resin for the first time has certainly been a learning experience. I think it'll be a while before I try it again, but I know for sure what I'll do differently next time. 

  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by bvallot on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:24 PM

Yeah, hang in there Brian. PE and resin components are not as easy and drop in as they may look. It definitely takes doing it at least once and making just about every mistake possible before really becoming adept in using them. Even when you know what you're doing, you still need the proper tools. If you try to wing it without, you'll likely find your build full of frustration. PE stuff gets glued normally with CA which is hard and brittle. It'll basically hold until it won't anymore. Once a certain part that's getting pushed on or torqued against reaches a certain pops off some times never to be seen again. White glues can give you a little bit of play for certain kinds of attachments and dry clear. Joe is right on about resin stuff. You have to get that stuff prepped right from the beginnging even before paint. Sand down thin and dry fit, and test dry fit again. None of these aftermarket parts fit perfectly perfect and take a bit of skill from the modeler to get them performing the way they're intended. Everybody on the forum knows your pain. =\

Best thing I can tell you is to hang in there and be as planned as you can be about whatever add ons you're dropping in. Make a checklist even. That's what I do. And always make sure your parts fit before priming and painting them.

You've got some nice things happening with this Hellcat...don't quit now. =]

On the bench:  

Tamiya P-51D-conversion: F6-D William Shomo

Accu Minn P-51A James England

Tamiya F4F-3 Butch O'Hare


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