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1/48 Hellcat Diorama *Final update - Finished diorama 9/26!*

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  • Member since
    November, 2013
1/48 Hellcat Diorama *Final update - Finished diorama 9/26!*
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. =]

  • 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: Rudel Stage 3

                     Academy 1/72nd Apache AH.1

  • 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. =]

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:01 PM

Bvallot, thanks for your words of encouragement and advice.  Working with this resin cockpit has certainly been a learning experience in many ways.  Finally got some good progress last night, though.  Working with the stock pit and adding from the resin as possible.  

All the parts available to me at the beginning:


The stock cockpit builds up very nicely with the included color photoetch.  Definitely felt some vindication of my skills getting some of those tiny handles affixed! I used gel CA or Future, depending on the part.  I found Future works well for flat parts, but CA is better for end joins like those little handles. I cut the stock gunsight off and replaced it with the resin one. Also added the gas (?) tank behind the seat and that lever on the right from the resin kit.  Everything else is stock.



Photoetch seatbelts came out nice. 


Sidewall detail is where the resin kit really outshines the standard one.  I shaved the resin sidewalls down until they fit onto the cockpit floor more or less like the kit parts do. 



Finally all tucked in, ready to assemble fuselage halves tonight!


Engine got some upgrades, too, courtesy of the Eduard PE fret.  P&W logo and placard added to gear reduction housing.





  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:05 PM

Nice work so far for sure. Yes Man those Eduard Hellcat's are the cat's "me ow" aren't they? Pun intended.


Being really stupid IS "the new smart"!!

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 18, 2017 10:14 AM

It is a very nice kit. So far the Tamiya P47 has the best engineering and fit of any kit I've done. Many parts literally snapped together and held without glue. This is close. The new tool Airfix kits are very nice too

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • From: Streetsboro, Ohio
Posted by Toshi on Friday, August 18, 2017 11:06 AM

Through all the issues and concerns, you have prevailed and overcome.  Everything looks great!



Married to the most caring, loving, understanding, and beautiful wife in the world.  Mrs. Toshi



  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Friday, August 18, 2017 2:39 PM

Brian, you're doing fine work.

I sympathize regarding working with resin. I'm pretty new to resin (I've worked with about 2 or 3 kits where I'd purchased resin aftermarket stuff) and I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to work with that material. I must confess I've screwed up just trying to cut/saw the objects from the block to which it's attached Embarrassed - but I'm sort of getting the hang of it now. Example below of my hacking away at the folded wing set just to get the parts free of the blocks on which they were attached.


"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Lexington, KY.
Posted by Got Plastic? on Friday, August 18, 2017 4:15 PM

bstarr - 

Excellent work on your pit and engine. Great depth and detail. I couldn't help but laugh after reading Lawdog's comments on resin with your reply of using a Dremel. Great job so far sir, and I look forward to following your build. Enjoy!



On The Bench: Coming Soon Big Smile

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 18, 2017 7:35 PM

Chris, thanks for the compliment!  Yes, the Dremel has proved very useful during this project with all the trimming and adjusting. 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 18, 2017 7:37 PM

Toshi I'm honored that you're still following my thread with everything that's been going on with your wife.  Thanks for the kind words.  I hope all is well with both of you.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 18, 2017 7:38 PM

Mike - working with resin is definitely a completely different experience.  Makes me feel good to know that I'm not the only one who's struggled.  Is that one of those JLC razor saws?  How do you like it? I have an exacto brand, which is a little unwieldy. 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Friday, August 18, 2017 8:22 PM

And now some pics.  I spent a couple hours on this



This is my first time doing a major PE kit, and it is seriously a major kit!  Dozens of tiny parts to make up the framework of the gun bay.  The guns are Eduard resin.  They recommend Aires wing mount resin guns, which have the appropriate barrels.  These are a bit generic. I need to do some painting before I put the rest of it together. 

Bought a cheap $15 UMM photo etch bender, which has definitely been worth it.  Even with it, it's hard to keep lines straight and corners square.  Wanted to put the PE completely together before I try to cut into the wing. I think I'm only going to model one gun bay open, and leave the other one for another kit in the future. 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
Posted by 7474 on Friday, August 18, 2017 8:57 PM
Looking good buddy
  • Member since
    May, 2017
  • From: Denver, Colorado
Posted by MrStecks on Friday, August 18, 2017 9:03 PM

Really impressive build.  You're a braver man than I.  My only experience with resin is one set of AM wheels, and I wasn't too fond of them.  Your build is looking great, and my hat's off to you.  Will be following.  Smile

Cheers, Mark

On the bench: Tamiya 1/32 P-51 Mustang

In the queue: Airfix 1/48 Junkers Ju87B-1 Stuka

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Saturday, August 19, 2017 10:45 AM


The long blades are Exacto brand - and yes, a little unweildy unless you have just the right amount to cut off. I can't recall where I got the smaller, wooden handled one - it's probably the most common one I've seen on hobby websites and it works fine for short cuts. I can't recall if it's an Exacto brand - no marks on it.

Your work on the PE is absolutely great! It really tests one's patience no?


"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by bvallot on Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:14 PM


  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by bvallot on Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:14 PM


  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by bvallot on Saturday, August 19, 2017 6:15 PM



Bought a cheap $15 UMM photo etch bender, which has definitely been worth it.  Even with it, it's hard to keep lines straight and corners square.  Wanted to put the PE completely together before I try to cut into the wing. 


Now you're thinking! ;) Order of operations. Wait to put that add-on together successfully first before cutting and chopping up your wing. =] Don't make more stress on yourself than you need. It's looking good. Keep at it! Right tool for the right job. 

(sorry about the above. Internet trouble)

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Sunday, August 20, 2017 12:22 AM

Cheers, bvallot. Got the gun bay painted up and installed in the wing.  Looks nice! As an aside, the Eduard waist mounted M2 .50 cals don't fit very well.  They're too small and the barrels are the wrong shape.  I would recommend going with the recommended Aires 4241 wing mounted gun kit.


  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Monday, August 21, 2017 12:30 PM

Another update - finally looking like a Hellcat!

20170820_153426[/url">] 20170820_153426[/url]

Bits of the ammo hatches that will go in after


Some primer on major seams. Still quite a bit of sanding to do



20170820_234413[/url">] [url=]20170820_234413[/url

 Order of operations is definitely tricky when modeling open panels. I've chosen to mask off the open gun bays and engine. The cowling panels and gun bays hatches will be painted off to the side. I'm hoping that any discrepancy in the color won't be as evident since the hatches will be opened and the cowling panels will be down on the deck. I'm almost tempted in retrospect to think about opening panels after painting but I suppose that would present just as many problems as it solves. I've realized after the fact that the very fragile photoetch framing for the engine panels will have to go on afterwards. I painstakingly glued this all in place only to have them rip off when repositioning masking tape.

I've got something crawling around in the back of my head about modeling some combat damage to this plane.  I'll keep thinking about that. I've made this a pretty complicated project already...


  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Monday, September 04, 2017 11:38 PM

Finally, some major updates!

I set about following the pattern of multilayer chipping as described on Doog's blog So, first, a layer of simple bare metal, done with Vallejo Metal Colour aluminum.  I liked the way it came out and would definitely try this paint for a BMF.


Then, Vallejo chipping medium followed by Mission Models chromate yellow, which was chipped to reveal some bare aluminum below the primer


The idea here is that after chipping the paint layer, there will be some areas that show through to primer, others to bare metal. I don't plan to do too much agressive chipping on this kit, as I know carrier planes were kept in pretty good nick.  I mostly wanted to use it as a test ground for a future project, a P-61, which got heavily weathered and chipped.

Gear assembled and installed.  White on the undersurface. Postshaded with white mixed with a little grey.  This was blended back in with a thin coat of white on top.



Mission Models intermediate blue, postshaded with darker and lighter tones by adding MM USN sea blue and MM white, respectively


Intermediate blue is one of those colors that I've seen lots of variations of. This is definitely one of the greyer-toned intermediate blues I've seen, but I like the way it came out. Goes on much greyer, and dries to this color.

Mission Models USN/USMC Sea Blue. Postshaded with a couple drops of MM light neutral tan to show some light fading on the top sides of folded wings and the sun exposed areas at the top of the fuselage. Blended back in with a thin coat of base color.


Tricolor camo and touchups are finished. Next is some light chipping, followed by a coat of Future to prepare for my least favorite part: decals!


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