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Eduard 1/72 F6F-5 Hellcat "Hirohito Special"

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  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Eduard 1/72 F6F-5 Hellcat "Hirohito Special"
Posted by MIflyer on Wednesday, April 04, 2018 7:01 PM

Hi all,

Sharing some progress on my current build, depicting the 10,000th Hellcat built, delivered to VBF-87 aboard USS Ticonderoga in May, 1945. Grumman employees nicknamed it the "Hirohito Special," although that name was not applied to the aircraft. Here she is aboard Ticonderoga, pictured with Lt. Commander Charles Ingalls, Grumman tech rep Ralph Clark, VBF-87 CO, Commander Porter Maxwell, and CAG-87, Commander Everett Phadres.

The plan is to depict the airplane as delivered, so relatively clean, and sans drop tanks or rockets.

I'm using Eduard's Royal Navy Dual Combo boxing of their supurb little 1/72 Hellcat kit. If you don't go for all the PE and other bells and whistles, this is a simple kit with great detail and nearly perfect fit - stress free and fun to build. I, of course, suffer from too much AMS to go that route, so my build is getting Master brass gun barrels, Quickboost tail surfaces, the PE from the kit, and some scratchbuilt enchancements. Decals for this aircraft are on Iliad's "Milestone Aircraft" sheet, #72010.

The Master brass .50 barrels were the first thing to be added. They fit the wing insert perfectly.

Next came the engine. Basic painting, plus the PE from the kit, was all that was required. I like to wire up the cylinder banks seperately before joining any of the engine parts together.

The finished engine, after a dark gray oil wash. The data plate and PW logo are PE from the kit. The engine is totally out of the box. One of the better engines I've managed to build, I think.

In the cockpit, I went for high contrast, Spanish style. Main color is Gunze H-58. Since the kit PE only includes Sutton harnesses, I sourced a set of US-style belts from Eduard's "fabric" line. The printing was horrible, and the material is odd, a bit like a dry-rotted rubber band, but they were easy to drape in the seat and look OK installed, as long as you're not using an Optivisor...

Completed cockpit sidewalls, dressed up with some Mike Grant placard decals. You can see that I tried adding chips and scratches with a paintbrush, and went a little too heavy-handed. Again, without magnification it looks OK, but I'll be more subtle next time.

Left side console dressed up with a combination of kit PE and more MG placards.

Main instrument panel, something like 15 pieces of PE. Instument bezels were filled with Future to simulate glass, although they didn't catch the light well in this photo. The kit's triangular plastic lump of a gunsight was shaved off and later replaced with clear acetate.

Test fit into the fuselage. Everything fit perfectly.

Lastly, before the windscreen was attached, the replacement gunsight glass! Looks much better than a plastic lump.

Next installment will be exterior airframe details and getting ready to paint. Any and all comments or criticism are welcome.

Tags: eduard , F6F , Grumman , Hellcat , WWII

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Eduard F6F Hellcat

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by Model Monkey on Wednesday, April 04, 2018 7:07 PM

Superb!  Very impressive work and detailing.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, April 04, 2018 7:12 PM

Excellent, Kevin. I really like the photo as well. Great piece of history.

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Wednesday, April 04, 2018 9:31 PM
Very nice work, indeed!
  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Newington CT
Posted by tempestjohnny on Thursday, April 05, 2018 3:29 AM

Wow....Bow Down

 

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Brisbane Australia
Posted by ChrisJH666 on Thursday, April 05, 2018 4:19 AM

Looking good so far

In the queue: 1/48 Spitfire Vb (Malta), Spitfire VIII x2 (RAAF), P39 x2 (RAAF), Martin Maryland (Malta), Typhoon NF1b

 

Chris

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Thursday, April 05, 2018 10:00 PM
Nice start. Impressive detail in such a small kit.

 "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
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Thursday, April 05, 2018 10:16 PM

Thank you! Eduard really gets the credit on this one - it's a fantastic kit, even better than their 1/48 Hellcats. It's much easier to do your best work when you aren't fighting the kit!

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Eduard F6F Hellcat

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Charleston, SC
Posted by kg4kpg on Friday, April 06, 2018 3:40 PM

I was happy with my little Hellcat, but yours is incredible so far. Following for sure. 

Just noticed your home. My niece lives in Ypsilanti with her husband and kids. 

Chris

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Saturday, April 07, 2018 11:52 PM

kg4kpg

I was happy with my little Hellcat, but yours is incredible so far. Following for sure. 

Just noticed your home. My niece lives in Ypsilanti with her husband and kids. 

Chris

 

 
Thanks Chris! Best thing about Ypsi is ModelCave, our amazing local hobby shop. I spend way to much time (and money) in there...

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Eduard F6F Hellcat

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:07 PM

Her's an update, showing work on the overall airframe. I decided to pose the tail surfaces, so I employed a Quickboost set that includes the relevant parts. After c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y separating the rudder from the left fuselage half with a JLC razor saw, the fuselage halves were mated and the Quickboost horizontal stabs attached with CA.

Normally, if you want to keep the tail of a tailwheel airplane from flying away on you, youd secure the stick all the way to the rear, elevators up. Well, I'd forgotten to apply this correction in the cockpit, so since my Hellcat has the stick at neutral, I decided to just depict the elevators drooping slightly under their own weight. Besides, the Navy chains these things to the deck, so nothing to worry about, right?

I made a template out of an index card to set the offset angle for the elevators; i think its roughly 10 degrees, but I don't recall exactly. I ended up using the same offset angle for the rudder, as well. All the quickboost parts fit perfectly.

Despite Eduard's gorgeous surface detail, they neglected to depict the belly formation lights, so I marked and scribed the locations. MV lenses will be added at the end of the build. I removed the molded navigation lights as well, simply because its easier to clean up seams that way, they'll also be replaced later. I drilled out the ends of the exhaust pipes at this point, but no photo... that's pretty straightforward, anyway.

Eduard also molded the wingtip light solidly, as most manufactures do, but the Hellcat has colored bulbs beneath a clear cover, so I removed the molded lights and scratchbuilt replacements. This is a detail I love adding; it adds a ton of life to a model. I did the same for the landing light in the left wing leading edge as well, although I neglected to take a photo of it.

 

After that, the wings went on. The fit overall on this model is exceptional, and very little seam cleanup was required. You can see a few areas where I checked my work using a Sharpie marker. There are only a couple of tiny spots of Mr. Dissolved Putty on the entire model.

Next comes the fun part - paint!

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Eduard F6F Hellcat

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