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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 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • 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 Vultee Vengeance (RAAF), Spitfire Vb (Malta), Spitfire VIII x2 (RAAF), P39 x2 (RAAF), P43 Lancer (RAAF), Martin Maryland (Malta), Typhoon NF1b, Hellcat x2 (FAA)

 

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 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • 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 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • 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 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Saturday, April 28, 2018 3:40 PM

I started paint work on the Hellcat by priming it with Mr. Surfacer 1500 Black from the rattle can. Pricey stuff, but worth it. It self levels beautifully.

After that, I applied a preshade of sorts with Tamiya XF-66 light gray and XF-9 hull red in a few places. I used more random squiggles than anything. Not trying to define panel lines (I don't care for the patchwork quilt look that this gives you), just trying to provide some tonal variety in the base coat.

I was excited to try some MRP paint on this build, since I've heard good things about it, but when I started to spray their Gloss Sea Blue, it was just waaaaayy too green. Like almost a teal color. Pretty, but very wrong. Too bad, because the stuff airbrushes so well - easily the best spraying paint I've ever tried.

I ended up using a homebrew mix of about 50/50 Tamiya XF-17 Sea Blue and XF-8 Flat Blue. I didn't do any fading on this model since Gloss Sea Blue - especially the variety used by Grumman - didn't fade much. Exposure would cause it to lose its gloss somewhat, but it was an extremely sturdy paint, and I'm depicting an almost new aircraft.

Next up, aftermarket decals from Iliad for the 10,000th Hellcat scheme. They went on very easily, fit perfectly, and played nice with Microscale products, for the most part...

...except for this little guy. One too many rounds of MicroSol trying to get it to conform around the aileron hinge, and it called it quits. My fault, really. I ended up sanding it down and just repainting the triangle.

The Eduard Hellcats have gorgeous surface detail, so I highlighted it subtly using Ammo of Mig medium gray PLW. I specifically wanted to avoid the dusty look that I gave to my land-based F4U build from a couple of years ago. The medium gray looks nice over the GSB - from some angles it nearly disappears, like you would expect looking at a real aircraft.

Next up is some weathering! As always - all comments and criticisms are welcome.

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Monday, April 30, 2018 8:48 PM

Looks great!

Great kits, those are...got a couple of em under my belt!

You still flying out of Willow? I started working on my single/commercial add on (have multi/comm/inst.), but got totally sidetracked with a big remodel project....gotta make the money! Plan was to get the single commercial (just to open up the job market a bit)...also long overdue for an IPC. Then I was gonna go back down to Willow to get current for multi. May get some time in this summer...otherwise, I gotta put it all off again until next winter.

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 4:55 PM

fermis

Looks great!

Great kits, those are...got a couple of em under my belt!

You still flying out of Willow? I started working on my single/commercial add on (have multi/comm/inst.), but got totally sidetracked with a big remodel project....gotta make the money! Plan was to get the single commercial (just to open up the job market a bit)...also long overdue for an IPC. Then I was gonna go back down to Willow to get current for multi. May get some time in this summer...otherwise, I gotta put it all off again until next winter.

 

Hey, good to hear from you! Yes, I'm still at YIP, driving the Lear. Job market is wide open these days... there are tons of opportunities available in either YIP or PTK if you're interested in making the leap.

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 5:54 PM

MIflyer

 

 
fermis

Looks great!

Great kits, those are...got a couple of em under my belt!

You still flying out of Willow? I started working on my single/commercial add on (have multi/comm/inst.), but got totally sidetracked with a big remodel project....gotta make the money! Plan was to get the single commercial (just to open up the job market a bit)...also long overdue for an IPC. Then I was gonna go back down to Willow to get current for multi. May get some time in this summer...otherwise, I gotta put it all off again until next winter.

 

 

 

Hey, good to hear from you! Yes, I'm still at YIP, driving the Lear. Job market is wide open these days... there are tons of opportunities available in either YIP or PTK if you're interested in making the leap.

 

Highly interested, I am!

I do need to get the IPC and current with multi, at the very least. I'm assuming the best route is to get those knocked out before trying to sell myself!

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 11:50 PM

fermis

Highly interested, I am!

I do need to get the IPC and current with multi, at the very least. I'm assuming the best route is to get those knocked out before trying to sell myself!

Yep, you'll need those, and as much current flying time as you can manage. Also, do the paperwork to get your FCC restricted radio operator license, you need that for any international flying (which most operators in Michigan do a lot of). Easy to do and only costs about $65 IIRC. Usually shows up in about two to three weeks.

What's your total time look like? Lets me know where to go looking. I can PM you with any info I dig up.

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Friday, May 04, 2018 7:01 PM

MIflyer

 

 
fermis

Highly interested, I am!

I do need to get the IPC and current with multi, at the very least. I'm assuming the best route is to get those knocked out before trying to sell myself!

 

 

Yep, you'll need those, and as much current flying time as you can manage. Also, do the paperwork to get your FCC restricted radio operator license, you need that for any international flying (which most operators in Michigan do a lot of). Easy to do and only costs about $65 IIRC. Usually shows up in about two to three weeks.

What's your total time look like? Lets me know where to go looking. I can PM you with any info I dig up.

 

Noted!

Ideally, I'd prefer to work out of YIP (20 minute drive)...I do dig them big ole Convairs, runnin out of PTK too, that's about 45-an hour drive though. I'm pushing 450hrs right now, will probably be close to 500 by the time I get through the IPC and multi/current.

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Sunday, May 06, 2018 2:11 PM

fermis
 

Noted!

Ideally, I'd prefer to work out of YIP (20 minute drive)...I do dig them big ole Convairs, runnin out of PTK too, that's about 45-an hour drive though. I'm pushing 450hrs right now, will probably be close to 500 by the time I get through the IPC and multi/current.

Cool. Man, I'd happily bring you on board at our place, but mins are still a firm 1,000. Insurance just won't allow us to go lower. I'll check around though, EVERYONE is hiring.

And if you're interested, there is a small group of modelers meeting monthly now in Ypsi. Nothing formal, not forming a new IPMS chapter or anything. Just hang out, talk shop, show and tell. Invitation only kinda deal, let me know if you'd like to join in sometime.

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    October, 2009
Posted by Ultra on Sunday, May 06, 2018 3:33 PM

You're doing a beautiful job.  I just built a 1/48 version and I'm impressed with your ability to bring out all the detail on this 1/72 version.  Looking forward to the final weathered and finished result!

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Sunday, May 06, 2018 4:02 PM

MIflyer

 

 
fermis
 

Noted!

Ideally, I'd prefer to work out of YIP (20 minute drive)...I do dig them big ole Convairs, runnin out of PTK too, that's about 45-an hour drive though. I'm pushing 450hrs right now, will probably be close to 500 by the time I get through the IPC and multi/current.

 

 

Cool. Man, I'd happily bring you on board at our place, but mins are still a firm 1,000. Insurance just won't allow us to go lower. I'll check around though, EVERYONE is hiring.

And if you're interested, there is a small group of modelers meeting monthly now in Ypsi. Nothing formal, not forming a new IPMS chapter or anything. Just hang out, talk shop, show and tell. Invitation only kinda deal, let me know if you'd like to join in sometime.

 

Appreciated!

A meet up sounds interesting...but being work season, and trying to get in some stick time...models aren't on the "short list" for things to do right now. I do slow down work, quite a bit though toward the end of summer, then get real busy again in early fall. I'll keep it in mind though, and touch base with ya on it if time allows.

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Sunday, May 06, 2018 6:00 PM

Time for an update - moving on to weathering. I wanted to try replicating this photo, where oil and grease from the engine compartment have leaked back in the the exhaust stream. Neat, huh?

I started by airbrushing streaks in Tamiya black and buff.

Next, I busted out a Mig Ammo black Oilbrusher, and using it and a very fine Tamiya brush, just painted on the oil streaks, trying to copy the photo as best I could.

That was left to dry for an afternoon, then was blended with a soft brush dampened with just a hint of ol' Testors enamel thinner, working of course in the direction of the exhaust flow.

It didn't turn out looking exactly as I'd hoped, but I think it's an OK first attempt. I think the oil technique has merit, and with practice, can be made to look better.

You'll also notice that I tried airbrushing some gun staining on the wings... Hellcats are one of the few aircraft that actually exhibit a fair amount of these stains in period photos. However, my attempt looked amateurish at best, so I painted over them.

Now for some cheeeps. This is much more about artistic license than realism, since gloss sea blue was an extremely sturdy paint that didn't chip easily, especially on Hellcats. I just wanted to break up the single solid color a bit.

I decided a pencil would be the quickest, easiest way to go about creating small chips in controlled areas, like wing roots, the canopy sills, engine access panels, etc. I grabbed a few Prismacolor Premier colored pencils from my local art supply store. One thing that's neat about Prismacolor in particular is that with several (not all) colors, you can select not only the color you want, but the density, e.g. Cool Grey and Warm Grey can both be had in 30%, 70%, and regular (100%) flavors. I tested a few on a scrap model:



I settled on 70% Cool Grey for the Hellcat and went to work.

I may lightly mist some extremely thin base color over those chipped areas to lessen the contrast a wee bit... still haven't decided. I'd rather have it be subtle than overdone.

As always, comments and critiques are welcomed.

 

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Monday, May 28, 2018 2:37 PM

Two things for this update: first, I went back and reworked the exhausts stains some more. I did a second round of oils, and knocked back the overall size of the stains using the airbrush. I like it much better now. I also used some Ammo of Mig products to do some staining on the belly and the bottom of the engine cowl, but on the Gloss Sea Blue it's really subtle and didn't photograph well.

Second, I had a last-minute disaster that involved spilling a few drops of thinner onto the right wing, because of course I did. I wisely put the model down and walked away for a bit, reasoning that it would be easier to repair once dry, but while it dried the thinner ran under the leading edge of the wing and along a panel on the underside, almost to the gear bays.

With the gear already attached, I decided that sanding was too much of a knock-everything-off risk (remember, I'm the klutz who spilled thinner on this thing in the first place), so used alcohol to strip the affected area and totally repainted. Some sanding turned out to be necessary to feather everything together, but in the end, after a coat of Tamiya X-35 Semi-Gloss to match the rest of the airframe, the repair is hard to see. I've posted photos of the repair process so you can see just how much work my clumsiness cost me!

With that mess behind me, small exterior details are all that's left!

 

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 1:37 PM

Last bits going on the Hellcat - exterior lights and antennae, mostly.

I used 1.3mm MV lenses for the belly formation lights. These are beautiful little items, but I didn't realize until I went to mount them that the rear of the lenses are rounded - you can't just glue them to a flat surface, they really need to go in a shallow recessed hole. Of course I didn't have an appropriately sized drill bit, but I did my best. They sit a little proud of the surface, and shouldn't, but in the end they look OK.

For the tail nav light and blue dorsal strobe, I used resin items from a set by CMK. These were very easy to use, and while not as shiny initially as the MV lenses, they look great with a dab of Future applied to them.

It's a bit of extra work, but in general I'm a big fan of depicting lights using actual colored parts as opposed to paint. They just pop a lot more.

The whip antennae are copper wire. Next time I'll use a slightly smaller gauge, they look a bit thick to me now that they're mounted to the model.

For the wire aerial, I used Uschi van der Rosten elastic thread, in the smallest size it comes in, which is something like .003mm. It was my first time using elastic thread, and I'm sold on the stuff. The white resistors are just small blobs of PVA glue painted white.

Miraculously, the tiny antenna post atop the vertical stab survived the entire build without ever breaking off. That's a record for me!

And with that, all that's left is to mount the prop and canopy. I'll have some quick finished pics next time I have a chance to log on. Cheers guys.

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    June, 2017
Posted by Chemteacher on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:51 PM
Wow! Great work. Those landing lights are awesome.

On the bench: Revell/Monogram A-10 (trying to rescue from the shelf of doom)

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by MIflyer on Friday, June 22, 2018 4:14 PM

Chemteacher
Wow! Great work. Those landing lights are awesome.
 

Thank you!

Kevin Johnson    Ypsilanti, Michigan USA

On the bench: 1/72 Fujimi Ki-36 J-BAAR

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Saturday, June 23, 2018 8:22 PM

YesYes

If I had another thumb...you'd have it!!!

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