Kit: Grumman F6F-3/5 Hellcat

Scale: 1/72

Kit Number: 02023

Manufacturer: Airfix

Price: œ4.50UK

Media: Injected plastic

Decals: Two versions: F6F-3 CV-10 Yorktown & F6F-5 800 Sqn FAA

Reviewer: Simon Hedge

Date of Review: 23 June 1998

The Hellcat was the classic carrier-bourne fighter of WW2, one of an astonishing line of 'cats' from the Grumman stable, still with us now in the form of the mighty Tomcat.

This is vintage Airfix, with raised details, most notably the thousands of saucer sized rivets that adorn every surface, the kit is moulded in light grey plastic, and some flash is evident, but nothing a little knife-work can't deal with.

Interior detail is low, consisting of a seat an the ubiquitous Airfix pilot figure. I omitted the figure, made a floor and instrument panel from plastic card, a stick from stretched sprue, and a harness from thin tape. Not too much is visible through the canopy anyway.

Fit is okay, with some filler being used. However, one area was a problem. The wings are designed so that they can be positioned opened or folded, but the open position I chose produces a horrible join along the fold line which I never did really fix. Underwing stores are provided, including bombs and rockets, but I only used the external tank, for classic 'fighter' tasking.

Two schemes are provided. An F6F-3 CAG bird from USS Yorktown in typical USN 3-colour scheme, and a Fleet Air Arm F6F-5 from 800 Sqn in overall dark blue. Decals are typical Airfix, matte but nicely in register, they shouldn't cause any problems. I actually used a scheme from an Aeromaster sheet for an F6F-3 with the nose-art 'Little Joe'.

This kit is showing it's age. I can't really recommend it over all those other Hellcat kits you could choose from, if only for that horrible wing-fold problem (or was that just me?).

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