Italeri 1/72 F6F-3 Hellcat




CDN $8.99


Three aircraft


Olivier Lacombe





 The Grumman Hellcat had one of the highest kill ratios of WWII, with 19: 1.  That means that for every F6F that fell to the guns of a Japanese, 19 aircrafts with Hinomarus on the wings and fuselage were shot down.  It came straight from the famed Grumman Ironworks that had given the US Navy such fine aircrafts as the F4F Wildcat and the TBF Avenger. 

 Powered by a big Pratt & Whitney R-2800, the Hellcat was armed with 6 .50 machineguns and could carry up to 6 rockets or 2 000lbs of bombs under the wings and fuselage.  Later in the war, it successfully replaced the Dauntless as a bomber, being able to lift more heavy loads than the SBD and do it faster.  It also served under the Royal Navy and fought with the French Forces in Indochina in the ‘50s. Today, around 10 Hellcats still grace the skies of many air shows in Europe and North America.



This is one of Italeri’s latest offering in this scale.  The side-opening box includes 45 light grey styrene parts on two sprues, and 5 more moulded in clear.  The parts feature recessed panel lines and raised ones on the clear parts with absolutely no flash, but a few mould lines are visible here and there.

 For a 1/72 aircraft, the kit is well detailed, with a full cockpit (the instrument panel is provided as decals, which should be enough in regard to the cockpit size), separate flaps, guns and cowl flaps.  A fuselage drop tank is also provided.  The engineering looks very good, with very few ejector pins marks, with only two problematic ones, just before the cockpit windows behind the canopy, but they will be easy to file out.  The only sinkholes I saw are on the inboard flaps (surrounded with green) and removing them will erase recessed rivets under the flaps.  All the controls feature fabric texture that looks a bit overdone, but with a flat paint, the effect should be less discernable.  One thing about the canopy: the frame that is supposed to divide the sides in two small windows is simply not there and will have to be masked and painted.

 The kit gives you 3 aircraft to choose from, one being a VF-27 “Cat-Mouth” aircraft aboard USS Princeton in 1944, the second one is from VF-51 also in 1944 and the third one is a Royal Navy Hellcat Mk.I from No.800 Squadron with a Sky belly and a Dark Green/Dark Sea Grey top.  The US Navy aircrafts are in the attractive tri-color scheme.  The decals themselves are well printed and in register, but they appear very matte, so a good clear coat will be needed before applying them.  Please note that the teeth that are supposed to be in the oil cooler intake on the prototype are not included, but they would have been very hard to see at this scale anyway.  Finally, typical of Italeri, the instructions are very good and you should have no trouble with them.


 This kit looks like snap to build and it should do very good with a few of those modeling skills.  Stay tuned, for it’s following the P-47 in the workshop.


 ANDERTON, David A., “Hellcat”, The Great Book of World War II Airplanes, Bonanza Books, New York, 1984.

 Review kit courtesy of my wallet!

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