Platz 1/144 F6F-5 Hellcat
|KIT #:||PD 16|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes two complete kits.|
The Grumman F6F Hellcat was a carrier-based fighter aircraft developed to replace the earlier F4F Wildcat in United States Navy service. Although the F6F bore a family resemblance to the Wildcat, it was a completely new design powered by a 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800. Some tagged it as the "Wildcat's big brother". The Hellcat and the Vought F4U Corsair were the primary USN fighters during the second half of World War II.
The Hellcat proved to be the most successful aircraft in naval history, destroying 5,271 aircraft while in service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps (5,163 in the Pacific and eight more during the invasion of Southern France, plus 52 with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during World War II). Postwar, the Hellcat aircraft was systematically phased out of front line service, but remained in service as late as 1954 as a night-fighter in composite squadrons.
I should take the opportunity to reiterate that the F6F was in no way, shape or form derived from US combat experience against the A6M Zero as the contract for the F6F was signed six months before the US entered WWII.
For those who have not had the chance to see one of these kits, Platz is probably the premier 1/144 military aircraft kit producer in the world. I know that others will argue for Sweet, but it would be awful close. The folks at Platz are known for their AMS when it comes to getting things right and with this latest Hellcat kit, they show it.
Pretty much most of the bits applicable to the earlier F6F-3 would be appropriate for the F6F-5. In fact, the same clear bits are included. However, the F6F-5 does not have the smaller windows aft of the pilot (well, most of them don't) and so Platz has incorporated the proper fuselage for this one. A different cowling without the small bulge is provided.
There isn't much in the way of optional bits for this. The centerline tank was pretty much standard, and on this one you can mount bombs. No rocket rails on this one, which would have been nice, but a bear to reproduce in this scale. The kit does come with a reasonably nice cockpit interior and a good representation of the P&W 2800 that powered these beasts. I also notice some holes near the outer starboard wing tip that could be used for a radome if they decided to do a night fighter version.
Instructions are quite well done showing all the various construction steps and offering color info. There are markings for four aircraft and if you had a third model, you could do three of them as there insignia enough to cover the third plane. All are in overall sea blue, one of my favorite schemes as it is easy to paint.
The four markings options are David McCampbell's 'Minsi III', a plane from VF-17 aboard the USS Hornet, A VF-27 plane from the USS Independence and finally a VF-27 plane, 'Merrl- Marle', from July 1945 with the number code replacing the nice geometric patterns. The decals are superbly done and one can hope that eventually, someone will do an aftermarket sheet with more nice geometric options.
Though the kit is a tad pricey, it is well worth what you get in terms of quality. Were Tamiya doing 1/144 planes, this is what they'd be like.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your favorite retailer today.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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