HobbyBoss 1/72 F6F-5 Hellcat
KIT #: 80260
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: Easy Build kit


The Grumman F6F-5 was the successor of the F6F-3, featuring a more powerful R-2800-10W engine employing a water-injection system and housed in a slightly more streamlined engine cowling, spring-loaded control tabs on the ailerons and an improved clear-view windscreen, with a flat armored-glass front panel replacing the F6F-3's curved plexiglass panel and internal armor glass screen. In addition, the rear fuselage and tail units were strengthened.

After the first few F6F-5s were built, the small windows behind the main canopy were deleted. The F6F-5N night-fighter variant was fitted with an AN/APS-6 radar in a fairing on the outer-starboard wing. A few standard F6F-5s were also fitted with camera equipment for reconnaissance duties as the F6F-5P. The F6F-5 was the most common F6F variant, with 7,870 being built.


HobbyBoss came from as early as 2006 with their series of “Easy Assembly” 1/72 kits, periodically reboxing them. These simple in nature low cost kits basically dealt with well known types and featured a low parts count, with most of those parts snap-fitted, should the modeler not want to apply glue. This and the absence of teeny tiny parts, deemed the idea of using these kits with proper guidance as youngsters' entries to the magic of modeling, quite attractive. Such was the case with this kit that I recently bought from my sole remaining (very small but so beloved) hobby shop in my hometown (Chalkis, Greece).

The kit comes in a very nice and sturdy small top opening box, featuring a good but somehow cartoonish box art of a black Hellcat carrying the fearsome cat mouth. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 27 light gray styrene parts and a clear fret, superbly packaged, with all parts neatly held into a transparent tray.

The fuselage and the complete wing are one piece affairs and are provided separately, whereas all the rest are arranged in two small sprues. Molding is crisp, with only a mold line running down the spine of the fuselage. Panel lines are finely engraved.

A basic cockpit tub and a generic seat are provided. The engine is molded as one piece with the cowling and looks passable. Landing gear is not bad, but the bays are shallow and have a strange looking rib pattern. Finally, a basic looking prop and drop tank are provided.

The canopy is clearly molded and can also be snap fitted. Instructions are as basic as the kit is, but adequate, coming in the form of a 4-page booklet, featuring a parts diagram, with the minimal construction spread in four very simple steps. No color callouts are given but for the external painting.

Two schemes are provided in overall gloss sea blue, for a USS Essex and a USS Princeton bird, the latter carrying the famous cat mouth. Decals look very well printed and in good condition.

Instructions want you to first attach the gunsight and headrest on top of  the cockpit opening, then mount the canopy. The seat is then attached to the cockpit tub, which is inserted from underneath, followed by the one piece wing, the horizontal stabilizers and the rear wheel. Assembly and installation of the main landing gear and drop tank follows, with the fitting of the cowling and the prop ending a very simple, totally uncomplicated assembly.


This kit can be qualified as a “beginner’s” one. Parts count is low (a number of them being one piece, catering for what in “normal” kits might be supplied as a multi part affair, such as the fuselage and the complete wing). Molding is crisp, the canopy is nice, instructions are clear and decals are well printed.

Certainly, detail is simplified in many areas and I cannot comment on general shape accuracy, but such shortfalls can be justified from the kit’s nature. Due to the simplification shortcuts, out of the box, an average representation of the real thing will emerge accuracy wise, though I believe, accuracy might not be of prime concern to those of us who will go for a kit like this.

Coming very attractively packaged and at a low price, this kit seems an ideal choice for a youngster’s entry to the modeler’s magic world.

Happy modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

January 2023

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