|Trumpeter 1/32 F6F-3 Hellcat
|For historical and technical background, see the Wikipedia entry click HERE.
ABOVE: Trumpeter F6F-3 kit box art.
I. Kit Contents:
Kit contains over 360 parts according to a notice on the box top. Parts count on Trumpeter kits are
usually high. Parts look to be well molded and up to contemporary standards. Lots of countersunk rivets.
Trumpeter has released a number of Grumman F6F Hellcat variants so many of these parts sprues are
common to some of their other kits.
Landing gear and wing parts:
More wing parts...plus some for the engine, and (obviously) the propeller:
Wings molded in several parts to allow the modeller to make them folded up or in-flight position:
II Aftermarket Stuff:
I didn't use much aftermarket on this model. Just some Eagle Strike decals, and the usual Eduard seatbelts.
A couple of things that I didn't like about this (or any) model kit: 1.) Window openings that you have to cut out. Nine times
out of ten, no matter how careful one is, the window part will not fit into the opening. The idea is to cut it on the small side,
then fit-and-work it out until it does fit. Well, it usually doesn't work, for me anyway. And 2.) Extra internal equipment, such
as the radio components you see here. They're usually not terribly detailed, they add to the cost of the kit, and they'll never
be seen again, once the model is complete. In the event that there are people who want this, as they plan on opening
access panels where they would be seen, then I say let the aftermarket makers fill the void.
I went ahead and built/installed (but did not paint) the hidden internal components to illustrate.
Cockpit area is painted U.S. interior green and basic parts are dry-fitted into place:
Also at this point, I cut the area for the window and installed the clear part. There was a small
gap that I filled with putty and sanded. Later, I'll have to polish the clear window to make it
Assembled and painted cockpit:
Once the cockpit was assembled and painted, I built and partially painted the engine, and then the fuselage can be
assembled. There were more never-to-be-seen-again components in the fuselage forward of the cockpit.
Fuselage halves fit together nicely despite all that interior stuff. The fixed part of the wing and the horizontal stabilizer also fit
well. The engine cowling is molded in clear plastic to show off engine details if the modeler wishes to do it that way. I have
painted the inside of it with interior green.
The folding outer wing parts are fitted. Fit here was okay, but not as good as other areas of the model.
Painting started with painting the aircraft undersides white. I normally use enamels, but for white I use Tamiya acrylic white.
Enamel white will yellow over time. Acrylic doesn't. After the white dried, I sprayed the tops of the wings in dark sea blue.
It was left to dry for a couple of days.
When the paint on the wings dried, they were masked off and intermediate blue was sprayed on the fuselage and tail. Then
back to dark sea blue for the upper fuselage. I tweaked the color demarcation lines and painting was done....
V. Finishing up/Decals/Details
Decals applied. The Eagle Strike aftermarket decals were perfect and no problems were encountered
Clear flat coat applied, and final assembly. Not shown here, but the model was finished and weathered with the usual
recipe... Artist's oil paints, pastel chalks and colored pencils. Random areas were carefully drybrushed with a flat aluminum
paint to simulate chipped paint.
One last problem encountered.... As I was finishing up I had to put some clear light
parts along the fuselage center line. The problem came because Trumpeter didn't
make the locating holes for these parts large enough. In my attempts to attach one
of these, it went flying off into space, never to be seen again. I ended up having to
carve a new one from a piece clear sprue, filing and sanding to shape. After I
dipped in in some Future, it looked fine and I got it successfully attached.
Overall this wasn't a bad model kit to build. Others have commented about shape problems along
the fuselage sides, but I'll be darned if I see 'em. I'm no expert on details of any particular airplane,
so I guess ignorance is bliss. Due to a few glitches in the assembly, most notably having to cut out
those side windows, I would rate this Trumpeter F6F-3 kit as a B+. I do understand why Trumpeter
did this. They were also releasing a F6F-5 model as well, and that version does not have those
side windows. Businesswise, it doesn't make sense to toll up two sets of fuselage molds just for one
minor difference in details. I still don't like it, however. As for the other things I used in this
project...the Eagle Strike decals, Eduard seat belts, paints by Xtracolor, Model Master, and
Tamiya...They all rate A+ in my book.
One final suggestion from Inky: