F6F-5 Hellcat Late - Profipack Version
Eduard's latest release in their Hellcat series is a F6F-5 late in the Profipack set which contains lots of photoetch, resin wheels, a masking set and the sprues needed to make a late version. The set also comes with five olive sprues and one clear sprue which have wonderful panels lines and the lapped seams in the fuselage. The photoetch has one brass fret and one colorized one with lots of cockpit parts including a wonderful dozen for the instrument panel alone. The kit also has an excellent decal sheet with markings for four planes:
- VF-12 (or VBF-12), USS Randolph, May 1945
- LCDR T. Hugh Winters, VF-19, USS Lexington, October 1944
- VF-29, USS Cabot, January to March 1945
- White 115, "Death and Destruction", Multiple Pilots, VF-83, USS Essex, May 5th 1945
There's also all the needed stencils. There also options for open/closed canopy, bombs or rockets and extended or retracted tail hook.
Construction starts with the cockpit and I elected to use the photoetch all in so some parts removal is needed and well indicated in the instructions. The instrument panels and belts really enhance the cockpit. If you are adding a fuel tank, you need to cut out a slot a marked. Once done, the cockpit is added alone with the tail wheel and you can close the fuselage. If you are adding a fuel tank, you need to cut out a slot a marked. Start with the front and slowly work backwards making sure the parts are aligned and you will be rewarded with a good fit. the tail planes and rudder and built and added. Make sure the alignment is square- fit is excellent.
I skipped a couple steps and built the wings next. There are separate ailerons and flaps. Make sure you drill out any needed holes. The guns are added which is a pain trying to sand around them - I would use tubing if I did it over. The wheel well inserts are also added and you can then can close the wings up. Add all the needed parts to the wheel wells at this time also. I built and installed the main gear as the undercarriage was the same color. The wings can be added to the fuselage and once again, pay attention to alignment. I added the wing pylons too as I intended to add the bombs.
I built the engine cowling as it is the same color as the fuselage. The windscreen was added and masked as well as the canopy. the color scheme is simple- navy blue. This took several coats to get nice and smooth and Modelmaster paint was used. This was set aside to dry and I decided to build the engine and wheels.
The engine builds up nicely and the photoetch ignition harness really sets it off. There are also photoetch for the engine markings and plates. I cleaned and prepped the prop. The resin wheels were cut off the sprues and a small seam line sanded. These were prepped and painted. Lastly, the fuel tank was prepped and painted white.
I decided to add the bombs and built them but the fins being photoetch were really difficult. After several tries. I gave up and left them off until I find a set.
The decals were added and were excellent. The white had good opacity over the dark blue and they snuggled down well. I gloss coated and gave the plane a medium gray wash. This was flat coated and then some light pastels added. I added the engine canopy, antennae, fuel tank and all the other small bits and flat coated the kit and peeled off the masks. the clear lights were added and the green and red added and the plane called done.
This kit is superb. Good fit, great markings and fun to build. Highly recommended. My thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent kit.