F6F-5 Hellcat “Pacific Aces”
I recently received the Hasegawa 1/48 scale F6F-5 Hellcat “Pacific Aces” version. This is a very nice kit, and I was actually impressed by the details, especially in the cockpit. From my research, this is a re-release of their previous F6F-5 with a new set of decals covering a few late war aces. The two planes you have the option to build are ‘White 115’ of VF-83 from the USS Essex which was actually flown by three different Ensigns (Donald McPherson, Bill Kingston Jr. and Lyttleton Ward), and ‘White 12’ of VF-31 from the USS Cabot flown by Lt. J.G. Ray Hawkins.
I did a build for this review. There were a few tiny glitches, but the majority of the kit went together very well. Naturally, the seam down the back needed a tiny bit of filler, and there are a few parts that need to be filled and sanded because they were part of the F6F-3 and not on the -5 – at least, that is my theory on why I had to sand down the cowling and under the wings and scribe a few panel lines. I didn’t scribe the lines as nice as I should have; my impatience got the best of me. That being said, my build will not show pictures of the cowling underneath. I was really impressed with the fit of the wings and stabilizers – in fact, they went together so well I did not have to use any putty on them. Another impressive feature, in my opinion, is the three clear discs that you use to represent the position lights.
The only fit problem I encountered was between the wings and fuselage right behind the cowling. These seams will need some filler to look normal. You also need to cut and fill a hole on the spine of the fuselage because this version of the Hellcat had only 1 antenna.
Now, I did not paint the kit. The main reason for this – well, technically the only reason – is because the decals that came with the kit were a bit off-color (yellowed), and they had some moisture spots on them. So I will have to go another route there. I do want to say that I have literally dozens of Hasegawa aircraft kits and it is rare that there is a problem with the decals. In fact, I am working on another Hasegawa aircraft review at the moment and those decals were perfect, so take this inconvenience with a grain of salt. Most hardcore aircraft modelers I know use aftermarket decals anyway, so this should not prevent you from picking up this Hellcat if you want to build one.
Before people ask, I am putting a pilot into the aircraft, so I did not paint the seatbelts and the joystick handle because once he is in there you will not see those parts.
Despite having to put in a little extra work to fill in the few recessed areas to bring it to a more authentic version of the Hellcat, it was still a fun build. If you are looking for a Hellcat kit, this is a nice one to get.
I would like to thank Hasegawa and Hobbico for the review sample, and IPMS-USA for the review opportunity.