Gentlemen, let me introduce myself and my Airfix 1/24th scale F6F-5 building. A lot of words have been written about this kit, a lot of reviews are on the web, and yes, a lot of building threads as well, no doubt: this kit is the hot kit of the day.
I will not add pictures of the box or of sprues because they are well known, but I will dive soon into building. Being it my first thread, and my first time with a 1/24th scale I will appreciate any suggestion and criticism to enhance my work, they are welcome.
Airfix has done a very good job with this kit, IMO, and most important thing, has left to us a lot of details to deal with and to add, in a word a lot of fun.
My start is obviously from the cockpit and the first impression is that it is big, really big. Installing the P&W 2800 radial engine with its 1,34mt (52 inch) of diameter, US airplanes were large, if compared to the narrow airplanes wearing an in-line engine like the DB family, and result was a comfortable and roomy cockpit.
I started with removing all moulding lines and preparing pieces for extra detailing, then I moved one area at time to do my job, trying to had as many details as I could.
First of all, I removed all the plumbing lines and replaced them with lead wire and plastic card. Lead wire is a wonderful product but is very delicate and very easy to damage with pliers if you don’t pay attention, some time it’s sufficient a grim look to damage it, so I drilled holes where the clamps are, then fixed rods to reproduce clamps themselves and wrapped the first line gluing sturdily just to have a referring point and completed with all the others lines. If you pay attention with ca glue, you can do a very clean and nice work, not my case indeed, but I am quite satisfied with it.
Pedals were detailed as well, cutting the side cylinder from structure, replacing the lower support with copper wire of the right size and moreover spacing them form the pedals, as you can see on the real bird. A simple job but I think very necessary and quite effective.
Side consolles have been detailed too. Airifix has done a nice work here, and IMO, meaures, volumes and general appearance of these parts are good. I only reworked some particular that was over sized, sanding to size and reshaping where it was necessary. I think pictures can tell the story better than me
Photoectched parts are from Airscale 1/24 wonderful set, of course, but IMO it represents more a F6F-3 cockpit than a F6F-5, or better to say, it reproduces both versions. I will try to explain. Central console is provided with heater control panel and fluorescent light panel, I mean decals and holes on the panels. According to my documentation this is a feature of -3, not -5, where these panels were moved to the right console. Not a big problem, I filled the holes with putty and sanded smooth.
On the other hand, just the right console has the heather switch and radio master switch, 22a and 90 in the picture, in form of holes on photoetched part for these, typical of -5.
Airscale has done a smart job, IMO, leaving all the opportunities to modeler.
As I was working in this area I made from scratch the sliding hood control and added some lead wire here and there. I have not completed the parts with all details I want, however, as I will add them later, after the painting session.
To be able to close the airframe, I focused on the tail, and I found this area not completely satisfactory. First of all, I felt the necessity to resize the arresting hook case, adding some sprue. I made from scratch the two missing internal frames, trying to replicate the real thing as better as I could, and reshaped the original frame to accommodate the longer arresting hook. I apologize for the crude picture of parts with blurs and dirty, I had not realized how they were until I watched on the screen, and I cleaned everything before final assembling. The raw side surface of main frame is due to several “wet fit” with plastic glue while preparing the parts.
After a full Monday afternoon of cutting, measuring, sanding and gluing I finished my job, and I realized that not much of it will be visible when everything will be painted in dark blue and airframe closed. I will try with different shades of blue, but I not so convinced. Well, what can I say? I am a modeler, and modellers just want to have fun, and I had.
If the bird was a -3 with a three tones camouflage and white undersides and internal surfaces, well, it would have been nicer. A good exercise for the next Hellcat? Why not, I am sucker for a three tones bird. As the job is not perfect at all, acceptable for a “dummy” I would say, dark blue finish will be very forgiving.
I installed Aerocraft 1/24 rear landing gear at this stage because I wanted a tight fit with epoxy glue. Only some minor preparing was necessary, and some thinning of casted pins, a normal job.
What to say about Aerocraft set? It is very nice, beautifully casted and most important thing SOLID. IMO it is an indispensable set due to the weight of the finished model and the softness of plastic Airfix used for this kit.
Well I am, almost, ready for painting now. Some black primer to check faults and Interior Green a gogo.
I hope you will enjoy pictures and more soon to come, stay tuned.
Thank you for watching,