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  1. New Year, new model. The beloved bought me the Airfix 1:24 Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat for Christmas and I started it on Boxing Day. Engine just completed and I've saved all the photos up so here they are all in one build post. The P&W 2800 double wasp 10W is a little model all in itself and I think I spent more time researching this than most other models in their entirety. So to business. I'm sure most know that the crankcase of the engine is far to large in diameter to allow the various push rod rings and cylinder blocks to pass over it so lots of flexi file work needed as almost 1mm needs to come off across the diameter. I baulked at paying £9 for a resin one cast from a reduced master, after all this is what modelling's all about. While Airfix seem to have reduced the ejector pin marks, they've made up for it in seam lines so quite a bit of scraping and sanding needed. Once that's done, the cylinders need painting. The bottom halves I did in steel and the top halves in aluminium. I've used Vallejo Metal Colors as I think they're excellent. Quick drying, no mess and no smell and lovely coverage. The push rods were painted gloss black with aluminium ends. The crankcase colour was a first attempt at a mix but it had far too much blue in it. I read it should be Grumman grey but since the engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, not Grumman, I couldn't see that being the case and went for the engine grey specified. I finally settled on a mix of 4:3:1 of Mr Color Aqueous RLM 75 Dark Grey: Tamiya Flat White: Tamiya Blue. It seemed to be not too far away from some of the reference material. You can also see on this photo that I've removed the basic plastic links provided on the parts and replaced them, as they were originally, with rubber hose. The jubilee clips are thin strips of tinfoil. The oil flange is flat black suitably chipped and oil stained. Once everything fits onto the crankcase properly, it's time for the ignition wiring. I used 0.6mm braided cord from Hiroboy along with 1:24 sparkplugs in metal. I was a bit mean to spend a small fortune on scale nuts for the ends of the sparkplugs so I used 1mm evergreen hexagonal rod, drilled and painted silver then sliced into thin slivers and slipped over the end of the sparkplug before the ignition wire was attached. The intake pipes are gunmetal then brushed with copper and duraluminium till I was happy with the effect. The exhaust pipes go on very easily as long as you mark them up when they come off the sprues, otherwise it's a happy half hour mixing and matching. (me? never ) Paintwise, I followed a plan of painting them Tamiya red/brown then airbrushing with a very dilute solution of black/red brown as well as metallics and a light grey around the pipe ends. The heavy wear and chipping on the supercharger intakes is seen on many reference photos and was achieved by spraying first with a coat of duraluminium followed by chipping solution then a top coat of zinc chromate green. It's then a simple task to remove the green layer to the desired effect. Oil effects (which don't show too well on the photos) are sprayed on as a mix of black/redbrown mixed with Alclad Aqua Gloss varnish and diluted with IPA. The oil tank cap is yellow and my eyes were given a great workout by deciding to put the "US 19 Gal" writing on there in individual wet decals Some pics of the engine ready to mount are below, I'll be needing to add a fair bit of non supplied pipework when the time comes but next it's onward and upward to the cockpit. Thanks for looking.
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