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Hasegawa F6F Hellcat

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Finally got some stuff cleared out of the way so I can do a project to honor Russ. The Hellcat is a really tough and rugged aircraft with forgiving flight characteristics. the Hasegawa kit has some really good features and options for the -3 or -5 version. It's an inexpensive kit that I think would be right down Russ's alley. To start with it has some really cool box art of a -3 and a -5 from the Hornet carrier jumping all over some Betty bombers...good action shot that Russ would make some comical comments about. After that he'd eat a few jello cups and them go blow up some model of a battleship that was floating on a pond or something like that.

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Another bright spot about this kit is the engine. Until Technics and other aftermarket companies finally produced engines in 1/32, this kit was sought after for the P&W 2800 alone. It made a great replacement / upgrade for the Corsair and Thunderbolt kits. It had individually molded cylinder and exhaust pipes with very good detail. It is still more accurate than the recently produced Trumpeter kit engine, even after all these years.

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This engine can be super detailed and really looks the part when it's all buttoned up. I just couldn't resist slapping mine together real quick and I"ll add the paint and details later. Mine had been in the box for a long time and was missing one of the cylinders so I robbed one from the Revell A6M5 kit.....heee hee hee....just the way Russ would like it. An engine cylinder from a model produced by a rival company and of an enemy aircraft. Once it's painted nobody will ever know.

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Here's a shot of the same engine that a friend of mine did about 16 years ago. Woody Von Dracek of "Archers Fine Dry transfers" was going to super detail his own F6F and had gotten this far before I adopted the kit. I've been hanging on to it all these years and now I"m finally going to get 'er done. I thinik this is another method Russ would approve of. I sure miss that guy.

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The kit has a good cowling where the "smile" of the Hellcat has the right look. The only problem is that the air intakes are boxed in.

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Well, thats nothing you can't cure with a little work from the handy dandy dremel tool. You gotta do some cutting, burning or grinding on the kit pieces or it just doesn't feel like a work of Russ's. Well atleast now that beautiful P&W will be able to breath better.

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Moving on the the wings, I think whoever did the panel lines was drinking some pretty strong coffee at the time. They're deep and wide but atleast they're mostly in the right places when compared to references. I don't think Russ would spend hours filling and sanding these so I'm not going to either. I figure a couple of primer coats under the right color and they'll be just right for weathering...we'll see. Looks like this one will be a -5 since I've already drilled out the holes for the HVAR rockets to fit in.

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The kit also offers the option of exposed machine gun bays which have pretty good detail but can be upgraded pretty easily. The machine gun parts and ammo trays are all nice but I'm going to have my wings all buttoned up. Notice the kit wings give trim tabs on both ailerons, this is correct to do a -5 or if you want to do a -3 you just cut or grind off the port side. The kit wings also have these little tubes that stick out from the machine gun openings, they're bogus and should be trimmed off and sanded smooth. the nav lights are molded the same color as the rest of the wing but I'll cut them out and use clear sprue or 5 minute epoxy to make the clear lenses and add the red and green bulbs inside.

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One very nice feature is that the flaps are seperate pieces and done in very good detail aside from a few injection pin marks that can easily be filled. The Hellcat has huge wings, more square feet than even the P-47 and the flaps were very noticeable. Having that option to pose the flaps as you'd like helps add some character to me and can change the look of the aircraft noticeably. The fabric detail looks good to me where most kits tend to over do this so that it looks like a seahorse and every rib can be counted.

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The centerline fuel tank has the right look for the very late war type which did not have the vertical ridge that went all the way around the seam. If you're going to do the earlier type of tank that ridge would need to be added and can be done easily with stretched sprue or styrene rods. The kit parts for the fuel tank braces look ok but are a bit thick when compared to reference images.....hmmmmmm.

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It mates up to the model very well as it is, just pops in place with no glue. I like that but still think it needs to be tweaked, I'll get back to that later.

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Another jewel in thiskit is the tail wheel. I drilled out the lightning holes and it's ready to paint and matches up very well when compared to photos. It's also nice and thick which will help with the weight of this model. The Hellcat is really quite a brute of an aircraft and in 1/32 it has an impressive size.

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