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Fündekals first foray into REALLY big scale! F6Fs for the Airfix monster

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This is the tentative plan.  We've found some interesting looking airplanes that haven't been done to death.  We're fairly confident that somebody out there will do a -5N conversion, although given that literally the only changes are a pretty simple cylindrical radar pod and the relevant display on the instrument panel (most wartime -5Ns didn't have the 20mm cannons), it's not that hard to do yourself.  The -5P is even simpler, and one of the ones we found off the Bunker Hill even lacks the camera mount (we're stumped on why or how that is too...).  Regardless, we think these markings will really spruce up your Airfix gargantua.  As noted elsewhere, only the very small stuff like airframe stencils (which are provided in the correct style of Grumman-specific lettering), BuNos, kill flags, etc will be silkscreen printed.  All of the larger markings will be provided as vinyl masks.  

Not sure if we're going to be able to sneak this in in time for Chattanooga or not, but if not, look for them in the early autumn (Cartograf closes down for the month of August, like civilized people everywhere should do...).  I need to play around with some masking material in the meantime.


Again, if I could borrow someone's kit to make sure everything is going to fit right, I'd be most grateful.  I'll pay your postage both ways and give you a set of the decals/masks for your trouble!





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6 minutes ago, Iain (32SIG) said:

Unrelated to Hellcats - sent a message the other day to the Fündekals Facebook page re. postage to UK for a couple of sheets I'm looking at.  :)




I'm taking a possibly permanent break from Facebook for a while.  Jonathan handles all of the shipping.  You can email him via the link on our web page.

Edited by Jennings Heilig
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37 minutes ago, LSP_Ray said:

Nice selection, Jennings! I kinda like 58574 from the Essex. I assume the markings are for two different time periods. Did they both carry the kill markings? 


Interestingly, we can't find a single pilot from the earlier (CVG-15) period who had 12 kills.  But we found later footage (CVG-4) showing her clearly without the kill markings and with the revised tail markings and the yellow nose.  She kept the big cowl numbers the whole time though.



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2 hours ago, Jennings Heilig said:

I've been the one maintaining our presence, but I just really needed not to be on FB at all for a while.  It does nothing good for my mental wellbeing or my blood pressure these days.


I got off FB about a year ago on a temporary basis, but I've felt so much better since, it's likely a permanent thing.

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Great news!     I just got my Airfix Hellcats (2) and have been studying the instruction sheet and fondling parts.    Even started a "wish list" for aftermarket stuff.    Your upcoming sheet will take care of the decals.   Been wanting to do a VF-81 Hellcat for years and can't wait to start this beauty.


Are you thinking about issuing this set in other scales?     Hope so.

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So Wally and I have been geeking out about Hellcats all day.  What’s interesting is that we *think* we’ve discovered some new information on the -5P version.  It appears that there were two different types of -5Ps - one with an oblique camera mount on the left side aft of the wing (the known, “common” version).  There also appears to be another variant that lacked the oblique mount, but carried a vertical mount in the belly.  We found film shot aboard USS Cape Gloucester (CVE-109) with photographer’s slates that talk about doing photo mapping along the coast of China in 1945.  You can’t do photo mapping with an oblique camera, and that jives with other photos we’ve found of what appears to be a -5P off the Bunker Hill (see above) that lacks any cameras.  But now we’re thinking it may have been one of the ones with the vertical mount.  Research continues.





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There's some info on PR Hellcats in Eyes for the Phoenix: Allied Aerial Photo-Reconnaissance Operations South-East Asia 1941-1945, Geoffrey J Thomas (Hikoki, 1999).  From P 89:

 “The first PR aircraft operational aboard carriers were 'Navy-yard modified' F6F-3 Hellcats, fitted with various oblique and vertical camera installations remotely-operated from the cockpit.


These aircraft were usually fitted with Fairchild K.171 6-in and K18/24-in cameras. Maximum speed was 391mph, cruising speed 200mph and range 850 miles. The service ceiling was 39,400 ft. Camera-fitted F6F-3s of US Navy Squadron VF-12 were operational with Air Group 42 aboard the 'fast carrier' USS Saratoga (CV-3) by the end of January 1944.”


And the Brit angle from P96:

“With a view to future operations, the Supreme Commander, who had been blamed for the disaster of the Dieppe Raid which failed partly through a lack of Intelligence concerning enemy dispositions, had become a keen supporter of photo-reconnaissance. He made a personal request to the Admiralty for the formation of a naval PR Unit to provide preliminary intelligence and post raid photography following bombardments and air-strikes. In consequence, No.888 Sqn of the Fleet Air Arm was reformed as a PR squadron in the UK on 10 June 1944.


These first Hellcat Mk.1(P) aircraft (IV-serials), modified by the Blackburn Aircraft Co in the United States, each had the facility for mounting an oblique camera in the lower fuselage with a window aft of the port wing, as required for tactical reconnaissance. As 888 Sqn later recorded, they had no provision for mounting vertical or 'split-vertical' cameras and, as delivered, were unsuitable for PR work although they differed internally from the fighter Hellcats in having trimming-tab and arrester-hook handles positioned high, clear of the required camera mounting positions.


They were soon further modified for 888 Sqn's PR role; 'Type I' mountings in the fuselages of these aircraft were able to carry all types of American and British cameras and any two in combinations. Each of 888 Sqn's aircraft was thus able to carry a K.16-7in vertical and a K.18-24in vertical camera, two F.24-20in split vertical or one F.52-30in camera within the large rear fuselage.”


Hope that's of some use; at least it explains why there were at least two different configurations.


Like the look of the decal sheet - if they were 1:32 I might be interested.  And of course, you just haven't shown us the FAA options on the sheet yet, have you? (He asked hopefully :whistle:)

Edited by MikeC
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Great news Jennings 

I hope this project is a success


What materials you are planning on using for the masks?


May I suggest using kabuki tape as an option instead of traditional vinyl?


Maketar do this btw and I go for kabuki every time: it goes round compound shapes much better and does not shrink like vinyl.


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I'd like to second nmayhew's suggestion regarding material for masks.    Vinyl takes a very distant second place to yellow kabuki tape masks for exactly the reasons he stated.


I go with kabuki masks every time they are available.    Please give this careful consideration.

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