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1/24 F6F-5 Hellcat--In Flight


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I'm at a holding point with my EA-6B conversion, while I figure out how to make the canopies.  As I mull those over, I figured I'd start this beast!

 

For years I've been travelling to Saint Louis for work. Sometimes every other week--one constant is that I always stopped at Mark Twain Hobbies. If you haven't been, I highly suggest it. It's the best hobby shop I've seen (maybe the old Colpar Hobby Shop in Denver), outside of Tokyo. The end of August was my last trip...and I picked up the Airfix 1/24th F6F-5 Hellcat kit.

 

Here's the obligatory box shot (the box is HUGE):

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Now here's my plan...

I actually built a test subject early during the COVID shut down. Picked up some Eduard F6F overtrees from Sprue Brothers. That and the Shinden cost me roughly $20.  The Hellcat is mounted on a standard metal rod. Key is that it's hidden inside the smoke!  I was messing around in the garage one day and had a can of expanding spray foam. Thought it looked like smoke from an explosion... A few minutes of me messing around produced what you see here.

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I've got a Tamiya 1/72 Zero that I'll use for this scene.  Haven't decided if I'll motorize it or not yet...to be determined.  As it is, the Airfix kit has options to be built in flight and space in that gigantic radial for an electric motor.  Have some time before I have to make a decision, so we'll cross that bridge when the time comes!

 

As for markings, I've always been partial to CVG-12 off USS Randolph late in the war. I don't know why, but I just love those markings! If you haven't read it, I highly suggest Charles Leonard's "Crommelin's Thunderbirds" for a great story! https://www.amazon.com/Crommelins-Thunderbirds-Group-Strikes-Heart/dp/1557505098/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=crommelin's+thunderbirds&qid=1601760207&sr=8-1

 

Here's a great shot of #32 from the kit (check out the wonky markings and how some of them are peeling away on the control surfaces!):

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If I don't do a bird from VF-12/VBF-12, I'll likely do one from USS Ticonderoga with the gigantic white triangle.  Again, don't have to decide just yet, so I'll delay that decision till the time comes!

 

Started cutting plastic today. No real pics as of yet--just done with the first 5 or so steps in the instructions which is the cockpit. Will get some soon though. Kind of fun to work on something this big...makes the parts easy to see! :) 

 

More soon

-Peter

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ha, I hope I can! Several things working against me at the moment.
 

1) there are no good figures in this scale to put in the cockpit...

2) I somehow ended up starting our kitchen remodel this weekend. Bought cabinets on sale awhile back, and they have been sitting in our dining room since July. My better half started asking if it’d be done before the holidays (like we’re going to have guests at this rate?) So instead of working on this Hellcat or the Prowler this weekend, I was tearing out drywall and doing electrical work. It’s sitting there mocking me at my workbench when I go down to grab a beer at the end of the day...
 

On the plus side, the cockpit is painted and partially assembled. Need to put down the decals too. No point in going hog wild as a pilot will cover most of the great detail. Am debating several options at this point. Either stick with my plan which likely involves an aviator wearing a leather jacket due to the cold weather during the March 45 Tokyo raids, or go with a Sundowner bird off the Hornet. Have seen some great pics of their pilots flying with rolled up sleeves during Hornet’s strikes on Japanese airfields in Indochina/Vietnam. The figure I have in mind is from a 1/25th car kit and is wearing short sleeve coveralls. Easy enough to modify...I hope anyway! 
-Peter

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OK, thought I’d at least show what little bit I’ve done (not much). This kit is a gem though and easily the best Hellcat in any scale. 
Here’s the cockpit. First time I’ve tried black basing. Used a super thinned Vallejo Interior Green , but I mixed a bit of yellow and brown to get a bit closer to color pics (specifically that color photo of David McCampell in his cockpit). Followed it up with a quick dry brushing of the straight color. Still need to do some silver chipping, but quite happy with the results.

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Tonight on the way home from work, I stopped by the local hobby shop and picked up this kit. Was debating another, but this had 2 figures to mess with and was $7 cheaper, so I went with it. Baffling that there’s no 1/24 scale figures for this kit. There’s one I know of, but it’s to buy the pattern to then 3D print...and this was a cheaper option. Also kind of digging the 70s muscle car dudes straight outta “Dazed and Confused!” Alright, alright, alright!

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Here’s the sprue

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Of course I just Had to see if the figure would work. They’re 1/25th, so a bit smaller, so I split the legs and added some sprue to widen his hips. Added a couple of pieces to the torso so he’s  tall enough. A quick fit check shows it should work!

 

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I’ll have to decide whether to go with an aviator in a leather jacket or khakis. I’ll be venturing forth with some Apoxie Sculpt to do it...think it should work, but worth a shot! Also have another torso should I go astray with this one. Not a figure modeler by any means, but there’s a first time for everything.

 

Now off to work on some cabinets...

-Peter

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Ok, so by no means am I a figure modeler.  But I was sick of installing cabinets,  so took a break tonight. Was kind of fun to imagine how he'd look moving the control and firewalling the throttle...

 

Last night, I'd made the beginnings of the G3 leather jacket out of Apoxie Sculpt. Looked at mine while sculpting it. I did leave the pocket off the front as I figure they'll be covered by the life preserver. The fur collar was made with putty and then dapped with a toothbrush. 

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After that dried overnight,  it was onto the arms. I used a piece of sprue the approximate length to get his hand close to the controls. Will add a hand from the figures later, and nip off the control stick to put it firmly in his hand post painting. 

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And here you can see with the jacket sleeve. Kind of digging how the elastic cuffs turned out. All the shaping was done with xacto blades and other tools from my workbench. Apoxie Sculpt is great as its slow drying and can take water to help keep it malleable. 

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Rinse and repeat for the throttle hand...

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And here's how our headless horseman looks right now. Will start working the head and helmet next... will add the life preserver and parachute harness etc as well.

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All in all, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. And I get a custom figure that suits my needs. Figure by the time I'm done, this thing will look like one of those Buck Danny comics from France!

 

Thanks for following along!

Peter

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49 minutes ago, Out2gtcha said:

Wow, that looks amazing! Great sculpting for sure

Thanks! As I alluded, it was kind of fun and something I haven’t done before. I’ll have some cleanup to do, but I figure between paint and a closed canopy, it’ll look the part. Hopefully I can pull off the cloth helmet and goggles. Still debating an oxygen mask. I am not the best at painting figures—at least flesh. It’s one of the reasons I decided to go with the jacket: less flesh to paint! Even less if I cover up his face with a mask and goggles! :D

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Ok, here's some quick snaps to show the head. Took one of the heads from the garage kit and used bits of sprue to make rhe headphones and the goggles. Used a bit of putty to fill / blend it all in. 

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Next up is to add the Mae West and parachute harness. Will add some pockets on the flight suit legs as well. Also the hand and control stick...as I look at his right arm its a bit longer than the left. Might need to perform some surgery. All in all, am pretty happy with how he turned out. Hopefully will look good under paint! 

-Peter

 

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Alrighty Amigos

 

Proof of life. Managing to sneek down to the work area and do a couple of things here and there. Half hour tops since my last post. 

Added some more details to the figure such as the pockets on his legs. Not perfect, and slightly exaggerated...but should look good buried in the depths of the cockpit (and remember the rudder pedals are underneath the IP, so be hard to make out too many details). Also fixed the right boot which was bent in the kit figures...just needs sanding to shape. Also did a little surgery on the right arm to make it the same length as his left.. Made the Mae West from .010 styrene,  with foil straps. Added a Comm cord to plug into the side console, plus wiring between the headphones. 

 

I wracked my brains trying to figure out how to make the torso harness (what the parachute attaches to). Couldn't find anything malleable enough and thick enough.  Then I remembered I had a piece of old school lead foil from a wine bottle. Probably been lugging that thing around in my spares bin since the mid 80s. Has mode 2 moves to Japan and back stateside even...but I digress! It was perfect! Have added the harness but haven't added the buckles yet. Will add those after painting,  just cause they're metal and I'll make them out of wire, so no use going blind tryng to paint 'em. Need to make an O2 mask to hang off his chest, and I think I'm ready for painting.  Then I can figure out how to make the seat belts and get him fastened in...then maybe the build will pick up steam 

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 That's it for now. Hopefully the next post will have some subpar painting to bring out the details!:lol:

Peter

Edited by easixpedro
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23 hours ago, AlbertD said:

You sir are an artist. Beautiful work.

Thanks...though I swear I don’t hold a candle to the other Petes (Pig and Airscale) around here. I’m giving them both a bad name! Ben too. Seriously there is so much talent on this forum it’s unreal. I’m just happy to share a bit of my hamfisted building with everyone.

 

And speaking of that, put the first layer of paint on tonight. Leather jacket actually looks pretty dang good, all things considered!

 

More soon!

-Peter

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