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1/24 Airfix F6F-5 Hellcat "Kicked Up A Notch" Apr 12/22: Finished!


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January 24, 2022



Not much modeling for me lately, because I’ve been really busy at work and I’m now happy to announce that after 44 years in the oil and gas business, with the last assignment of running a small private oil company that I started 17 years ago, I am now officially retired!  For me, the timing couldn’t be better, not just because I’m now 67 years old, but because oil companies are now vilified about the same as tobacco companies by some, despite the fact that everyone still “smokes” using fossil fuels.  That’s why oil and natural gas prices are so high right now, so it’s a good time to get out while they still are.


Theoretically I should be in a position to model a lot more without the hassles of work, but work has also impacted many other things in my life like a house in bad need of renovations, so maybe I’ll still be very busy as a general contractor and chauffeur to my grandchildren.  Time will tell.


Something that I’ve struggled with as I build this model is good reference photos of the rear of the engine, especially all the hydraulic and other lines just forward of the firewall.  There’s lots of pics from the side down low, but I can’t find any at wing level or higher looking downward.  If you guys know of any, I’d sure appreciate them.  I want to add a bunch more detail when the engine is installed, so I still have lots of time to find some.


With all the work I’ve put into the engine, this model will have the engine almost totally exposed all the time with only a few cowling and other panels attached.  Many pics of the Hellcat engine show that when the rear cowling panels are removed, so is the one-piece curved panel at the front of the wing root, like this guy is standing on.




Here’s a typical pic with this panel removed, which shows large Dzus fastener holes on the outboard part on the wing, but no holes on the inboard side.  Also note the completely open notch above, where the engine mounts enter the firewall.




The inside fasteners appear to be part of one of the lower panels over the intake, so when this panel is removed, so are the fastener holes.  Note the notch on this side as well, which has some sort of line entering the firewall at this location.  This is why I want more reference pics!




The upper notch on the kit parts is just a recess, so it should be cut out if you want it to look more accurate, while there isn’t really a curved wing root panel.  Instead, there is a large lower cowling Part M21 and 2 small upper wing panels, Parts M6 and M7.  If you want to leave them off like I do in the first pic above, the recess for these parts is too deep for scale.




So I made a number of changes, first by drilling out the big holes of the front supports on either side to make them a bit deeper.  I also had a few gaps where the cockpit fit the top of the wing, so I used a couple of styrene strips to cover them.




For the wing-root panel recess, I added some styrene strip to raise them a bit, then drilled holes completely through the wings.  Not completely perfect for scale, but a lot better than before.  For the holes on the firewall fuselage, I drilled them fairly deep, but not all the way through, because they look different and shallower on the first few pics above.  Hole spacing was approximately 4.5mm to match references.




On the starboard side, there are 2 holes that are fairly close to each other, while I didn’t cut the tab when I cut out the notch, because this part helps hold the engine mounts when they are glued in permanently.




The panel recess on the engine should also have fastener holes, which I wish I had known about before I painted it, because handling the engine erodes the paint every time I do, which is getting tiring.  I will make a number of touch-up repairs later, but only after the engine is finally installed.




Checking reference pics closely, this is where I think they should all go, as indicated by red dots.  Again, the spacing is about 4- 4 ½ mm and the bottom intake only has 2 large ones at the top and bottom, with some very fine ones in between that I didn’t bother with, since you’re unlikely to see them.




I will be added the top panel, M8, because it will help support the engine and it helps hide the gap at the front of the fuselage that I had to fill earlier.  Lots of parts still to add to that firewall, then detailed painting of everything.




You may have noticed that I finally masked off the canopy, which I’ve been avoiding because it’s so hard to do with nothing to grab onto behind the seat.  For those who might be interested, here’s how I did it, using lots of liquid mask to fill the tight recesses.






That’s it for now Gents.  No more alarm clocks, no more commutes, no more Zoom calls and no more work hassles, because did I mention, I'm retired!




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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to 1/24 Airfix F6F-5 Hellcat "Kicked Up A Notch" Jan 25/22: Engine Firewall Prep.
3 hours ago, dodgem37 said:

Something like this?

Image 4 - Grumman F6F Hellcat WW2 1940's archived manuals Carrier Fighter P&W R-2800

Found here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/373711811219?hash=item5702f5b293:g:-pUAAOSwlY5bsNpg




Note the overflow drain beneath the oil filler cap.  Very nifty detail.  I think “Hydraulic lines” may be a misnomer and maybe you shouldn’t think of them as such.  On this airplane, everything between the face of the firewall and the motor is going to be either electrical, oil lines, gas lines or mechanical linkage rods.  Also, now that you are retired, I think you’re going to find that you will have much less free time than before.  People who think retired folks sit around watching afternoon TV while guzzling beer or whatever have yet to be “retired.”

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Congratulations on the retirement Chuck. It has to be both liberating and a little scary.


The oil and gas industry here in Alberta has definitely changed over the last few years as you mentioned. Good time to get out. 

Although you no longer have the work commitments I’m sure you will keep busy. Hopefully not so busy you can’t find the time to amaze us with your incredible builds and always educational postings you give us.


Keep up the great work,



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Thanks everyone!


As for the "exploded parts" diagrams, spartacus2000 was kind enough to send me a bunch already which is certainly better than nothing, but there's nothing better than a pic of the real deal to get a better idea of where everything goes and the various colors.  For instance in the pic above, where is that gizmo on the bottom where all the oil lines go into?  On the firewall likely, and where exactly?  And where do those oil lines at the front plug into?  It's all still a mystery without real pics.




Edited by chuck540z3
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2 hours ago, chuck540z3 said:

For instance in the pic above, where is that gizmo on the bottom where all the oil lines go into?  On the firewall likely, and where exactly?  And where do those oil lines at the front plug into?  It's all still a mystery without real pics.


First, as a retired dude myself, congratulations Chuck!  As many have commented already, you may find yourself busier than you thought.  I have been, for a few years now, although part of the busyness involves modelling.  Some of my projects in 1/18 could be full time jobs if I let them.  Covid has also been a thing - I think I (or we) would be busier still if we felt we could freely spend more time away.  Hope that eventually changes for the better.


As for the firewall work - very well done so far (understatement!).  I too will be facing the firewall imminently.  But I have drawings and manuals to help, through Aircorps Library.  I do not recall any discussion on that or whether or not you subscribe to that site - they don't have anything on Tempests, and some of your past projects.  But they do have alot on USAAF and USN vintage aircraft.  The Hellcat collections leaves a bit to be desired - the drawing list may not be quite as complete as some (the F4U collection is pretty darned good).  And alot of drawings are tough to read - so faint.  And I don't like the F6F parts catalogue that much.


Nevertheless, the F6F parts catalogue is AN01-85FB-4.  It covers the engine oil system of course - a typical picture:




There is more too.  And the engineering drawing that shows all that stuff, including the "gizmo's" you mention, is "System Installation - Power plant - Oil", dwg number 26762.  It's faint, but it may answer alot of question.  


Edited by JayW
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to 1/24 Airfix F6F-5 Hellcat "Kicked Up A Notch" Apr 12/22: Finished!

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