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1/24 Airfix F6F-5 Hellcat "Kicked Up A Notch" June 10/21: Fuselage Closed


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Hi Chuck

Another crazy good build.
 

Just a thought on the AI since we are splitting hairs.  If it was suction driven it won’t be erect as depicted till the engine runs and most likely not with the red flag in view.

 

Nick

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Chuck;

I love your belts.  I think you're doing a great job again.  I learn so much from you and all the other amazing modelers on this site. 

Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and skill with all of us.

Nick

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Life and work have stalled this build, so no modeling updates today, but I do have an important update for those of you who might want to buy some or all of the Adriatic Models resin that I used in the cockpit:  Adriatic Models website is now up and running here!:

 

Adriatic Models

 

As mentioned many times, the quality of this resin is outstanding and it has a bit more flex than most resin, which makes fine details like tiny switches, etc. less prone to damage and for all the parts I used, nothing broke.  Being 3D printed, large parts like the rear cockpit wall will have to be sanded a bit, but that was easy, while the small parts can be used as is.  I recommend cutting the parts off the casting blocks with sprue cutters well back of the parts, then clean them up with a #11 knife or small razor saw as required.  Also, all of the parts took paint easily without any prep and there were no adhesion issues.

 

Thanks again to Giovanni for sending me these parts (for free!), to demonstrate their use in this kit.  Combined with the Airscale instrument panels (also free!) this cockpit was truly "Kicked Up A Notch", which you can now all do as well.

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to 1/24 Airfix F6F-5 Hellcat "Kicked Up A Notch" May 22/21: Adriatic Models Launch
  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

June 10/21

 

 

It’s been a month since my last update, so I thought I’d throw something out there to keep this build alive and prove it hasn’t hit the SOD, albeit slowly as the summer months are here and I spend more time outdoors than indoors at my desk.  This kit is so much different than other kits I have worked on, so I have made many changes to how I usually do things as follows:

 

  • All rivet detail is quite strong, so I don’t need to re-punch many of them, which is a welcome change.
  • Panel lines are super tight and the fuselage has almost none of them, with raised panels overlapping each other from front to back with no specific engraved panel line.  Another welcome change, but also one that creates challenges when repairing seam joins.
  • The instructions are the best ones I have ever used by a large margin.  They are clear on 71 pages with 310 build steps, but many of these steps are for the flying (no landing gear) version or one with folded wings, which I’m not going to do.  There is also a symbol of the version at the top of every page to keep you on track.  I wish all kits had instructions like these!
  • The fuselage and wings have nice “oil canning” detail which is nice to have, but these large surfaces are also quite rough and sanding them smooth without removing some of this lumpy detail is hard to do.  It can be done, but it takes a lot of extra time to surgically sand small individual areas rather than broadcast sanding the entire part.

 

Since I like to show every build step, this next update of closing up the fuselage is a bit boring, but I think very important.  The rear wheel well and landing hook assembly should be cleaned up and painted and surprisingly to me, everything is painted the same color as the outside surfaces, in this case Dark Gloss Sea Blue.  I’m using MRP-014 for this, which is super dark, so not much will be visible inside the wheels well once the fuselage is closed up, so I painted the arrestor hook aluminum to add some color contrast, even though the instructions call for dark blue.  This hook needs lots of sanding and cleanup to get it to slide easily within its recess, but it works pretty well when you do.

 

 

9eBvzu.jpg

 

 

HoTlve.jpg

 

 

The fuselage halves fit together fairly well for such large parts and all panels matched at the seams, but for some reason the front area in front of the windscreen left a fairly large gap, while the firewall was nice and tight to the inside of the fuselage halves. 

 

 

METMWq.jpg

 

 

The fix would have been to sand down the firewall on either side to get the gap to close, but a dry fit of the front windscreen indicates that with this gap it fits quite well and if anything, it is a bit too wide to begin with.  Since it’s a lot easier to deal with ordinary plastic than hard clear plastic, I left the gap alone and filled it with styrene strip and sanded it smooth.

 

 

hLfMi3.jpg

 

 

The F6F Hellcat book by Kinzey and Sakal indicates that Airfix used an F6F-5, BuNo 79192, at the New England Air Museum as their main reference, which is a late version that should only have one recognition light on the spine, so the front one should be removed.  Here you can see the fuselage join after gluing and no repairs.

 

 

5BQlfS.jpg

 

 

On the bottom at the front, you need two holes drilled for the central fuel tank if you are installing same (Parts Q14, G15), while the central post should be cut off.

 

 

NhmaYS.jpg

 

 

yYlnJb.jpg

 

This next pic shows the seam repaired using CA glue and a needle in a pin vice to replace the lost rivet detail.  In order to retain the lumpy overlapping panel recesses, the spine should only be sanded perpendicular to it, rather than parallel to it.  I decided that with such strong and clean rivet detail throughout the model, I am only going to add a dark wash of Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color to those areas that I repair, in order to reveal flaws.

 

 

d2IGCt.jpg

 

 

The top of the tail has the antenna mast already installed which is annoying and very easy to break, to I strengthened it with some plastic tubing while I work on the rest of the model.

 

 

bZHXax.jpg

 

 

A few panel lines at the rear are quite weak, so I enhanced them by re-scribing them.  Ghost seam lines can still be seen due to paint seepage, but the dark wash does not reveal any flaws that need fixing.

 

 

E7Pe2a.jpg

 

 

The worst fit so far was the join where the IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe) lights came together, which was quite rough with lots of deep gaps.  I sanded off the surface detail, filled the gaps, then rescribed the outer surround rings to clean this up.  When the lenses are inserted into the recesses, the remaining gaps should disappear and if they don’t, thankfully this is on the bottom!

 

 

yJD0sD.jpg

 

 

Now here’s a big tip:  There are 3 tubular features that go from the floor of the cockpit to the sides of the fuselage (parts D1, D2 and D3), with 2 on the right starboard side.  The rear one, D3, needs to fit under the wiring harness of Part E21 on the cockpit wall, which is a very tight fit.  After dry fitting the fuselage sides together several times and getting this right, I managed to glue the fuselage sides together with this tube on top of the harness, rather than underneath it.   Aghh!  :BANGHEAD2:    Thankfully the glue was still soft, so I was able to remove it and re-install it properly, but I had to cut off the bottom tab in order to get it to fit.

 

 

DYYZOc.jpg

 

 

The glare shield and instrument panel fit nice and tight to the sides, so that gap at the front is held open by more than just the firewall.

 

 

Y1erP2.jpg

 

 

QkqASy.jpg

 

 

Thankfully at 1/24 scale, you can still see most of the cockpit detail with the fuselage closed up, so giving this area extra attention isn’t a waste of time like it can be on so many other 1/32 WWII fighters.

 

 

qEEupV.jpg

 

 

So that’s it for now, with my next focus on the windscreen fit, which is kind of sloppy.  I have a plan….  ^_^

 

 

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to 1/24 Airfix F6F-5 Hellcat "Kicked Up A Notch" June 10/21: Fuselage Closed
Posted (edited)

Thanks Guys!

 

1 hour ago, shark64 said:

Looking good Chuck. Is this going to be  clean or dirty bird?

 

Semi-clean/dirty, as though it had only seen a few months of service, which would have been likely.  I'm not going to beat it up, but it's not going to be pristine either!

 

1 hour ago, JayW said:

Chuck - that is sooo cool.  You know, for a model that was designed digitally, I am surprise the forward fuselage had such a gap!  But I know you - when you are done with it, the flaw will be undetectable.

 

Thanks Jay.  I'm not entirely convinced that it's a true kit flaw and it could be a bit of user error, but with a tight fitting firewall and instrument panel, it's hard for me to understand what I could have screwed up, although anything is possible with so many pieces.  In any case, the engine will hopefully be the focus of this build, which means that the side panels will be left off, so a tight fit forward of the firewall isn't necessary.  Further, as shown above, that windscreen is quite wide, so this "flaw" may be a blessing.  The windscreen on my Italeri CF-104 was too wide for the fuselage and to sand it down on the sides and replace removed fastener detail was quite tricky to do on clear plastic without cracking it, so with the extra width it should be much easier this time.

 

Cheers,

Chuck

 

Cheers,

Edited by chuck540z3
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Chuck thank you for that very informative update.  But I do have a question.  Where did you get your MRP Paint?  I live in London Ontario and there is none to be found in this area.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nick said:

Chuck thank you for that very informative update.  But I do have a question.  Where did you get your MRP Paint?  I live in London Ontario and there is none to be found in this area.

 

 

HobbyWorld USA, but it comes with a catch after ordering this paint 3 times and about 60 bottles of paint.  Probably due to the pandemic and increased demand, you have to nag them to place your order after you have paid for it, and every order had back-ordered bottles of paint despite the fact that they were "in-stock" when I ordered them, which again I had to nag them to send later.  Eventually I got what I wanted over several months, but it was a big fight every time with several emails.  Still, they are the only game in town that will send MRP paint from the US or Canada due to our stupid Canada Post rules about shipping "volatile substances" across our borders, while we can still get paint through the mail if it originated in Canada.  Did I mention that it's stupid!?  Hopefully we get a Canadian supplier soon, to eliminate this hassle.

 

One thing I would recommend is to check out the other MRP retailers on their website below.  HobbyWorld USA has been out of MRP-014 Sea Blue for months and I obviously need this paint bad for my model, since it covers most of it, including the rear wheel well before I could close up the fuselage.  I started at the top and found that most of these retailers would not ship to Canada for the reasons given above, but some will, which is where I got my Blue paint.  Good luck!

 

MRP Retailers

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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Chuck those are the exact 2 spots I had issues on mine...way back in page two I mentioned my difficulties with those tubes. My gap forward of the windscreen wasn't as big, but I attributed it to paint build up--the tolerances are that tight.  In the end, it helped as my windscreen was bigger like yours. A serendipitous moment in modeling if there is one!

 

As you move forward, the engine compartment is more tricky--lots of room for hamfisted builders like myself to get things out of alignment. All I can say is test fit and then do it again 3 more times!  Step 200 even has a call out, and I can guarantee that parts K4/K12 will cause a misalignment as they show you not to do.  The end result is spectacular though and will look great with your skills!  Thanks for taking time to document and I'm looking forward to more.

-Peter

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