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Hasegawa's 1/32 F6F-3/5 impressions

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I've built it a couple of times, and have a couple in my stash to build. It's a very good kit for its time (the early 70s), especially the R-2800 engine.  That said, there are some "quirks" to be aware of, as well as deciding which version you'll build (likely determined by the markings you choose), as there are things to delete, and things to add depending on doing the -3 or -5 Hellcat. I believe there are parts for both options in the kit. There are plenty of references on the Hellcat on line or in book form to help you out, if needed.

Cockpit- It's very basic and spartan. You can detail it a bit and it'll look okay, or find one of several aftermarket sets that were made for it. The cockpit opening is good sized, so doing some extra work here is worth it. Note that if you do the -3, it needs to have the bullet-proof glass added INSIDE of the windshield on top of the coaming. I'm not sure if that part is included.

Gear wells and gear: Again, good basic details (not truly accurate though), but no "detailing" to them. Aftermarket tires, adding some brake lines, and also the landing gear locks in the wells will go a long way in adding some interest and authenticity. They only give you the very end of the tailhook, but it was never seen extended unless it was landing, so it's good to go.

The Flaps- good news and bad news here.......the good news is they're separate and can be posed how you wish. The bad news is they were designed with a seam NOT on the trailing edge which is tougher to fill and hide. By the way...IF you add the rockets for the late -5 Hellcat, you need to add a thin cover (tape or very thin plastic) over the flap behind them. The Hellcat flaps were fabric covered, and they had to skin those bottom flaps with metal to protect them from the rocket exhaust; so cover the "fabric" look if you use the rockets.

The cowl flaps: Check on your variant...I believe the bottom ones get deleted (filled and sanded) for the later -5. Also, the small side bumps get left off the -5.

The windshield: the -5 had a flatter, taller front glass with built in bullet resistance; while the -3 windshield had a shorter front glass with a clear panel at the top center, and the separate bullet proof glass panel on the inside.

The rear windows: present on the -3 and very early -5s, then deleted....you'll have to open up the window areas (the kit has depressions on the inside for this), and this takes careful work to get a good fit. For the best look I recommend using some thinner clear sheet than the kit provided plastic, since you can cut those to size and fit them as easily as making the kit parts fit.

Tail planes: They have some odd circular depressions in the elevators that don't belong. Fill and sand them smooth. Same goes for the ones at the top of the tail fin.

Wing gun bays: good basic detailing which can be enhanced if you like. However, if you want to close them off, be aware the gun covers do NOT fit flush, so you'll need to work to blend them in properly.

Drop tank: pretty good, but the "straps" around them are partly on the tank and partly provided as braces under the fuselage...when they should look seamless.

Other "goodies": There's a few other things you can do to help add some authenticity....cut, fit, and sand clear plastic for the wingtip lights instead of just painting them; drill out the lightening holes in the tail wheel strut, drill out your gun barrels, drill out the exhaust pipes, add ignition wires to the engine, and add the IFF lights under the fuselage (totally absent on the kit).

If you want to fold the wing, it'll be a LOT of work and you'd have to track down some aftermarket or do a lot of scratchbuilding. Frankly, I'd build the Hasagawa kit with the wings out and get the Trumpeter kit if you want a Hellcat with folded wings.

The old Hasagawa kit is quite a good model, and will look very nice built OOTB with the canopy closed. If you want a "contest" level model, you'll need to use some elbow grease and enhance the model as listed above. Hope this helps!

Here's an OLD pic of one I built back in the 80s....1092067870_SanteeHellcat_NEW.thumb.jpg.5a93652718c3a941a7db6b9a3fb71851.jpg


Gil :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges
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