Airfix 1/24 F6F-5 Hellcat

By Malcolm Reid

Here is my first 24th scale build in 40 years - how time flies. This is the fantastic Airfix Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat - the obligatory box art shot (Airfix currently has the best box art IMHO).

This is the colour scheme I went for - not boring old dark sea blue.

O, what can I say about this kit? Well, it is rather large and quite complex. The stressed skin effect is great! But some issues to be aware of:

As you can see from the image, I built this with one wing folded. I'm not sure that was standard ops procedure, but I have seen one or two photos in that configuration. The reason for this was twofold: 1) to save space and 2) to show of the wonderful wing fold detail.

The engine panels fit really well except the two at the wing root. There is a particular step in the instructions which shows how to align the engine and bulkheads up - a really tight fit. I suspect I did not get mine to "click" in place. I added one or two wires behind the engine to add interest.

The instrument panel and cockpit detail out of the box are great but one can go to town if so inclined. I am not one of these people as I am the only person who will know what is in there. The plastic kit seatbelts are great and with the cushion decal, the seat looks really great.

According to the paint instructions the sliding part of the canopy is a single colour slate grey and doesn't follow the airframe camouflage.

I used EZ Line for the antenna wire, but it is a little too thin for 24th…

Colours were difficult to find out the bottle. I do not like Humbrol and our go to paints in South Africa are Tamiya for which one usually must concoct one's own mix. So, these are the recipes I used based on some really fine colour photos of various FAA aircraft from WWII. I think they look OK.

FAA Hellcats didn't use the rockets (apparently) so I went for two 500lb GP bombs.

Painting the inside of the undercarriage bays was easy: use the same colour as underside of aircraft.

The white of the front cowling is blown out in the photos - it is weathered...I promise!

Weathering as follows:

Airfix provides articulated ailerons, elevators and rudders and the landing flaps can be posed up or down. This is not in a gimmicky way per early Trumpeter kits. The hinges are really robust and the control surfaces fit closely to the wing without any unsightly gaps. Most of the photos of Hellcats show them with everything neat and tidy when it was with mine then.

I so thoroughly enjoyed this build that I took my 24th Mossie down from the shelf of doom (after resting there for close on 8 years) and have cleaned it using the garden hose to remove various spider nests...we will see how that one goes.

© Malcolm Reid 2021

Related Content

This article was published on Friday, March 12 2021; Last modified on Saturday, March 13 2021