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F6f hellcats fighter model WII

16 Apr
2012

F6f hellcats fighter model WII,scale plastic model airplanes

The Easy Kits range from HobbyBoss has been both innovative and controversial, with opinions ranging from highly favourable to outright scorn. One thing many people seem to believe is that they are ‘a good idea for junior modellers and will help to encourage younger people to enter the hobby.’ While this is undoubtedly so, Mike Aldridge demonstrates that they can also be built by ‘grown ups’ to good effect HobbyBoss is a comparative newcomer on the modelling scene, and, as I understand it, a subsidiary or branch of Trumpeter (I’m open to correction on that score). Their range is growing ever more extensive, and already encompasses a diverse range of WWII aircraft, helicopters, and modern jets in various scales. The Hellcat is in their 1/72 collection and at first glance appears to be one step up from being a snap-tite kit. But this is more than a step up – ifs more like a quantum leap ahead.

The box art is somewhat curious – a photo of the finished model, flying at low level over a digitally imposed seascape, complete with twin plumes of spray billowing behind it – the sort of thing one would normally associate with Tomcats and Hornets at high speeds at low level than a piston engined aircraft – but I digress…

F6f hellcats fighter model WII,rc airplane model

On opening the box, the first thing one notices is that the fuselage and wings are a single moulding for each part, and that all the parts are neatly secured in a vacuum formed tray. The instructions are clearly printed on glossy paper, with full colour being used for the painting diagrams and the cover page.

Closer examination reveals that all panel lines are very neatly recessed, and the trailing edges of the wings are almost razor sharp. Cockpit detail consists of a basic tub and seat, along with a simple control column and gunsight. The wheel wells are shallow, and feature some spurious looking detail – but if taken in the context that these are pocket money kits, aimed at children and those wanting to try modelling, then it’s a whole lot more than has been offered in the past.

F6f hellcats fighter model WII,military kits

The instructions are well printed, and there can be no possibility of damage to the parts in the robust packaging

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The kit’s engineering ensures that any clean-up required is in less prominent areas on the finished article

F6f hellcats fighter model WII,diecast airplanes

The single piece fuselage

WII hellcat fighter

I commenced with the cockpit, gluing the seat to the tub before painting it in a lightened version of Bronze Green. As no instrument detail is provided, an instrument panel decal from a Hurricane was put to use – not correct perhaps, but it certainly makes it look the business and adds detail to an otherwise spartan office.

With that small job complete, the main airframe can be assembled – all four pieces of it! Wings, tailplane, and fuselage. The fit of all parts is excellent with not a skerrick of filler required. To enable the wing to butt up against the fuselage closely I did trim off the locating pins – these are a very tight fit, possibly to remove the need for glue. Likewise, the one-piece cowling and engine is a press fit to the fuselage, with no glue required here.

By necessity there are a couple of very light seams along the fuselage spine and the wing leading edge, but these were quickly dispatched using my trusty MasterCasters sanding pads. The seam along the underside of the fuselage required little cleaning up, such was the quality of the tooling. Total time taken so far? Less than 90 minutes.

With things progressing at a good pace, operations moved out to the garage for painting. There are two schemes provided for: one in the Blue Gray over Light Gray, and the other in the later tricolour scheme of Sea Blue, Medium Blue, and Insignia White undersides. The colour callouts on the instruction sheets are rather misleading in this respect, as they simply refer to some vague colours -either the correct name, or an FS number would be welcome here.

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The main sprue of smaller components – there aren’t many, Ninety minutes into the build, an airframe is virtually A view of the undersides – exhaust streaking has beenbut the kit is none the worse for this complete started, and the pre-shading is just showing through.

I used Testors Model master enamel for the Dark Sea Blue which gives a very close match, and Gunze acrylic Medium Blue, both of which give a nice glossy finish. The underside was sprayed with Tamiya flat white; once all was dry I coated the whole model with Vectra floor polish in preparation for decalling. Weathering was kept to a minimum, although with such a short time spent building, one could comfortably spend more time on the weathering process and have a great looking model without spending eons on it.

The kit’s decals are nicely printed, and the colours appear to be pretty accurate and in good register. The decals are limited to the main markings and codes, and the logos to go on the propellor blades. With there being so few of them, it doesn’t take very long at all to get them all applied. I wetted the area with some Micro Sol first and they snuggled down into the panel lines flawlessly -1 wish the decals in other, more expensive kits behaved this well!

The final touches were to paint the tyres (yes, I had a slight whoopsie with the paint brush and haven’t bothered to go back and fix it up – yet…) and to carefully paint the interior of the cowling in a colour that loosely resembled Grumman Grey. This last aspect was perhaps the most difficult part of the whole build – which is to say, it was a doddle all the way through.

F6f hellcats fighter model WII,model planes and helicopters

I purposely built this kit without modifying anything (okay, I filed a slight flat on the mainwheel tyres to ‘weight’ it slightly) partly because I needed to take a break from being overly anorak-ish about small details, but also to see how well these built up as the manufacturer intended. And, I am pleased to say, it built up very well.
Given that these kits appear to be aimed at younger and beginning modellers, I’d venture to say that HobbyBoss have hit the target dead on. Heretical as it may sound, for anyone wanting to get started in modelling I’d say forget the tired old kits that have been around since the sixties and seventies, these surpass them on all counts – accuracy, ease of assembly, and price. It may even be that in years to come, modellers will be waxing nostalgic, remembering their first HobbyBoss kit with glowing fondness. I for one look forward to sampling more from this company, especially some of their 1/48 scale wares. To say that I am impressed with this kits is an understatement! Not only was it a breeze to put together, it was FUN!

Connected themes: big model planes, diecast aircraft 1 72, jet model aircraft, F6f hellcats fighter model WII, plastic model kits, model airplane photos, rc jet.

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