Old Cats: 1/48th Monogram F6F-5 Hellcat
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
This is another 1960s vintage Monogram kit (although my version was released in 1973). I picked up this F6F-5 Hellcat at a newly opened local model store in the early 80s, where I spent a fair bit of my part time job income. I noted that Revel re-released this same kit (with new decals) as late as 2012... not a bad kit run over the decades.
Notable Kit Features:
Raised panel lines and rivets
Molded in-cowl engine (which looks better than it sounds)
Working wing-fold feature (for carrier ops off your kitchen counter or other suitable structure)
Working main landing gear and tail wheel (Which is a bit complex as the F6F gear has to rotate 90 degrees as well as fold back)
Retractable tail hook
After purchasing a Microscale decal set of a Hellcat with Shark-teeth I was all set to go for a build with some teeth in it. Although admittedly I realized post build this "Paper Doll" shark was actually a F6F-3 and the kit is the F6F-5... the things you learn post build.
1960 vintage Monogram models were more toy like than replica like
Raised panel lines and rivets you can create a buzz with
Non existent cockpit (pilot figure with seat attached is about the only cockpit detail)
Probably best to fix the wings open as the "folding mechanism' is rudimentary and inaccurate. There are also notable gaps in the wings when extended (or you could put a lot of work into the wing-fold option adding detail although that seems too much trouble after you take a look)
No detail in the gear wells... actually there aren't any gear wells, just gear mounted in the wing cutouts
Probably best to glue the movable gear in the down position for better strength ...or build it retracted
Single piece canopy (which is probably best given the lack of cockpit detail)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Sanded off raised panel lines and rivets
Fixed the wings open and filled gaps between wing sections
Glued the main gear in the down and locked position
Used aftermarket Microscale decals
Glued on the rocket stubs but not the rockets
Painted up in the late USN FS 15042, with the shark-teeth this kit looks at least decent on the display shelf, however it took some time and energy to get there.
After-Build Report: I would only recommend it for a beginner to try as an inexpensive build, or for a nostalgic remake of a kit you built as a kid. While the Monogram kit does turn out decently with some amount of work, the 1/48th Eduard Hellcat (pictured below on the left) is so much nicer to build and display. (Notably at a greater cost, but very much worth it, as I would say the Eduard 1/48th Hellcat is one of the nicest kits on the market to put together.)
Completed build #14 - November 1986 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #6832 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers