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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

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

Build Inspiration:

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.

Heads-Up Report:

  • 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

End Result:

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

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