RCNVR Cat: 1/48th Eduard F6F-5 Hellcat
This Eduard F6F Hellcat kit is arguably one of their best offerings, combining relative ease of construction with excellent detail of parts. My version included the colour photo-etch (PE) cockpit parts as well as additional PE for the engine detail etc. to set this kit off as a challenger for one of the best kits in 1/48th scale.
Notable Kit Features:
Well detailed plastic injection cockpit provided as well as the superb PE adorned option (depending on boxing)
Excellent surface details including fine panel lines, lapped sections, fabric covered areas and rivets
Good engine detail even before adding the PE parts
Nice wheel well and gear detail
Separate control surfaces that can be positioned
Crystal clear (and thin) canopy options provided for either open or closed version
One of the best captures of the F6F front cowl shapes ("That Hellcat Grin") in 1/48th scale
Some of Eduard's offerings, had been critiqued as challenging to build, sprinkled with some fit issues (E.g., Fw190 & Bf110 series) however their Hellcats are noticeably straight-forward in construction without compromising detail in any important areas. When I first opened the F6F box and examined the contents I was totally impressed, especially with the colour PE which I had not encountered before.
I chose Royal Canadian Navel Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) Ace Lt. William Henry Isaac Atkinson's Hellcat as my subject. He was born in Minnedosa, Manitoba and went on to achieve 5 1/4 (+ 3 probable) victories, managing to survive the war and live into his 90's.
The PE in the cockpit is very comprehensive and wore me out trying to assemble every throttle and small component however the detail is impressive
Strangely no wing fold in all the aforementioned details
No fit issues or filler used... which is a good thing :)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Nothing was lacking in this kit as far as I was concerned as my kit had the PE & canopy masks
I only added the third-party decals to get my subject matter (The Eduard decals are quite nice)
The paint scheme of this aircraft is underwhelming to me now, as it is close to a factory-fresh finish (which is fine if you like that sort of thing). I transitioned to adding more weathering on my kits after this build series. I find the dark sea blue finish could definitely benefit from the depth weathering lends to a finish. Who knows, I may still go back to give this one a remake and remodel if there ever is the time to do that sort of thing.
The After-Build Report:
Eduard's 1/48 scale F6F Hellcat in my books is one of those go-to stress-free kits that you should experience if you are looking for a great kit to build that will make you look like you know what you are doing. If you want to keep it truly stress free, go for the Weekend Edition, that skips the PE (as that part probably won't be exactly stress-free). After building Monogram, Hasegawa and Eduard Hellcats, this kit is clearly the finest example. (I think it bests the Hobbyboss 1/48th Hellcat as well, however I have not done that build for comparison.)
Completed build #117 - December 2009 using the 1/48th scale Eduard #8223 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 supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers