F6F-3 Hellcat "VF-27 USS Princeton"

Published: July 14th, 2020     
Product Image
Cover Art
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead - IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1:144
Company: Platz
Price: $19.49
Product / Stock #: PDR-10:1800
Product provided by: Platz

Platz Hobby produces a number of kits in 1/144 scale (currently 334 to be exact), and I was fortunate enough to receive this two-plane kit for review. In addition to the parts for two aircraft there are markings for three different planes included. Construction was quick, and the detail is very good for this scale. Modelers familiar with working with small parts should not have issues building this release, and I would highly recommend it.

There have been many releases of the F6F in its variants over the years, so I probably do not need to mention much more on the history of a plane that had over 10,000 copies released during WWII. The three goals of the Hellcat were that it had to be better than the planes it would face, that it could be built quickly in large numbers, and that it could be easily mastered by the pilots. Grumman answered the call with what was likely the definitive U.S. Navy carrier-borne fighter of the war.

This release from Platz contains a single light gray sprue along with two clear sprues for each plane. While an additional F6F-5 canopy is provided for each plane, the markings are for the dash 3 variant. Speaking of the markings, they are made by Cartograf and provide the famous "cat mouth" marking of VF-27 assigned to the USS Princeton in May, 1944 as well as a plane from VF-9 aboard the USS Essex in 1944, and a VF-4 plane in 1943 (no ship mentioned). The VF-27 and VF-9 planes are in the two-tone blue scheme with a white underside while the VF-4 plane is blue gray over light gray.

Construction is straight forward, and the only change I made was to add the cockpit seat and control panel prior to gluing the fuselage halves together. While there were what appear to be mold release buttons on the seats, and there is no decal for the control panel, they are very difficult to see once the canopy is in place and the frames are painted. I did have to play with the fit of the canopy a little and the fuel tank supports may need moved slightly to match up to the fuselage, but these are not daunting tasks. I also had to replace the rear antenna on both planes with a piece of wire as I managed to break them off during construction on one plane, and during painting of the second plane. I used a piece of Uschi 0.001 inch rigging material for the aerial on the VF-27 plane and a piece of black hair (used for extensions) for the VF-9 plane.

I used Stynylrez White primer for the underside as well as Black for the propeller, and Model Master Acryl for the Dark Blue and Intermediate Blue. For the VF-27 plane, I found that Hataka lacquer Insignia Red best matched the cat mouth red as you must paint the intake area yourself. I also used Model Master Lacquer Silver for the spinner on the VF-27 plane.

My hits for this release are the level of detail for the scale, the clean moldings and tight fits, and the great markings. While I would not call them misses, I would have liked a decal for the control panel, and the canopy fit was not difficult to overcome, but did not match the fits of the other parts in the kit. Absolutely no filler was required for either plane.

As mentioned up front, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add a couple of F6F-3 planes to their 1/144 collection, especially one from VF-27 with a cat mouth. Modelers with experience in working with small parts should have no issues with building this kit and adding the decals.

I would like to thank the folks at Platz Hobby for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review. I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help John with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.

  • F6F-3s
    F6F-3s
  • Platz F6F-3 box bottom
    Platz F6F-3 box bottom
  • VF-9 left side
    VF-9 left side
  • VF-9 right
    VF-9 right
  • VF-9 top
    VF-9 top
  • VF-9 underside 2
    VF-9 underside 2
  • VF-27 left side
    VF-27 left side
  • VF-27 right side
    VF-27 right side
  • VF-27 top
    VF-27 top
  • VF-27 underside
    VF-27 underside

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