F6F Hellcat, In Detail & Scale

Published: June 9th, 2020     
Product Image
Book Cover
Author: Bert Kinzey & Chris Sakal
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker - IPMS# 43146
ISBN #: 979-8-6251450-3-9
Other Publication Information: Soft Cover, 104 pages, Color and BW Photos, 1/72 scale drawings, Color illustrations, Detail Photos, Modeling Information.
Price: $19.99
Product / Stock #: Volume 10
Product provided by: Detail & Scale, Inc.


This book provides a complete history of the Grumman F6F Hellcat, the U.S. Navy's most successful fighter plane of World War II. The prototypes were developed during 1941 and 1942, and after extensive testing,finally entered service with Navy carrier-based units during 1943. Hellcat pilots were credited with more enemy aircraft destroyed than any other Navy aircraft, and at the end of the war, the type was phased out of front-line service because of the appearance of its successor, the F8F Bearcat, the F4U Corsair, and later by jet fighters. Hellcats were used by reserve units until the early fifties, and were also used as drones and drone control aircraft, resulting is some of the most colorful aircraft in the Navy. The F6F, unlike many other World War II aircraft, did not have a civilian career, except for a few flying today as warbirds. I only photographed a few F6F's in civilian markings in the fifties and sixties, and these were mainly warbirds or museum displays. Most were, unfortunately, scrapped after the war.

The Book

The authors review the development of the prototype aircraft, the service entry, subsequent technological improvements, service record, foreign service, interior details, color schemes and markings, and reviews of plastic models in 1/144, 1/72. 1/48, 1/32, and 1/24 scale.

This is the third edition of the book, and one of the outstanding parts of the book is the publication of a personal interview with Capt. David McCampbell, the Navy's leading ace of World War II with 34 kills to his credit. One of his outstanding achievements was on 24 October 1944 when, flying off of the USS Essex, he was credited with the destruction of 5 Zekes, 2 Hamps, and 2 Oscars, an impressive total of 9 Japanese aircraft in one mission. The interview alone makes the book worth getting.

The book was written by modelers, and therefore, is aimed at the serious scale modeler. It contains a historical account, photos of every variant of the aircraft, some color photos, color profile drawings, a good set of 1/72 scale three view drawings, and a set of in-depth review of every plastic kit of the F6F available in various scales.


This book provides just about everything a modeler would need to build a display of all of the variants of the Hellcat. The photos are excellently reproduced, and the drawings are truly artistic. Not only do the authors cover the wartime service of the F6F, but they also go into considerable detail describing the postwar service in reserve units and as drones. In short, if you only had one reference book on the F6F, this would be the one to have.

Modeling Information

The authors begin by describing some of the very early kits of the F6F. They get into 1/72 scale, and cover Airfix, Frog Penguin, Frog, Fujimi, Lindberg, and Matchbox. Following these, they cover the larger scales, including Aurora, Sanwa, Fujimi, Lindberg, Monogram, and Marusan. They then move to more recent kits, most of which are currently available, describing the AHM, Platz/Eduard and Revell kits in 1/144 scale; the Academy, Dragon/Cyberhobby, Eduard, Hasegawa, Heller, Hobby boss, and Italeri kits in 1/72 scale; the Eduard, Hasegawa, Hobby Boss, and Otaki kits in 1/48 scale; the Hasegawa and Trumpeter kits in 1/32 scale, and the Airfix 1/24 scale kit. These are very complete critical reviews, and point out the assets and liabilities of each of the kits. These guys have apparently built them all, and their reviews show it.

Conclusions and Recommendation

This book is specifically designed for persons with an intense interest in aviation history and also with an interest in modeling. I have seen some of their other publications, the SBD and F4F in particular. This one follows the trend in providing very complete information as well as a personal interview with a pilot who flew the airplane and succeeded beyond all expectations in exploiting the advantages of the aircraft.

If you could only have one book on the Hellcat in your library, this one would be the one to have. Highly recommended.

Thanks to IPMS and Detail & Scale for the review copy.

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