Grumman F6F-3

Published: September 4th, 2017     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Mike Lamm, IPMS# 50139
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard
Price: $16.95
Product / Stock #: 7441

The Grumman F6F Hellcat was designed to replace the F4F Wildcat with a better competitor to the Japanese fighters. In typical Grumman fashion, they developed a rugged plane designed to keep the pilot alive, with good armament, while being easy to fly. The Hellcat made its combat debut in August 1943 and became the Navy's standard combat aircraft. By the end of the war, it had racked up over 5200 victories, accounting for 75% of the Navy's air-to-air victories.

Eduard's Weekend Edition kits normally follow the release of their Royal Edition, and Profipack kits and consist of a scaled back version of the loaded Royal Edition and Profipack boxings. The Weekend Editions kit includes plastic sprues, and usually one or two decal options for the finished model, whereas the Royal and Profipack kits include photoetch, brassin, and multiple options for finishing the model. The difference being that the Weekend edition provides the same quality plastic without all the bells and whistles, at a very affordable price.

The F6F-3 Hellcat Weekend Edition consists of 69 plastic parts on three sprues, and one single clear sprue in a circular layout. The kit comes with two sheets of decals, one provides the plane's stencils, and the second sheet has decals for the two model choices. The instructions are printed in a glossy book, which includes a short, but detailed history of the F6F-3, as well as full-color four-sided painting diagrams of the two decal choices provided. The small part count is more than required to complete either of the two options provided in this kit and makes this "Weekend Edition" one of the first Eduard Weekend Editions, that can reasonably be completed in an actual weekend.

The Weekend Edition provides decal options for two aircraft:

  1. F6F-3, LTJG Arthur Singer, VF-15, USS Essex, October 24-25, 1944.
  2. F6F-3, Lt. Lockridge, VF-38, Guadalcanal, late 1943.

This is about the 12th boxing of Eduard's 1/72 Hellcat, which made its debut in 2011; however, this hasn't diminished the excellence of the kit. The quality of the plastic parts is really impressive. The molds are very clean, with just the slightest seam lines on a few parts, and no visible sink marks. The plastic is soft enough that it cleans up with just one quick swipe of the back of a hobby knife or sanding stick, but not too soft that you'll take too much off. The surface detail is comprised of beautifully recessed panel lines and other details.

Construction begins, as always, in the cockpit. The cockpit consists of 8 separate parts, with decals provided as an option for the side consoles and instrument panel. The instrument panel is nicely detailed with a combination of recessed and raised details, allowing the modeler to forego the decals and paint the highlights. I choose the decals and they worked great. Decals are also provided to seat belt and harness. The finished result really looks nice. Eduard did an excellent job detailing the tub, seat, instrument panel, and control column.

The engine is pretty simple and comes in four pieces. It is assembled separately with the cowling and added after the fuselage halves are put together. It is nicely detailed, and the engine cowling shows the famous Hellcat "grin" very distinctly.

Now that the fuselage and engine are attached, the two-part wings are added to the fuselage. The wings actually insert directly into the fuselage, and on my example, the fit was very tight but perfect with no need for corrections, or alignment. It really makes for a quick build. The landing gear inserts into the gear wells, which are detailed into the wings.

The canopy pieces are nice and clear with a separate windscreen enabling them to be modeled open if wished. The canopy options provide an example of Eduard's attention to details, with a separate piece representing the closed canopy, and one for the open canopy, since the width of the canopy was different depending on which position it was in on the plane.

The decals provided are outstanding. Eduards decals are extremely thin and in perfect register. When applying the decals, make sure you're absolutely ready to put them down, because they are relatively unforgiving; however, when placed correctly, they are really wonderful to use.

Overall, the kit is a quick and excellent build and is highly recommended.

Special thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for providing this kit for review.

  • Sprues
    Sprues
  • Finished cockpit assembly
    Finished cockpit assembly
  • Finished model ready for paint
    Finished model ready for paint
  • Paint scheme option
    Paint scheme option
  • Paint scheme option
    Paint scheme option
  • Instruction sample
    Instruction sample
  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Finished model
    Finished model