Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat
by Stu Hurley
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The inspiration for this subject was a very nice
print of a painting by Nicholas Trudgeon, called ‘Scramble for the
Marianas’ which I acquired a couple of years ago. It features Hellcat
Bu. No. 66016, piloted by Alex Vraciu, taking off from the deck of USS.
Lexington on June 14 1944 on the way to the Marianas ‘Turkey shoot’. The
print is signed by Vraciu.
Having his autograph, I wanted to build one of his
aircraft. I had decals for 40467 of VF-6, but this sheet lacked the tiny
bureau numbers. So, rather than do the famous Hellcat ‘19’ I decided to
build the aircraft depicted in my painting, 66016 ‘32’ of VF-16.
I had plans to open up the cowlings and gun covers. I only ever do one
side as, in my opinion opening up everything often destroys the lines of
the aircraft (that’s my excuse). The Aires detail sets were used for
this model , and I found them to fit quite well .
Other details were scratchbuilt using fine wire and
My references show the Hellcat internals and
cockpit forward of the seat bulkhead were painted in chromate green, not
the ‘yellow’ colour but a darker shade. The seat was painted interior
green. I always enjoy building cockpits, and the Aries set builds up to
give a superb replica of the Hellcats’ busy ‘office’. Seat harnesses
were made up from lead foil and etched buckles. To give more life to the
model, the control surfaces were cut out and displaced slightly. I
carried out some work on the canopy track area as this is moulded to
take the canopy in the closed position, and the track fairings below the
windscreen were also incorrect. A Squadron canopy replaced the kit item,
as the opening section was too thick to slide back over the aircrafts’
The gun bay on the Hellcat was fitted with a tubular brace diagonally
across the opening, which could be swung upward to access the guns. Mine
was depicted with the diagonal brace in the closed position and the
covers open flat, as they could be used as service platforms. The bay
was again detailed with wire and strip. This aircraft carried a bomb
rack under the starboard wing root so this was scratchbuilt and fitted
accordingly. Antenna was from fishing line.
Colours used were Humbrol and Testors, all post-shaded, with paint
chipping using a silver pencil. Decals were from Aeromaster.
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Model, Images and Text Copyright ©
2003 by Stu Hurley
Page Created 10 July, 2003
25 March, 2004
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