Platz 1/144 scale Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
Build two, they’re small! Platz delivers a pair of pint-sized but well-detailed Hellcats in this kit. The models include cockpit, wheel well, and engine detail that rivals some larger-scale Grummans.
Excellent fits and finesse for the scale
Fiddly drop tanks
Two planes, injection-molded, 38 parts each, decals
Continuing its line of famous World War II aircraft, Platz presents the F6F-5 Hellcat. Again, there are two kits in the box, which also contains four sets of markings. The quality of molding is typically outstanding, with delicately detailed main and tail wheels, very nice R-2800 engines, and sufficient interior detail. The wheel wells have as much molded detail as a standard 1/72 kit. About the only flaw immediately apparent is the ejection-pin mark in the middle of the seat – luckily, not really noticeable once encased under the canopy.
Construction was amazingly quick, with no need for filler anywhere. The tabs on the stabilizers were slightly long and interfered with each other, but a knife quickly took care of that. A hint of flash was apparent on the props, but a quick scrape removed it.
The hardest part of assembly is to avoid damaging delicately molded details like the machine guns – one of my Hellcats is testing out a reduced armament load as a result. Platz includes the options of a centerline drop tank and wing-mounted bombs, but I think Hellcats look funny with bombs. I built one with a drop tank and the other without – a luxury of having two kits.
After a quick sanding of seams, I washed the kits down and added the antenna masts. I left the canopy off each plane, but I added the landing gear since everything on the plane is dark blue – convenient for assembling fiddly parts without worrying about getting glue blotches everywhere. A little slimming of the landing-gear mounts is needed before gluing them in place. I left the engines off for painting.
I had a feeling that my standard Testors dark sea blue would make these tiny planes look like night fighters, so I used a spray can of Testors Blue Angel blue, a slightly brighter shade. Painting was exceptionally quick as a result.
But adding decals took some time. Platz includes a sharply printed, comprehensive decal sheet including stencils and prop logos. The decals went down without complaint and needed no setting solution. I painted and added the wheels and engine, then attached each cowl.
The single drop tank I installed was fiddly – the braces don’t really fit well, and you need to carefully align the tank as there is some play in the mount. I then painted the tiny interiors and added the canopies. The latter parts need some work to eliminate gaps, especially at the front. I hand-painted the frames because I couldn’t work up enough patience to mask them.
These kits took a whopping 61⁄2 hours to finish – and they look great! Platz has found a winning formula for easy, great-looking kits that are a good value.