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Cyber-hobby 1/72 scale F6F-5N Hellcat

For now, this is the go-to model kit for a 1/72 scale Hellcat, especially if you want the wings folded.
Kit:No. 5080 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$29.95
Cyber-hobby, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Great interior detail, weapons options, folded-wing options
Details between cockpit and engine hidden; confusing instructions with complicated assemblies; undersize radome
Injection-molded, 135 parts (4 photoetched metal), decals
A newcomer to 1/72 scale aircraft kits, Cyber-hobby is best known for complex armor kits with lots of parts. If you like that sort of challenge, Cyber-hobby’s Hellcat is right up your alley. Molded with beautiful recessed detail, the sprues hold just about everything you could want in a Hellcat: folded-wing option, three different types of main-wheel tires, a detailed cockpit, two types of radar pods, plus bombs and rockets — the whole shebang. But a lot of the kit’s detail is hidden inside the fuselage with no removable panels to reveal it.

This particular kit is for the late-war F6F-5N night fighter with Sperry APS-6 intercept radar in a streamlined fairing built into the leading edge of the right wing. Parts for an underwing APS-4 radar pod are also on the sprues, forecasting an F6F-5E kit.

The cockpit goes together quickly and features dainty photoetched-metal harness belts. The engine accessories and mounts forward of the instrument panel are nice, but you’ll never see them. The same goes for detail behind the cockpit.

You can add the provided racks and stubs to the wings and mount a full set of bombs and rockets, but I wanted to go with the straight night fighter. The gun barrels with the extended inboard cannon barrel are molded together as an insert.

Each main-gear assembly is made from 10 parts, some extremely small, and putting it all together is complicated by the instructions. Some diagrams show one assembly with part numbers supplemented by another set of numbers in parentheses, indicating the parts that are used on the “other” side. OK, understood — but sometimes the diagram shows the parts that are indicated with the parentheses. Confused? Just study the parts and dry-fit, and you’ll eventually figure it out.

The cowl is a five-part assembly that looks a little flat at the front. I knocked down the corners of the front rim with a little sanding. You have a choice of canopies, a one-piece closed part or a two-part open option. The sliding hood is a little too thick to properly sit over the turtledeck when open.

Cyber-Hobby provides separate ailerons and rudder, but elevators are molded with the stabilizers.

The highlight of the kit is the folded wing. Alternate sets of hinge-point inserts are used, depending on whether you want the wings folded or extended. The diagrams don’t clearly show how the fingers of the inserts fit into the wing’s center section, so, once again, dry-fitting is recommended. I didn’t try to build the extended wings.

The Hellcat’s wings had an unusual set of panels and drop-down doors on their undersurfaces, outboard of the main-gear wells and along the wing-fold separation line. Panels B7 and B8 (mislabeled B5 and B6 on the assembly diagram) mount only to the forward end of the opened wheel bay, and the drop-down doors mount to them. They just stick out with no support at the rear when you have the wings folded. It looks wrong, but it’s correct.

I left the outer wings off until final assembly. The radar pod is molded in three pieces and attached to the wing. Compared with photos, the pod is much too small, and it looks even smaller next to the oversize pitot tube provided in the kit.

The three marking choices provided are for overall gloss sea blue Hellcats, so painting was a snap — even the insides of the wing structure and wheel wells were often painted gloss sea blue. The decals went on OK, but are flat finished and required an additional overcoat of clear gloss.

You can save time building Cyber-hobby’s Hellcat if you ignore the hidden details fore and aft of the cockpit. With them installed and the wings folded, my Hellcat took 22 hours to complete. Is it the ultimate Hellcat in 1/72 scale? Time will tell. But, for now, it’s the go-to kit, especially if you want the wings folded.
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