Platz 1/144 F6F-3 Hellcat
|KIT #:||PD 15|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||As usual, two kits per box.|
Suffice it to say that it was the Hellcat combined with superior pilot training and large numbers that allowed many US Navy pilots to reach ace status. Concerning the Hellcat itself, it was by far the easiest aircraft to fly and to operate from the moving runways that are called aircraft carriers. It was an aircraft that those who flew it said it would make a mediocre pilot look brilliant. Thankfully, they were also easy to build and Grumman churned out thousands of them during the war. For more information on the aircraft, visit any of the zillions of web sites devoted to the aircraft or one of Tom Cleaver's more recent articles.
Platz, along with Sweet, have brought single engine 1/144 aircraft kits to a new level of detail and accuracy. This kit of the F6F-3 Hellcat is superbly molded with fine engraved panel lines and excellent detail for the scale. The cockpit is more than just a hole and has a floor, seat, rear bulkhead and armor plate, as well as an instrument panel. The instrument panel even has some detailing on it. There is even rib detailing in the wheel wells along with nicely done main gear mounts and doors. The engine is convincing in this scale and the cowling includes the little side bumps that were part of the F6F-3 and some F6F-5 aircraft. The small rear quarter windows are also molded separately with large tabs to ensure proper placement. A centerline drop tank is also part of the package. There are some parts not shown as used, such as inner wing pylons and some bombs.
The instructions are quite well illustrated. It provides no color information for the inside of the cockpit nor wheel wells or inner gear doors. Markings are provided for three aircraft. One is an early version in overall blue-grey with VF-4 in 1943. The other two are in the tri-color scheme. One is a cat's mouth plane with VF-27 aboard the USS Princeton in 1944 and the other is with VF-9 aboard the Essex, also in 1944. The kit's decal sheet is outstanding. Printed by Cartograf, it gives full markings and insignia for all three options. This includes prop logo decals and the wing walk area markings.
Mere words alone do not properly convey how nice a kit this one is. If you have one of those ancient Mitsuwa Hellcats, you can use it for practice. It is great that we now have this to add to our Wildcats and P-47s and other single engine WWII types. Judging by the cowling and clear bits sprues being marked "F-3", can a -5 be far behind?
Thanks to www.platz-hobby.com for providing the preview kit. This one should be available now or early next month from retailers so be sure to get it now or place it on order.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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