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F6F-3 Hellcat

Introduction
Eduard has released a 1/48 scale Weekend Edition of a F6F-3 Hellcat. The sturdy box is topped with some nice artwork. This box top will be going in my collection, as I save all my box tops when I'm done with a build. Once you open the box you will find 5 sprues of parts, one of those being the clear parts that are nice and thin and gives you two options for the windscreen.
The parts are molded with fine panel lines and nice rivet detail. I could not find any ejector pin marks that would have to be cleaned up in any areas that would be visible. Since this is a Weekend Edition, there are no photo-etch belts, but I will be adding these in this build. Cockpit detail is nice with a nice instrument panel that has very defined circles for the instrument dials. Decals for the instrument faces are not included with the decals, I will source these from the spares binder.
The tires and wheels are 4 piece affairs with two tires halves and the front and back of the wheels. There is a little bit of flash between the wheel spokes but it won't be a problem cleaning that up. The wing guns come as an insert that are sandwhiched between the wings. The shell ejector shoots are hollowed out which is a nice feature. The wheel wells are seperate items that are also sandwhiched between the wings, they have some nice detail with them as do the landing gear
The engine has two rows of cylinders that will look good once painted black and drybrushed with some toned down silver. Exhaust stacks are provded that can be drilled out.
The kit comes with a small instruction booklet with nice exploded views. The last page of the instructions has a nice layout of the decal placements. You get one choice of decals which represent an aircraft flown by Lt. William C. Moseley from VF-1 from the USS Yorktown, June 1944. The decals, one sheet with the stars and bars and codes and the other with the airframe stencils look nice and thin with good register.
Construction begins
What I really liked about this kit were the wheels. I cleaned them up and did a dry fit and they looked just like the real thing with the empty space behind the spokes. Very nice. I also did a dry fit of the landing gear. BE VERY CAREFUL when removing the oleo scissors from the sprue as these parts are VERY SMALL. There are a total of 10 parts for the landing gear, that includes the wheel wells that are sandwhiched between the wing halves. All these parts make up a nicely detailed landing gear. The brake lines are molded into the gear leg itself which could make it hard to paint.
The detail in the wells lines up well with the detail in the wing. I installed the guns as per the instructions and did a dry fit with the other wing half and the fit looks very good. I'll be careful when sanding the seam around them later on.
The engine has been built, painted and weathered and looks good when completed.

The cockpit has been assembled with decals from the spares binder being punched out and applied to the instrument panel. Drops of Testors Clear Cement were applied to replicate the glass although you can't see it in the photo. While the glue was setting up on the seat bulkhead and the instrument panel, I did a dry fit to make sure they lined up with the interior of the fuselage halves and they lined up nice. Eduard photo-etch belts were added to the cockpit.
The wing halves were glued together paying close attention to the seam by the guns. The fit of the wing halves was very good, reminding me of some Tamyia kits I built in the past. The seperate flaps went on well using super glue and lining them up with the wing while the glue dried. The leading edges of the wings were sanded with varying grits of sanding sticks.
I added some bits of pipe screen to the interior of the cowl behind the intake to add a little detail. The cowl parts built up into a very nice part. The prop has been painted with the kit decals being applied. They went on very well with a minimal amount of soaking time in the water and sliding right off the decal paper with no problem, nice. The prop was dullcoated and weathered and set aside until ready to be attached.
The landing gear parts were painted and received a Future coat for some weathering. The four parts for the wheels and the tires allows you to get a very nice seperation between the tire and the wheel. Make sure to paint the inside of the back part of the wheel so as not to see the tan color of the part showing up through the spokes. The wheels look just like the real thing, very nice!

The clear parts have been dipped in Future and masked with Bare Metal Foil. The clear parts are nice and thin. While cutting the masking for the windscreen, there was a slip of the hand that caused a nice scratch on the side window. So, I had to use part#H7, the windscreen that is shaded as not for use. The fit of the windscreen to the fuselage is very nice, so nice that I will attach it after painting is done. The windows behind the cockpit have been installed and masked as well, fit is very good here too.
The fuselage seam has been sanded and the engine and cowl have been attached. The fit of the cowl ot the fuselage is very nice as well. The wings and tailplanes have been attached. There are no spars or tabs to attach these parts because there is a recess for the wing root to fit into, giving a very nice seam. The same goes for the tailplanes.I used lots of superglue here.
Painting and Decalling
The entire model was wiped down with alcohol and black applied to all panel lines. The prop hub was resprayed with Intermediate Blue as per the instructions. READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! A Future wash has to be applied to the hub still. Interior green was applied first to the windscreen and canopy.

All the camo colors have been applied. I used masks made from thin plastic sheet that was kept off the model with Silly Puddy (that's all I had on hand) about an 1/8 of an inch to give me the soft demarcation line. The instrument coaming has been painted along with the edges along the cockpit. The windscreen and canopy received their final coat of paint too. Future has been applied to the wheel wells in preparation for a Future wash.

I was able to find some Testors Glosscoat. The wings were masked and the anti-slip areas were masked. The model was gloss coated and the decals applied. The decals performed very well and reacted well to MicroSol. Two things about the decals. The blue in the stars and bars looks too light to me. The other thing with the decals is when I went to start applying the airframe data stencils, the letters that tell you which decals to use did not match up with the decal sheet. The white stencils were very hard to read even with a magnifyer being that they were printed on very light blue backing paper. It got to the point of picking a decal, dipping it in water for a short period and then reading what the decal was when it was wet and then looking at the instruction sheet to see where it should be placed. Don't get me wrong, the decals performed very well, it's just that Eduard needs to fix this problem for a speedier decal application. The small white specks you see on the wings are decals. I really like the look with stencils, the white breaks up all that blue. Anyway, the model has been dullcoated and is ready for a raw umber wash.

As was mentioned earlier, the dullcoat has been applied and the weathering has been done with a raw umber wash on both top and bottom of the model. Pastels were used for the exhaust and gun staining as I'm still practicing using the airbrush for those effects. Pastels were also used to dirty up the engine cowl and the area by the access doors for the guns in the wings.
The chipping around the cowl was done by dipping the end of some beading wire into some toned down chrome siver paint. Eduard does not supply supports for the fuel tank so I did some from Tamiya tape, also the wingtip lights are a bit too big so I superglued them on and sanded and polished them to contour with the wing. The landing light on the underside of the wing fit very well as did the lens for the light on the leading edge of the wing. The windscreen fit very well as I mentioned before. Next up was to reapply a raw umber wash to the underside of the tailplanes due to a pastel powder mishap, no big deal.
Conclusion
Well, this was an enjoyable build from Eduard. With fine surface detail, good fit all around, the wing root fit was very nice and GREAT wheels. The wheels were my favorite standout of this build, looking very realistic. Decals performed well and were nice and thin and in register. The instruction sheet was easy to use.
All in all I would give this offering from Eduard an 8 out of 10. The reasons for that are the wingtip lights were too large for the wingtips and had to be sanded and polished to conform to the wing. Support straps for the fuel tank are not provided and the last thing is that the letters on the instruction sheet that call out the airframe data stencils did not match the letters on the decal sheet.
I would recommend this model with no hesitation.
Thank you Eduard for the review model. The box top is in my box top art stash and the model will be placed next to my 1/48 Hasegawa Hellcat that was built some time ago.

The 1:48 scale Eduard F6F-3 weekend edition is available from Eduard.
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About mwolfe (wingman)
FROM: PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES

I used to model aircraft when I was very young, my dad would hang my planes from the ceiling and put round clear plastic discs to act as a spinning prop. I dropped out of modelling for a long time then got back into it by way of an accident I had at work. I recieved burns on my arm, face and back. I...