FROG F245F Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat F.Mk.1, Black Series, Rovex Tri-ang, 1971
"NEW AND IN VIEW
NEW AIRCRAFT KITS
ROVEX-TRIANG LTD. GRUMMAN F6F-3 HELLCAT F.1. 1/72 scale. packet kit. 47p.
The Grumman HELLCAT was one of the most important carrier borne fighters of the second world war and although several kits of the type have been available for some time this is the first to represent the F6F-3 version.
Moulded in medium grey plastic at first sight the kit looks excellent and closer inspection does confirm super fine surface detailing allied to a very crisply moulded set of parts. Unfortunately on our sample the fit of the outer wing components left something to be desired, the gap between the wing and the wing root being considerable requiring much use of body putty and filing. Strangely the outer wing is NOT 'broken' along the line of the wing-fold as on the full size Hellcat but is joined in a straight line somewhat inboard of the scribed wing-fold point. In one way this is a useful factor as the filling and filing referred to earlier can be smoothed to an invisible 'join' and the simulated wing-fold join line remains unscarred.
The remainder of the kit is excellent both in regards to accuracy and also in surface detailing - the ammunition bay covers on the wing have minute rivet detail which is among some of the best we have seen and the panel lines are all correctly placed as on the real aircraft.
The cowling appears to be a shade 'heavy' and the air intake and the front rim of the cowling benefits from attention with sandpaper to obtain a slightly more rounded appearance. Reference to photographs of the Hellcat are essential for the serious modeller and the finer points of detail etc. can be added to the basic kit as required.
The propellor/hub detail is excellent even down to the lock nuts etc., on the prop hub boss. The undercarriage is also neatly moulded albiet the wheel cover mouldings are somewhat thick but this is due to the very complex curvatures of these components. The Cockpit interior consists of a pilot's seat (of the correct type) complete with head rest bulkhead etc. The pilot figure is a 'fatter' version of the old FROG pygmies the Mae Vest looking as if it has been accidentally inflated and the pilot's facial detail being obliterated on our sample.
The Oleo legs are somewhat overscale in thickness and require some slimming down but the kit does include the scissor type oleo struts together with the retraction actuating levers. However the wheels/tyres are neatly detailed but the hubs appear to be slightly too large in diameter making the 'tyre' look too narrow.
The cockpit canopy is cleanly moulded and crystal clear but on our sample the canopy was a poor fit leaving a gap at the rear of the cockpit hood between it and the fuselage and the small 'window' sited aft of the main canopy is moulded integrally with the canopy proper - reference to photographs or the kit packet artwork shows how one could cutaway the small window, put a thin sliver of plastic card to represent the canopy frame between the canopy proper and the fuselage and then insert the small window as a separate piece, unfortunately the canopy/window on the full size aircraft necessitated this compromise by FROG and the enthusiasts will find some way of improving on the basic kit components in this area of the model,
Decals are very good indeed consisting of roundels and all markings for a machine from 800 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm HMS EMPEROR, July/August 1944 - which flew as escort on the final naval strikes against 'Tirptiz' while alternative markings are given for an aircraft from 1839 Squadron HMS INDOMITABLE, Indian Ocean 1944.
Strangely the packet artwork showing the machine of 800 Squadron 'in action' has a very strange error - the AIRCRAFT/UNIT T/D CODES ARE incorrectly placed. The LARGE letter 'E' should be to the LEFT of the fuselage roundel and the small letter 'B' to the right of same, the large letter 'E' being to the LEFT of the fuselage roundel on BOTH sides of the fuselage. Camouflage is standard FAA finish and the usual excellent profile artwork gives a fine guide to painting and finishing the model.
Summing up this is basically a good kit and apart from the gaps between the wing/root join line and the attention required to tidy up the cockpit canopy/ window a very pleasing model can be made. However, we hope in a future issue of the Magazine to include an article on utilising parts from other 1/72 scale Hellcat kits allied to those from the FROG offering to make a really super-detailed model. Meanwhile do NOT be put off by the reviewers' comments re filling and filing etc., certainly the additional work that one can undertake is well within the scope of any member of IPMS.
The IPMS magazine, september 1971
Frog: 1:72 scale Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat
The latest addition to the Frog range is the F6F-3 Hellcat.
This model can be assembled to produce one of two Hellcat Is, of the Fleet Air Arm, one of 800 Squadron aboard HMS Emperor, and the other of 1839 Squadron aboard HMS Indomitable, both in 1944.
The kit has an excellent set of transfers, with the correct dull red and blue in the roundels. The colour of the code letters 'E-W' is Sky.
They have been illustrated as being in red, but the former colour could have been possible and could have been correct at the time concerned, as the aircraft were repainted from time to time and photographs taken at that time show the codes painted in a light colour.
They are positioned correctly on the transfer sheet, the package illustration shows the codes incorrectly placed on the starboard side.
Turning to the kit itself, there is mixed feeling.
The detailing is very good, consisting of panel lines, but no rivets.
The wings especially are finished very well, and there is very little flash on the parts.
The elevators have slightly too wide a chord outboard, and the curvature in plan view should be continued to the third and not the second outermost rib line.
On the other hand, the fuselage seems to be too narrow and pointed at the top, along the dorsal region.
The cockpit canopy is also too pointed at the top and is a bad representation of the original.
The camouflage scheme, shown on the back of the package label is correct, being the standard FAA wartime camouflage scheme. With 39 parts, including stand, the kit builds up into a good model, but it is hoped that Frog will correct the errors and make it a better model still.
The price of the Frog Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat is 20p. Our sample came from Jones Bros or Chiswick, who can supply by post, postage extra. GJ.
Airfix magazine 1971-11
Frog's Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat
Frog has now released its 1/72 kit of the Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat FI.
Apart from one serious outline error this is probably the best 1/72 kit so far of this fine naval fighter. The error concerns the cross sections along the top of the fuselage aft of the cockpit. The Hellcat did have a flat-sided appearance along the top of the fuselage sides, which eventually merged into the fin. This did produce a razor-back appearance along the spine forward of the fin, but Frog's Hellcat continues this sharpness to a point just behind the cockpit hood. The result is an excessively flat-sided appearance to the fuselage top and a hood which tapers in plan view. The hood rails must of course, be parallel to permit sliding rearwards, and these parallel rails had to be continued aft sufficiently to allow the hood to clear the cockpit when open. This in turn governed the width of the fuselage in this area, which was certainly greater than in the Frog model. Fortunately this can easily be corrected by inserting a long tapered piece of plastic card along the fuselage top, and reshaping when the cement is dry. The result is well worth the trouble, as the rest of the kit is excellent. This modification means that the existing hood is not usable, but the windscreen can be cut off with a razor saw and a new hood added by adapting a part from another kit.
The moulding of this kit is very good, but the wing/ fuselage joint does require some filling and care in setting the correct dihedral angle. The moulding of the engine and undercarriage legs is very good. Separate parts for a retracted undercarriage are provided. The wheels are well-detailed and look convincing. A drop-tank, mounted on the fuselage centre line is included in the kit.
A good transfer sheet is provided which gives markings for two different Hellcats of the Fleet Air Arm. One is from 800 Squadron, HMS Emperor, in Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage (Dark Slate Grey/Extra Dark Sea Grey/ Sky). This was operating in Northern Europe, providing fighter escorts for attacks on Tirpitz. The other Hellcat, in Temperate Sea Scheme camouflage, is from 1839 Squadron, HMS Indomitable, which operated in the Indian Ocean. Price of the Frog Hellcat is 20p.
AIRCRAFT ILLUSTRATED 1971-12
Dornier and Grumman from Frog
We have found it necessary to criticise some recent Frog kits rather harshly; some of this company's kits have fallen far short of the standards established by their predecessors. This decline would now seem to have been arrested by the Dornier Do 17Z and Hellcat now issued as these, happily, revert to the standards of former years. Both are accurate and neatly moulded to l/72nd scale, and their component parts fit together well, though the Hellcat is the better of the two in this respect as some of the joints of the Do 17Z demand some work from the modeller. Both display a mass of fine straight-line surface detail and have excellent thin, crystal-clear transparencies. The superbly-detailed engines provided with both kits are particularly worthy of mention, though the power plant provided for the Hellcat is in error in one respect: the two rows of cylinders line up incorrectly, those comprising the rear row lining directly behind those of the front row instead of being staggered. Fortunately, this error is simple to correct.
The decal sheet of the Do 17Z is excellent, offering markings for an aircraft of I/KG 3 operating over the UK in 1940 and for an aircraft of Finland's PLeLv 46. The decal sheet accompanying the Hellcat kit, which offers the markings of two British-operated aircraft, one from No 800 Squadron operating in home waters and one from No 1839 Squadron flying from HMS Indomitable in the Indian Ocean, is definitely weak on colour, and there is an ugly black line separating the red and blue portions of the roundels of the No 800 Squadron aircraft. It may be that this weakness in the colour is deliberate, representing an effort to simulate the weathered effect sported by the markings of many naval aircraft, but if so, the result is not very successful.
Both kits include the usual all-drawing style instruction sheets which serve their purpose adequately. These are certainly excellent products and are to be recommended highly, being the best l/72nd scale representations of their -subjects on the market today, and at their UK prices of 47p for the Do 17Z and 20p for the Hellcat they offer good value. □
Air Enthusiast 1971-12 vol.01 no.06