Eduard 1/72 F6F-5N Hellcat Nightfighter Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2016||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||F6F-5N Hellcat Nightfighter||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||7434||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Great details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$16.98|
The F6F was the next evolution in fighter design improving on the F4F Wildcat. Development of the F6F was well underway when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and emphasis was placed on improving its speed and maneuverability. While there was initial criticism of the earlier F4F after early combat experience in the type, the Wildcat was Grumman's first monoplane fighter and had emphasized ruggedness and ease of maintenance. These traits would remain in Grumman's subsequent fighters.
Initially powered by a 1700 horsepower Wright R2600 Cyclone engine, combat experience in the Wildcat emphasized the need for more power to keep the heavier Grummans agile against their Japanese counterparts. The F6F-3 received the 2000hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp and the combination of airframe and engine was very effective.
The F6F-5 was an incremental improvement in the production line which incorporates the 2100 horsepower R2800-18W engine with a two-stage supercharger. One further improvement to the series was in the works which would have resulted in more power turning a four-bladed propeller and would have become the F6F-6, but development was cancelled at war's end. The Hellcat achieved the best combat effectiveness statistics of the war with a 19:1 overall kill ratio and was credited with over 5100 kills by war's end.
Here is Eduard's Weekend Edition of their 1/72 F6F Hellcat series. As you may recall, Eduard developed the F6F series in 1/48 scale with beautiful detailing throughout. They followed that series up with a number of releases in 1/72 scale as well. This release, in their Weekend series, is the basic styrene kit without the photo-etch and resin seen in other releases which makes the kit easier to build as well as less expensive. This kit represents the F6F-5N, the nightfighter variant which replaces the inboard .50 caliber machine guns with 20mm cannons while retaining the other four .50s (some F6F-5Ns retained all six .50 caliber guns). This variant also carried the pod-mounted AN/APS-6 radar under the starboard wing.
This release offers the following features and options:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Instrument panel and console details provided as decals
- Pilot restraints provided as decals
- Wings posed in flight position only
- Positionable canopy
- Detailed engine
Markings are provided to replicate one of the following two subjects:
- F6F-5N, 78669, VMF(N)-542, 76, Okinawa, 1945, 'Black Death', as flown by Maj Bruce Porter
- F6F-5N, unknown, VMF-511, I/92, USS Block Island, 1945, 'Butch'
This is a nice kit which if it goes together as well as its 1/48 cousin, will make for a nice weekend build.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!