1/48 Arii plastic kit to build a Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat in the colours of the US Navy.
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|Attention||Do not include paint or glue ( sold separately )|
|Content||Plastic kit | decals |instructions|
There are few aircraft types that took part in combat during World War Two, that can be described with such one sided outcomes in terms of kill: loss ratio as the Hellcat. Representing the middle of the Grumman Cat lineage, the Hellcat was a unique type right from its beginnings. Success of its older brother, the Wildcat, which carried on its shoulders the bulk of the strain of the Pacific air war in 1942, prompted the US Navy to give Grumman free reign over the independent development of a new fighter. This type was to act as insurance in the event the concept of the F4U Corsair turned out unsuccessful.
Grumman designers set forth with the design, with emphasis on ease of manufacture, performance and suitability for carrier ops. On the 30th of June, 1941, as Corsair production was initiating, the Navy signed an order for two prototype XF6F-1s, and a star was born. Original expectations centered around development of the proven F4F Wildcat, which was to be dominated by installation of more powerful engines. As such, this eventually evolved into a new fighter altogether. The US Navy also had accumulated combat experience, and was able to incorporate pilot suggestions into the design. The Hellcat was some 60% heavier than the Wildcat, was more heavily armed, had a more powerful engine, was more heavily armored, carried more fuel and was generally of a more robust construction. The first prototype took to the air on June 26th, 1942, and by January, 1943 equipped the first Navy unit, VF-9, on the deck of the USS Essex. The new type was called Hellcat. The name not only suggested the place to which her enemies would be sent, but was also a play on words. The term in the old west referred to barroom brawlers, and that was what the Navy wanted: a tough fighter with hard fists, that could absorb punishment and had stamina. The Hellcat line didn't result in the most elegant of fighters. It was, after all, over twice as heavy as its main adversary, the Japanese A6M Zero. But elegance certainly doesn't play a pivotal role in terms of the potential survival of the pilot. It was a fighter first and foremost in every sense of the word, designed around the requirements of the pilot to fulfill the combat mission for which it was designed and he was trained. The initial version, F6F-3, was supplanted by the dash five, which modified the canopy, cowl, bombracks and droptanks. The first combat engagement of the enemy occurred on September 1st, 1943, when an Emily was flamed by the half inch guns of two Hellcats. Their advantage over Japanese fighters was well demonstrated on February 16th, 1944, when, in the vicinity of Truk, over 100 fighters were claimed in the air and over 150 on the ground for the loss of four aircraft. Five days later, in the Marianas, a further 160 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air and on the ground Often one sided combat was documented in the battle for the Philippine Sea that culminated on June 19th, 1944 in the now legendary 'Great Marianas Turkey Shoot', where Hellcat pilots claimed some 350 enemy aircraft destroyed.
A further turkey hunt took place between October 12th and 14th, 1944 over Formosa, seeing the destruction, at the hands of Hellcat pilots, of 300 enemy aircraft for the loss of 27. In October, 1944, the Japanese began to escalate night attacks, bringing on a requirement for night fighters to counter them. USAAF P-61s were too far off. Night fighting variants of the Hellcat were introduced in the form of the F6F-3N and F6F-5N, equipped with radar. This new role for the Hellcat first appeared at the end of fall, 1944 during the intensification of kamikaze attacks, that required the interception of unorthodox attacks by aircraft that avoided air to air combat. Other major combat was seen over the Japanese islands over the first half of 1945. Although the Hellcat was progressively replaced by its stablemate F4U Corsair, it served in the combat role up to the end of the war. Under the designation Hellcat F Mk 1 and II, several hundred served with the Royal Navy, notably in the Atlantic covering convoys, and also in the Far East. According to statistics, there were 12275 Hellcats of all versions made. For the loss of 270 of these, Hellcat pilots claimed 5156 kills. That accounts for over half of USN and USMC victories. The Hellcat also became the most successful carrier based fighter in the Pacific in under two years of ops. Lumbering, awkward at first glance, lacking in elegance, barroom brawler - wild, tough, a fearless hulk, able to clear a saloon before turning three times…..that was the Hellcat in the skies over the Pacific.
This is a 1/48 Arii plastic kit to build a Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat in the colours of the US Navy.
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