by: Ted Hayward [ ]
Contents As a tread-head usually lurking in Armorama, the 1/32nd scale Trumpeter F6F-5 Hellcat (item 2257) is the first aircraft kit Iíve built in years. I am fairly experienced in working with photo-etched detail sets, but these pre-colored additions from Eduard are new to me. Although I initially planned a quick, in-box review, after marveling at the detail this new technology affords, I just had to build the kit
As a fan of most products from Trumpeter, Iím sorry to report, contrary to every review Iíve read about this kit, that the detail, especially of the cockpit, is disappointingly soft. Gauges in the side consoles are represented with shallow recesses, while sink marks spoil the bulkhead faces. True, the kit-supplied film gauges are acceptableÖuntil one feasts their eyes on these pre-colored gems from Eduard.
The kit-supplied PE brass seatbelts look pathetic, compared to these Eduard replacements Ė the plastic lap belts being represented as a shapeless blob. After seeing the texture and stitching on the Eduard belts, the raised detail of the individual switches, and the increments finely depicted within the colored gauges, one will never be content with kit-supplied detail again. Also included in the set, but not shown in the directions, is the important range-adjusting knob for the gunsight. Absent in this set, but depicted on the Trumpeter instrument gauge film, is the prominent rudder-trim gauge, located in the center of the instrument panel. Also missing is the trim-control knob (port side) and canopy crank-handle (starboard). To be used from the kit are the oil-cooler control levers and throttle lever (the former not being mentioned in the Eduard instructions). I found it much easier to merely use the entire throttle quadrant/levers from the Trumpeter kit, rather than use half and half, as directed by the Eduard instructions. It would also have been nice to add more detail to the rudder pedals, which are rather plain.
ConstructionAlthough most of the parts are tiny, the fact that theyíre self-adhesive makes working with them very easy, with the ability to re-position parts for a few minutes after being placed in the general area. Great care must be used if using CA cement near these parts: attempts to remove any unwanted excess cement will remove the fragile color printing.
No special tools were needed. I donít own a fancy bending machine, so I make do with my blunt duck-bill tweezers and an old paintbrush with a mushroomed, wooden handle.
The seat is positioned in a way that would make in impossible for a pilot of human proportions to reach both the control stick and the pedals. In order to see any of the detail of the side console panels, it will be necessary to lower the pilotís seat by a good 3 mm. After doing so, it will immediately become apparent that the control stick is then much too close to the seat ĖI clumsily broke mine in the process.
ConclusionThis set transforms a mediocre kit into a show-winner. Less-expensive than the full interior detail set, it provides all the most important parts for a stunning Hellcat. Iím looking forward to gradually super-detailing mine with the other detail options now available from Eduard, including the F6F-5 Exterior set (item 32-187), Engine set (item 32-188), and Undercarriage set (item 32-189).
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