The Grumman F6F Hellcat was one of the great naval fighters of the Second World War. This high-performance fighter was paired with a rugged airframe, a very powerful engine, and heavy armament went head-to-head with the best combat aircraft operated by Imperial Japan. Ultimately, Hellcats outperformed and outnumbered opposing forces and it was instrumental in securing air superiority over the Pacific. A total of 12,275 were built and served with the U. S. Navy, U. S. Marine Corps, and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, and later it was operated by France and Uruguay. Hellcats claimed 5,223 kills against enemy aircraft. The F6F-5 was arguably the definitive production Hellcat, featuring a redesigned engine cowling, a bullet-proof windscreen, refined flight control surfaces, and the 2,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W water-injected radial piston engine.
Detail & Scale recently released the book F6F Hellcat in Detail & Scale by Bert Kinzey and Chris Sakal with art by Rock Roszak (find out more about this book, including how to order either the eBook or print edition, HERE). Furball Aero-Design followed the book with two sets of decal sheets for scale modelers in both 1:48 and 1:72 scales. In this review, we examine Colors and Markings of USN Hellcats Part 2 (#F/D&S-4824; MSRP: $19.99) in 1:48 scale. This decal set contains markings for twelve F65-5s during the last two years of World War II. The sheet was made possible with research materials provided by Detail & Scale related to the content in the book. In the interest of transparency and impartiality, I wish to disclose that your reviewer had nothing to do with the development of this sheet.
In this set, decals for the following overall Gloss Sea Blue F6F-5s are provided:
- F6F-5 “Ripper,” VF-7, USS HANCOCK “White 17,” 1944
- F6F-5, VF-9, USS YORKTOWN, “White 9,” 1945
- F6F-5, VF-11, USS HORNET, “White 9,” 1944
- F6F-5, VBF-12, USS RANDOLPH, “White 32,” 1945
- F6F-5, VF-20, USS ENTERPRISE, “White 69,” 1944
- F6F-5, VF-27, USS PRINCETON, “White 1,” 1944
- F6F-5, VF-28, USS MONTEREY, “White 18,” 1944
- F6F-5, VF-31, USS LEXINGTON, “White 99,” 1944
- F6F-5, VF-45, USS SAN JACINTO, “White 24,” 1945
- F6F-5, VF-22, USS COWPENS, “White 12,” 1945
- F6F-5, VF-82, USS BENNINGTON, “White 74,” 1945
- F6F-5, “Jersey Bounce,” VF-83, USS ESSEX, “White 129,” 1945
These decals are carefully sized to precisely fit on the Eduard kit, but several of these schemes can be adapted with little to no effort to most other 1:48 F6F kits that are available.
Furball Aero-Design produces the highest quality decals available today. The decal design/artwork by Furball is outstanding, and it is appropriately paired with world-class decal printing by Cartograf. A high standard of research also shines through on the accuracy of these decals. In other words, Furball’s excellent research replicated the source material from Detail & Scale with exemplary accuracy. The choices in markings capture multiple interesting and varied Hellcat schemes in the 1944-1945 timeframe. The squadron-specific tail art is all quite eye-catching such as with tails adorned with horseshoe and arrowhead emblems, triangles, double-diamonds, and stripes. While only very minimalist nose art was tolerated by the U. S. Navy during World War II, a few interesting examples are present here, such as “Ripper” and “Jersey Bounce.” Several aircraft on the decal sheet feature kill markings. Perhaps one of the most recognizable schemes here is the “Cat Mouth” that was temporarily painted on the engine cowlings of VF-27’s Hellcats embarked aboard PRINCETON in 1944. Of note, white decals on a dark background can be infamous in their transparency, but the white colors here have been printed double-extra thick to avoid this problem.
Furball Aero-Design has done another great job assembling another impressive ensemble of late-war F5F-5 Hellcat schemes that faithfully translated the source material from the Detail & Scale Colors and Markings book. A very broad range of scale modelers will find lots of creative opportunities in this decal set.
Many thanks to Furball Aero-Design for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.furballaero-design.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FurballAeroDesign.
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale