I started construction with the chassis tub. First thing to do is gluing the back wall. Next I cut the suspension arms out of the casting block and it turned out the holes for their pins are much too small. Off with the pins, arms are drilled through, as is the tub itself – naturally observing the locations of the original holes.
I decided to use thick copper wire passing through the whole tub to make new pins. This would ease me in terms of affixing the pins and make the whole thing stronger.
“An old soldier, but not faded away yet” – that’s the way the fate of this kit can be summed up – at least in my own collection.
It all started up about 5 years ago with the impulsive purchase of the kit. Nice details, simple construction, interesting decal options (both shark-mouthed), and a comprehensive weapon set at a very reasonable price. A few months later it was destined to become the cure for a modeller’s block. Then it was cutting the flaps out, then some scratchubilt details in the cockpit. Guns are replaced with needles of two different diameters, filling and sanding of fuse seam are in order. So far so good (that’s middle of 2007):
Here’s the work done on the MF so far. Essentially the model builds itself. On this dry-fit picture the only glued parts are the halves of the vertical stabilizer and the rudder, which is offset to port.
Glued main office parts together and gave them a splash of color – my own mix, which when dried turned out to be very different from the kit-supplied PE variation…
Here you can see the floor. Everything in this area is basically “click-fit”. Rudder pedals were inserted later on.
Alright, it’s been a while since I started this kit, and the source of the delay has been the overspray due to cracked airbrush nozzle. While waiting for a replacement I replaced most of the detail on the top.
I removed the antiskid plates (don’t ask – don’t tell) and re-did the antislip coating only. Few of the original plastic handholds are still in use, most were replaced with wire – as were the DML PE parts, since most were too flimsy and two-dimensional. I also added the rope tie-downs at the 4 corners.
Here’s the hellcat with most details glued on, painted, decalled and partially weathered. “Chipping” is attained via removing paint layers – I am using a Q-tip, moistened in 90% spirit. Panel lines highlighted with diluted brown paint. Exhaust streaks are airbrushed. I mixed matt lacquer (Revell 02) with dark grey (Revell 78) for the first layer and earth/rust (Revell 37 + 83).
Fuselage stars’n’bars are obviously oversized. Decals in general weren’t really cooperative, so I used Agama’s Hypersol decal solution to affix them. Related to this – one more mistake is evident on the last pic – I masked the exhaust streaks using blue tack, which pulled one of the decals. Now a nice angular patch of “clean airframe” interrupts the streak…
Masking the bottom. Revell Basic Paint used as a filler/primer in order to make the wing-fuselage joint flush (it has a noticeable step if left by itself). Work also done on the cowling as my riveting attempts left it damaged…
Also, notice my first attempt at filling the giant step left behind by Revell in the gear wells in pic 2. The “spur” on the right wing is already missing – three attempts to restore it would follow.
Image 3 shows the kitty hidden from the Revell spray, which was used to cover the puttied-up self-made casing chutes – they were too uneven and not really aligned.
This one will be shorter, because if I delved into detail and the number of repaints, failed experiments that had to be puttied and sanded over and over in the course of three (!) years I’d have to write a 500-page long book.
So, what did I do to kit 04140?
– Drilled engine cylinders, got it wired (incl that ring around the crankcase) and painted.
– Cut off the MG barrels from the part, measured lengths, replaced with needles. Glued wing parts together.
– Tried to shave off detail from cockpit backwall, failed, broke the detail, used plastic packaging and made the detail anew, glued two needles as support for the pilot’s seat and the seat itself. Painted cockpit, applied decals and glued it in the fuselage halves. Added sloped armored with headrest and that bar, which the shoulder straps pass over.
Well, after taking my time to describe the kit parts in as much detail on their own I’ll now try to shed some light on how the kit actually is building – something that is quite obviously missing in most kit reviews, filled with happy voices of how detailed and accurate those are.
As you will undoubtedly notice no kit part is present in the finished article un-altered. Truth is modifications to parts were not needed because I am such a great accuracy hunter, or because I was willing to display how much ignored the fit factor is these days. I had to alter the parts so they could actually FIT and the final article looks like a vehicle, and not a pile of parts thrown together.