The obsession goes deeper…
So, while I am waiting for my delivery of Humbrol 224 Dark Slate Grey to complete my Sea Hurricane, I thought I’d get a start on the next kit, the Grumman Hellcat Mk.1. This is the first of three Hellcats – this first one will be in D-Day markings (like the photo of the Wildcat flying at Shuttleworth), one will be a Mk.2 in Pacific theatre dark blue, the third will wait for a while as I will make it as an early 1944 (so no black and white stripes) but with folded wings.
Anyway, the kit I’m making is by Eduard. The box contains two complete Hellcat kits so you can make a Mk.1 and a Mk.2. I thought Revell was good, but this kit is astounding. One might venture to suggest awesome. It has introduced me to a strange and dark world of tricks called “super-detail”.
Here is the overview of the kit – the traditional three sprues plus transparencies. The sharper of my readers will have noticed two decal sheets and a couple of odd squarish shiny things. Herein lies super-detail.
The extra sheet of decals is from a company called (appropriately) Xtra-decal. It includes a set for an 800 NAS Hellcat Mk.2 in the Pacific. So I can keep that for the next build.
The metal things are two very thin sheets that have been etched and, on one, painted. These are tiny, tiny parts that bring an incredible level of detail to the model that would be impossible with plastic. Known as ‘PE’, these are photo-etched and are quite amazingly small.
Here is a close-up of one bit with the edge of a 5p coin for scale. Some of these things are about a couple of millimetres long at the most. Remember that this is a 1/72nd scale kit, so something that fits snugly into the hand like a throttle lever might be 10cm long in real life, so is 1.4mm long to scale!
Some new construction techniques are needed. As is superglue. And tweezers. And a really sharp knife.
On top of that is a another colour conundrum. The interiors of most WW2-age aircraft were painted with a primer based on zinc chromate. This has a slightly yellowish-green colour. None of the big three (Humbrol, Tamiya and Revell) does this exact colour. If we are worrying over mm-long parts, we should get the right colours, yes? With me on this? Guys?
Just me then.
Anyway, I managed to track down the superb Vallejo zinc chromate acrylic and have used that. Marvellous.