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Grumman F6F-5N Night Fighter 'Weekend Edition'

Scale: 1/48th
Manufacturer: Eduard
Ref No: 84133
Material: IM, R

Kit Review
This is the third of my four Eduard Hellcat builds and this particular Weekend Edition kit was released in 2016. Being in this simplified series it lacks photo-etched or things like paint masks but it does have resin gun barrels, radome, exhausts and altimeter antennae.

Have a look at my F6F-3 build HERE, as the overall assembly is basically the same. You just have decals for the instrument panel and seat belts and with the engine you don't get an ignition harness in etched. Even though the kit comes with resin gun barrels I omitted these and replaced when with the superb brass once from the Master set AM-48-109. I also found that the fit of the resin radome was not that good, so I had the OWL conversion set and thus used the radome from that instead,. The kit supplied resin radome also had various areas missing in the front area, as that is where the casting webs were and once removed, they left indentations in the very tip of the radome that were hard to entirely eradicate, so i went with the Owl one instead. I also used the resin radar scope from the OWL set to go onto the instrument panel, but opted for the resin radio altimeter 'T' antennae from the kit, as the etched ones in the Owl conversion are too flat. The drop tank lacks the rest of each strap in etched, so I just found plasticard strips that were the same width as the rest of the strap moulded to the tank and cut lengths so that once the tank was in place I could bridge the gap between the tank and the underside of the fuselage. The rest of the build is as per the -3, only with the -5 series you don't have those side windows to contend with. You do have to add the HVAR stubs though and sadly Eduard never did them as separate parts, you have to cut them off the supplied HVAR rocket bodies. This sounds OK, but it leaves you with tiny little parts that if you look closely at, are mis-aligned vertically between the two mould halves, so you have to try and clean each one up and after 12 of them (24 in my case as the others were on the Hellcat Mk II), you wish someone would do these as resin parts or something.
Colour & Markings
Aah, overall glossy sea blue, lovely and easy, but making the whole thing not look to flat and uninteresting was going to be fun. With the windscreen secured (watch that glue!) and masked, that area was painted Interior Green, then the model was primed with Mr Surfacer 1000. The blue was applied along the panel lines first, then the centre of each panel was sprayed to various levels with the same colour and finally a fine mist of it was applied overall to tie all the levels in. It looks a bit patchy, but the oil wash would help to darken things down further later.
The decals were from the kit and were superb, going on with ease and settling into all the recessed detail with a little Micro Sol. The stencils too went on with too much trouble and I don't think I had any silvering anywhere, which is impressive considering the dark nature of the overall scheme. The whole lot was then sealed with a couple of fine layers of acrylic gloss varnish so that a dark wash could be applied. For this I went with Burnt Sienna, as it gave a nice 'brown' that contrasted well with the blue, as I felt that a darker shade or black would have just melded with the dark blue. Once the excess was wiped off the whole model was sealed with satin varnish - now I know it should be glossy, but sorry I am not a fan of gloss for WWII era aircraft, so satin gave a nice sheen without it being truly shiny. Exhaust staining was sprayed on using a heavily thinned mix of red brown (XF-64) and black, followed by some Rubber Black (XF-85) applied vertically up the panels lines over which the other stains pass, thus giving that 'collected' look to the stains at those points. 
Final Details
All the undercarriage parts were installed (all pre-painted and weathered) and using a good 'rubber' shade for the tyres (use black on the sidewalls and rubber for the tread region), will give contrast with the dark blue. The tank was Insignia White from the Hataka lacquer series and this had no side straps, as these are etched in the ProfiPACK kits, so I went with simple plasticard strip extensions to bridge the gap between the tank and fuselage underside. All the clear parts were as per the -3 build, again with the tip lights needing trimming to fit and the aerial masts attachment was as troublesome as always, although I probably only broke it off a couple of times with this one. The resin 'T' antennae were secured in pre-drilled holes under the wing and tailplane. The pitot in all the Eduard Hellcats I built were shortened slightly as the front 'prong' just looks stupidly big to me.

Lovely, I have to say I enjoyed building this one as it was straightforward and needed little of no filler or sanding. The radome was a bit of a let-down, due to the damage cause by the casting webs, but I had a replacement so it was not an issue. The overall blue scheme surprised me, as I thought it would be quite boring, but it actually looks quite nice, so much in fact that I intend doing a battered Armée de l''Air -5 from the Hasegawa kit next!

See my other builds here:
Hellcat Mk I
Hellcat Mk II

Paints used
Alclad II lacquer:
White Aluminium
Aqua Gloss (varnish)

Gunze Mr Hobby Aqueous Hobby Color acrylic:
Mr Surfacer 1000 Grey
Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 (Black)
Mr Levelling Thinner
H54 Navy Blue
H58 Interior Green

Hataka lacquer:
HTK-C049 Insignia White

Tamiya Color acrylic:
X-1 Gloss Black
X-2 Gloss White
X-7 Gloss Red
X-22 Gloss Clear
X-23 Clear Blue
X-24 Clear Yellow
X-25 Clear Green
X-27 Clear Red
XF-85 Rubber Black