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F6F-3/5 Wheel Bays

1/48 scale for Hasegawa




S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description Aires Hobby Models 4273 - F6F-3/5 Hellcat Wheel Bay
Price: available directly from http://www.modelchoice.net
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Grey and cream coloured resin, acetate film, photo etched metal
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent detail and casting; will address a known shortcoming in the Hasegawa kits
Disadvantages: No painting instructions
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Aires' 1/48 scale F6F Hellcat Wheel Bays  will be available online from Squadron.com




The latest addition to the prolific Aires Masters Series is 4273, a 1/48 scale mixed-media wheel bay set for the 1/48 scale Hasegawa kits of the Grumman F6F-3 and F6F-5 Hellcat.

Hasegawa kit first released their 1/48 scale Hellcat (an F6F-3) in 1995 and has since followed it up with (currently) 21 different releases making it one of the main players in their catalogue. The kit does suffer from inaccuracies in the cowling and the wheel bays but it does builds into a nice replica with a minimum of effort straight from the box.

Should you wish to go the extra distance however, this new kit from Aires will overcome the kit's wheel bay shortcomings. It provides you with 20 resin pieces and 14 photo-etched ones.

The resin parts provide you with 'tubs' to fit inside each wing to make up each wheel bay, undercarriage doors, and undercarriage retract arms. The parts are cast in mid-grey flexible resin which is much more user friendly than the older, brittle resin that Aires originally used. The casting is very much up to the standard we have come to expect from Aires. The parts are all perfectly cast and crammed with detail.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The etch-metal parts are basically tiny detail items with the larger of them being the torque links. Other parts include the up locks, and gear door reinforcements. The metal used to produce the fret is soft and easy to work with. It is very easy to manipulate and does not have a "memory" in case you goof up and have to flatten the part before having another attempt at folding it.


Does it fit? Yes it does but you will have to do a lot of grinding, thinning and sanding of the kit parts to let it do so. This has always been the scariest thing for me when using any Aires detail set. I recently put their cockpit set into a Hasegawa F-8 and by the time I had finished removing and "reducing" the kit parts as Aires quaintly advises, the fuselage walls were practically transparent. If I can offer any advice here it is the old standard modelling term of go slowly, go carefully, and frequently dry fit!

Accurate? The parts compares well with the like the pictures in my Detail and Scale book so I will have no misgivings in using it.

A small instruction sheet is included. It carries 'exploded views' of the suggested assembly sequence as well as a 'parts map' to assist you in identifying the tiny photo-etch parts.

As with all Aires kits no painting instructions are provided so you will need to look elsewhere for this information.

The kit comes packed in the standard small kit packaging used by Aires and it very well packed indeed! The resin parts sit in a vac formed tray which in turn sits on top of a thick cardboard header onto which the photo etch fret and instructions are also placed. A further vac formed clear plastic cover is then slid over both the tray and the header and it both traps and displays the resin and photo-etch parts. Staples are then punched through the header card and the plastic cover to fasten them together. Great packaging indeed and it will ensure that the kit arrives in your hand with all the parts intact.

Yes, I know I always use the same words for any review of the packaging in Aires kits but it really is well done and relevant seeing as most of us rely on mail order for our kits, decals and detail sets.

This is a nice update from Aires that will rectify the wheel bay shortcomings of the Hasegawa Hellcats


Thanks to Aires for the review sample.

Text and Images Copyright 2006 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 08 March, 2006
Last updated 07 March, 2006

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