The Summer of ’52-Grumman F5F-5K Hellcat



It’s stange sometimes what inspires me to build a subject, in this case it was seeing a new release decal sheet being reviewed on Hyperscale some years ago. One of the aircraft featured was a Grumman F5F-5K Hellcat painted in a striking Red/Dayglow Orange scheme which I instantly fell in love with!

This build never got of the ground instantly though. The decal sheet sat in my decal stash for a few years until a very pleasant gift in the form of Eduards 1/48 F5F Hellcat landed in my studio. The simple no frills Eduard “weekend” kit was just the perfect canvas for this scheme and a great opportunity to have fun with red and orange weathering.

After World War Two the US Navy used Grumman F5F and F6F Hellcats as remote piloted drones. They were painted in very bright eye catching schemes to sepertate them from operational aircraft. Our F5F Hellcat was based out of Point Mugu N.A.S. a US Navy test staion and missile base. Although during these post war years the Hellcat drones were kept well maintained and clean by the 1950’s some were showing thier age and this was the look that I wanted to create for my build.

Here are some examples of the look I was after….

After a quick assembly process, which included adding  hand painted cockpit details and P/E seat harness, the airframe was primed entirely in black and mabled with a dark brown shade. I then set about mixing the red and orage shades I wanted for the model using a mixture of Tamiya and Vallejo Acrylics. I laid down the two colours in mist coats to buid them up in layers to replicate years of sun faded paint.

Here was the finished painting effect:


Once this was done, all that was left was to add decals, attatch the landing gear and weather the airframe. I did this using weathing pencils to show wear and tear revealing the bare matal and primer underneath the faded out paint. I also needed a setting to display the model and I wanted to keep t simple in keeping with the rest of the build.

I finally decided to pose the Hellcat being checked over the maintainence crew on a hot, sunny California afternoon during the summer of 1952…….



Thats all for now, hope you enjoyed this model and thanks for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Modelling!






9 thoughts on “The Summer of ’52-Grumman F5F-5K Hellcat

  1. I’ve always really dug unusual paint schemes, and this one is a great example. That turned out great.I remember seeing those is a book once and I thought that they would make a great subject.
    Well done!
    As a side note, after seeing all of those photos of the real deal, I still can’t understand why people argue about aircraft colors! Especially when they want to use photos as proof positive of a given color! LAL

    Liked by 2 people

  2. normalpete

    Very cool . You’ve got a well built ‘no-nonsense aircraft their , my friend . After ‘building’ and customizing plastic models for nearly 66 years ( I’m now nearly 70 years young ) I have often found that I now prefer this way. I’ve always appreciated the ‘different’ . I’m doing more ex-military subjects nowadays . Keep-on dude . Pete Bellwood . Britain

    Liked by 2 people

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