Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

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Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by tmanthegreat » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:10 pm

I finally bit the bullet and got a Hobby Master 1:32 scale F6F Hellcat model the other day. I've been tempted, but had held off due to the high price and less-than-flattering reviews of the model on the diecast forums. Then they made a model of a plane where I had a personal connection to the pilot, so I felt obliged to finally cave and get the model.

I've not taken any detailed photos (yet) but some should eventually get posted on The Flying Mule's website here: http://www.flyingmule.com/products/HM-HA0304

The model I purchased was that of an F6F-5N Hellcat night fighter flown by Major Bruce Porter of USMC VMF(N)-542 while stationed at Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, in May 1945. Maj. Porter lived in my hometown of Fresno, CA. My father knew him and even went to school with his daughter. I've got an autographed copy of Maj. Porter's autobiography, so naturally, when a model of his plane appeared, I had to get it :wink:

THE GOOD:
Hobby Master's F6F has quite a bit of diecast in its construction and is quite heavy. It comes packed securely in a styrofoam tray. The paint applications on my model are flawless. The cockpit is nicely detailed with controls, instruments, and the gunsight and the canopy slides open. The canopy framing appears to be accurate for the late-model F6F-5 aircraft. The plastic engine cowling is removable and reveals a detailed double wasp radial engine. The model also comes with a clear cowling piece so one can display the engine detail if they want. All landing gear parts are plug-in-place, which I don't mind on a smaller model like this. The wings can be displayed in either the extended or folded positions and when extended have good dihedral. As this particular plane is a night fighter variant of the Hellcat, it comes with the radar pod on the starboard wing and two 20mm cannon barrels detailed on the inboard gun ports on each wing. There are a lot of parts that come with the model, giving the collector a variety of ways to accurately display the aircraft, which is nice.

THE BAD:
The Hobby Master F6F Hellcat has drawn criticism since it was first released and much of this is rightly so. First there's the cost, which averages around $228 and is a bit much... I had a $20 off coupon from The Flying Mule, which helped, but it cost me pretty much as much as the last Corgi Mosquito I purchased - and that is significantly larger than the Hellcat. It also does not include the stand, which is an extra $15.

In terms of construction, I'm not completely thrilled with the wing setup. Overall, the folding wings were done in a similar manner to what HM did with their 1:48 scale Corsair. The wings separate and there are parts that plug in place to brace them in the extended or folded positions. The wing upper surface is diecast, and they are heavy, and the gap does not close as tightly as I would prefer. Just not as solid of a feel as I would want. The wings are not helped by the fact that you have to install a couple different plastic parts on the underside around the wheel well. These parts have a small flap either opened or closed for when the wings are folded or extended. This was done for accuracy, but weakens the structural strength of the model. Save for the rudder, none of the other main control surfaces are movable. The ailerons, flaps, and elevators do not move, which contrasts to the HM 1:32 scale SBD Dauntless where all surfaces move. The Hellcat's landing gear are plug-in-place, but are plastic in construction and feel just a bit flimsy given the weight of the fuselage. The HM Hellcat is definitely not a model you want to fly around your living room or roll across the table :wink:

It was easy enough to attach the accessories - the drop tank and main radio mast. Rather strangely, this particular model comes with two 500lb bombs on their hard points, however, there is no slot on the underside of the wing to attach them! Its not big deal as the Hellcat didn't carry bombs in the night fighter role, but it's still odd that HM included parts one can't really use. The pilot figure is an improvement over those that came with the SBD Dauntless, but it isn't the greatest. I'm using a BBI 1:32 scale PTO pilot, which looks far better. The 21c 32x Corsair pilot would also fit, but one would need to cut off the parachute so it could sit low enough in the cockpit.

THE VERDICT:
I got this plane because of my connection with the pilot and I like to have models of aircraft in my collection where I have some sort of connection to the person that flew them. If you're desperate to have a pre-built 1:32 scale Hellcat - and have the money to spare - the Hobby Master is not a terrible example. It is good and looks the part. That said, for the $228 price tag, I would have expected somewhat better craftsmanship, particularly with the wings, than what HM delivered.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by Dauntless » Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:56 pm

Good review Tman.

I was looking at getting one of the HM Hellcats so now I know what to expect, thanks.

Just got my first HM 1:32 Dauntless the other day. The Midway McClusky. I must say I'm very impressed with it. 8)
Don't know why I waited so long.

Occasionally these come up for a good deal on ebay . I just don't think I'm willing to pay full pop for one yet. Understand your personal connection to this particular Hellcat though.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by USCGMK2 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:37 pm

I own all 4 now. I get mine NIB for $150, which I still feel like that's high priced. I think $100-$125 would be fair. I like them all, but the tires they need to be wider and my night fighter seems to have the longer gun barrels pointed outwards by a degree or two and the one part of the barrel needs to be painted sea blue.

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by PanzerArm » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:57 pm

I really want one of these, but I cannot bring myself to pay more that $100 for a 1/32 plane, regardless of quality/manufacturer.

-Kevin

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by hworth18 » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:57 am

Good review Tman!!!
I was able to pick up the Vraciu Hellcat about a month ago for $150 shipped. It's a nice model and I'm glad I didn't pay much more than what I did or I probably wouldn't have bought it.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by dragon53 » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:00 pm

I got the HM 1/32 Vraciu Hellcat for about $85 with free shipping earlier this year.
Another negative for the wings is the excessive dihedral.
I've got the Porter Hellcat on my North Carolina Collection buy list since Porter and VMF(N)-542 were both based in NC (separately) during World War II---but hopefully it will be during a big sale.

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by ketelone » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:30 am

$85 is a fantastic deal!
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by dragon53 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:45 pm

KETELONE:

Yes, it was a great deal....I doubt I'll see the Porter Hellcat at $85. :mrgreen:

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by hworth18 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:25 pm

dragon53 wrote:I got the HM 1/32 Vraciu Hellcat for about $85 with free shipping earlier this year.
Another negative for the wings is the excessive dihedral.
I've got the Porter Hellcat on my North Carolina Collection buy list since Porter and VMF(N)-542 were both based in NC (separately) during World War II---but hopefully it will be during a big sale.
Wow!! And I thought I got a good deal?
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by snake » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:57 pm

Dauntless wrote:


Just got my first HM 1:32 Dauntless the other day. The Midway McClusky. I must say I'm very impressed with it. 8)
Don't know why I waited so long.
Spot on review, Tman.

I am a big fan of the 1/32 scale, but somehow the HM Hellcat doesn't really do it for me.

Price being probably the biggest issue, as it is expensive. But was never a huge fan of the Hellcat either, so given that, haven't picked one up yet. Think the Corsair would have been a better choice, with more worldwide appeal.

And don't exactly see these flying off the shelves either, so might be a while before HM even contemplate another 1/32 release.

But having bashed the HM Hellcat, do like their 1/32 Dauntless, and have a number of them.

Don't know why it took you so long to get one of these, "Dauntless". :lol:

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by tmanthegreat » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:05 pm

I got the Hobby Master SBD-3 Dauntless in the Battle of Midway/McClusky markings recently as well. Paid about $150 for it on eBay, which I thought was reasonable. I agree with the others that it's a fantastic plane, really, better than their Hellcat. Its only serious drawback are the figures... They suck, and aren't even 1/32 scale. Luckily, I was able to get a spare set of the BBI 1/32 Dauntless figures from a board member, and have an excellent-looking crew in the HM model now. From what I understand, later HM 1/32 Dauntlesses have larger figures.

I had waited so long on the HM 1/32 Dauntless because I had the BBI 1/32 scale model, which really is quite good! But, I wanted a 1/32 Dauntless in a more classic early-war scheme and since the SBD was instrumental in turning the tide of the war in the Pacific at Midway, it made sense to get the McClusky version.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by Dauntless » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:23 am

snake wrote:
Dauntless wrote:


Just got my first HM 1:32 Dauntless the other day. The Midway McClusky. I must say I'm very impressed with it. 8)
Don't know why I waited so long.
Spot on review, Tman.

I am a big fan of the 1/32 scale, but somehow the HM Hellcat doesn't really do it for me.

Price being probably the biggest issue, as it is expensive. But was never a huge fan of the Hellcat either, so given that, haven't picked one up yet. Think the Corsair would have been a better choice, with more worldwide appeal.

And don't exactly see these flying off the shelves either, so might be a while before HM even contemplate another 1/32 release.

But having bashed the HM Hellcat, do like their 1/32 Dauntless, and have a number of them.

Don't know why it took you so long to get one of these, "Dauntless". :lol:
Yeah huh,…. I suppose the reason is exactly like Tman's ^^^ I have the BBI version. :lol:

Again too Midway is so important a battle though so I waited and watched a McKlusky and got it for $120 plus shipping. They are getting scarce these days so now or never.


I think HM should go all out and make an Avenger. Probably even more involved than either the Hellcat or Dauntless. Not likely though given the sales are slow for the Hellcat and it would be more expensive to make, but the ultimate WWII US Navy plane to do me thinks.

Not that impressed with the HM F6F for the price, but where else is there a 1:32 version? Most of us 21st Century Toys 1:32 collectors were wishing for a Hellcat that never came back in the day…so eventually I'll get one.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by dragon53 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:09 pm

DAUNTLESS:

I also would like HM to make an Avenger---but I'd like to see it in their 1/48 line. At 1/48, it would be in a more convenient size and a lower price.

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by tmanthegreat » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:37 pm

Before an Avenger in 1:48, Hobby Master needs to make an A6M Zero... I have a Maurshin diecast Zero, which looks the part, but it's not big on detail. A Hobby Master version would be far superior!
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by Dauntless » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:05 am

tmanthegreat wrote:Before an Avenger in 1:48, Hobby Master needs to make an A6M Zero... I have a Maurshin diecast Zero, which looks the part, but it's not big on detail. A Hobby Master version would be far superior!
You should consider an Aoshima Tman. There's been three recent releases. I just got this one myself from HLJ. They are 1:48. Sliding canopy, retractable gear (I think haven't opened it yet) detailed cockpit. A step up from the Marushin I hear, though I don't have any of those.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by hworth18 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:58 pm

Dauntless wrote:
tmanthegreat wrote:Before an Avenger in 1:48, Hobby Master needs to make an A6M Zero... I have a Maurshin diecast Zero, which looks the part, but it's not big on detail. A Hobby Master version would be far superior!
You should consider an Aoshima Tman. There's been three recent releases. I just got this one myself from HLJ. They are 1:48. Sliding canopy, retractable gear (I think haven't opened it yet) detailed cockpit. A step up from the Marushin I hear, though I don't have any of those.
Image
I have 2 of the Aoshima Zero's and they are really fantastic!!!
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by USCGMK2 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:33 pm

I've been wanting one of those Aoshima's but trying to find one less than $160.

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by hworth18 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:11 pm

USCGMK2 wrote:I've been wanting one of those Aoshima's but trying to find one less than $160.
You can order one from HLJ, they are out of stock right now, but HLJ won't take the money out of your account until the item is ready to ship.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by dragon53 » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:03 am

Correction----I paid only $79.15 for the 1/32 Vraciu Hellcat. I forgot a discount promotion code lowered the price even more.

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by PanzerArm » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:27 pm

Where are these rumored $79 HM Hellcats? I must know. I just paid $103 off eBay for mine and I would be game for another at a $79 price point.

-Kevin

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by Dauntless » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:06 am

PanzerArm wrote:Where are these rumored $79 HM Hellcats? I must know. I just paid $103 off eBay for mine and I would be game for another at a $79 price point.

-Kevin
If I'm not mistaken Collectablejets.com was bought out by Diecastairplane.com which led to sale on most of the HM 1/32 Hellcats, is what I read on another forum.

I would have jumped on the sale if I'd have known about it. :(

btw Dragon53, I would love a 1:48 Avenger from HM, or any of the US Navy WWII 1:72 they wanted to upsize.
The details get better I'm finding in most cases. Have a number of the Navy yellow wings in 1:48 and Boyington's Corsair.
Looking forward to the upcoming Walsh Marines Corsair the first F4U ace, to round out with a birdcage canopy.
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by dragon53 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:36 pm

I was the one that posted about the Hellcat sale on another message board earlier this year. Apparently few people took advantage of the sale. :shock:


PANZERARM:

Did your $103 Hellcat include shipping?

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by dragon53 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:41 pm

DAUNTLESS:

I'm looking forward to the Walsh Corsair, too----I suggested it to William at Hobby Master over two years ago and sent him a bunch of artwork on it.

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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by Dauntless » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:23 am

dragon53 wrote:DAUNTLESS:

I'm looking forward to the Walsh Corsair, too----I suggested it to William at Hobby Master over two years ago and sent him a bunch of artwork on it.
You to thank then. Good call on the Corsair. Probably the best possible birdcage to do. 8)
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Re: Product Review: Hobby Master F6F Hellcat in 1/32 Scale

Post by PanzerArm » Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:28 pm

dragon53 wrote: PANZERARM:

Did your $103 Hellcat include shipping?
Unfortunately no, that was an additional $15.

I now have my Vraciu Hellcat assembled alongside the BBi "White 77" Wildcat. Sure does dwarf its older brother.

-Kevin

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