In-Box Review
Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

I have to admit I've shied away from 1/144 scale kits since being put off by some of the rather toy-like models that appeared in the 1970s. With my eyes "off the ball", I had no idea just how much times had changed until I was lucky enough to see the latest gems in this scale produced by Platz in Japan.

This is a double kit with parts for two complete aircraft packed in a tidy end-opening box, the rear of which doubles as a full-colour painting guide. Each aircraft comprises:

36 x grey styrene parts
3 x clear styrene parts
Decals are included for 3 x colour schemes

The moulding is quite excellent. The parts are crisply formed and display a remarkable level of detail for such a small model. The surface finish consists of finely engraved panel lines.

The interior is simplified, with no control column, but there's still a separate tub with a seat, instrument panel and rear armour. The undercarriage is very neat, with separate gear legs and wheels with detailed hubs. On the tailwheel, Platz have even managed to include the lightening holes that slipped past Eduard in their quarterscale Hellcat! Stores include a centreline drop tanks and a pair of bombs and racks, although the latter aren't shown in the instructions.

The cowl encloses a finely detailed engine, while the propeller has a well rendered hub.

Rounding everything off, the crystal clear canopy has crisply defined frames and separate quarterlights.

Instructions and Decals
The assembly diagrams are well drawn and easy to follow. A nice development compared with Platz's earlier kits is that the text is now much more geared to an international market, with bi-lingual Japanese/English notes. Colour matches are provided for Gunze Sangyo, Tamiya and ModelMaster paints.

Decals are included for a trio of Hellcats:

1. F6F-3, VF-27, USS Princeton, Maui, May 1944
2. F6F-3, VF-9, USS Essex, 1944
3. F6F-3, VF-4, 1943

The glossy Cartograph decals look excellent quality, printed perfectly in register. There are a number of stencils, including propeller makers logos.

Platz's F6F-3 Hellcat is a delightful little kit. It's clear that an F6F-5 is also planned and I'll certainly look forward to it. Despite the small scale, the model doesn't compromise on detail and dedicated 1/144 scale enthusiasts will be bound to snap it up. I can also recommend it to modellers used to working in a larger scale looking for a change of diet - this and Platz's other WW2 fighters have made an instant convert out of me! Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Very well moulded, with excellent detail for this scale. High quality decals.
Verdict: What a great little kit - or, rather, pair of kits! Platz's Hellcat is a real eye-opener for anyone unaware of just what can be achieved in 1/144 scale.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: PD-15
  Suggested Retail: 1,470 Yen
  PUBLISHED: Dec 01, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Platz!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Rowan. Is there anywhere in the UK we can get hold of platz kits?? If you're a convert to 144 check out the Sweet range of kits - they are excelent. Andy
DEC 01, 2008 - 09:30 AM
Cheers Andy - I will. As regards buying Platz kits in the UK, their website doesn't show a distributor yet. Hannants have a DC-3 and Il-76 listed, but none of these WW2 fighters. I'll see if Platz themselves can suggest a source over here. All the best Rowan
DEC 01, 2008 - 10:48 AM
Actually, the DC3 and Il-76 that Hannants have listed are photoetch accessories rather than kits.
DEC 01, 2008 - 01:17 PM
Hi Kenneth Well spotted! Obviously, I was just testing everyone there... I've just heard back from Platz and they've confirmed that they don't have a UK distributor yet. If you're shopping on-line, HLJ have a number of the kits in stock and are always a good source for Japanese kits at competitive prices. All the best Rowan
DEC 02, 2008 - 07:55 PM
Cheers Rowan, Like Andy (Bigskip) I have been looking for a UK outlet of these kits. Hannants did stock them when the Platz range first came out several years ago and then stopped! I did manage to pick up the P-51D back then great kit, so I'm very disappointed that I have not been able to pick up any more of their range. Luciano
DEC 04, 2008 - 05:11 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Parts1
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Canopy
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Colours
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Decals
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Surface
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Fuselage
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Gear
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Wheels
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Engine
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Cowling
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Propeller
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Drop-Tank
  • Platz_F6F-3_Hellcat_Bombs