Hobbymaster 1/32nd scale HA0308 Grumman F6F-5 “Minis II” Commander Air Group 15, USS Essex (CV-9), 1944. Buy online at Flying Tigers.
In 1942-43 the F4U program was bogged down with delays and the USN needed a top notched carrier-based fighter. The Grumman F6F-5 was exactly what they were looking for with the first production model flying in October 1942 and 12,274 Hellcats built by the end of the war. In terms of size, the Hellcat was the second largest single engine fighter of the war, being just slightly smaller than the Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt”.
Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat “Minsi II” David McCampbell’s second “Minsi” Hellcat, USS Essex, 1944 The Hellcat made its combat debut August 1943 and in two years carrier based F6Fs are credited with downing 4,947 aircraft. If land based and Marine Hellcat kills are added it brings the total to 5,156, an incredible figure. This total represents 80% of all kills giving a kill–to-loss ratio of 19 to 1 another outstanding achievement. By Spring 1944 there were a total 4,403 F6F-3s built. Often referred to as the “Aluminum Tank” it was also aptly called “The Ace Maker” because of men like Vraciu and McCampbell. In Late June 1944 David McCampbell received F6F-5 Hellcat that he named Minsi II. LCDR McCampbell flew this aircraft until mid September 1944 and was unable to score one victory during those 3 months. This new aircraft turned out to be a very problematic machine and must have been built on a Monday or Friday. In early September 1944 this aircraft was traded in for the new F6F-5 McCampbell named “Minsi III”. McCampbell ended the war with a total of 34 victories.