Some time back a building and flying buddy of mine decided he wanted a Hellcat as his introduction to warbirds. After some searching he settled on a set of plans available through one of the magazines more because of a lack of options rather than any other reason. I was approached to do the cutting of the parts for the build. After looking the plans over it became pretty apparent that the design was quite old, a bit too small, and not particularly scale. I have always had a fondness for the Hellcat and wanted to build one of my own anyway so it was decided to start from scratch and design an entirely new airframe. My main goals with the design were thus:
I must confess up front that, although number one was met to my satisfaction, I did not do any great amount of research prior to designing. A set of drawings was chosen based on the fact they looked good to my eye and provided all the necessary information to design the airplane. My plans are faithful to the drawings so far as outline is concerned but I will admit to not checking the accuracy of the drawings to any great extent. To be quite honest, that kind of research was really outside the scope of my intent for this particular design. In other words, this is a sport scale airplane.
Number two kind of took care of itself in some respects. Despite my pre-conceived notions about the Hellcat it really turns out to be a fairly simple airplane from a design standpoint. At least for a sport scale model anyway! It has what appears to be a complex shape at first glance but, true to the philosophy of the Grumman “Ironworks”, that complexity is made up of many simpler shapes stacked together. The hardest part of building a really scale Hellcat may be the flaps. I have worked out that issue by simply leaving them off altogether. Instead, I have concentrated on making the airplane as light as possible with the payoff being that flaps are not in any way necessary. (NOTE: AT THE REQUEST OF MANY FLAPS HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE DESIGN AND ARE NOW PROVIDED FOR IN THE KIT) Along with that I have done the best that I can to provide jigging and fixtures to make the construction as easy and pain free as possible while still building an accurate airframe. Last, but not least, the airplane is entirely CAD designed in such a way to take advantage of the accuracy provided by laser cutting. For that reason templates are not provided for hand cutting. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately cut many of the parts by hand. The laser cut short-kit saves a great deal of time and goes a long way towards ensuring accurate assembly.
Goal number three was achieved primarily by building light and building straight. The layout of the Hellcat itself is quite good for a model. Large wing area, huge tail surfaces, good tail moment, scale down thrust, etc. About the only drawback is the somewhat short nose. Better get used to that if you’re going to build warbirds! I did put the same Selig airfoil on the Hellcat that is used on Top Flite's Gold Edition P-47 and added about 2 degrees of washout as well.
Number four is pretty self-explanatory. A list of the components needed to complete the Hellcat can be found here and most are called out on the plans as well.
Welcome to the inaugural R/C FrameWorks warbird group build! This project was created as something of an introduction to building and finishing scale warbirds. However, much of what we cover here will be applicable to just about any type of scale model, and even non-scale models as well. My intention here is to provide a step-by-step build sequence for the R/C FrameWorks F6F Hellcat complete with pictures, illustrations, descriptions, and whatever else I can provide to make the build easy, fun, and as free of problems as possible.
This web site serves to supplement and expound on the group build thread which is hosted by RC Universe and can be found at the following link:
RCFW Hellcat Group Build
In an attempt to keep the RC Universe thread easily readable and interesting for everyone, including those who may not be building along, I won’t fill it up with too much minutia concerning the finer points of the build. The full blow by blow can be found in the construction gallery on this site and includes all the details that may be of interest only to those actually building a Hellcat of their own. If all goes as planned I will cover every aspect of the build from start to finish. Along the way I will do my best to explain my processes, techniques, and tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years. It is my sincere hope that the RC Universe thread will draw the attention of other experienced builders as well that will be willing to share what they know. Although not a comprehensive list, here are a few subjects that I will attempt to cover during the course of the build:
Please understand that I will be explaining my techniques as I have developed them to suit me. They may or may not be the best way and they certainly are not the only way. That is why I want to encourage other folks to participate with their ideas as well. If you have a different method of doing something, or even an idea for how something could be done, please don’t hesitate to share it with the group. I’m as interested as anybody else in learning newer, better, and faster.
The laser cut semi-kit, vacuum formed accessories, and much of the hardware can be purchased directly through R/C Frameworks. The builder will be tasked with providing their own balsa sheeting, strip wood, and balsa blocks as necessary. A wood list as well as all the information necessary to order a Hellcat can be found at the link below.
Although not limited to the beginning warbird builder the goal of the group build is certainly to draw in the less experienced but aspiring builders. To that end I have struggled to keep down the costs associated with the Hellcat in order to make it available to as wide an audience as possible. Due to the fact that I am basically a one man operation, and also because everything associated with the Hellcat kit is domestically produced, that has been a real challenge. To that end several vendors have been approached about "sponsoring" the group build. Those below have agreed to give significant discounts on items related to the Hellcat build.
Ray and Robin's Hobby Center in Falmouth, Maine has graciously offered to sponser the group build with discounts on engines, retracts, and nearly all the hardware and accessories necessary to complete the RCFW Hellcat. Co-owner Ray Labonte is no stranger to scale building and flying, having competed at the highest levels including Top Gun. I would like to extend my personal thanks to him for his willingness and desire to help with this project. If you would like to take advantage of these discounts a please visit the order page for more information. Please note which items you would like to purchase when ordering your Hellcat and they will be included with the semi-kit. Last, but certainly not least, please visit and support Ray and Robin's, either virtually, by clicking on the image below, or in person if you happen to be in the Falmouth area.
I have a Pete's Pilots 1/8 scale WWII bust in my prototype Hellcat and am pleased with the results. Pete's quality and price is pretty tough to beat, even coming from overseas. They happen to be very light as well. I have used Pete's Pilots for several of my scale warbirds and can whole heartedly recommend them. Proprietor Pete Richardson also just happens to be a heck of a nice guy. Please visit Pete's ebay store by clicking on the image below and see the many, many pilots in his line. Pete has generously offered a 10% discount on an order of a dozen items or more. That's about $10 each at the current exchange rate. Thanks a bunch Pete! If you're interested in purchasing a Pete's Pilot with your Hellcat please let me know.