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Best Sellers

Part III


AeroMaster Decals


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: AMD 48-601 - Hellcat Best Sellers Part III
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Waterslide decals - Decal sheet plus instructions and notes
Price: MSRP USD$10 available from Aeromaster's website
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Perfect register; thin; minimal carrier film; good instructions and background; conjectural markings included for Hangar Lillies
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Aeromaster Decals' 1/48 scale Hellcat Best Sellers Part III will be available online from Squadron.com




Aeromaster have recently taken to re-releasing some of their earlier sheets in a different format from the original issues.  This sheet is one of them.  Two of the aircraft first appeared on sheet number 48-251, one on 48-380 and the final option on the “Specials” Tokyo Raiders sheet. 

48-601 features four F-6F-5s all of them in overall glossy sea blue camouflage with three of them carrying the late-war white geometric carrier identification designs. 

First up is 37, an aircraft of VF-3 whilst based on the USS Yorktown in February 1945.  Nothing special here, apart from a green propeller dome.

  • 37 is worn on either side of the fuselage, vertical stabilizer, engine cowling and the forward facing main gear doors. 

  • The geometric design for the rudder and top of the starboard wing are supplied as decals.  The trim tab is not included on the rudder decal.  Available photos of other aircraft within VF-3 from this time period show the trim tab in white but there is a photograph in the old Kookaburra Markings of the Aces Part 2 U.S. Navy book that shows this aircraft running-up prior to launch with the trim tab deflected fully to the left giving the appearance that it was not painted.  Perhaps this is the reason that Aeromaster have not included the trim tab as part of the decal.

  • Convention has it that the geometric designs appeared on the upper right wing and the lower left wing.  However, it is thought that USS Yorktown based aircraft only wore the design on the right wing.  Aeromaster have hedged their bets and suppled two of the wing geometric designs – your choice!

  • Similarly, Aeromaster have also supplied the Bureau number and aircraft designation although there is no evidence that it was painted on the aircraft – my bet is that it was!  The aircraft designation is in black; normally it was in white on glossy sea blue aircraft and painted on the top of the rudder.  It would have been covered by the geometric design on this aircraft and Aeromaster have again hedged their bets here and supplied it in black.

Next is a VF-82 aircraft from the USS Bennington as it appeared off Okinawa in March of 1945.  A very standard aircraft with a black propeller dome.

  • 60 is worn on either side of the vertical stabilizer as well as the forward facing main gear doors.

  • USS Bennington’s geometric design was an arrowhead and these are provided for either side of the rudder and the top of the right wing.

  • Bureau number and aircraft designation are also provided for the fin and rudder respectively.

The third aircraft is from VF-19 and a very early CAG bird.  It was flown by Commander Theodore H. Winters from the USS Lexington in 1944 when he was the commander of Air Group 19.  Standard finish with a glossy sea blue propeller dome. 

  • 99 on the vertical stabilizer, cowling, on the spine behind the cockpit and on the forward facing main gear doors.

  • Kill markings in the form of eight Rising Sun flags.  These markings have been provided as a one part decal as well as separate red and white decals to address any problem that might arise with register – not an issue on my sample.

  • Artwork in the form of a Lilly flower with the script “Hangar Lilly” for either side of the fuselage below the windscreen.

  • CMDR T.H. Winters scripts for either side of the fuselage below the cockpit.

The final option is from VF-45 whilst based aboard the USS San Jacinto as it appeared on 18 March, 1945.  Standard finish with a white propeller dome the forward part of the cowling painted white. 

  • Small 24s for the forward facing main gear doors.

  • USS San Jacinto’s geometric design of a white square for the vertical stabilizer/rudder and the top of the right wing.  The vertical stabilizer/rudder design features the aircraft number (24) in black with glossy sea blue blocks that reveal the Bureau number- no doubt these blocks resulted in the Bureau number being covered in tape whilst the white square geometric design was painted on.

  • A fictional Bureau number is also provided as the correct ones (there were two Hangar Lillys) are not known.

There are sufficient white national insignia provided for two aircraft with a white stripe stencil marking (they mark the step positions in the fuselage sides) for each aircraft.  There is also a complete set of stencil data for one aircraft.  The latter stencil data decals did not appear on any of the original Hellcat sheets and are a straight reprint of the original stencil data sheets. 

The placement guide is in Aeromaster’s norm form of a double-sided, full colour A-4 sized sheet.  It shows side profiles of each aircraft as well as a plan view of the wings of each aircraft and comprehensive stencil data diagrams.  The placement guide also provides a list of references.  The reference list does not include the Osprey “Hellcat Aces of WWII.  If you plan on building a Hellcat this book is well worth the purchase price.  It also has some excellent reference photos for the VF-19 option. 

The recommend kits are the Arii/Otaki and Hasegawa ones.  Should you opt for the Arii/Otaki kit be aware that it is an F6F-3 kit and will require modification to bring it up to F6F-5 specs – not an onerous task really.  If you choose to go this route try and borrow a Hasegawa instruction sheet as it provides you with a clear guide for the necessary modifications. 

The decals have been printed in Italy by Cartograf and are well up to their high standards.  The placement guide and decal sheet are packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

This is an excellent decal sheet.   Aeromaster have gone that extra bit and provided conjectural markings as well as a complete set of stencil data. 



Thanks to AeroMaster / Eagle Strike Products for the review sets

On-line sales are available from the AeroMaster Products / Eagle Strike Productions web site.

Review TextCopyright © 2003 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 18 May, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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