Oxford AC020 Royal Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat Fighter - Lt. Cdr. S. G. Orr, HMS Emperor, Norway, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
The F6F embodied the early lessons learned by users of Grumman's previous fleet-defense fighter, the Wildcat. In June 1941, Grumman lowered the wing center section to enable the undercarriage to be wider splayed, fitting more armor-plating around the cockpit to protect the pilot while also increasing the fighter's ammunition capacity. When the prototype made its first flight, it was realized that a more powerful engine was needed to give the fighter a combat edge. A Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 engine was installed for added power.
The aircraft made its combat debut in August 1943, and from that point on, the question of aerial supremacy in the Pacific was never in doubt. Hellcats served aboard most of the US Navy's fleet carriers, being credited with the destruction of 4,947 aircraft up to V-J Day. The Fleet Air Arm was also a great believer in the Hellcat, procuring almost 1,200 planes between 1943-45. The Hellcat saw only limited service in the post-war years, being replaced by the more powerful F9F Bearcat. Of the nine F6Fs believed to be airworthy today, seven are based in the USA and two are located in the UK.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Royal Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter. Special Order!
Wingspan: 7.25 inches
Length: 5.75 inches
Release Date: June 2012
Historical Account: "The Emperor has No Clothes" - The USS Pybus (CVE-34) (originally AVG-34, then later ACV-34) was laid down June 23rd, 1942, as MC Hull No. 245 by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding, Washington; originally classified AVG-34, she was reclassified as ACV-34 on August 20th, 1942; launched on October 7th, 1942; commissioned May 31st, 1943, at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Wash.; reclassified as CVE-34 July 15th, 1943, and assigned for transfer to the United Kingdom under Lend Lease agreement.
Pybus reported for duty with the Pacific Fleet after shakedown, in a temporary status, before she decommissioned on August 6th, 1943, at New York. She was accepted that day by the UK and placed in service as HMS Emperor (D98). During her British service, she helped provide fighter cover for a strike on the German battleship Tirpitz, served on anti-submarine detail during Operation Overlord, and helped support the invasion of Vichy France (Operation Dragoon). She was returned to the U.S. Navy on February 12th, 1946, struck from the Naval Vessel Register on March 28th, 1946, and sold on May 14th to the Patapsco Scrap Co., Baltimore, Maryland for scrapping.