Armour Collection B11F015 US Navy Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat Fighter - VF-24, USS Santee (CVE-29) (1:48 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.
This particular 1:48 scale replica of a F6F Hellcat was flown by VF-24 then embarked upon the USS Santee. Sold Out!
Release Date: February 2009
Historical Account: "Escort Service" - The second USS Santee (CVE-29) (originally launched as AO-29, following reclassification as an escort carrier, was originally ACV-29) was launched on March 4th, 1939m as Esso Seakay under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 3) by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company at Chester, Pennsylvania, sponsored by Mrs. Charles Kurz; acquired by the United States Navy on October 18th, 1940; and commissioned on October 30th, 1940, as AO-29, with Commander William G. B. Hatch in command.
Prior to her acquisition by the Navy, Esso Seakay had been operated by Standard Oil of New Jersey on the west coast. During her commercial service, she set several records for fast oil hauling. Its original model was a type T3-S2-A1 tanker.