Highly detailed Hobby Master F6F Hellcat
“Minsi III,” Cdr. David McCampbell,
U.S. Navy, USS Essex, 1944.
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".
In February 1944 Cdr. David McCampbell was promoted to CAG (Commander – Air Group) Air Group 15. On board the USS Essex CV-9 the VF-15 were given the name “Satan’s Playmates”. With 34 victories McCampbell became the USN top ace of all time and along with the actions of the other members of VF-15 the unit became known as “The Fabled Fifteen”. On October 24, 1944 McCampbell and another pilot took on overwhelming numbers of Japanese aircraft and managed to make them retreat but not before McCampbell claimed 9 of his 34 victories.