Who do they think they are kidding? Warmaster F6F WM-APF0001 "Operation Crossroads"

by Acey8. October 2012 21:32

Recent years have seen a few "companies" attempting to emulate the resurgent popularity of diecast aircraft collecting.  I use "companies" in quotes because these are often entities without web pages or personalities and whose products appear to be hashed over variations of previous releases from other manufacturers.  And so, recently, we have the "Warmaster" (what an awful name!) line of models from a "company" whose homepage appears to have been thrown up in a weekend by a sixth grader making some of the most bizarre models we've seen in a while.   I'll cover the rest in due time, but for now I'll concentrate on one that I actually bought (albeit on eBay for four pounds) and so got to play with in the flesh:  their F6F Hellcat "Operation Crossroads."

"Operation Crossroads" was a series of post-war nuclear tests, and a series of weary Hellcats were painted in a few variations of mostly day9glo orange and/or signal orange and sent out to be subjected to all matter of humiliation and radiation.  As you probably know, Hellcats, or at least most US Hellcats for the most part only come in one color - blue, so in theory this would be a nice change of pace.  Indeed, I had previously started but never finished a repaint of a cheap-as-chips Corgi Predators Minsi III into a different Operation Crossroads scheme.   I stopped when I heard that warmaster was going to come up with one out of the box, even though I had already invested in the requisite orange paint and an aftermarket set of decals.

I shouldn't have worried.  The Warmaster release is awful.   Or, to put it another way, it should have been obvious to any serious collector that Warmaster releases would not exactly be cutting edge, front of the cabinet stuff.  But this release is bad even by the quite low expectations we might have had for the model and the line.  Let us count the ways:

  • Comically misshapen tail wheel
  • Almost certainly the wrong color orange
  • Oversize and low quality national insignia
  • Overuse of same orange for prop detailing
  • Landing gear didn't fit out of the box
  • Main gear missing front-facing flat "tab" so associated with hellcats
  • Fair-to-poor overall mould detail
  • Giant over-sized cannons on aircraft that actually as far as I know had their armaments totally removed
  • IXO-or-worse cheap stand
  • Terribly executed attempts at "weathering" (though in some sense, kudos for trying)

Here's what I don't get - the cannon pack is actually a separate piece.  This means that somebody went out o their way to get it so wrong.  Mind boggling.  Are there some pros?  Yes, I suppose.  it has a good heft, has gear up and gear down options (though due to one broken main gear on mine, it will be either gear up OR gear down permanently as I'd have to glue the main gear in for it to stay), and you can't fault the brave subject matter choice.   Still, it's a terrible model.  I'd consider a Crossroads Hellcat from HM and/or hopefully my "roll my own" one will come out ok, but avoid this thing and, well, the whole Warmaster line if at all possible   

The "Glowcat" comes in a theoretically limited edition of 2000 or so but you needn't rush out to the store before they're all gone.  They'll be there.

Overall Score:  2 / 10.    My price point at which this bcomes a worthwhile addition to a collection: $5.




The above promotional photo was obviously put through a contrast filter to make the black staining look darker and the orange to look more like the orange of the real thing.  The actual model under normal light is a much more pale orange and the black staining is a sooty medium grey.  Why the flaps, elevator, and rudder would have been so sooty in the Warmaster estimation is anybody's guess.


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