Revell 1/72 Hurricane IIc

KIT #: ?
PRICE: $10.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Ralph Koziarski
NOTES:  

HISTORY

The Hawker Hurricane was the workhorse of the RAF during the first years of World War II, and became the mount of many early allied (English, Polish, Czech, etc) aces. However, despite the incredible feats achieved by its pilots during the Battle of Britain, by late 1940 the Hurricane was becoming obsolescent. The Mk II Hurricanes featured more powerful engines, and improved armament. The Mk IIc modeled here, featured four 20mm cannon that significantly improved firepower. Additionally, the Mk II series were able to carry bombs, which when combined with the cannons, made the Hurricanes effective ground attack aircraft; a role they performed admirably serving with Coastal Command units, but especially abroad in North Africa and southern Asia.

THE KIT

This mold was released by Revell of Germany in the 1990s, and should be considered one of the companyís earliest ďqualityĒ kits. Considering the price, you really get a good bit of quality per dollar here. The kit features fine recessed panel lines, nicely detailed wheel wells, and cockpit, few molding imperfections (although the age of the molds is beginning to show), and an overall respectable level of parts fit. The kit features a modular engineering to accommodate the many versions of the Hurricane II, thus the parts breakdown is at times awkward; for example in the five piece wing, and the lower rear fuselage which is tricky to install properly. Markings are included for the no. 336 sqn (Greek) serving in North Africa, and SEAC machine serving in India. Decals are of a fine quality and go down well with Micro-set. Parts options include a choice of drop-tanks or bombs, open or closed landing gear, two kinds of exhaust stubs, exhaust shrouds (for nightfighters?) and a two piece canopy that can be posed open with a minimal amount of effort.

CONSTRUCTION

I began constructions by assembling the propeller and two piece spinner. I knew right away that I wanted to build the no.336 sqn machine, so the spinner was airbrushed white following a little bit of filling with Mr. Surfacer on the spinner. The prop has lightly raised lines denoting the edge of the yellow tips, making their painting a breeze. I first applied Polly Scaleís Italian Camouflage Yellow to the tips and then painted the blades with slightly lightened shade of black. The blades were futured, decals were applied, followed by a flat coat. I then began to mask the canopy.

 I like to finish the tasks that I hate most, before moving on to the enjoyable parts of a model. Having just finished a long journey through 1/48 land, masking the very finely raised frames on this kit was painful. Literally, it hurt my eyes! But I did it. Revellís decision to mold the rear-view mirror onto the windscreen makes it difficult to mask the dorsal window on it, but otherwise, a little bit of endurance, and fine strips of Tamiya tape made the job possible.

Onto the fun parts.

The cockpit was next, and Revell really delivers here. You get nicely molded sidewalls, a floor with pedals, a seat with molded-in harnesses, stick, and nice instrument panel (with decals if you want to use it). After assembly, I painted all of these parts British interior green, and gave them a black wash. The harnesses were painted a homebrewed mixture of brown and gray, that ended up looking almost taupe, and details were picked out in black, silver and red. Finally the instrument panel was painted black and dry-brushed white. Additional effort would be wasted, as not much is really seen through the smallish cockpit opening. Before closing the fuselage halves, I cut out the dorsal and tail antenna masts that Revell molds into the fuselage. I cut small holes into the fuselage spine and rudder where I can refit the pieces later without fear of breaking them off during construction. After all of this fuselage prep, its two halves were closed. These fit without a hitch, but a word to the wise. There was some flash around the fuselage edges, and I didnít remove it. When I glued it all together, the flash provided a source of native plastic for any gaps which may have been there. When all was dry, I simply whittled off the excess. With the two halves together, I was ready to install the bottom of the rear fuselage. This is provided as a separate piece probably to accommodate a sea-hurricane version, where this area looks slightly different. Whatever the case may be, the part doesnít fit too well, in that it sinks slightly into the opening, causing a step on all four of its edges. This would not be difficult to deal with if it wasnít for the corrugated surface that exists here. My solution was to cut a shim from sheet plastic and sandwich it between the part and the tabs that it rests on. This eliminated the step entirely, and only left me with a small gap to fill at the forward edge. This was done with Mr. Surfacer and sanded down with a round jewelerís file to preserve the corrugations. The last bit of fuselage work involved the sanding down of the lateral portions immediately behind the canopy in order to accommodate the hood in a slid-back position. $

Next came the five piece wing, which I assembled by first gluing the lower central portion to the fuselage. I followed this by gluing the upper halves to the fuselage, and finished off with the lower outer sections. Some others complain about fit problems here, but by using the sequence described above, I had no problems at all.

Next came the horizontal stabilizers, the port one needing some filler at its root, and the filters. Both filters needed a little bit of filling and sanding to fit properly. I glued on the masked canopies and was ready to paint. This really is a simple kit!

COLORS & MARKINGS

Painting was done with Polly Scale acrylics sprayed on with my Paasche VL. I began with the Azure blue, masked this and did the middle-stone up top, masked with poster putty, and finished off with British dark earth. Following the application of each color, a few drops of white paint were added to each, and these were then sprayed more or less randomly into the centers of some panels to break up the color. This method works beautifully, beautifully in larger scales, but doesnít show up almost at all in 1/72. Shade variation would have to be pulled off with later post-shading, so I decided to move on to the decals.

 After a coat of Future, I used the 336 squadron decals provided in the box. With liberal doses of Microset, these went on without any problems. As with all my 1/72 builds, I didnít use the stencils, as I think they stick out like a sore thumb in small scale models.

At this point the wheel wells were painted aluminum and I began to think about weathering.

 I always begin the weathering process with the most garish element first. This so that it might be subdued by subsequent layers of filters, washes, etc. In this case, it was a goodly amount of paint chipping simulated by ďtooth-pickingĒ aluminum paint on wing edges, around panel line edges, and especially around high traffic areas like the wing roots, gun access, and engine panels.

The rest of the weathering process was an exercise in frustration. In order to make the model look more realistic I decided to experiment with various techniques that I normally use on 1/35 scale armor, and sometimes 1/48 aircraft. This began with a wash of black and brown pastels rather than he traditional oil wash. I plopped on a solution of pastels suspended in water and when they were beginning to dry, rubbed them off with a damp cloth. I wiped the cloth from front to back to create a streaking effect. While this didnít look all-together bad, it was a little heavy handed. In an effort to tone down the effect, and give the model a nice faded appearance, I decided to give it a filter coat. A filter is a very thin oil wash whose purpose is to alter the hue of the paint beneath it (hence the name), and not so much to collect in depressions and make details pop, as would a traditional wash. I used yellow ochre oil paint mixed with turpenoid in roughly a 1:15 ratio. You really donít want a lot of paint in your filters, as the goal is a subtle color change.

The filter looked good as it was going on, but soon it began to lift some of the pastel grains and resettle them outside of panel lines and in random areas. Even worse, the turpenoid began to dissolve the enamel aluminum paint chips I had painted. I now had a mess on my hands. I didnít want to wipe off the filter coat, as in areas where it wasnít in contact with pastel powders or enamel silver, it looked really good. I decided to not touch anything and let it all dry over-night. Much to my chagrin, when I woke up, I found that the model had dried with odd, dusty faded spots in the most random areas, like at the root of the tail (see pictures). Even worse, the pastel dust must have settled on the partially dissolved enamel paint chips, and hence turned my chips into little black ďboogersĒ for lack of a better term. I was ready to bin the kit at this point, and maybe I should have, however I was so close to the finish line (and had part of this review already written), that I decided to just carry on and turn this into a back shelf filler model. I scraped off the buggers as best I could and replaced them with some new paint chips. I tried to wet down the weird dusty areas and succeeded in removing most but not all. A flat coat of MM Acrylic was the last step. Maybe someday Iíll strip all the paint and try again, but for now Iíll have to live with it.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

After the disastrous weathering session I finished off the kit by assembling the landing gear which went on with no fuss, gluing on the prop, exhaust stubs, canopy, windscreen and antennae. Finally, I glued on the mean looking 20mm cannons and painted their roots the appropriate camo colors, while the barrels were painted Polly Scale Panzer Gray, and rubbed with ground graphite (pencil lead).

REFERENCES

This turned out to be one of those models that looks good enough to not bin, but just bad enough that looking at it frustrates me. At the same time, it was my first modeling disaster after two 1/72 tanks, and five 1/48 aircraft this year, so I really canít complain. Revellís kit is a nice one, and they canít be faulted for my screw-ups. If nothing else the kit was a good test bed for 1/72 weathering experiments, and Iíll know not to do a pastel wash in this scale ever again. On that note Iíd like to end by challenging readers out there to come up with a set of suggestions and guidelines for weathering in 1/72. There may be fewer parts to these kits, but they present a challenge all their own when it comes to achieving realistic finishes.

Ralph Koziarski

 September 2008

Final Tally

Value: A+

Accuracy/Detail: A

Options: A

Fun Factor: B+If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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