HASEGAWA 1/48 HAWKER HURRICANE Mk.IIc
Price: MSRP $27.95
Decals: PZ865 "The Last of the Many!", two aircraft of 3 Squadron.
Accuracy: Right on.
Review and photo by: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver (The Aeronut)
The Hawker Hurricane, the first modern monoplane fighter ordered into production by the Royal Air Force, has always served in the shadow of its more-acclaimed stablemate, the Supermarine Spitfire. Never mind that its "old" construction methods made it more amenable to repair and more quickly returned to combat; never mind that 3/5 of the fighters in the Battle of Britain were Hurricanes or that 2/3 of the kills were claimed by Hurricane pilots; never mind that the Spitfire always arrived in any operational theater after the Hurricane; never mind that the Hurricane served in every theater in which the RAF was involved, shot down aircraft of every air force the RAF opposed, and was in front-line service from the first day to the last day of the Second World War. The Spitfire is prettier, and faster, and yatta-yatta-yatta, all those arguments I know so well as a Spitfire fanatic. Nevertheless, I really like the Hurricane, and I have been known to complain about the amount of injection-molded plastic used to produce models of aircraft far more obscure and less worthy than the Hurricane.
Consider: the last new Hurricane model in 1/48 appreared twenty years ago when Airfix released its Mk.I, and the only other kit in this scale is the truly ancient Monogram kit, which attempts to be all things to everyone. And neither of them is "right," so far as outline accuracy is concerned.
Needless to say, I was excited when I heard Hasegawa was going to give the Hurricane "the treatment," and that first out of the chute would be the Mk.IIc, the most-produced Hurricane. Then it arrived and there was all the flak up at r.m.s. that the fabric effect on the fuselage was 'too heavy," that the cockpit lacked detail, etc., etc. I was worried.
It so happens that where I live, I have fairly quick access to two very good air museums, and one, the Santa Monica Museum of Flying, has an operational Hurricane, a Mk.XII. I had business in that part of the sprawl and some extra time, so I went and took a look at their Hurricane. And then I looked at all the photos in all the books I have. I have to say, looking at the kit, I cannot tell what all the fuss is about. It looks right. Of course, those complaining never seem to consider what their beloved "engraved panel lines" would look like in 1:1 scale, and they use True Details tires - I mean, look at those things! - would you drive your car with tires that flat?
Off the egg crate and back to the workbench:
The cockpit has more detail than I have ever seen in a Hasegawa kit, and is the first with the rear armor plate mounted correctly. Assembled, it certainly looks very nice, but then, I'm a believer in the adage "if you can't see it when it's finished, why do it to begin with?" I finished the job with a set of photo-etch seatbelts, and the whole thing looks great.
The wings are right! They have the proper degree of "crank" in them, something no other kit has ever done in 1/48. The wheel well and landing gear are very well detailed, and the radiator and fairing are spot on.
It is clear from the breakdown of the kit that we will see a Mk.I with the shorter nose, and the tropicalized Hurricane. Hooray! Also the Mk.IId "can opener," and perhaps the Mk.IV rocket fighter. The cannon fairings on the wing are separate moldings, but I fear Hasegawa is going to try and fob that upper wing off on us when it comes to the 8 and 12-gun ships, where the doors over the gunbays were very different indeed. One thing to do when making this kit is to check the photo reference of the airplane you are making: Hasegawa doesn't give you two different kinds of cannon barrels to waste plastic. Both versions were used, and it is obvious in photographs which is which.
I don't like the one-piece canopy, even if it is nice and clear. That nice cockpit deserves to be seen, and Hurricanes always had their canopies open. Fortunately, Squadron (Falcon) makes the Hurricane canopy as a vacuform. I used one of several I have, and it fit beautifully.
On to the markings: "The Last of the Many" is a nice scheme and historically significant, but it didn't see combat. The two 3 Squadron aircraft are from a famous wartime photograph of a 4-ship formation, but beyond that are basically anonymous. With so many famous pilots having flown the Hurricane, I wanted something else. With the aftermarket sheets, there is the problem that most of the airplanes are Mk.Is, but on Aeromaster Hurricanes at War - Part 1 (48-193), there is a Mk.IIc flown by Squadron Leader Dennis Smallwood, OC of 87 Squadron, the Hurricane night intruders. Unfortunately, it's overall black, and I wanted to do a photo with this review, which means do a finish that isn't monochromatic, if you want the reader to see anything.
The solution was in a photograph in the old Profile "Hurricane Camouflage and Markings," and a caption of a photo of Smallwood's plane in "Hurricane at War." In June 1942, 87 Squadron - as did all other night-fighter units - began painting their aircraft in a disruptive Sea Grey Medium/Dark Green pattern, over the Smooth Night finish. And Smallwood commanded until November 1942, so he would have been there for the change. They painted around the markings the aircraft had previously, modified the fuselage roundel to a C.1 pattern and changed the fin flash in line with the May 1942 changes. I could use the aircraft decals from the AeroMaster sheet, with national markings off the Aeromaster Spitfires/Hurricanes sheet (with the tall fin flash), and thereby get a camouflage scheme you readers could get a look at. With the aircraft overpainted, I did not put on the small markings the kit provides, as no photos of 87 Squadron show them going to that much effort. (Smallwood's is the only aircraft that keeps its serial number in the repaint.)
I touched up the look of my night intruder with a pair of underwing long range tanks (they were not drop tanks, but a permanent attachment) that came from the spares box and originated with a Monogram Hurricane. (Now you know what the Monogram re-issue of that kit is good for: underwing armament and the tropical intake filter.) I also used some sheet styrene to make the flame shields that kept the pilot from going blind at night from the exhaust glare.
A note on detail colors: the photos in the books I have show the wheel wells and inside of the wheel covers a very light color - which fits well with aluminum, which is the color originally specified for Hurricanes and also for Typhoons and Tempests. As far as the cockpit interior color is concerned, the Hurricane never changed from the original specification of "interior green," unlike the Typhoon and Tempest, which went to black. The best match for British Interior Green I have found is Gunze-Sanyo H-312 (FS-34227). So far as Sea Grey Medium (the World War II shade) is concerned, the best try on that color I have found is Tamiya's XF-20 Medium Grey.
Overall, I am really pleased with this kit, and I am sure other examples will show up on my shelves in the future. I think the next one will be the overall-white Sea Hurricane IIc "Nicki" that is also found on Hurricanes At War, Part 1.
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