Trumpeter 1/48 Sea Fury FB.11
Trumpeter 1/48 Sea Fury FB.11
Had the Hawker
Sea Fury arrived on the scene one year earlier than it did, its place in history
would be assured by the outstanding combat record it would undoubtedly have
achieved with the British Pacific Fleet in the final struggles of 1945. As it
is, the Sea Fury
- designed for air superiority
- is known for shooting down only
one opponent, a MiG -15 on
August 2, 1952,
by Lt. Peter "Hoagy" Carmichael of 802 Squadron. Given that in the intervening
five years between its appearance in squadron strength and that day in 1952
technological development had rendered the Sea Fury obsolete, its victory over
the MiG-15 is even more remarkable. Regardless, the Sea Fury is the penultimate
result of Sir Sidney Camm's philosophy of piston -engine fighter design.
The Sea Fury began life in 1942
with a request by the Air Ministry that Hawker Aircraft design a long -range
fighter for operations in the
While a radial -engine version of the Tempest was under development at the time,
it was thought that the relatively high wing -loading of the Tempest would be
ill -suited for combat with the lightly -loaded Japanese fighters, and thus the
Sea Fury started out as the "Tempest Light Fighter (Centaurus)."
In early 1943, the designers were
directed to adapt the fighter for shipboard operation as well as the land -based
The first RAF prototype flew in
September 1944, while the first navalized prototype flew in February 1945. Tests
revealed a need for an increase in vertical fin and rudder size to counter the
swing on take -off, while the rigid engine mounts created difficulty until they
were replaced with dynafocal-base mounts which completely eliminated the
vibration at lower speeds that had hampered the airplane's ability to land
Royal Navy was testing both the Meteor and the Vampire and had ordered the
Supermarine Attacker, there was sufficient doubt about the ability of jets to
operate off carriers that - while the RAF canceled the land-based Fury in the
face of the arrival of the new jets
- the Royal Navy continued to
develop the Sea Fury as a shipboard interceptor and later as a fighter-bomber.
With carrier compatibility trials completed in 1947, 807 Squadron was the first
to convert to the aircraft, followed by 802, 803 and 805 Squadrons between
August 1947 and February 1948. The initial Sea Fury Mk.X was quickly replaced by
the F.B.11, which could carry underwing drop tanks, bombs and rockets, and the
squadrons began to equip with it in May 1948.
The Sea Fury's introduction to
combat came in the fall of 1950 when 807 Squadron, operating from HMS "Theseus,"
joined Task Force 95, the Korean blockade force. Operating jointly with Firefly
FR Mk IV and FR Mk V strike aircraft, Sea Furies flew from HMS "Triumph," "Theseus,"
"Glory," and "Ocean," as well as with the RAN from HMAS "Sydney" until the end
of the war in July 1953.
Following the end of the Korean
War, the Sea Fury was rapidly replaced by its successor, the Hawker Sea Hawk,
and became the primary aircraft assigned to the RNVR "weekend warrior"
The Sea Fury was used by the Royal
Australian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Netherlands Navy, the
Pakistani Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force and the Cuban Air Force; it last saw
combat when flown by Cuban pilots of the FAR against the Cuban exile invasion
attempt at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. In the 1960s it began another career
as a civilian air racer, and highly-modified Sea Furies powered by Wright R-4360
engines in place of the Centaurus are among the fastest unlimited-class air
racers now competing.
There have only been two other Sea
Fury kits released in 1/48: a vacuform from Falcon back in the mid-eighties that
has a very accurate outline and makes up into a nice kit, and an
injection-molded kit from Hobbycraft that has so many “issues” that even when a
modeler could purchase Roy Sutherland’s resin correction set for the cockpit,
the landing gear, the gear well, and the prop, and purchased the Squadron
vacuform canopy, the resulting model was still wrong if one worried about such
things as the fact the airfoil is upside down.
scale kit from Trumpeter is basically a pantograph up of its 1/72 scale kit.
That is good news, given that the
kit is pretty much accurate as regards shape and such - I mean, they could have
pantographed down from the godawful Hobbycraft 1/32! And results in what can
easily be called the best Sea Fury kit available in 1/48 scale (not that the
competition is all that strong).
While the kit
is accurate in outline, there is at least one major problem - which is,
fortunately, easily fixed: the spinner is too long by about 1/16 inch (and not a
“scale” 1/16") and thus much to pointed in profile.
If a modeler fills the interior of
the spinner with cyanoacrylate glue or putty, cuts off the offending 1/16" and
then reshapes it to the more accurate blunter profile, all is well.
The other major problem is that the
drop tanks are at least twice their right size.
The solution here is to throw them
The surface detail of the kit has
light riveting, similar to that of the Trumpeter Wyvern and Sea Hawk in this
scale; it’s not really right - every 1:1 Sea Fury I’ve ever been next to is
really smooth - but it’s not so awful that it will detract terribly from the
gear lacks some of the retraction mechanism, but this can easily be created from
Evergreen rod for the modeler who wants increased accuracy.
The cockpit is not all that
detailed, but as at least one “Venerable Modeler” said in defending the
Hobbycraft 1/32 kit “it’s painted black so you can’t see anything anyway.”
The shape of the canopy is accurate
and the clear parts are thin enough to look good in the open position.
The wings can be posed folded or
spread. There are six rocket projectiles that look right.
Decals are for
An early FB Mk 11 VW238/107 in the
overall Extra Dark Sea Grey with low-rise Sky undersides, and VX691/130, a Sea
Fury FB Mk 11 operated from HMS Theseus in the Korean War, which is also the
markings of the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s Sea Fury. One should be aware with
both these aircraft that the markings instructions are incorrect regarding the
underwing serials - they read “in” from the wingtip, and are reversed on each
wing - Trumpeter has them both reading “up”.
Also, the underwing markings on
XV691 were not
covered over on one wing with the black and white ID stripes - the stripes are
open around both. The decal sheet includes the black and white stripes for those
modelers who are “stripe-challenged,” and the white looks to be sufficiently
opaque to cover the colors below, though it is likely the national insignia on
the upper wings will need white backing to avoid bleed-through of the black.
As is usual with Trumpeter kits,
the red color of the insignia is a bit bright, but for the post-war “D” roundels
it is not so obvious.
The kit will
make up into a nice-looking, overall-accurate model out of the box, so long as
the spinner correction is done.
A modeler who has Roy Sutherland’s
resin correction set (which was bought and re-released in 2003 by Meteor) would
be happier using those sets on this kit rather than the ancient piece of dreck
The kit goes a long way toward
finally providing a good 1/48 kit of this famous airplane and represents good
value for money.
There are two older Aeromaster
sheets for Sea Furies that cover Sea Furies operated by the Royal Canadian Navy,
the Royal Australian Navy, the Netherlands Navy, Iraq, Cuba and Burma, which
would be worth tracking down to provide markings options, since Sea Fury fans
will likely buy more than one of these kits.
Review kit courtesy
HobbyLinkJapan - get yours at “Japanese Prices” at www.hlj.com
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