Matchbox 1/72 Hawker Fury

KIT #: PK-1
PRICE: about £5
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Stephen Foster


 The Hawker Fury was the first fighter aircraft to enter RAF service with a maximum speed of over 200 mph. It also had a fast rate of climb (10,000 feet in four minutes 25 seconds). It entered service in the spring of 1931 with three squadrons and quickly became well-known for its aerobatic displays, especially with 25 Squadron. In 1933 its aircraft performed the entire display joined together with elastic ropes: not a single rope was broken! In 1936 the Fury I was replaced by the Fury II and the older machines were relegated to training purposes. At the time of the Munich crisis in September and October 1938 it still equipped three front-line squadrons, but was replaced in 1939 with Spitfires and Hurricanes, so that the only machines in service by the outbreak of the war were used as trainers. Some aircraft were sold to other countries including Yugoslavia (6), Persia (16) and Portugal (3) and some of these were fitted with radial engines. This aircraft represented the ability of designers to produce a neat fast biplane which was an advanced machine for its time.


This kit was built from the Matchbox version as I bought it over thirty years ago and it has been in store ever since! It has been re-issued by Revell with different transfers but I have not seen one of these later kits. It was a good kit for its time and although it is lacking a little by today’s standards it is still a good basic model which is straightforward to build, even though it is a biplane. It was the second kit I built after a break from modelling of over 30 years and was intended to give me an easy start, which I am pleased to record, it did.


The Matchbox kit was moulded in two colours, blue and beige, and had approximately 30 parts. The instruction sheet had three sides and was very clear and easy to follow.  Two different colour schemes are shown on the box and these provide an accurate guide.

As was usual for kits of this time the cockpit is rather bare, just a floor, seat and an instrument panel moulded into the fuselage halves, so I added a new instrument panel from five thou plastic sheet and a control column, rudder bar, etc. Not much can be seen when the fuselage is joined so this is not a big problem area. Naturally paint all parts before joining the fuselage together. 

The centre section struts are fixed to the upper fuselage in such a way that their angle is automatically correct and you get a good strong joint: this has made biplane assembly as easy as it will ever get. The tail unit, upper fuselage and lower wing fit well: only a small amount of filler was needed around these parts. The engine front and propeller are a separate subassembly but fit to the fuselage well, as does the radiator and undercarriage. The propeller needs some careful filing to remove mould marks around the blades and spinner but this was not difficult to rectify.

Unless you model an all-silver machine you should paint your model before fixing the top wing. The wing struts are a bit of a fiddle as they are angled outwards but a little care is all that is needed to align them correctly and complete the model. This was not difficult to assemble: it only took three or four evenings of work, but was a pleasure to make.


Markings are provided for two machines: one from 43 Squadron in pre-war markings and one for the Royal Yugoslav Air Force, both of which are in silver finish. However I chose to model a camouflaged RAF machine at the time of the Munich crisis where the serial had been painted out. The undersides of these machines were silver dope on the port side and black on the starboard, with dark earth and dark green on the fuselage and upper surfaces. Roundels came from an old set of Almarks transfers which received a coat of matt varnish when they were dry.

I glued the top wing to the model after all the painting was complete, and then rigged it using 44 SWG copper wire and superglue. Rigging is very straightforward but you will need to add control horns to the ailerons, elevators and rudder from thin plastic card. Use the box art as a guide to rigging as it is clear and accurate.


Overall the kit is reasonably accurate in terms of dimensions as far as I could work out. This is a simple model to build for those who have not made a biplane before as the method of construction is almost idiot-proof, and it is relatively easy to rig. There are lots of bright colour schemes and variants that can be modelled on the silver doped machines, and as the Fury was sold to a number of countries there are also a wide variety of national markings which could be used on this model. In all highly recommended.


Profile number 15  is a very useful source of reference and pictures and can be found by some searching on-line.

There are also several good threads on various modelling websites.

Stephen Foster

November 2013

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