Classic Airframes 1/48 Hurricane I (early)

KIT #

461

PRICE:

$39.95 MSRP

DECALS:

6 aircraft

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Fabric wings, foreign air forces boxing

HISTORY

 

I'll let Tom Cleaver's  historical background and preview tell you about  the basic kit.


 

THE KIT

I'd just like to add some of my own observations to Tom's description. One is that there is a tad of flash on many of the parts. My lower wings had the shell ejector chutes blocked to some extent or the other and the thinner parts, like the interior framework, gear legs and such will need a touch more than the usual cleanup. Nothing at all major, but there, nonetheless.

I was very pleased with the lack of ejector pin marks and sink areas as that is something that I tend to find, even on the best of kits. I'm also most appreciative of having multiple vac canopies as I'm a real klutz when it comes to these things. I recall a comment about the shape of the side panels to the windscreen being the wrong shape, but they look very much like what I see in photos and drawings. I note that the 'separate blades and hub' deal is alive and well with this kit for the Rotol and deHavilland props, but fortunately, I'll be doing a Watts-prop version so no worries on that front!

I should give special recognition to the decals. They are absolutely superb. Printed by Microscale, they are crisp, totally in register and a know quality in terms of decal solvents. For this boxing, there are markings for Belgium (2), Finland (2), Italy, and Jugoslavia.

CONSTRUCTION

I started this one by actually reading the instructions. This was because I wanted to make one with a two-bladed prop. This basically meant the Belgian version. Fine with me as I have NO WWII 1/48 Belgian AF models. I got down to things by removing the resin plugs from the various resin bits I'd be using. This included the wheel wells, landing lights, and intake faces.

Then I glued the wheel wells onto the bottom wing. A bit of a fussy job as I had to be very careful not to get it out of alignment. I next went to work on the interior. The instructions show the left sidewall being glued in place first and then the rest of the parts attached to it. I glued it in place and when I got the floor/rear bulkhead part together and test fit it, I found it didn't fit properly. Therefore, I cut away the sidewall piece and fit the cockpit section together first. I left off the two supports to the instrument panel as they just didn't seem to want to fit well and I figured few would notice their absence. I also found out that the control stick kept the instrument panel from fitting in the slots on the sidewalls so had to remove the control column. It was later reattached, though it butts right up against the instrument panel.

One addition I decided to make was to add a pilot's harness. I used the prepainted Eduard set for this and since I wasn't sure which style to use, I just picked one. As one who is inept at painting seatbelts, I'm very glad these sets exist and find them well worth the money. Meanwhile, I assembled the Watts prop. I also removed the horizontal stabilizers from the sprues and glued them together. Classic Airframes has actually designed little alignment tabs for when the tailplanes are glued in place. I like it and will be anxious to see how well they work.

Meanwhile, back at the fuselage, I worried over how to fit the engine face in place. There is no real locator pins or anything for it, and when I did finally get it into place, I found out that the prop shaft was not sticking out far enough to attach a prop! Figuring that it wouldn't be missed and that I'll just glue the prop straight onto the nose, I left it off. I also backed up the exhaust openings with some strip styrene as these openings are very open and test fitting the exhaust to them showed they'd easily fall into the fuselage. I followed this up by closing the fuselage halves together. The fit is very good and a dab of additional cement on the unsecured side of the cockpit was all that was needed to keep it in place.

Next was the wing attachment. Now, rather than do what I usually do, which is glued the upper and lower wings together first, in this case, I just glued on the lower wing. Initial dry fits showed the wing to be a tad too long to fit the opening. However, once the glue is applied, it sufficiently melts the plastic to where it is a nice, snug fit. Once that was dry, I cemented the upper wings in place. This method gave me a good fit at the wing roots, which are usually a problem on most kits. There was still a bit of a gap near the front that needed filled, but it seriously cut back on the usual amount of filler/sanding that I usually have to do on kits.

The wing has two different inserts for the leading edge. One are a pair of landing lights. The instructions say that these areas need to be cut out, but apparently it was decided to mold the wings with these openings already in there. The resin light housings fit very well indeed. The other is the gun ports. These you do have to cut from the wing if you want to use them. I didn't see any real need to do so as I was perfectly happy with the ones already there.

With the wings on, I moved to the tail planes. These are separate from the elevators. Fit wasn't as great as I'd have hoped, but it wasn't anything unusual. The elevators are separate, but if you want to glue them drooped (as they normally would be), then you'll have to do what I did. I filled the alignment holes in the back of the tail planes and then sanded the leading edge of the elevators a bit so that they wouldn't look too odd when glued in place.

This aircraft is not a very early Hurricane I so has the small ventral strake. It has to cover the earlier version's hole in the bottom of the rear fuselage and doesn't do it perfectly well. I needed filler to take care of the small gaps as well as to fill the sink areas on the side of the piece. Then I attached the rudder. This part needs the alignment pins removed in order to fit properly. I also found the lower part of the rudder was fatter than the end of the ventral fin. To overcome this somewhat, I glued the rudder slightly off to one side. CA offers two different rudders, one longer than the other so be sure to use the proper one!

Next bits were on the underside. This consisted of the small carb intake, which was glued in place once removed from the resin block. The larger radiator 'bath' is several pieces that fit quite well together. They do need to have the mating surface to the wing sanded smooth as some of the bits stick 'up' more than others. Once that was accomplished, it was glued to the lower fuselage.

CAMOUFLAGE

A good time to start painting. Belgian Hurricanes were in the RAF colors of Dark Green/Dark Earth uppers with Aluminum (painted) undersides. I started by masking off the cockpit area. Then the entire underside was given several very fine coats of Alclad II Aluminum. I used Alclad II because I like how hard it dries and because I can handle it and mask it with no fear of the paint departing the surface of the plastic during all this. I sprayed it right on the bare plastic, filler and all. It gave a very convincing look of painted aluminum instead of the bare metal look it would have had would I have used a gloss undercoat. I gave it about 6 hours to dry (yeah, I know, overkill but I wanted to make sure it was cured), then masked off the aluminum parts I wanted to protect from overspray. The upper/lower demarcation line on Hurricanes was a very sharp line.

Then I used Testors Model Master Dark Green enamels over the entire upper surface. I used this darker color first for one reason. I've always had trouble getting dark greens to look good when I do the fine work that is needed with hand-sprayed camo schemes. For me, it is much easier to do these colors in a broad spray. I let this dry overnight and then applied the Dark Brown. For this, I used Xtracolor, mostly because I had two tinlets of the stuff. As you know, this dries a gloss, which contrasted quite a bit from the matte Testors paint. Both of these paints were thinned with Floquil lacquer thinner so dried rather quickly. I was able to apply several coats of the upper colors in the same day. After touching up some overspray, I returned to the workbench to add a few more bits.

MORE BITS
& DECALS

Before applying gloss coats, I like to get the model on its landing gear to keep from picking up more trash than normal! The landing gear for this kit requires some trimming and general clean-up as the mold seams are a bit much. I also found it nearly impossible to attach the two small struts that go in the well itself so left them out. The radio mast was also glued on at this time.

Then the kit was sprayed with clear gloss acrylic (Future). Two thin coats took care of things and I had no problems with it on the gloss Xtracolor paint, much to my relief.

Next it was time to put on the decals. These are printed by Microscale and superbly done. The roundels are two part with the center dots separate. They went on very well and a touch of Sovaset ensured they wouldn't move. I found the center dots on the insignia to be quite a bit smaller than shown on the box art. I'm not an expert on Belgian insignia so they may well be right. You get two different Belgian Hurricanes and I picked the #21 with the red surround unit badge. The other was #24 with the blue surround badge. Only real difference was that the camo schemes of the two are mirrored. It also seemed to me that the black detail work in the unit badges were off register. It

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

With the decals on and dry, I wiped down the plane and put a matte coat on. This included the underside as it was supposed to be aluminum paint. The matte really made the Alclad II look like paint instead of natural metal. Then the wheels, gear doors and prop were glued in place. I found the exhaust to stick out too far so trimmed a considerable amount from the back with a pair of cutters before gluing them in place. At this time, I did some panel line accentuation with pastels. After somewhat scrubbing the pastels into the lines, I wiped most of it away. Black was used to give a good contrast. More pastels were used on the bottom to provide dirt from the radiator/oil cooler and for the exhaust. Then the model was given another coat of matte clear to seal all that in.

The formation lights were painted using Vallejo paints. I've been using quite a bit of these paints and like them. They are acrylic and perfect for the small, touchup jobs. I next tried to cut out the landing light lenses and botched them both rather badly. I thought that two sets were supplied, but couldn't find the second one. The remedy for this is to use clear tape. I find it works fairly well and sticks in place nicely if you go over the seams with clear paint.

The last bits were the footstep and the pitot tube under the wing. I didn't install the venturi as I wasn't sure that Belgian Hurricanes used it or not. At least, none of the pictures I saw seemed to have it. It almost seems that when the ventral fin was added, the venturi went away. The masking was taken from the canopy, some wash added to the wheel wells and that was it!

CONCLUSIONS

I found this kit much easier to build than the I-152 I did earlier. It just shows, at least to me, that Classic Airframes has been steadily improving over the years and that is great. I'm very much looking forward to giving one of their even newer releases a try here in the future.

August 2003
#1278 in a series

REFERENCES

Hawker Aircraft since 1920 by Francis Mason, Naval Institute Press, 3rd Edition, 1991

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review kit.

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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