Airfix 1/48 Hurricane I
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
There are few aviation enthusiasts who do not know about the Hawker Hurricane. The Hurricane was the RAF's first low wing monoplane fighter with a retractable landing gear and a closed canopy. Prior to this the biplane had been king, but the speed limitations of two wings were such that this type of plane was pretty much to an end in the RAF. However, despite the new, sleeker look, the construction of the Hurricane was pretty much the same as Hawker's earlier biplanes. It was a tube steel framework covered with fabric except around the engine.
Initial Hurricanes had a wooden two blade prop and had fully fabric covered wings with metal access panels. This was later upgraded to metal wings, though the control surfaces remained fabric. Later Hurricanes also had three blade metal propellers, either Rotol or deHavilland. Thanks to the Hurricane's simple construction, it was easy to build and this was the main fighter in the RAF arsenal during the first year of the war, including the critical Battle of Britain timeframe of June to September 1940. Though overshadowed by the more sexy Spitfire, it was the Hurricane that bore the brunt of the RAF's fighting both in France during the 'phoney war' and later fighting over England.
This kit is one that has been anxiously anticipated by Hurricane fans. Thanks to Hornby's program of releasing updated kits of old Airfix favorites, enthusiasts now have a very nice kit at a reasonable price. I'm sure that you'll be reading about how this makes all other 1/48 Hurricanes obsolete, and while it is quite nice with many nice features, those with the Hasegawa kit shouldn't be ready to chuck them into the bin quite yet.
There are a surprising number of parts in this one, especially because the Hurricane is a pretty basic single engine prop type airplane. Close inspection shows that the reason for this explosion of parts is that the builder is provided with several options to open things up. This is apparently a trend that the market research people say is what modelers want. Well, perhaps, but many of us do not like opened up models and prefer them as they are when they sit on the ramp, not as they are when undergoing maintenance. Fortunately, unlike some other model companies, those who want to open things up will need to do a bit of extra work.
For instance, the model can be built with all the gun panels removed from the wings. With eight guns, this comes to a substantial number of parts. Airfix has provided additional panels to replace those that will be cut away, which is a very nice touch as often the older bits will be pretty well goobered up by the time they are removed. Those who don't want to show the guns can skip two pages of the instructions and ten construction steps. Other bits that can be left open are the cockpit door and the canopy. Airfix provides two different clear bits as opening the canopy will require a bit wider cockpit canopy.
Backing up a bit, you get a very nicely done cockpit. There is separate framework into which you fit the seat, instrument panel and sundry bits. If you have ever built the Classic Airframes 'ragwing' Hurricane, you will be familiar with this level of detail. There is a decal for the main instrument panel if you so wish to use it. The interior fits atop two hefty wing spars. The underside of the interior floor is the inner main gear well. This is also nicely detailed with plumbing and other bits and pieces. Other options are separate control surfaces so you can model the ailerons, rudder and elevators in some position other than static. The ventral radiator has a separate door that includes actuator rods, but seems to only be able to be modeled closed.
Landing gear is nicely done with three piece wheels of which the inner spoked section is separate. One can also fit either the Rotol prop with blunt spinner or the deHavilland with pointed spinner, depending on the markings option chosen. A pilot figure is also included. Those wishing a seat harness will need to hit up the aftermarket folks.
Instructions are nicely done with color included to help assembly. Both markings options are green/brown over sky. The box art plane is with 501 Squadron while the other is 605 Squadron and like we see more and more often from Airfix, this latter option is a restored aircraft. The decals are nicely done and there are no lack of aftermarket markings if one wants something different.
You have already seen build articles on this kit and it is very much the darling of the day. For good reason as it offers much of what a modeler looks for in a modern kit. Best of all, it is not expensive and judging from all the unused bits on the sprue, several additional boxings are in the works.
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