Airfix 1/48 Hurricane I
KIT #: 4102
PRICE: $5.00 from a vendor
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Old mold


The Hurricane I, was a simple tube framed aircraft covered with metal on the front part of the fuselage, and fabric on the rear section. All the control surfaces were fabric as was most of the wing on the very early Hurricane I. This fabric wing was later replaced by a stressed metal skin in early 1939, the first aircraft with them being L 1877. Initial Hurricane Is also had a two bladed wooden propeller, this being replaced by a deHavilland three bladed metal prop starting with L 1562, which flew in mid-1938. Starting in October 1939, the deHavilland propeller was replaced with a wider chord version from Rotol. This new propeller greatly improved the climbing ability of the Hurricane, enabling it to reach attacking bombers much sooner than with the older propellers.

There are many reasons the Hurricane was such a huge success during the Battle of Britain. First of all, it could be produced quickly. Because of its ease of construction, Hawker was able to exceed its production quotas, month after month. In fact, during the early war years, 7 of 10 fighter aircraft produced were Hurricanes. It was also more maneuverable, a more steady gun platform, able to withstand more damage, and easier to fly than the Spitfire. Because of these attributes all the newly created squadrons during the Battle were Hurricane squadrons. It was also easier to repair. Another plus was its wide track undercarriage that made landing and ground operations much easier than the narrow tracked Spitfire.


OK, so what's in the box? Once by the rather bland box art, one is confronted by a sea of light blue plastic. Not sure who it was that came up with these colors but it is distinctive! The detailing is of the raised panel line variety with engraved control surfaces. The fabric effect is rather subdued in relation to the newer kits from Hasegawa and is more like what one sees in photographs of the Hurricane.

My kit was relatively flash free, only showing a bit of flash on some of the smaller parts. There were, however a number of sink marks on the fuselage, those corresponding with the thicker plastic around the alignment pins. There were some very deep ones on the main gear well insert, but those will be out of sight on the completed kit. One is given the option of both the Rotol and deHavilland propeller and spinner, so it is important that you choose the right one for the aircraft you are modeling.

The canopy is a one-piece affair, so any desire to show the cockpit will necessitate either cutting the kit canopy or purchasing an aftermarket vac one. Detail in the cockpit is not bad for the time. There is some sidewall detail as well as some detail on the instrument panel, but it is rather basic and not up to today's standards. The interior is made of a seat, floor, rear bulkhead, control stick, instrument panel and gun sight. There are no rudder pedals, though a pilot is included should you wish to add him. Though a bit thick, the transparency is clear enough to see any detail you put inside.

Decals are for two aircraft. One is from 85 squadron operating in France in early 1940. The other is from 501 squadron during the Battle of Britain. My decal sheet is unusable thanks to its age and the yellowing of the carrier film, but this isn't a problem as there are a multitude of available aftermarket sheets for this aircraft.

The instructions are the usual set of drawings, giving 14 steps and showing each part. There are color callouts in the various steps, each giving Humbrol paint numbers. In addition there is a paint chart showing what color each of the paint numbers relates to. 


Let me begin this with a bit of an editorial. Many will wonder why in the world I am spending the time building a dinosaur like this when Airfix has just released a superb replacement that is better in just about every way to this one. This brings about a philosophical view on our hobby in general and modelers in particular.

It seems to me that we can broadly generalize modelers into several categories. These often overlap so it does not pay to be pedantic about this (something that really carries over into everything in life). We have modelers who want the very newest and will be instantly dissatisfied with what, a few years earlier, they considered the best. We have modelers who want to have the most accurate finished product, regardless of whether that fidelity comes from the kit or from the myriad of aftermarket bits that are out there. We have modelers who are not all that concerned about what is paramount to the first two groups, but does want a kit that is relatively easy to build and looks like what it is supposed to be. Then we have modelers that just like to build models. These folks are not concerned with absolute fidelity, the newness of the kit or the ease of construction. They will build whatever draws their fancy at a particular point of time. A subtype of the last category are those who will build what they already have.

It matters not what group a modeler fits into. Each modeler is part of the whole of this hobby. Their outlooks on scale modeling are just as viable and valid as any other. Together, we are all not only encouraging manufacturers to provide what we want, but also to add our particular variety into the mix, making the community as a whole, rich and vibrant (as well as continuing to grow).

After reading this, you may well surmise that at times we all fit into each of these categories. Today, I'm in the one on building whatever fits my fancy and I fancied building this old relic from the 1980s (if not before), as I had it and the mood struck me.

So, it all beings with a bit of gluing. In this case, I glued the rear bulkhead to the floor, the horizontal stabilizer halves together and the wheels. Next, I installed the wheel well section. This required clamping as something was warped and the claps kept the bits together. This was followed by attaching the upper wing sections.

I then did some prepainting of the rest of the interior bits, the gear well and other pieces. Quite a lot of this kit is in aluminum, such as gear wells, struts, and seat. I did paint the floor section as well as the inside of the fuselage with interior green, though that may not be totally accurate. All of the parts needed some clean-up as the mold seams were rather prominent. After painting the instrument panel, it was drybrushed and installed, followed by the clear gun sight. I glued on the seat and then used strips of tape to simulate the seat harness. I had run out of Sutton harness etched belts and figured that on a cheapie like this, it wouldn't matter.

I treated the join on the wings and then installed the gun barrel sections. There is no indication of which way is up on these, but the look ok once installed. They are also smaller than the area of the wing in which they fit. I also glued the forward and aft section of the radiator bath. The front section kept wanting to pop off so I had to squeeze it together for a while while the glue set. In addition, I set it on the wing where it was supposed to go to be sure both parts would be flush. This showed there would be a step between the forward and aft piece as the forward piece is a bit taller.

The fuselage halves were cemented together after cementing the prop shaft in place. After the usual filler, I installed the wing. The fit of this is really rather poor. Not only does the interior's rear bulkhead not fit well, but the fore and aft lower wing/fuselage join is not at all good. This required quite a bit of work including using a motor tool and copious filler to clean things up. The tail planes also had quite a gap to deal with.

After drilling out the opening in the carb intake, that and the radiator bath were glued on. I also took this opportunity to mask and install the canopy.


For this build, I went with a 'hookless' Sea Hurricane Ib as featured in Aeromaster sheet 48-440. This one was chosen as it has an unusually high demarcation line and the underside is sky grey. For this shade, I used Testors FS 16473 ADC grey on the advice of readers. For the upper colors, I used Agama acrylics for the extra dark sea grey and slate grey. These acrylics went on well and dried to where I could handle the model within a half hour. The scheme required a lot of masking and when I pulled off the tape I noticed that the slate grey (which is actually more green than grey) was quite a bit lighter than this shade from other paint companies. I decided to just leave it as it is.

Once the main colors were applied, I glued on the landing gear. The main gear is a bit fiddly and the retraction struts are basically left hanging in the air. The tail gear is the type without the oleo scissors, which may not be correct for this aircraft. The upper surfaces were then given a coat of Future (undersides are already gloss). When dry, I then began applying the decals. Despite the sheet having been printed in 1999, the markings went on without any issues. Most of the markings were insignia with some being in layers.

I used Microsol to help them conform over the raised lines. When dry, the airframe was given a coat of clear matte. I then went about adding other bits such as the pitot tube, foot step and radio mast. I drilled a hole for the foot step as I felt it would be a better fit than a butt join. The main wheels and gear doors were next. After painting the inside of the landing lights silver, the covers were installed using clear paint. EZ-Line was used for the radio antenna. I'm always amazed at how many models I see that eliminate this feature. Exhaust stains were added with pastels and the exhaust manifolds were glued on.

The last item to be attached was the prop. Mk.I Sea Hurricanes generally used the deHavilland prop. The Rotol was a better prop, but heavier and while not an issue with this plane, that extra weight caused many of the hooked Hurricanes to nose dive towards the deck when they grabbed the arrestor cable, often damaging the prop. This was alleviated by using the lighter, though less effective deHavilland version. I then did some touch-up painting and painted the formation lights using AK Interactive clears. This is a feature I also see omitted quite a bit. The masking was removed from the canopy and that was it.


I am sure that there are those who wonder why I bothered with this old relic. Well, I'd never built the kit and I had it. I expected it to be lacking in detail compared to today's kits, and there were fit issues, something not uncommon with older kits, but nothing that a modeler with a modicum of skill couldn't handle. The end result is a model that looks very much like what it is and is well worth placing on one's display shelves. Would I recommend it? Sure, but you need to realize that it has its limitations. If you want a really inexpensive early Hurricane for your collection, then why not?

August 2015

Thanks to me for the review kit. You can easily find this one for very little money from various vendors or the usual on-line auctions.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page