Hawk 1/144 DeHavilland Comet
|KIT #:||HL 512|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||reboxed Lindberg kit|
The de Havilland DH.106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at its Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, the Comet 1 prototype first flew in 1949. It featured an aerodynamically clean design with four de Havilland Ghost turbojet engines buried in the wing roots, a pressurised cabin, and large square windows. For the era, it offered a relatively quiet, comfortable passenger cabin and was commercially promising at its debut in 1952.
Within a year of entering airline service, problems started to emerge, three Comets being lost within twelve months in highly publicised accidents, after suffering catastrophic in-flight break-ups. Two of these were found to be caused by structural failure resulting from metal fatigue in the airframe, a phenomenon not fully understood at the time; the other was due to overstressing of the airframe during flight through severe weather. The Comet was withdrawn from service and extensively tested. Design and construction flaws, including improper riveting and dangerous concentrations of stress around some of the square windows, were ultimately identified. As a result, the Comet was extensively redesigned, with oval windows, structural reinforcements and other changes. Rival manufacturers heeded the lessons learned from the Comet when developing their own aircraft.
Although sales never fully recovered, the improved Comet 2 and the prototype Comet 3 culminated in the redesigned Comet 4 series which debuted in 1958 and remained in commercial service until 1981. The Comet was also adapted for a variety of military roles such as VIP, medical and passenger transport, as well as surveillance; the last Comet 4, used as a research platform, made its final flight in 1997. The most extensive modification resulted in a specialised maritime patrol derivative, the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, which remained in service with the Royal Air Force until 2011, over 60 years after the Comet's first flight.
When I saw this one being re-issued by Round 2, I was interested so ordered one of them just to see what it was like. I'd not heard of Hawk doing this kit and when I opened the box, I saw a slip in there which had Lindberg written on it. That, along with the hinged fuselage section told me that this was a fairly old tooling. A look on Scalemates shows that it was released in 1959. At this time a scale of 1/180 was marked on the box, yet a later release had it at 1/144, as does this one. I'll leave it to the measurement people to clear up this difference.
This kit provides no cockpit, but it does provide an interior with some near 2D passengers to put into some of the seats. The left fuselage side is hinged so that you can display the interior with passengers. There is no gear well detail and no blanking plates for the wing so you can see right through where the engines would go. Perfectly normal for 1959, though unacceptable today.
There are also no cockpit windows though if the fuselage decals line up well, you can use the clear film to represent those. Taped to the outside of the kit bag was a cockpit transparency. Included with the kit are three support vehicles. One is a bus, another is a fuel truck, and a third is an airconditioning unit. It is recommended that this latter item be used to hold the tail up. There is also plenty of room in the nose for weight, though no amount is provided.
Instructions are retro as would have been included in the original kit. The other side of the sheet is for markings. The decals are well done and will hopefully work well. One thing I noticed is that the registration number is bogus. I should also mention that this aircraft is not the longer range Comet 4, but an earlier, shorter Comet 2. That means that if you are into scratching up some markings, you could do this as an RAF aircraft. Included in the box is a box sized print of a runway surface for display purposes.
Honestly, I'm not sure how many people would really want to build this kit. It is as much of a toy as a 'serious' model kit. However, its minimal parts count, additional vehicles and the fact that it is a neat airplane may well be such that it will be quite popular. I know that I'm glad that it was done as I've always thought the BOAC markings were cool and it would look nice on a stand (not included).
Scott Van Aken
Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission.
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
Back to the Previews Index Page