Frog 1/72 Hornet F.3

KIT #: F-239
PRICE: $2.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Bagged kit with no decals or instructions


The de Havilland DH.103 Hornet was a piston engine fighter that further exploited the wooden construction techniques pioneered by de Havilland's earlier Mosquito. Entering service at the end of the Second World War, the Hornet equipped postwar RAF Fighter Command day fighter units in the UK and was later used successfully as a strike fighter in Malaya. The Sea Hornet was a carrier-capable version.

The Hornet F.1 was a standard day fighter and was built in rather small number. It was later supplanted by the Hornet F.3 which was more of a fighter-bomber. The F 3's wings were stressed to carry external ordnance. Two to four "60 lb" (27 kg) RP-3 rockets could be carried under each wing; it was also possible to carry a combination of four rockets with one bomb of up to 1,000 lb (454 kg), or an additional drop tank on each wing, ranging in capacity up to 200 Imp gal (909 l). Internally, the fuel tanks were enlarged from a total capacity of 360 Imp gal (1,636 l) to 432 Imp gal (1,964 l) and additional equipment was added. Larger horizontal tail surfaces were adopted, with larger elevator horn balances. With the evolution of longer-range, jet-powered fighters such as the de Havilland Vampire, de Havilland Venom and Gloster Meteor, the Hornet became obsolete fairly quickly. The F 3 was the last Hornet derivative to see operational RAF service.


Until just a few years ago, if you wanted a 1/72 de Havilland Hornet, this is what you built. To my eyes, one of the sleekest looking piston engine aircraft ever built, Frog's kit is quite typical of the times with engraved panel lines and a very basic cockpit. Of course, it helps that the real plane was wood so there are not a ton of detail lines anyway. This particular kit was one I bought many years ago that came without a box, instructions or decals, but for $2 I figured I could get it built without any hassles.

This kit may have been a Novo product as flash is a bit of a concern, especially on smaller parts. The cockpit consists of a molded in floor onto which a control stick and rear bulkhead with head rest are glued. There is a brace behind the head rest, the pilot sits on the floor and that is it. Wings are in two pieces for each side and the holes for bombs and rockets are already opened up for you. The bombs come complete with molded on rack while the rockets are molded onto their rails save for the fin pieces, which are quite flashy.

Landing gear is nicely done and the main gear wells are semi-boxed in. The tail wheels is molded onto the tail strut. As you can see, the rudder and ailerons are molded onto one half of the fuselage or wing which provides a fairly sharp trailing edge. There are separate exhaust pieces. The props are molded on the spinner and one can build them to spin before installing them onto the front of the engine nacelles. A one-piece, and rather thick canopy is also provided along with various aerials and antennas.

I seem to recall that Frog instructions were pretty good, but with a relatively low parts count were not complex. The kit provided markings for two planes. One in camouflage with 41 squadron and one in high speed silver with 19 squadron. Both had PRU blue undersides. I'm sure the decals in any extant kits are beyond their 'use by' age but the markings are not complex and could easily be gleaned from various insignia as well as letter and number sheets.


I have not built the MPM/Special Hobby Hornet, but I'll bet it is a lot more detailed and a lot more difficult to build than this one. Back in the semi-dark ages, I did one of these as a Sea Hornet using a C Scale metal upgrade set. I had to glean markings from various Modeldecal sheets to build it. It turned out great (at the time) and is a model that I still have on display. If you want a relatively simple build and can locate one of these, give it a go.


October 2014

Thanks to me for the preview kit.

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