The Spitfire and Hurricane… together they are as British as fish ‘n chips and bangers & mash, and yet, for some reason, the Hawker Hurricane has been rather neglected in recent years in modelling terms compared with its RAF stablemate. It’s extraordinary to think that there’s been no new-tool mainstream 1:32 Hurricane since Revell’s 1960s effort, and it’s been left to limited-run producers to fill the glaring gap in the market.
PCM did a fine job with the Mk. I in fabric and metal-winged versions a few years back (see Bill Cross’s build of the latter HERE
), and now the small Czech producer Fly Models has stepped into the ring with a trio of kits based around the Hurricane Mk. II with it’s longer nose and spinner and 4 x 20mm cannon armament.
The range so far includes:
32012 - Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc
32013 - Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc Trop
32014 - Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk.IIc
Fly's Hurricane arrives in a solid and attractive top-opening box, with all the sprues and accessories bagged separately. The overall presentation is really very good, and the kit comprises:
82 x sand coloured styrene parts
13 x clear styrene parts
22 x grey resin parts
72* x etched metal parts
A sheet of printed film for instruments etc.
Decals for 4 x colour schemes
The immediate impression is overwhelmingly positive for me. True, this is produced with limited run technology, so you can’t expect “Tamigawa” crispness or the kit to almost build itself if you just rattle the box, but all the makings are here for a stunning finished model.
The styrene parts appear to be moulded by MPM, and there’s no more than a whisper of flash evident on my kit, and no sign of sink marks. Ejector pins seem to have been kept out of sight, and the sprue attachments are small and logically placed.
The surface detailing is impressive, with neatly engraved panel lines and a mix of raised and lightly embossed rivets and fasteners, plus a pretty convincing fabric effect that depicts a well-maintained aircraft nicely.
Looks can be misleading sometimes, particularly in short-run kits, so I was keen to dry fit the main components. The results are excellent, with the fuselage halves matching up perfectly, and the 5-part wing taping together very neatly indeed without adjustment, and slotting firmly in place. The seams on the underside of the wings where the outer panels join the centre section will be hidden by etched fairings.
I haven’t scaled-up any plans yet to compare the parts against, but my gut impression on standing back to admire the test-fit is that Fly’s Hurricane will look very decent indeed.
A Few Details
As you’d expect, construction begins with the cockpit, which Fly have designed as a mix of styrene, resin and etched components for a total of almost 60 parts. The basic framework is styrene, onto which are added some really fine details. The instrument panel is a classic etched “sandwich”, built up in layers to separate the blind-flying instruments and add depth to the switches and counters. Film backings provide the instrument faces and the compass below. The resin seat is beautifully cast and further enhanced by an 8-part etched harness. I’ve no doubt aftermarket sets will appear for the “office” but, to be honest, everything you need is already included in the kit - all it lacks on first inspection is some cabling.
The next major section in the instructions is the wings - and again there’s some excellent detail. Each landing lamp is a 3-part affair, with a really nice resin mounting, while the wingtip navigation lights feature separate covers and bulbs.
The wheel well is a pretty amazing one-piece resin casting that boasts some beautiful detail that will really repay careful painting and highlighting. The landing gear itself is built up from styrene legs and resin wheels. Resin might have allowed more detailed legs, but the styrene is perfectly adequate and will probably be more robust. The wheels are excellent, with maker’s details on the tyres and crisply cast hubs. The tyres are supplied unweighted, so I’ll sand slight “flats” to give a sense of the bulk of the Hurricane.
The kit offers a choice of styrene or resin 20mm cannon and, really, there’s no competition. The resin versions totally outclass the plastic ones, and the only reason you might not use them is if you go for metal barrels or Hauler’s alternative set which is available from Fly (see below).
The radiator and oil coolers have etched cores and grills, while the fishtail exhausts are nicely cast in resin. The Rotol propeller looks very good to my eyes, with separate well-shaped blades and a nicely pointed spinner. The root of each blade is keyed to set the pitch, but a simple jig will probably still be a good idea.
The canopy is crystal clear with crisply defined framing. Fly supply the windscreen armour as a separate piece, while the etched fret provides grab handles and there’s a resin mirror. The finely cast resin gunsight is finished off with a film reflector.
Instructions & Decals
Fly have produced the construction guide to cater for both the Mk. IIc and Mk. IIc Trop, the only real difference being the chin intakes. Assembly is broken down into 40 steps and proceeds very logically - I might add the stabilisers earlier, but that's about the only major detour I'd consider from the suggested sequence. Instructions for painting details are a treated a little unusually by being presented in their own colour-printed section instead of keying paint numbers to the construction drawings. The format works nicely and arguably does allow colours to be highlighted easier.
The Mk. IIc Trop comes with decals for the following colour schemes, illustrated in colour on a separate sheet:
1. s/n HV538, "White 1", 1 Sqn. Royal Indian Air Force, 167 Wing, RAF.
2. s/n BP592, AK-G, 213 Sqn. RAF, 1942
3. s/n HL627, AX-X, 1 Sqn. South African Air Force, flown by Cpt. J. H. Gaynor, 1942
4. s/n KZ616, Flying School Armee de l,Air, Morocco 1945-46
The chosen schemes offer plenty of variety in terms of both markings and camouflage. Scheme #2 carries the famous "spaghetti" camouflage on the cowl and wingtips that is a favourite topic for debate among modellers, with sand, pale blue and aluminium all suggested as candidates for the base colour. So far I've not come across a photograph of this particular aircraft to form my own conclusion as to how it might have been painted.
The decals are beautifully printed in perfect register on my sheet. The colours look good, with a different shades of red used for the RAF and French roundels, and orange for the SAAF ones.
A smaller decal sheet provides servicing stencils, and the kit includes a generic placement guide.
Along with the standard kits, Fly have teamed up with various manufacturers to offer a range of upgrades and alternative options.
The resin cannon barrels included in the kit are excellent, but Fly have gone one better with an alternative set from Hauler that’s even nicer. The recoil springs are depicted slightly differently and there’s extra detailing such as screw heads and recesses at the base of each barrel. The set only costs £1.90
, so it’s well worth getting.
Fly also offer a vacuformed canopy. I didn’t buy this, but it looks good quality judging from the photo on Fly’s website. Why didn’t I get one? Well, only because I think it's inviting additional detailing on the inside in this scale to represent the structure, and I fancied an easy life for once. However, if you want to go the vacuform route, the canopy costs just £2.55
As an alternative to the decals, there’s a matching set of painting masks for the national and unit markings produced by Artillery. With the prominent mushroom-head rivets, painted-on markings come into their own in avoiding any chance of silvering. I also couldn’t resist trying Fly’s masks because they offer a feature I’ve not seen before - they are cut from completely clear vinyl. I normally use translucent Frisket-type material or Kabuki tape, so it’ll be very interesting to see how this new stuff behaves. Again, Fly offer the set for a very reasonable price - at the paltry sum of £4.99
for a large sheet of masks, they are definitely worth getting if you like painted markings.
Canopy & Wheel Masks
Finally, New Ware have produced a set of Kabuki tape masks for the canopy and wheels. I’m assuming it’s designed for the kit’s standard canopy, but it may well work with the vacuform version too. The quality of the masks looks excellent and they will be a very handy time-saver. Once again, the price is £4.99
. (Note: The sample set was kindly provided by Victory Models along with others from the New Ware range, and features in a separate overview review HERE.
As you can tell, I’m really excited by Fly’s big Hurricanes! Checking their website today, I see they have a Mk. IId in the works with 40mm underwing cannon, plus a Mk. I (which explains the extra parts on the sprues and the rogue illustration that’s crept into the instructions with an intriguing fabric wing). For such a small company to have produced such a fine kit of a classic fighter at such an affordable price is a remarkable achievement and Fly deserve to do really well. Highly recommended to modellers with a bit of experience working with mixed media kits.
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