by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HistoryThe Hudson served the Allies faithfully during the war on most fronts and with little fanfare. The air forces of Britain, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, the Netherlands, China, Brazil and Australia all operated Hudsonís. The Hudson served throughout the war in Europe and the Mediterranean theatres, mainly as maritime patrol and anti submarine duties. Later years saw the Hudson perform communication, spy dropping and transport duties.
One Hudson of No 262 squadron achieved the unique fame of capturing U-Boat U-570 in August 1941. The Hudson achieved some significant feats during the war. On 8 October 1939, over Jutland, a Hudson became the first RAF aircraft to shoot down a German aircraft. (The accolade of the first British aircraft to shoot down a German plane went to the Blackburn Skua of the Fleet Air Arm on 26 September 1939.). They also became the first plane to fire a shot in the Pacific Campaign by sinking a Japanese navy transport ship, the IJN Awajisan Maru, just off the coast of Kota Bharu, an hour before Pearl Harbour.
Derived from the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra 12 passenger transport, the Hudson first flew in December 1938 and by the time production ended in mid 1943, a total of 2,941 examples had been built, most of which served the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth countries. A crew of four flew in the aircraft which was armed with two fixed 0.303 machine guns forward, two 0.303 machine guns in the Boulton Paul dorsal turret. The Hudson Mk III added one ventral and two beam machine guns and replaced the 1,100 hp Wright Cyclone 9-cylinder radials with 1,200 hp versions (428 produced). Bombs: 750 lb (340 kg) of bombs or depth charges.
The KitThis kit was first released in 1963 and then again in 1998, so it is now on its third reincarnation. This is due to Airfix and Humbrol policy of rotating the moulds of their kits. The kit box states its a Mk 1 Hudson but it contains the engine parts for a Mk3 version. Little has changed to the kit apart from the box artwork, the inclusion of some more decals and better instructions. The kit is packaged in a standard lidded box, with a well drawn picture of the Hudson defending itself against 2 Japanese Zeros. 60 light blue plastic and 25 clear parts can be found in the kit.
Several of the parts seem to have come away from the sprues, so examination and careful handling of the parts will be required. Apart from the fuselage and wings, every piece has some flash to some degree, but removing shouldn't be to much of a challenge. There are quite a few sink marks on this kit, most are in unseen places but their are a few on the elevators of the wings and tail plane, which could become a pain to fill as there are some fine raised rivets around the area. Exterior details are thousands of raised rivets which are beautifully rendered and with some dry brushing will look fabulous. There are recessed panel lines around the door and bomb bay. The engine and cowling parts are one piece and have a mould line running around the entire circumference of the cowling. The elevators, propellers and turret are all separate pieces and should be move able when the kit is built, unlike the kits I built as a kid when nothing moved due to copious amounts of glue used. The interior details are pretty basic and consist of an 2 bulkheads, the forward one doubles as the instrument panel, cockpit floor, 2 seats and 3 blobs of plastic that I believe is the crew. The dorsal turret is basically a cup shaped part which holds the gunner. A seat will have to be scratch built if you remove the figure. There are no details on the side walls of the fuselage. Wheel well detail is also non existent.
There are 25 clear parts, which are extremely thick and only have a slight indentation of frame lines on them. The thickness of the clear parts is typical of the early Airfix kits and because of this you will not be able to see anything of the interior once in place. Replacing them with vac-form is probably the way to go, but would be time consuming.
InstructionsPrinted in a 9 page booklet form on A5 size paper, it is well set out and drawn. The front page gives you a brief history of the aircraft with an unintentional humorous error in the first flight details, " The Hudson 1 which first flew in December 1838", thus predating the Wrights effort in 1903. The build sequence is pretty straightforward from the 1st stage, assembly of the cockpit to stage 10, the major component parts assembly. Interior and some exterior colours are given throughout the stages. The last 4 pages are of the colour schemes and decal placement. There are 4 versions to choose from each with a drawn 4 sided profile of the aircraft. The 4 versions available are, No 2 Squadron RAAF, Australia, 1943, No 4 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Fiji, 1943, No 206 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command, 1941, and No 269 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command, Iceland, late 1941. The first 2 versions are new to this re-release.
DecalsThe decals are printed on one sheet and all seem to be in register and are a nice dull colour. The carrier film looks to be quite noticeable around the serial numbers, so trimming away the surplus close to the markings will help to avoid any possible silvering.
ConclusionWould I recommend this kit, yes, I have dry-fitted a few pieces and it goes together quite well, so not a lot of filler will be needed. This would be a good kit for a beginner, as I obviously built it as one when I was a lad, admittedly it probably only took me a couple of hours and wasn't very good, but it does look like a Hudson when completed. Compared to newer releases this kit is starting to show its age, but it is how i remember Airfix kits. Basic fun builds. All though this is a 1963 kit, re-boxed as a 2006 release, I really believe with some patience and care this can be a nice addition to your collection. Airfix, love them or hate them, even with their new set of financial troubles, I'm hoping they are here to stay.
Thanks to Airfix for supplying this review sample
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