by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Drawing on experience with the Mosquito, the de Havilland Hornet represented the pinnacle of British piston-engined aircraft design. Just too late for WW2, the aircraft boasted outstanding range, manoeverability and a top speed of 470 mph. A naval variant, the Sea Hornet was developed into a 2-seat night-fighter.
Classic Airframes have answered the wishes of many aircraft modellers by releasing the de Havilland Hornet and Sea Hornet. The two kits are mostly identical, with the Sea Hornet including extra clear and resin parts plus, of course, different decals.
The instruction sheet caters for both versions. The assembly sequence is quite logical and the various differences between the versions are clearly illustrated.
The main parts are well moulded in quite soft mid grey plastic. There is very little flash and the attachment points to the sprues are commendably small. Surface detail is nicely engraved and a test fit shows that all the major components fit well.
To model the Sea Hornet NF. 21, a radar operator's compartment has to be fitted. Classic Airframes have market the position of the entry door and canopy as indentations on the inside of the fuselage halves. Care is needed opening these up, while regularly checking the fit of the door and vacuform canopy.
Resin and Clear Parts
As usual with Classic Airframes kits, most of the detail parts are provided in resin. These are beautifully moulded and give a very busy appearance to the cockpit and radar operators compartment. The parts match my reference pictures quite well, and should look great with some careful painting. Disappointingy, neither an instrument coaming or gunsight is provided.
The clear parts are vacuformed and are very thin and clear. A spare canopy is provided, but what looks, at first glance, like a spare radar operator's blister is actually in a different style - one for which I can't find a reference...
Compared with photos, the rear of the canopy framing needs building up somewhat, but many people will be happy to leave it alone.
Decals & Conclusion
Markings for two Royal Navy aircraft are provided. A silver F.20 based in Malta in 1954 and an Extra Dark Sea Grey/Sky NF. 21 of HMS Vengeance in 1951.
The decals are printed by Microscale and registration is excellent.
Classic Airframes kits seem to be improving with each release, and the Sea Hornet is probably their best yet. Most modellers should have no problems with this kit, and it would make a good choice for anyone wanting to tackle resin parts for the first time.
While undeniably expensive, the Sea Hornet is guaranteed to stand out in any aircraft collection.
Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.