by: Mike Still [ ]
This is the second incarnation of Roy Sutherland's Cooper Details Sea Fury detailing set for the long-serving HobbyCraft offering, albeit for external detailing only. You get 17 parts in gray resin on 10 casting blocks (I bought two sets -- one was missing the spare 6th prop blade so it came with 16 parts) and eight white metal pieces. CE offers a separate cockpit set, CEC48346, for $17.99.
Recommended for experienced modelers only.
The resin includes separate prop blades, of course, and a one-piece spinner that is designed to glue directly to the HobbyCraft engine front after removal of the kit prop shaft housing. Two droptanks with well-cast flanges and racks keyed to attachment holes that are pretty common on later releases of the HC Sea Fury.
The one-piece wheels have holes provided for the set's white-metal gear legs and have a restrained, scale-like diamond-tread pattern with molded flat spots and minimal bulging -- just like a high-pressure carrier aircraft tire ought to be
The centerpiece of the whole set is the two-piece replacement wheel well. While it takes over from the kit well piece, it's far from a drop fit. As you can see from the photo, you first have to remove casting blocks from the well and front spar. Removing the spar block can be tricky, so read the instructions about 10 times and then score and saw and remove VERY carefully.
The well block removal is fairly straightforward, but alignment of the spar piece is a litlle tricky. Again, test fit repeatedly before super-gluing the two parts together. The instructions recommend removing some of the molded locating ridge inside the kit lower wing before gluing the well -- I removed all the ridge surrounding the strut wells, leaving only the ridge at the rear of the wheel wells, and still test fit a few times before getting it reasonably right.
The instructions recommended sanding both the upper well section and inside the upper wing halves to allow the wing pieces to join properly. I found that sanding with a Dremel sanding drum and filing the outside of the resin well thin enough until daylight shone through the resulting membrane seemed to work well enough for a snug fit. Despite the extra work, the CE well makes a big difference in appearance. A test fit of the white metal gear legs showed the resin sockets to be a touch too small. Some work with a round jeweler's file will be needed.
Test-fitting of the wing assembly to the fuselage showed that the wing roots and ventral wing-fuselage joints seemed to align well after the new wheel well was installed.
A remaining resin wafer contains two attachment points for the retraction struts to join the main gear struts. Also provided on the wafer, if you happen to have a very early HC release, are the ventral wing root cooling air louvers located just in front of the main gear well. Frankly, the CE louvers are not that much of an improvement over those in the later HC Sea Fury, so it's probably more a matter of personal taste as to whether you want to go to the extra work.
The white metal pieces are of a stiffer alloy than I encountered three years ago with CE's F7F-3N nose correction set. The main wheel yokes in one set I bought were straight; the other set bent slightly at the yokes. Careful re-bending with smooth-jaw pliers will be needed.
A nice boarding stirrup, a la Hurricane and Tempest, is provided in white metal, as are separate tail wheel and strut pieces and an arrestor hook to be fitted to a piece of wire or styrene rod (not included -- hey, if you're building this set, chances are you have some plastic or brass rod).
I'll be blunt -- this is not a set for inexperienced modelers. It will require some he-man or she-woman modeling skill to combine this set with the HobbyCraft Sea Fury, not to mention fixing the kit's trenchlike wing and horizontal stabilizer panel lines. But once you get past the fiddliness of some of the parts, it's a good start toward making an older but basically right-looking kit into something more eye-catching.
Now if someone would release a decent aftermarket set of Pakistani Air Force markings for the Sea Fury.
Copyright ©2021 text by Mike Still [ ]. 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.