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Hurricane

Hasegawa 1/48 Hurricane Mk.I 'Douglas Bader' Build Review

By Kelly Jamison

Date of Review June 2009 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Hurricane Mk.I Scale 1/48
Kit Number 09065 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice detail, many versions Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $28.95

Background

Like many others, I get my inspiration on the next model I build by reading a biography on someone or a movie that might catch my imagination. I found an old copy of “Reach for the Sky” at my local library and decided to read it. It was always on my “To-Do” list but I never got around to reading it. After reading the incredible story of Douglas Bader and noticing a missing niche in my collection, that of a Hurricane, I decided to tackle it next.

Douglas Bader became a legend while still alive. He lost both legs in a tragic and avoidable airplane crash in 1931. After recovery, the RAF decided that there was not much use for a legless pilot and Bader wasn’t about to sit a desk working supply or personnel issues so he was released to the civilian world. Bader jumped from job to job not being satisfied with just being a handicapped person and would not tolerate any pity; he continued to pine for flying.

Then world events, Bader’s desires and fortuitous luck all crossed paths and the RAF saw a need for anyone who could fly. Bader stepped up and never looked back. First flying Hurricanes with Canadians in 242 Squadron then he transitioned to the famous Spitfire for the rest of his military career. Developing the “Large Stick Formation” along with many other tactics used by the entire RAF, Bader and his pilots became a lethal weapon to the enemy.

Bader’s life took another major turn when, he claims, he was hit by a German aircraft. Severing the tail off and causing a quick exit from the mortally wounded Spitfire. In his hasty departure he left one of his tin legs caught in the cockpit. After a quick recovery and a few escape attempts he was sent to one of the many Luftstalags in Germany. Continuing his escape attempts caused him to be transferred to the infamous Colditz prison for high risk prisoners and he was eventually liberated by American Army troops in April of 1945.

He immediately attempted to acquire a Spitfire and continue to fight but was sat down by RAF Command for R and R. Even after that, Bader attempted to return to the fight. The war ended and the RAF again had no need for a legless pilot so Bader jumped around in small jobs until being hired by Shell Oil to promote that companies interest all over the world. His celebrity status did not hurt him in this area. Douglas Bader passed away of a heart attack on the 5th of September 1982. Thus ending the life of one of Britain’s most colorful pilot’s of World War II.

Hurricane I encourage everyone to read more on his exploits as a fighter pilot, leader of men and his incredible drive to not let a handicap slow him down one second. The Douglas Bader House in Fairford Air Base England can still be seen and is the headquarters for the RAF Charitable Trust and is the recipient of proceeds made from one of the world’s best airshows, The Fairford Air Tattoo.

The chronicles of the Hurricane and its use in World War II have been written about many times by others much more talented than I so I will skip the developmental history lesson of the Hurricane and move right into the build. I will tell you that two good resource books that are easy to find are the Squadron “In Action” and “Walk Around” series and are relatively cheap for what you get.

The Build

Hurricane The kit being used is the Hasegawa 1/48 scale Hurricane MK.I. It is still being produced in many variants and can be found at a good price on the internet or your favorite hobby shop. Let’s start in the cockpit area using the Eduard photo-etch cockpit set. Don’t get me wrong, you can build a very nice cockpit straight from the box but I wanted to use one of the new color series. I found the interior color to be a bit off of the Model Masters Acryl British Interior Green color straight out of the bottle. All you have to do for the instrument panel is to hit it a few times with a file or sanding stick to knock off all the relief until you get just a flat panel, then use Future to glue the instrument portion of the panel on and then coat the front side and glue the bezel portion on to get a very realistic looking panel. A few wires and cables made from guitar string and brass wire, busied up the cockpit quite well. Side panels were mounted to the floor and the side shelf was glued to the left side of the cockpit tubing.

Last item to be installed was the pilot’s safety harness. Some might want to hold off on the over the shoulder portion of the harness and pose it with the left one hanging out the cockpit. This can be seen in a lot of research pictures. These look good and are easy to bend into the proper position. Do be careful of real tight bends. It could peel the paint from the metal fret. And don’t anneal the photo-etch with heat or you will ruin the paint.

The fuselage halves need to have the engine cowlings glued on. Hasegawa did this to facilitate the longer nose of later Mk versions. You should glue each halve to its respective fuselage halve before gluing the two fuselage halves together. I went slow and used Tamiya’s liquid glue for superior wicking ability and placed the two parts exactly where I wanted them then applied the glue. While I had the pieces on the desk, I carved out the hand hold on the left fuselage halve, knowing that this would be in the open position anytime the foot step is in the down position which I planned to do.

If you use the Eduard Zoom cockpit set (FE252), you need to sand off the right side inner fuselage detail so the Edward set can be glued into place. The fuselage halves zipped up just fine with Hasegawa’s usual precision. Now is a good time to make another decision. Do you want the oil spray shield on the nose or not. Research into your particular aircraft is needed. I sanded mine off only to find proof later that it was needed. I had to scratch build one and I don’t think it looks as good as the one I removed on purpose. Another lesson learned and many more to go.

I found a set of Aria Hurricane control surfaces (4035) in a bargain bin and thought this would be a good time to use them. So, carefully cut and removed the rudder and discard the elevators in order to swap for the resin ones.

Hurricane On to the wings! I used an Ultracast wheel well set (48079) in place of the stock one. In hindsight it really wasn’t worth it. It is better but you can’t see it and there is not much detail in that area anyway. Spend your money on a new prop or seat if you just have to have resin (Like me!). Because of the different models you can make, Hasegawa molded gun access doors on the top of the wings. These have to be sanded down for this particular build along with some tabs on the forward portion of the right wing root. The instructions clearly mark the areas that should be sanded down.

Hurricane Now this is just technique only but I decided to glue the upper wings to the fuselage halves, working real hard to get the splice panels as good as I could. Then placing the bottom of the wing on slowly, aligning up all the panel lines and wing tips will try your patience. It takes awhile to do this but the results can be much better when done right. Also remember that the Hurricane was unique in that it had no dihedral. The totally flat wings will throw you off throughout the build.

Hurricane It is time to place the plugs in for the wing cannons not used on this build. I could only find one of mine for the right wing so I had two choices, raid another kit (expensive for such a small part) or get some strip plastic and fill in the area. That was the easiest method. I just sandwiched a bunch of pieces together and rough shaped them after they dried. Then I sanded them into shape. After about 10 minutes of work, you couldn’t even tell the piece was missing.

Hurricane The large landing gear lights are a prominent characteristic of this plane and I wanted to get the seams real tight in this area so after putting a dab of foil on the light lens and gluing it into place, I superglued the glass into position and allowed it to dry. After sanding I noticed discoloration and crazing on the clear plastic inside the glass. I could either cut the plastic out and start over or say “I hope the inside was dirty on the real thing” and press on with the build. I choose the later. I also drilled out the inside of the wingtip lights and put a small dab of paint in the hole (red for the left port and green for the right port ) to replicate the small light bulbs and then superglued and sanded the pieces into shape. A few hits with a polishing stick got all the glass in order.

Hurricane With the wings on the fuselage, I noticed a large gap at the aft end of the wing where it meets the fuselage right along the scalloped fabric covered area. I am not sure why Hasegawa molded it there but it does make it difficult to fill and sand that area with any detail left. It was time to start adding the fussy bits. The oil coolers detail out really nicely with just a little dry brushing of silver. Take your time fitting the engine cover. Mine needed some trial and fitting to get it snug against the wing roots which needed extra attention to get a smooth one piece look.

Hurricane Before moving into priming and painting phase, the model got an extensive clean-up and sanding. I re-scribed some panel lines that were lost and put a few more rivets here and there to help the surface detail. Last minute patch-ups and mistakes were fixed at this time and the plane was ready for camouflage.

My war paint of choice on this build is Aerohobby Acrylics for the top colors and Model Master Acryl Sky for the bottom. The Aerohobby colors are very nice in tone but the actual paints get more finicky as they get older. I had to continuously clean my airbrush and find that happy medium between thinning the paint, but not too thin!

After drying overnight, I used Eduard’s Mask Hurricane Scheme “A”. I had to refer back to pictures of Bader’s plane to conclude that it was an “A” Scheme. We will talk more about that later. The masks didn’t want to stay down with their adhesive very well so I had to use tape to help it. You have to think reverse on these masks and it throws you off as to what to use since they are the same color as the color you are trying to put down. 8 Patience is the key. Once the RAF Dark Green was put down a coat of future was sprayed over it to protect it from handling as I masked off for the underside color.

This was very time consuming and took multiple tries to get the lines straight. I still think I could have done a better job around the wing roots. The compound curves and strange shapes made it a difficult area to paint without overspray or cocooning the entire airplane in tape! 9 I painted the left side engine cowl entirely RAF Dark Green. It is my hypothesis that the panel was either off a Scheme “B” painted aircraft or was repainted before the famous Kicking Hitler art was painted on. I looked at every available picture and asked many experts before coming to my own conclusion on this. After all modeling is about YOUR interpretation of the subject. And this one is mine.

Hurricane I sprayed another coat of Future to protect the bottom side and then it was onto my favorite part of the build, decaling. The plane really takes on a personality with the decals. I used Superscale’s decal sheet #48-383 featuring Douglas Bader’s LE@D 242 Squadron. Micro-Sol was used to snug down the decals. I have found that Solva-Set is just too hot for some of Superscale’s older decal sheets and something a little less aggressive is needed so Micro-Sol fits the bill perfectly. A coat of Future after the decals dried and a coat of Model Master Acryl Flat Clear really makes this kit look great.

Let’s get this plane on its legs. The main landing gear looked very complicated and it took me a minute to see what Hasegawa was trying to do there before I realized that this was really superior engineering. Look at the instructions and build up each leg one at a time or you will get the parts confused and mess up the installation completely. The tail wheel is a fragile piece and care must be taken not to break it off. Trust me on this one. The gear covers are well done and easy to glue into place. A set of True Details wheels (48027) put shoes on the Hurricane.

The exhaust stacks of choice were the ones offered by Ultracast (ULT48043). Very nicely done and a big improvement from the stock ones. Once painted, rusted and glued into place, they look great. I found that if you paint the antenna then glue some heat stretched sprue to the small mounting point to the antenna first then glue the whole thing into place, stringing the remainder back to the tail, it will give you a realistic antenna without all the pain of trying to glue it to the mast and tail at the same time. I wish I would have photographed the process to show you earlier but I missed the chance.

Hurricane

Propeller, bead sight, formation light, foot step and gun sight were all installed in preparation for the Squadron canopy. This is the only way to go if you are going to pose the canopy in the open position. Another hindsight I had was I might have used the front windscreen of the kit canopy and the Squadron back half. You would end up destroying the back half of the kit canopy but you really don’t care since you will be using the Squadron one anyway.

I have found out the best way of painting these kinds of greenhouse canopies is to tape off all the vertical lines first and paint. Then let it dry and then mask off all the horizontal lines and paint. Rather than mask off each individual pane of glass. Careful trimming is needed and some trial fitting before gluing them into place. A dab of glue got the rearview mirror in place.

Some pastel chalk and light thinned out black mineral spirits added to the stains and worn out areas. These planes were short lived at the time of the Battle of Britain so I did not feel a need to do a heavy weathering job on it. A few touch-ups here and there were needed before declaring this plane "DONE".

Hurricane Hurricane Hurricane

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this build. It looks great sitting next to my Spitfire and was not too difficult to build. You will not have any trouble building this one straight out of the box too. Detailing is easy and there are plenty of subjects and aftermarket items for you to use. 16, 17 USE AS NEEDED

Hurricane Hurricane

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