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Sea Fury FB.11

Frog 1/72 Sea Fury FB.11 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2009 Manufacturer Frog
Subject Sea Fury FB.11 Scale 1/72
Kit Number F221 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat British aircraft, Folding wings option, Separate flaps Cons Sparse interior. Raised panel lines may not please some modelers
Skill Level Novice MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Sea Fury FB.11
Sea Fury FB.11
Sea Fury FB.11

The Hawker Sea fury was a British fighter aircraft developed for the Royal Navy by Hawker during WWII. The last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, it was also one of the fastest production single piston-engined aircraft ever built.

Six prototypes were ordered. Two were to be powered by Rolls Royce Griffon engines, two with Centaurus XXII’s, one with a Centaurus XII and one as a test structure. The first Fury to fly, on 1 September 1944, was NX798 with a Centaurus XII with rigid engine mounts, powering a Rotol four-blade propeller. The second aircraft, on 27 November 1944 was LA610, which had a Griffin 85 and a Rotol six-blade contra-rotating propeller. By now, development of the Fury and Sea Fury was closely interlinked so that the next prototype to fly was a Sea Fury, SR661, described under “Naval Conversion”.

In 1943, the design was modified to meet a Royal Navy request (N.7/43) for a carrier-based fighter. Boulton-Paul Aircraft were to make the conversion while Hawker continued work on the Air Force design. The first Sea Fury prototype, R661, flew on 21 February 1945, powered by a Centaurus XII engine. This prototype had a “stinger” type tailhook for arrested carrier landings, but lacked folding wings for storage. SR666, the second prototype, which flew on 12 October 1945, was powered by a Centaurus XV turning a new, five-bladed Rotol propeller and was built with folding wings. The order for the aircraft was modified, now representing needing 200 aircraft. Of these, 100 were to be built at Boulton-Paul.

Both prototypes were undergoing carrier landing trials when the Japanese surrendered in 1945, ending development of the land-based Fury. Work on the navalized Sea Fury continued. The original order was now reduced to 100 aircraft, and the Boulton-Paul agreement was cancelled. At the same time, construction of what was intended to be a Boulton-Paul built Sea Fury, VB856 was transferred to the Hawker factory at Kingston. This aircraft, built to the same standard as SR666, first flew on 31 January 1946. The first production model, the Sea Fury F. Mk. X (Fighter, Mark 10), flew in September 1946. Problems arose with damaged tailhooks during carrier landings. After modifications, the aircraft were approved for carrier landings in the spring of 1947.

Frog was a model company based in the UK, that went out of business. All there molds were sold to NOVO in Russia. A look at NOVO’s web site shows that most of these kits are still marketed by them. However, the site is all in Russian and I canno determine what the prices might be now. I also could not find a hobby shop on the net that stocks them, but they seem to be available, at least, directly from NOVO.

My kit is in the original FROG packaging, which consists of a cello bag that is stapled to a header card (rather than a box). The coverart on this card is of a Sea Fury, shown from above. Below it is what appears to be a smoke trail from some aircraft that the Sea Fury has obviously just shot down. The Sea Fury is in dark sea blue above the wings and high on the sine of the fuselage. It has invasion stripes around the rear of the fuselage and around the wings. Over the fuselage stripes is the black number 232. A black “0” is on the rudder. The propeller spinner is black also. This aircraft was the mount of Lt. Peter Carmichael RN, with No. 802 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS Ocean, Korea 1952. This is one of the marking options, of the two offered on the kit’s decal sheet.

When I first moved to town, 35 years ago, I met a modeler that lived nearby. He introduced me to a department store that carried both FROG and Airfix model aircraft kits. I was once more hooked on modeling, after not doing models since my teens and a 4 year tour in the USAF. I purchased this kit then, plus a few more. Some of the others said FROG AIRLINES on them. I have never understood the AIRLINES. Back then, I paid a paltry 80 cents for this kit!!

Inside the cello bag is what looks like a large parts tree that has been butchered up into trees with just a few parts on them, so that these smaller sections can fit the bag. There are nine of these chopped-up small trees and a number of loose parts, all in medium gray styrene and a single clear canopy part.

None of these trees has any part numbers on them. So, modelers are expected to identify things by the assembly drawings and then look all over these hacked up trees to find the part needed. Bad move Frog. There are no parts tree drawings on the instructions.

The part of the header card that folds over the back of the bag has color and marking instructions as a 4-view for a Sea Fury assigned to Squadron VF-870, Royal Canadian Navy 1951, and a 3-view of Lt. Carmichael’s aircraft (the cover-art, already discribed above)

The Canadian one is also dark sea blue above the wings and high on the fuselage’s spine too. It does not have invasion stripes, like Carmichael’s aircraft does. It is gray on the sides and below, like Carmichael’s. On the sides of the fuselage is NAVY-(Canadian roundel-with maple leaf) 106 in black letters. The propeller nose is in scalloped red and white. Underneath the wings is 106 beneath the right wing and NAVY below the left in large black lettering.

The reverse side of the header card has the assembly drawings. Wording on the card is in 7 different languages, including English. This side begins with 5 different international assembly symbols and their explanations, followed by 10 assembly step drawings. Step 6 shows how to fold the wings if wanted and step 10 has a head-on drawing of how these wings should angle if folded.

Panel lines on the parts are of the raised variety.

Parts are molded in medium gray styrene. Two halves of the fuselage are loose, as well as the cowling, upper wing center section parts, lower wing outer sections, the pilot seat and propeller shaft. Some parts also had broken off the trees by them rubbing together in the bag.

The 1st chopped-up tree holds the upper outer wing halves (2 parts)

The 2nd tree holds the center wing sections lower halves. (2 parts)

The 3rd tree holds the forward sections of the horizontal tail surfaces (4 parts) One of these had broken off the tree)

The 4th tree holds: the horizontal tail surface flaps and rocket wing pylons (8 parts) One flap had broken off this tree.

The 5th tree holds: the propeller spinner, tail wheel, cockpit floor, rudder flap and landing gear actuating arms and the tailhook (9 parts) The 6th tree holds: the main wheels, pilot’s headrest, landing gear legs and tail wheel doors (7 parts)

The 7th tree holds: rockets and main landing gear doors (8 parts)

The 8th tree holds: drop tank halves and one individual propeller blade (5 parts)

The 9th tree, and final medium gray one, holds: the pilot figure and 4 more individual propeller blades (5 parts)

The single clear canopy part and the decal sheet (already described above) complete the bags contents. The canopy part is molded solid and is very thick. A vacuformed one would be better to replace it. However, the cockpit interior is very sparse, having only a floor, seat, pilot and headrest. There is no joystick, rudder pedals, instrument panel provided. So, this will be a scratchbuilders work area for sure.

The wings can be folded or extended. However, if folded – they will need some actuation gear and hinges fabricated inside the joints.

This is a nice little kit, for state of the art of over 30 years ago.