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Hurricane Mk.I

Airfix 1/48 Hurricane Mk.I Build Review

By James Feuilherade

Date of Review February 2016 Manufacturer Airfix
Subject Hurricane Mk.I Scale 1/48
Kit Number A05127 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build Cons Seee text
Skill Level Basic + MSRP (BP) £16.99 (w/VAT)

Build Review

It was with interest that I heard about the “New” Airfix Hurricane Mk1 in 1/48th scale.  The “re tooled” kits issued by Airfix had proved to be right up there with the best and very affordable for what you were getting.  The old Airfix 1/48th Hurricane launched in the late 70’s I think, can still be made into an acceptable model today. The one problem area being a lot of sanding/skimming is required in the wing root area, to get the subtle dihedral of the Hurricane right.  Without this work, the model has a definite “anhedral” appearance to the wings.  This unfortunately seems to be a problem also with the Airfix 1/24th scale kit.  However, as stated, fixable with some work.  Apart from this, the old 1/48th Hurricane had a very good overall shape and “sit”.

With the new re-tooled issue, the bar has been very definitely raised.  The new kit comes in a colourful box, with an action packed computer graphic style artwork on the lid.  Painting colours are identified by Humbrol paint numbers. The kit decals/paint schemes represent two versions.  A 501 Squadron Hurricane based at Kenley in Aug/Sept 1940 and the other version is a 605 Squadron Hurricane based at Croydon in Sept Oct 1940. The 605 Squadron markings are currently represented on a re-built Hurricane, flying today. 

The 501 Squadron aircraft was the mount of PO William MacKenzie who gained fame by attacking a 109, and as he fired, ran out of ammunition.  The German pilot flew on, despite MacKenzie closing in on the 109 and formating aggressively close on his wing. The 109 pilot realised the Hurricane pilot was out of ammunition and could do nothing.  He apparently looked nonchalantly at the Hurricane and then turning his head to the front, totally ignoring MacKenzie, flew on.  This fired up the Scottish fighting blood of the Hurricane pilot and he proceeded to ram the tail of the 109 with his wingtip, causing the 109’s entire empennage to break away and the now probably horrified German pilot, to go crashing into the sea.  The Hurricane returned to base, minus a few feet of wingtip. Yes, the Hurricane sure was a rugged old bus!

Speaking of instructions, the kit comes with a 16-page booklet no less, with excellent exploded diagrams making construction easy and the diagrams are coloured to clarify construction steps.  All in all the instruction sheet is great.  Painting guides are also nicely done in colour and with lots of indicators where to put the abundance of airframe stencils, that are supplied on the decal sheet.  Two propeller types are provided the one the earlier De Havilland two pitch propeller and the later Rotol constant speed propeller with the rounder shaped spinner.

One feature of the kit is the surface engraving.  It’s as good as it gets and the fabric sections have been very well done.  The belly radiator scoop is nicely done with detail of pushrods for the radiator flap operation, also supplied.  I found the rudder, elevator and aileron control surfaces particularly well done.  They are all separate and can be glued on in various poses.  The fit is excellent and the gaps between the control surfaces and airframe look very realistic.  The canopy comes in 3 parts, one canopy slightly flared for an open cockpit one for a closed cockpit.  Choose the one which looks the best. Airfix clear parts in this case are good, pretty thin and clear.  Landing light covers and the lights themselves are supplied as are the wing tip nav lights.

Hurricane Mk.I

The kit is moulded in light grey styrene of a somewhat soft plastic.  It is advisable to use side cutters to cut some of the more delicate parts off the trees as although soft plastic, it also seems a bit brittle?   Decals look to be of good quality with a detailed looking instrument panel decal included.

Well I found building the Airfix Hurricane very straight forward.  You are getting almost 1/24th scale detail here, in a 1/48th.  If anything some dexterity is required with all the cockpit tubing and also with the very detailed undercarriage which seems to include most of the hydraulic actuators or jacks which must all be glued in place. Tyres come with flat spots and if a retracted gear is built, you get a half tyre to put into the wheel bays.  The kit also comes with outstanding full gun bay detail and a lot of spars and bulkheads are closed up in the wing assembly.  These form the gun-bay and wheel bay sides.

One slight construction glitch is this. It would be good to skim a bit of plastic off the top and bottom edges of these as I found I had to clamp up the bottom and upper wings, to get them to close up over all this detail. Then later this reared its ugly head again as by closing up the wings over all the wing interior detail, this had caused the upper wing camber to bulge up very slightly, causing some minor fit problems with the fuselage. As I said, minor problems, sorted with a bit of sanding and clamping.  However all avoidable with a little skimming of the wing spars and bulkhead top edges.  As I said the gunbay detail is extensive but to show this detail, you do have to cut out the wing gunbay covers which is delicate work.  Airfix however has been clever in supplying extra gun bay covers so you don’t have to worry about ruining the ones you cut out.  Personally I decided to pass over this and left the gun covers/bays closed up.

Hurricane Mk.I

A nice touch and rear these days is a nicely done pilot figure.  I decided to display my model on a stand, with the aircraft banking out left and the gear busy retracting.  I also adjusted the pilots head position to medel him looking out the open canopy in the direction of turn. All good fun!

Hurricane Mk.I

The decals were great, Airfix has come a long way here, I found them as good as any of the “Tamigawa” crowd and they went on easily with the help of Microsol.

Hurricane Mk.IHurricane Mk.IHurricane Mk.IHurricane Mk.IHurricane Mk.I

I have heard that the Trumpeter 1/24th scale Hurricanes are good kits, but this Airfix 1/48th offering is certainly the best Hurricane kit I’ve ever come across in any scale.  Parts are also supplied on the parts trees which allow for the construction of a Sea Hurricane although you will have to source aftermarket decals.  I would have thought Airfix could have included Sea Hurricane markings as a version offered on the decal sheet, but I guess one must remember the great pricing of this kit, so costs had to be kept down somewhere.

So, a superb kit by Airfix, of the famous Hurricane Mk1, the unsung hero of the Battle of Britain and I think, well worth the money.