Classic Airframes 1/48 Sea Hawk Mk.101 Build Review
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review
|Hawker Sea Hawk Mk.101
|Detailed resin cockpit, intakes, wheel wells
|Out of Production
This is another historically significant British early jet. Hawker back in 1944 was already producing the prop driven Fury but Hawker felt the need for investing in jet engine technology exploration. Hawker engineers first explored adapting the newly available "Nene" engine to the existing Fury after many modifications. They called it the P.1035 and the design (which was more or less a Fury with a jet intake and exhaust) was submitted in November 1944.
Hawker's Sydney Camm and the team came up with a follow-on proposal in December 1944. The new design designated the "P.1040", had a split tailpipe, with an intake and exhaust in each wing root. This layout reduced the length of the ducting and permitted for aft and fore fuel storage fore and aft of the Nene. This new configuration allowed for sustained good weight balance with fuel consumption.
The new Hawker design was their first tricycle landing gear aircraft. Armament was specified as four Hispano Mk.5 20 mm cannons. The Royal Air Force was not exactly interested in the new jet with the war having come to an end. Besides the Meteor was the new hot item. Hawker smartly decided to modify the P.1040 design for carrier operations and submitted the proposal to the Royal Navy in January 1946. Times were tough for most military aviation companies after the war and the Royal Navy's acceptance of the proposal gave Hawker the needed funding. Three prototypes and a static test plane were ordered. Thusly the Sea Hawk was born.
On November 1949, the Royal Navy ordered 151 examples of the Sea Hawk. The West German MarineFlieger ordered 64 Sea Hawks (32 day fighters and 32 foul-weather fighters). These Sea Hawks had a tail that was 38 centimeters taller that the British counterpart. The foul-weather "Mark 101" which is the subject of our build normally carried a large pod with an Ekco Type 34 search radar on one of its underwing pylons.
For a look at the kit straight out of the box, check out the review
published earlier on Cybermodeler.
I received my German 101 Sea Hawk a week before the Nationals in Phoenix. Upon opening the box I was greeted by the quality parts that Classic Airframes has gotten accustomed to lately! Nicely engraved panel lines, lots of resin and a surprise to me, a nice fret of photoetch! I have to admit that the inclusion of a folding wing option was probably the biggest surprise. I had made up my mind that this kit was going to have its wings folded.
The parts were washed and inspected for imperfections. Overall the molding quality was good with few parts needing more cleanup. Nice touches are the photoetch, the instrument panel film, the detailed resin main landing gear bay, the resin and photoetch inserts for the folded wings and most importantly, the resin wheels. No limited run plastic can ever beat the detail found in a good resin set of wheels!
Some things that could have been done better would be the inclusion of a vac canopy that would have fit a lot better (I know most people like plastic but would it be so much more expensive to have a vac canopy included as well?). The gun troughs could have been a lot deeper. The oblong aux air intake on the nose was not present and it is a bit difficult to drill out since it is not supposed to be of circular cross-section.
The assembly process started by thinning the resin tub to its limits. It is supposed to be sandwiched between the top/bottom parts of the fuselage and the front wheel well. The tolerances are very tight and you will need to trim everything carefully so it all fits together. The forward fuselage parts were glued together and posed no problem once the resin and the plastic were properly trimmed. The top/bottom fuselage parts left a seam all around that needed attention later.
The rear fuselage halves were glued together and this is when I noticed that there would be a bit of an issue. On my example the cross section of the two fuselage plugs were different. When I tried test fitting them I noticed significant steps no matter how I tried to compensate for them. I decided to get the best possible fit I could and work the rest with Acryl Blue putty and sandpaper.
The results were good and the obliterated panel lines were lightly rescribed when the fuselage was done. One thing of note is that the exhaust cans are not supposed to be sticking out as per the instructions. On the real plane they were well recessed and only a small portion would show. This means that you need to cut away the plastic backing where they are supposed to be glued against. On the other hand if you push the cans inwards you will reveal more of the exhaust blast plates at the wing roots. On my example they did not look smooth after all the pieces were together so I decided to insert some plastic card and sand them smooth. It all looked OK after Alclad II Exhaust Shade was sprayed on top of them.
The rest of the assembly was easy and the plane pieces fell together fast. A little fiddling was necessary to get the wings and their inserts to look ok but this was expected.
A few details were added here and there and the plane was ready for camouflage. Extra Dark Sea Gray and Sky were used from my Xtracolor stock. When dry the decals were applied on the glossy smooth surface and when the decals were dry, a light coat of Testors semi-gloss was applied. Light pastel weathering completed the picture. This project was completed in a little over 8 hours, just in time for the Nationals.
I have never done a Classic Airframes kit so fast and I feel that I could have done a much better job with it if I had taken my time. My sincere thanks go to Cybermodeler and Classic Airframes for providing this kit.