Fisher Model and Pattern 1/32 Hunter T.7 Build Review
|Date of Review
|Fisher Model and Pattern
|Resin, Photo-Etch, White Metal
|Provides a highly detailed conversion for the Revell 1/32 Hunter F.6 or FGA.9 kits
The first Hunter prototype took to the air in 1951, with initial operational examples entering service by 1954. The early Hunters experienced a number of teething problems, from engine surges to fuel capacity. By the time the Hunter F.6 became operational in 1957, most of the 'bugs' had been worked out and the Hunter became one of the principal fighters of the RAF.
The Hunter was a solid machine and stable through all flight regimes, including supersonic. A good example of the Hunter's solidity was an incident where the engine had flamed-out on a long final approach to the runway. The pilot elected to eject from the aircraft. The unmanned Hunter continued to glide down final approach and slid to a stop on the runway on its belly. Damage to the aircraft was light enough to have the aircraft back in service within a few weeks. The pilot took a few weeks longer to mend from his ejection seat ride and subsequent parachute landing.
When the English Electric Lightning entered service as the RAF's supersonic fighter/interceptor, Hunter F.6s were being released for conversion into the FGA.9 (Fighter, Ground Attack Mark 9) configuration. Like all good fighters that have become 'second string', the Hunter was promoted to air-to-ground strike duties. The Hunter served in Air Forces around the world, some well into the 1990s! In addition to Great Britain, Hunter operators included the Sweden, Denmark, Peru, India, Switzerland, Jordan, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Rhodesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Singapore, Qatar, Kenya, and Oman.
One of my all-time favorite Revell/Germany kits is their 1/32 Hawker Hunter. They've released this kit several times, once in US packaging with a minimalist decal sheet, and several times in Revell/Germany packaging and a huge decal sheet in each release. One of those releases was the Hunter FGA.9/Mk.58 kit which added an additional parts tree with the first-ever 1/32 AGM-65 Maverick missiles in styrene for the Swiss Mk.58. I built one of these kits over 12 years ago and had to leave the model behind when I moved half-way across the US. Over the next decade, I acquired two more Revell Hunters with the intention of building this beauty again.
When Paul Fisher told me about the two-seat Hunter conversion he was planning, I knew it was time to dust off this project! For a look at the Revell kit in the box, click here. For a look at this kit built, click here. For a look at the Fisher Models T.7 conversion in the box, click here.
Usually, construction starts in the cockpit, but in this case I decided to start with the rear fuselage. Why? The single-seat nose and all of its parts are discarded in this conversion. I wanted to test-fit and tweak the resin forward fuselage to look for any issues that might require some work before assembling, painting and installing the cockpit. I also remember the plastic used in this kit being a bit soft and I wanted to see if any warpage was going to cause any problems.
I started with the rear fuselage halves and test-fit them and to my relief, there was only a slight amount of warpage. I dry-fit the halves and filed away any flash or other imperfections that would interfere with a tight seam. I am a big fan of using liquid cement in kit construction and especially on larger parts like this rear fuselage as I can apply the cement a section at a time, adjust the seam to get good alignment and move on to the next section. When completed, the rear fuselage is really strong and tolerant to flexing as I start fitting resin parts without worrying about popping a seam loose which happened all-to-often when I used to use cyano. The rear fuselage came together nicely and now it was time to start the modification process.
First thing was to add the tail cone to the rear fuselage. This resin beauty captures the distinctive shape of the T.7 rear end and includes two resin fairings to blend the upper hump of the tail cone over the rear fuselage. I installed these with cyano and then ran a bead around the seams to fill any gaps and to compensate for a section of the resin fairing that had broken away. When this was all cured with the help of some Zip-Kicker, I ran the tail section under some water and used a sanding stick to remove any excess cyano and clean up the seam.
Now for the modification needed to install the forward fuselage. The Fisher forward fuselage comes in two sections. The lower section includes the nose, forward wheel whell and cockpit just short of the rear bulkhead. The upper section starts with the cockpit rear bulkhead and includes the rear dorsal fairing that extends over a portion of the rear fuselage. Fisher Models designed a simple plug fitting that would slip into a slot cut into the upper rear fuselage where a portion of the stock kit's dorsal spine would have to be surgically removed. I laid the resin spine in place and marked where the kit's dorsal spine would have to be removed, then carefully cut that section away.With the modification complete, we can now see how well the resin parts of the conversion will fit with the rear fuselage. The photo below shows the new spine in place with no cyano applied yet. The mating surface of the lower nose section will require a bit more work to fine-tune the fit, but this will wait until the cockpit is assembled and installed. Time to do some painting and detailing in that beautiful cockpit!
To be continued...