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Sea Fury

Trumpeter 1/48 Sea Fury FB.11

by Michael Novosad, IPMS/USA 36721

Date of Review May 2010 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Sea Fury FB.11 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2844 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Builds into a nice kit using aftermarket items Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $49.95


The Hawker Sea Fury has often been described as “the fastest propeller-driven aircraft” ever. That may be an arguable point, but few can dispute the aesthetic appeal of this powerful aircraft. Too late to serve in World War II, the Sea Fury saw action in the skies over Korea, with one pilot downing one of the formidable Russian MiG-15’s. This aircraft was exported to several countries including Canada, Cuba, Iraq and the Netherlands. I decided to build a Canadian Sea Fury.

I had the very old Hobbycraft Sea Fury in my unbuilt collection for too many years to think about. I recognized early on that this kit was special and would require a some effort to bring up to my personal standards. The Trumpeter kit is a much newer addition, and in my opinion a much better kit. The Hobbycraft kit really is not that bad, but certainly does not have the crispness or detail as contained in the Trumpeter kit. I decided to build the Trumpeter Sea Fury first, incorporating several aftermarket accessories, which would result in many leftover parts could be used in the Hobbycraft project.

Here is the list of aftermarket accessories that were purchased for this project:

  1. Aries AI484429 Sea Fury Cockpit
  2. Eduard EUEX-253 Kabuki tape canopy mask **
  3. Eduard 48 602 photo etch
  4. Mike Grant Decals Sheet Number MG 48049 Royal Canadian Sea Furies (Aircraft number 7 became the subject for this project
  5. Mike Grant Decals Sheet Number Instrument dial faces

** Although the Sea Fury canopy is not a complex structure I strongly recommend these masks for any project. They are quick and easy to apply, and provide super clean edges, especially when the canopy greenhouse has multiple panels.

The Trumpeter kit has been on the mark just a few years and consist of all plastic parts, with a retail cost of about $40. There are several aftermarket accessories available from wheels with weight-flattened tires to propellers and photo etch that can add detail to the model. There are several sources for decals that will allow the modeler to build an aircraft flown by many of the nations that purchased this fine aircraft. The model can be built by itself without any aftermarket accessories and will result in a fine replica. It is up to the individual modeler’s abilities and desires as to how far to go.

Cockpit Assembly

Sea Fury

The first step in the cockpit work is to remove the molded-on detail and mounting pockets on each side of the Trumpeter fuselage halves. The surfaces were sanded smooth.

Sea Fury

The Aires cockpit consists of nine light grey resin parts, plus a small photo etch fret. The instructions are printed on both sides of a small sheet, with a parts list and exploded construction views included. The resin parts are crisp and were easily removed from the casting blocks. I did manage to saw through the bottom of the seat and needed to repair the damage with a thin piece of styrene and putty.

I planned to paint the two side panels and cockpit tub bottom before assembly. This would make the painting process a bit easier. I temporarily taped the cockpit sides to the tub and dry-fitted the assembly between the fuselage halves to confirm that the fit was OK. The tub was just a bit too wide! My first impulse was to squeeze the cockpit in place and glue the fuselage halves together, but I knew that could be a big mistake. I needed to thin the fuselage walls at the cockpit and reduce the width of the cockpit tub to make everything fit properly. Several sessions of sanding and dry-fitting were undertaken before the parts would fit. I was a bit disappointed with the aftermarket cockpit at this point, but decided I must make the best of a challenging situation. I spent several hours sanding and test-fitting the cockpit before I was comfortable with the fit.

Once the fit was acceptable I thoroughly washed the resin parts to remove an sanding residue and oils. Once dry I painted the individual parts with Tamiya acrylic paints. I started with flat black, then applied a light coat of panzer Grey, aiming the airbrush downward to create a shadow effect. A wash of thinned burnt umber was brushed over the painted surfaces to add some further depth to the recesses.

Sea Fury

The Aires instrument panel consists of four photo-etch parts and three films that provide the detail for the instruments. I decided to forego the film and would use individual instrument dials as included on the Mike Grant decal sheet. The panel was first painted with Tamiya flat black, and lightly dry-brushed with light grey. Each dial face was cut out using a punch and die set, and the decals were placed in the individual panel dial openings. Once dry, a spot of Future floor wax was touched to each dial face. I used three applications of Future to achieve the effect I was after. A steady hand is required for this task.

Wheel Wells

The Eduard photo etch set 48 602 includes a multi-part assembly for the wheel wells. The instructions do not offer any guidelines for folding the main part (part 2), and therefore some study is required before the first bends are made. Sometimes one must think three of fours steps ahead before the first bend in made. Surface detail is provided by the installation of several small and delicate pieces.

Sea Fury

The landing gear attachments from the kit gear well must be removed and used in conjunction with the Eduard wheel wells. Care must be taken to align everything before the adhesive is applied. I used Gorilla Super Glue to fix the wells in place.

I airbrushed the wheel wells and doors with a mix of Tamiya zinc chromate and flat white (a 4:1 ratio). A wash of burnt umber was applied to the interior surfaces. Bath tissue was used to fill the wheel wells and protect the surfaces from the underside paint.

Fuselage Assembly

The first step was to prepare the vertical stabilizer for the tip antenna. I dry-fitted the two fuselage halves together and inserted a small drill bit where the antenna would be located. While pinching the two halves together I began to twist the drill bit. Shallow groves were created on each side of the vertical stabilizer. The groves were cleaned up using the edge of a triangular file.

The Eduard Photo Etch set 48 602 include four surface panels with a finely texture surface to replace the kit surfaces at the exhausts. Parts 32 and 33 require multiple bending to conform to the fuselage contours. After one failed attempt to form part 32 around the contours I decided the effort was not worth it. Even with annealing the part, I found the material a bit too thick to bend to match the tight corners, therefore these parts were not included in the build.

Earlier I had completed the Aires resin cockpit as noted above. Fitting the assembled cockpit in place proved to be a daunting task. In order to correctly place the two side panels I first needed to dry fit the main part in place, then I used a fine point permanent marker to locate the front limits of each side panel. Each panel was then super-glued in place. I discovered the only way I could fit the cockpit was to tape the rear section of the fuselage together, leaving the front loose so that I could slightly spread the front halves apart to carefully slide the cockpit and turtle deck in place. All my efforts paid off as everything fit. I then taped the front section together, and super glued the cockpit in place. Small sections of styrene strips were used to reinforce the join between the resin and plastic fuselage side. Super glue was applied liberally the joints for a solid fix.

Wings assembly and Detailing

Although the Trumpeter kit offer provisions for the model’s wings to be posed extended or folded, I decided that I liked the looks of the aircraft too much to use the folded wing option. Also, I planned to leave the wings clean and not mount any of the weapons included in the base kit. I used stretched sprue to fill the many circular openings in the wing bottom. The sprue was clipped close to the surface and lightly buffed to smooth the surface.

From past experience I knew that building the model with the wings down would require some careful preparation and execution. I glued short lengths of styrene strips on the inside face of the wing fold joints. This would serve to reinforce the joint and hopefully eliminate the step between the inboard and outboard sections of the wings.

The cannon barrels were made using hypodermic needles.

I replaced the kit-furnished clear wing tip navigation lights and super glued clear red and green plastic bits in the appropriate locations. Each lens was then sanded to match the wing tip contours. A quick buffing with a super fine grit sanding stick eliminated the scratches. After masking and painting a coat of Future floor wax would bring the clear, colored plastic to a reasonable sheen. These parts were installed using Gorilla Super Glue.


I understood from several references the Trumpeter landing gear were too short, and there were aftermarket landing gear that could be used to correct this short coming (no pun intended). I felt I could live with the kit’s gear.

Sea Fury

True Detail resin wheels were used to replace the kit parts. After drilling out the mounting openings in each wheel I mounted each wheel and landing gear strut on round tooth picks in preparation for painting. The tail wheel was addressed in the same manner. A coat of Tamiya flat black was applied to each wheel. Once dry, I dry-brushed silver Rub-n-Buff to all metal surfaces, taking care not to apply the silver to the various nooks ands crannies. I like the look of the finished gear and wheels: just enough shadows and metallic shine to look fairly realistic. The rubber surfaces were hand-painted with PolyScale grimy black. When this dried, I lightly dry-brushed Pactra rubber along the sides and tire treads.

Brake lines were added using .015” diameter lead cord. I use a lead cord that is sold for adding weight to fly fishing hooks prior to tying with fur and feathers. The same cord can be flattened to form straps to hold the brake lines in place. Super glue was used to bond the straps to the landing gear.


Painting any finished model is for me the best part of the build process. I begin the planning the painting process when the first parts are glued together. This final phase is my goal.

Sea Fury

The assembled model was first washed in warm water with a touch of Dawn dish detergent and scrubbed with an old toothbrush. The model was allowed to dry thoroughly over a warm air vent for a day. All openings were then closed off with Tamiya masking tape, with bath tissue acting as a backer. The model was then painted with Rustoleum Painter’s Choice white sandable primer in an aerosol can. This was allowed to dry for 24 hours over the warm air vent. This primer application results in a fine, smooth base for the final painting.

All panel lines were pre-shaded using a 1:1 mix of Tamiya flat black and red brown, thinned with 91% isopropyl alcohol.

The undersides and sides were air brushed with Tamiya XF-19, Sky Light Grey. I normal thin the acrylic paints with 91% isopropyl alcohol at a ratio of 1:2 paint to alcohol. This mix allows me to build up the finish paint gradually, retaining just the faintest shadows of the pre-shading efforts. Once this task is completed the model is allowed to dry for at least 24 hours.

The entire undersurfaces and sides were completely masked off with Tamiya masking tape. The upper surfaces were next airbrushed with Tamiya XF-24, thinned as noted above. Next, the Tamiya XF-24 is lighted with an addition of 10% XF-2 Flat White and more alcohol added to achieve a mix ratio of 1:1 paint-to-thinner. This mix is then airbrushed to the fuselage top and miscellaneous wing panels.

The last step in painting the top surface requires an application of highly thinned (1 part paint to at least 10 parts of thinner) Tamiya XF-25. This is the “blending” coat that blends the darker color with the lightened color. This results in a subtle blending of the top colors.

This is allowed to thoroughly dry for at least 24 hours. The masking tape is removed along with the bath tissue. The entire model is then given a wash of highly thinned burnt umber oil paint, thinned with odorless thinner. A wide brush is used to apply the wash, and care is required to prevent pooling of the wash in the wing roots or trailing edges. Gravity can be our friend, but not when applying an oil wash. In the event the wash does pool and dry on any surfaces a wide, clean brush moistened with odorless thinner can be used to remove the collected paint. Again a 24 hour drying period is required to allow the wash to cure out.

The last step, prior to the application of the decals is to apply the clear coat. It required three applications of Future Floor Wax to achieve the finish I was after. This is a marvelous product that was purposely designed for modelers but has also found a niche in many households throughout the world. Imagine actually using this product to wax flooring!! The Future application is allowed to dry for another 24 hours.


Sea Fury

Previously I had used the Mike Grant Decals on my Hobby Craft Sea Fury. Set 48-49 includes the markings for seven Royal Canadian Navy Sea Fury aircraft. The set comes with an 8 ½” by 11” color profile sheet with a second sheet locating all the stencils. There are stencils for two aircraft. The instructions offered me every bit of information for placement of the decals.

I decided to model aircraft number 7. The decals were placed individually in warm water and then allowed to wick away the surplus water on a paper towel for about a minute. Each decal was placed with MicroSet applied to the model surface. Care must be used when placing the decals as they have a tendency to lock down to the surface when first applied. The decals can be moved if needed, but it does require some care to do this. I was quite impressed with the quality of these decals. The clear portions virtually “disappeared” with the application of Mircoset. On occasion the decal would bridge a panel line, but a sharp No. 11 blade sliced through the film, and with another application of Microset the decal fully snuggled down.

Although the decal sheet notes the painted finish of the Sea Fury to be a “gloss”, I decided to finish the model with a satin finish. Gloss finishes look out-of-scale to me, but that is just my personal opinion. I used Model Master Acryl satin finish thinned with their thinner.

The Finished Model

Sea Fury

The only fit problems I had with this project was with the outer wing attachments to the inner portions. I now know how to address in the future. Aside from that issue, and the ill-fitting Aires cockpit this was a marvelous build. Molding is crisp, and the panel lines are finely molded. I am very pleased with the results.


Modeling, in my opinion is meant to be fun, tempered with some issues to keep the mind challenged. It is an art form. Patience is said to be a virtue, and sometimes modeling can really test one’s patience. I enjoy working with aftermarket parts, but the smallest parts are often not used in my builds as I feel they often do not add much to the finished work other than frustration, and are often too fragile to be used effectively. One can test one’s patience just so far.

Sea Fury

In this instance test-fitting of the Aires cockpit was required to avoid major problems later in the build. Much effort was required to fit the Aires resin cockpit into the Trumpeter fuselage. I have used this manufacturer’s product on several occasions, and this was the first time the parts did not fit as offered.

References used for this project include:

  • Squadron/Signal Publication Number 117 Hawker Sea Fury in Action
  • Military in Scale December 2009 Brett Green’s “Frankenfury” Part I
  • Military in Scale January 2009 Brett Green’s “Frankenfury” Part 2

“Special” and favorite tools and products used in the project include:

  • The Touch N Flow solvent applicator and Manufactured and sold by Creations Unlimited of Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Punch and die, and small mallet as sold by Micro Mark
  • Gorilla Super Glue
  • Tamiya acrylic paints and tape