Airfix 1/72 Hurricane Mk.IIC/Sea Hurricane Kit First Look
By Mike Abbott
|Date of Review
|Hurricane Mk.IIC/Sea Hurricane/D/S Mk.50
|New tooling, optional parts for a Sea Hurricane, single piece lower wing giving preset dihedral, optional parts, 3 varied schemes
|Panel lines a bit deep, no cockpit sidewall detail, some doubts about dimensions, propeller too small
The Focke Wulf Condor became the scourge of Atlantic convoys patrolling far away from land and telling the U boat wolfpacks where the convoys were. Something was needed to counter this, Catapult Armed Merchantmen was the quick answer. Using worn out Hurricanes for the CAM ships 50 were converted. It was a one way trip for the aircraft, launched from the catapult by rockets it flew to intercept any intruders and when finished, if out of range of land bases, splashed down as close to the ship as possible so the pilot could be picked up from the sea, not something relished by anyone especially in the cold North Atlantic and the fact the radiator acted as a brake which made it even more dangerous.
With the development of the MAC ships, Merchant Aircraft Carriers, some Hurricane Mk.IIb were converted to have catapult spools and an arrester hook allowing launch and recovery operations. Known as the Sea Hurricane Mk.IB 340 were converted. Then came the Mk.1C converted from Mk.IIc of which there were 400 built. The wide track undercarriage of the Hurricane made it inherantly much more stable than the Spitfire and indeed the Grumman Martlet (Wildcat).
A total of about 14000 Hurricanes were built between 1937 and 1944, most by Hawkers with 2750 by Glosters, 300 by Austin cars and 1400 in Canada as the Mk.X where the Canadian Car and Foundry chief designer became known as the ‘Queen of Hurricanes’, her name was Elsie McGill.
Overall the Hurricane was not exceptional, didn’t have the glamour of a Spitfire, but did what was asked of it, and that’s all you can ask.
Packaged in the now familiar Airfix Red box the lid shows 2 tropical Hurricanes in flight with a small illustration of the 3 variants. The Instructions are folded A4 format with colour 3 view drawings of each variant included. Paint references are for Humbrol, no surprise there then.
The kit is moulded in light grey slightly grainy plastic which now appears to be the Airfix standard. The rear of the fuselage has a very restrained fabric covering depicted and checks out well with actual aircraft photos. All the panels lines are neatly engraved but a bit deeper than some would appreciate, they should look better under a few coats of paint. The rudder is a separate item, the only control surface that is.
The cockpit is basic, a floor, which a Hurricane didn’t really have, seat without belts, flat instrument panel with decal instruments, horrible looking joystick, no sidewall detail at all and a pilot who, in my example, looks like he’s taken a shell in the abdomen. The canopy is in 2 pieces but cannot be modelled open however, thanks to all the framing you won’t be able to see much of the interior. The prominent rear view mirror is missing. I intend to replace the pilot with one of the new Revell RAF pilots so the cockpit looks busy.
There has been some discussion on internet sites as to the accuracy of this kit with regards to the tail area, panel lines, radiator and propeller, all I will say is that I am not unduly worried with the exception of the propeller, it is too small in diameter by about 3mm (9 scale inches) and will need replacing. There is a small intake missing from the port engine cowell underneath the exhaust, a quick addition from sanded rod or tube. You have the choice of 2 exhaust types, standard or fishtail.
If you want to model the Sea Hurricane you have to remove part of the underside to add an insert, not a difficult task as the plastic to be removed is not as thick as the rest of the moulding. The A frame is separate to the hook, both fitting into the insert. The only thing missing are the catapult spools but I don’t know where they fit or what they look like, my internet searches have not found that detail.
The wings are moulded in 3 pieces, a single piece underside and 2 top wings. This arrangement gives a preset dihedral which is a good idea. The wheel well is a single piece which sits on top of the wing, detail is there but seems to be missing the odd item. This is the only part with noticeable ejector pin indentations. Undercarriage wheels and legs are well detailed, just missing a brake line and more noticeably the rear pointing linkage. You have a choice of wheel covers, 1 for up and 1 for down. Also missing is the pitot tube under the port wing. The underslung radiator is 3 piece and you have the option of normal or Vokes filter.
The 20mm cannon are moulded as 1 piece each side which avoids fiddling to get them aligned, just make sure you get them the right way round. The prominent landing light covers are moulded clear with a recess in the back to enable you to represent the lights. A nice touch on the instruction sheet warns you not to put them in upside down.
There is a choice of three schemes
- LB957 of 34 Squadron, Burma April 1943. This aircraft is featured in a colour spread in the April 2010 edition of Scale Aviation Modeller International
- BN230 of 43 Squadron
- NF672, a Sea Hurricane Mk1c of 835 Squadron NAS
The decals are printed in register, are semi matt and include common stencil markings as well as an instrument panel. Extra stencils are included for the different versions.
Overall impression? A decent kit, quite simple but moderately detailed with choices. Check the dimensions if you want to be totally accurate. Recommended despite the shortcomings and missing items.