Airfix 1/48 Hunter F.6 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2019||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||9185||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detail||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$49.98|
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.
Airfix has released their first kit of the Hawker Hunter in 1/48th scale, at last providing a new-tool alternative to the venerable Academy kit. This kit is engineered as nicely as their other new-tooled offerings and fills a definite void in the quarter scale modeling world. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on three parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and option in this kit:
- Beautifully detailed cockpit
- Choice ejection seat cushion with or without pilot restraints
- Choice of one-piece (closed) or two-piece positionable canopy
- Detailed main landing gear and wells
- Intake ducts down to the engine compressor face
- One-piece upper wing/fuselage half which makes the wing's slight anhedral fool-proof
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable flaps
- Positionable ventral speed brake
External stores option
- External fuel tanks
The kit provides marking options for three subjects:
- F.6, XE597, 63 Sqn, RAF Waterbeach, UK, 1958, Commander's aircraft with 1958 Battle of Britain scheme
- F.6, XF509, 4 FTS, RAF Valley, UK, 1968
- F.6, N-209, 324 Sqn, Leeuwarden, Royal Netherlands AF, 1964
The instructions are also noteworthy as they use CAD drawings for parts placement and shade parts installed in the previous step in red for better situational awareness. The decals include an extensive set of airframe stencils.
If you've noted the first parts tree above, you'll note there are two tail cones provided, the one not used is for the FGA.9 and its variations, which I expect to see coming from Airfix in the relatively near future. There are also a pair of rocket pods on the second parts tree, also not used with this variant, which also hints at an FGA.9.
Until now, the Revell 1/32 Hunters have been the best kits of this subject but given that these are pushing 20 years old now, it will be interesting to see how well this Airfix offering builds. I remember building the Revell 1/32 FGA.9 20 years ago and it was one of those kits that essentially fell together. From what I've been able to glean from dry-fitting the parts, this may be even easier to build than the Revell kit. We shall see!
If you haven't been looking at Airfix's latest new-tool kits, it is time you to give them a try as the only thing these new kits have in common to the tried and true classic Airfix kits is the brand name.