Trumpeter 1/24 Hurricane Mk.I Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
|Nice detailing inside and out
The Hawker Hurricane was one of those pivotal aircraft in the right place at the right time. The aircraft was designed in the mid 1930s at that time in aviation history when airpower was trading in its biplanes for monoplane designs.
The first Hurricanes weren't too much of a stretch from their two-winged cousins as their wings were still fabric covered and built using the same technologies. Metal covered wings would soon follow.
By the time the war in Europe broke out in late 1939, the Hurricane was reaching obsolescence and the Supermarine Spitfire was entering service. With war thrust upon them, the RAF made use of every available air asset, and this included the Hurricane.
In the Battle of Britain, one-on-one, the Hurricane's performance wasn't up to par with the Bf 109. What made the difference in this crucial air war was pure numbers. The Hurricane was available in the thousands and significantly outnumbered the available Spitfires. It also packed a significant punch with its eight Browning .303 machine guns. While the RAF paid a heavy price in attrition, the brave pilots withstood the best that Hermann Goering could throw at them. The Hurricane soldiered on through the remainder of the war with improvements in power and armament, and would equip the air arms of allied forces around the globe.
When I heard that Trumpeter was going to release the Hawker Hurricane in 1/24, I wasn't sure what to expect. The long-time king of this scale subject has been the Airfix 1/24 Hurricane Mk.I, and while the design of the kit is a bit dated, it was remarkably detailed without being over-engineered. Over-engineered translates into several hundred of tiny parts that would make assembling this model a chore.
When build-ups of the Trumpeter test shots were posted on the web, it was clear that the model had the right shape and look, but would it be better than the Airfix kit? Let's take a look.
According to the specifications, this kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees, two trees molded in clear, one fret of photo-etched parts, and a set of rubber tires for the main gear and tailwheel. To be honest, I hadn't looked at the specs when I opened the box, so I didn't know what to expect.
Inside the box was a VERY nicely detailed model that had several distinct differences from earlier 1/24 scale releases:
- No photo-etched flight control hinges (YES!)
- Straighforward parts layout
- Very few 'tiny' parts
- Well-executed fabric surfaces
In short, this model looks similar to the Airfix kit but with much sharper details. Much to my surprise, the parts count for the Airfix kit is 261, the Trumpeter comes in at 260.
Like the Airfix kit, the gun bays are molded open on top of the wings and are fully populated with guns, ammo chutes, etc. The Merlin engine and support systems are rendered in both kits, but the Trumpeter kit seems to have nicer detailing. While the Trumpeter kit doesn't have a removable 'hood' to reveal the engine (it can be surgically removed), it does offer clear side cowling panels should you care to display the engine from one or both sides. For that matter, you could leave one or both of the clear panels off, your call.
The cockpit is nicely appointed down to the acetate instrument faces that show through the clear instrument panel (that you paint up short of the instrument glass faces). The Sutton harness is provided in photo-etch.
Where the Trumpeter kit starts to get a bit over-engineered is with the provided leading edge and main wing fuel tanks. These are a nice touch, but aren't seen again after the wing tops are cemented into place. If this is the worst of the over-engineering (and it is), then the designers exercised a great deal of restraint.
The ailerons, flaps, elevators, and rudder are all separately molded and can positioned to taste. As I mentioned earlier, there are no hinges, so the control surfaces will stay put after assembly.
If you do want something to fiddle with on the aircraft, the propeller can be left movable and the sliding canopy is also designed to be movable.
Markings are included for two aircraft:
- Hurricane Mk.I, V6864, 257 Sqn, DT-A, as flown by Sqn Ldr Robert Stanford Tuck
- Hurricane Mk.I, P2798, 87 Sqn, LK-A, as flown by Sqn Ldr Ian Gleed
As with many of Trumpeter's instruction sets, the color call-outs are suspect and should be cross-checked with other references.
So, at an MSRP of $150, is the Trumpeter kit better than the Airfix kit? From what I can see the soon-to-be-reissued Airfix Hurricane will have an MSRP of $85. While both kits have similar features and details, the Trumpeter kit features crisper details and will likely not have some of the fit challenges that the Airfix kit has exhibited. What's more this kit does have some photo-etched details including a nice Sutton harness. With the street prices on both kits being lower, will the Trumpeter kit be worth the extra cost. Absolutely.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!