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Sea Fury Kit

Trumpeter 1/48 Sea Fury FB.11 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2008 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2844 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Wings can be folded, nice detail options Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

Sea Fury Kit
Sea Fury Kit
Sea Fury Kit
Sea Fury Kit
Sea Fury Kit
Sea Fury Kit

As the Fleet Air Arm was separated from the RAF, they sought their own fighter to be compatible with carrier operations. Current production designs were adapted into such as the Supermarine Seafire. While a capable fighter, the narrow landing gear was not ideal for arresting about a pitching and rolling carrier deck.

The Hawker Company had produced a wide array of hard-working and durable for the RAF prior to, and during the Second World War. One design under consideration was a lightweight fighter designated Fury. Hawker offered a navalized version that would become the Sea Fury. The aircraft was powered by the Centaurus radial engine rated at 2480 horsepower.

While the Sea Fury entered service too late for World War II, it did see combat over Korea as well as conducting operations in the Suez crisis. While the Sea Fury would be the Royal Navy's last piston fighter, the Sea Fury would soldier on in a variety of international air forces and can still be found at airshows or as one of the most popular air racers.

I don't know why, but to date, only one kit has really hit the mark when it comes to accurately portraying the lines and shape of the Hawker Sea Fury. While several kits have been released of this sleek subject, few have gotten close to creating a good scale replica. For some odd reason, as with the P-51D Mustang, the kit manufacturers just can't seem to get the Sea Fury right. So far, the only one who seems to have 'nailed' it is Fisher Models' 1/32 Sea Fury FB.11 kit ( look here). So with that ominous introduction, we now have Trumpeter entering the fight with their own rendition of the Sea Fury in 1/48 scale. How did they do? Let's take a look:

This all-new-tool Sea Fury kit is molded in the standard light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The first thing that strikes you when looking in this kit is that Trumpeter followed the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principal with this design and as a result, this will be a simple build.

According to the kit specs, the kit is comprised of 96 parts and at first glance, the kit looks quite good. For a change, this is not a multimedia kit. Gone are the photo-etched parts, rubber tires, and super detailed interiors. If I had to put a label on it, this looks more like what Hasegawa would put into a box rather than Tamiya. As a result, more modelers can have fun with this build that the usual high-tech kits coming from this manufacturer. Among the highlights of this kit:

  • Reasonably detailed cockpit
  • Rudder and ailerons are separately molded, though the flaps and elevators are molded in place
  • VERY nice Fowler flaps positioned down
  • Main wheel well and landing gear look good
  • Wings can be optionally folded
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable tail hook
  • External stores options include:
    • Six underwing rockets
    • Underwing fuel tanks

Every now and then, Trumpeter throws in a curve ball that leaves you wondering. Remember their beautiful 1/32 P-38 Lightning kits with all of that wonderful engine detail, but no removable panels or clear nacelles to see that detail ( look here)? Well this time Trumpeter has replicated the removable access panels on the cowling that encloses the huge Centaurus engine. In this case however, there is no engine to reveal, so this feature is not applicable to the kit.

Now it could be that Trumpeter originally intended to put a Centaurus in there and aborted the idea, or perhaps a 'high tech' version of this kit will be released in the future with the engine and photo-etch. For now, glue those panels in place.

So you're still wondering how the kit stacks up to the competition, fair enough. I am not a Sea Fury expert, nor do I play one on television. I cheated and went to my 'gold standard' of Sea Furies, the Fisher Models kit. I looked over the Trumpeter fuselage and the kit looks right from the top and sides. Trumpeter got the angles and outlines right from what I can see. Same for the wings and horizontal stabs. It looks like Trumpeter has captured the Sea Fury nicely in 1/48 scale.

Markings are included for two examples:

  • Sea Fury FB.11, VX691, T/130, FAA
  • Sea Fury FB.11, VW238, Q/107, FAA

I think Trumpeter has scored with this Sea Fury and it will be interesting to see if they scale this bird up to 1/32 scale and all the details for the Centaurus (and who knows what else) in that airframe. From what I can see, this is now the best Sea Fury kit in 1/48 scale, but for now, I think I'll keep my Fisher 1/32 Sea Fury at the top of the list for the best in any scale.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!