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First Look Review
148
Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Hot from the moulds at Airfix comes their eagerly awaited new-tool Hawker Hurricane Mk. I. Released to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this latest kit of the mainstay of Fighter Command during the Battle looks to be the most accurate and detailed yet in 1:48 scale.

Of course, this isn’t the first 1:48 Hurricane from Airfix. Their 1970s vintage kit is still widely acclaimed for its general accuracy, but it’s definitely beginning to get a bit long in the tooth, so the completely new-tool model is very welcome indeed. The new kit arrives in an attractive top-opening box, with the main sprues and clear parts bagged separately for protection. The kit comprises:

116 x pale blue-grey styrene parts
11 x clear parts
Decals for 2 x colour schemes

The moulding is really pretty good. There are a few mould-lines to clean up, but no real “flash”. The only small sink marks I've found in my kit are where the plastic is thickest at the tailplane fillets, and they'll only take a moment to sort out. Ejector pins have been placed inconspicuously for the most part, with only those on the optional gun servicing panels being a problem.

The surface finish is undoubtedly a strong point for me, because this is the first Hurricane kit I’ve seen with a convincing depiction of taught, well-maintained fabric covering on the rear fuselage. It’s such a relief not to be faced with the tedious chore of filling a ghastly “saggy sackcloth” effect. The designers have also captured the elusive scalloped fairing behind the pilot’s headrest (I well remember producing a small correction insert for this as part of my old Blueprint fabric-wing conversion set). Elsewhere, the metal panels are neatly engraved, and have crisp Dzus fasteners. Some may argue these are a tad too prominent, but you could equally say there should be some raised riveting which is omitted in the kit. Overall, though, Airfix have really nailed the look of the Hurricane in my opinion.

Test fit
The main parts fit together beautifully, with good tight joints on the fuselage, wings and tail. I'll want to do a little work thinning the trailing edges of the wings, but there’s some clever engineering apparent too, because Airfix have avoided the awkward transition from metal to fabric surfaces under the rear fuselage. The whole of the lower rear fuselage is separate, which also allows for a Sea Hurricane option for a future boxing. Similarly, the inclusion of a tropical filter shows what Airfix have up their sleeve.

A few details
The cockpit is very nicely detailed with over a dozen parts included. The instrument panel layout looks accurate and a decal is provided for the faces. The decal instruments do look rather simplified and stylised, though, so I’ll use Airscale decals instead. No seat harness is provided - and, to be honest, this is really the only addition many modellers will feel is required.

The wheel well is a multi-part assembly that should capture the look of the original nicely. The kit includes wing spars which form the basis of the wheel well and gun bays, and also should help ensure the finished model doesn’t suffer from the lack of dihedral that has plagued many previous kits.

There’s the option to build the kit with open gun bays. To do this you need to trim out the closed covers. Separate open ones are provided with good internal detail, but they are spoiled by prominent ejector pin marks, so there'll be some awkward filling needed if you want to show the inner faces. The guns and feeds are quite simple, but should make for very neat diorama possibilities.

The kit features weighted wheels (definitely a plus in my book), and the option for raised landing gear. No stand is included (this is available separately), but Airfix do provide a very nicely sculpted pilot figure for an in-flight model. The tailwheel is one-piece and maybe a bit basic, but it should look fine with a little highlighting to bring it to life.

There's a choice of de Havilland and Rotol propellers, and the shape of the spinners looks good.

The transparencies are excellent - really thin and beautifully clear. The canopy is moulded with a separate windshield, and two alternative parts are provided to capture the way the full-sized canopy “pinched” slightly as it slid on its runners.

instructions and decals
Construction is broken down into 59 stages in a 16-page A4 pamphlet. That’s arguably overkill in what is, essentially, quite a straightforward kit, but each stage is clearly drawn and the sequence is logical. The only thing I can’t get used to in Airfix’s recent instructions is their rather distracting habit of highlighting each preceding sub-assembly in red. Red to me means “warning” or “remove”, so it throws me constantly.

Colour matches are given for Humbrol paints throughout. That’s fine (I’d expect any manufacturer to highlight their own range), but I do wish Airfix would also include a chart with the name of each colour.

Decals are provided for a pair of Battle of Britain aircraft:
a.Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, s/n V6799, 501 Sqn., October 1940
b.Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, s/n R4118, 505 Sqn., September 1940

The decals look excellent quality - crisply printed with minimal carrier film. The finish is semi-matt and the colour accuracy and opacity looks very good.

conclusion
Airfix’s new Hurricane looks to be a real gem of kit. It’s straightforward enough for anyone to tackle with ease, while including enough detail to satisfy experienced modellers. The design lends itself to aftermarket upgrades, so you can expect a wealth of etched and resin sets soon. Keenly priced at just £16.99, Airfix's Hurricane deserves to be a big seller. Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: It looks to be very accurate on first inspection. Generally very well moulded and detailed. Good quality decals.
Lows: A couple of minor sink marks and a little clean-up needed here and there.
Verdict: Based in this first look, I'd rate Airfix's new Hurricane as the best depiction of this classic fighter to date. It's great value for money and deserves to be a huge success.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: A05127
  Suggested Retail: £16.99
  PUBLISHED: Apr 06, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.59%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 79.09%

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2017 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi Rowan, Can you build it with cut off wingtip? all the best Steffen
APR 06, 2015 - 07:56 AM
Hi Steffen Definitely - you just need a razor saw and a bit of Plastruct. I saw you've got one of these on the way - I think you're going to love it. I'd dive straight in and build mine (with both wingtips intact! LOL!) if it weren't for a rather large WW1 bomber beckoning me towards what you'd undoubtedly consider the Dark Side in terms of scale... All the best Rowan
APR 06, 2015 - 08:08 AM
I knew you would write something like that It is depicted on the boxart so I thought a feature of the kit might be the option to build the kit that way. cheers Steffen
APR 06, 2015 - 06:30 PM
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