by: Eetu Tahvonen [ ]
The design of this Finnish interceptor started during the Continuation War when the Finnish air force ordered two prototypes from Valtion Lentokonetehdas (state aircraft factory) named Pyörremyrsky (Hurricane).
The plane was designed to use as much domestic, non-strategic materials as possible, resulting in mixed construction. A German Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 engine was chosen to power the plane, propeller being the 3-bladed VDM 9. Armament was similar to Bf-109 G, comprising of a 20mm Mauser MG 151/20 cannon firing through the propeller hub and 2 fuselage-mounted synchronized 12,7mm LKk/42 machine guns.
The project was already overdue during the war, but the ending of the conflict brought the termination of the second prototype project and a cancellation of an advance order of 40 aircraft. The first prototype was however completed in late-1945 and the first test flight was made in November the same year. Despite of the good performance and flight characteristics when compared to the Bf-109 G, Pyrremyrsky was not put into production, main reasons for this being the lack of funds, the end of World War II (which also made acquiring engines hard, if not impossible), and the fact that the air force already had enough Messerschmitts left from the war to field the limited number of planes allowed in the peace treaty.
The kit comes in a tray-and-lid type cardboard box, typically sized for 1:72 plane kits, parts being packed in zip-lock bags. Instructions are printed on two folded A4 sheets. Decals are for the sole prototype and comprise of registry numbers and six roundels.
The majority of the kit is made up from 34 resin parts finely moulded in light grey resin. The fuselage is moulded in hollow halves like normal styrene kits (making the model lighter, which is a good thing as the landing gear legs are rather delicate) and feature nice moulded-on cockpit sidewall detail and two locating pins to help alignment. (I can't tell if they work properly because of some pour plug remnants on the halves. The other pin was missing, the only broken part I came across btw) Speaking of pour plugs, they arenít very large or thick and should be pretty easy to remove. It looks like the majority of the waste material is already removed on the fuselage halves, as there's only a small amount of resin to remove. The fuselage is nicely moulded on the exterior too, featuring subtle recessed rivets and panel lines. The cockpit is comprised of the floor, control stick, back wall, seat and the instrument panel, which a PE part with acetate dials that fits to a resin coaming. The cockpit area is very nicely detailed and would greatly benefit from an opened canopy (which should be pretty easy to do, as the kit includes two canopies).
The wings are moulded as a single piece. The instructions show the wing being assembled from three parts, but this was a single part in my sample. Seems like the kit has been modified to ease assembly. Control surfaces feature subtle fabric effect and trailing edges are commendably thin. Vertical stabilizers have two locator pins each that fit into corresponding holes in the fuselage. Wheel wells are boxed-in and feature good detail. Unfortunately, probably due to wing being moulded as a single part, the wheel well area also has some of the very few bubbles I found on the parts. Theyíre on the edges of the well openings, so they can be filled and sanded without losing detail.
Landing gears are delicate mouldings that will require great care while removing them from the pour plugs to avoid breakages. They also have some paper-thin flash that should be easily removed with a sharp knife. The landing gear doors are thin, no complaints of out-of-scale thickness here. Comparing the gear doors to photos of the real thing, the ridge in the bottom on the outer side is too long and too near to the lower edge. If someone really wants, they could be replaced (or shortened, as the length is a greater issue here), but the error is not that noticeable if the ridges are left as they are. The main wheels are similar to the ones used on Bf 109 Gs, and look great.
My only disappointment was the propeller blades, which seem accurate, but were warped. Fortunately, finding replacement parts won't be hard if heating and reforming fails. The spinner looks well-shaped, but is a bit too small. I got Academyís Bf-109 G14 in my stash so I checked it to see if I could swipe replacement parts from it. Apparently the spinner had been used in the making of PM, the ejector pin marks on the parts are identical! (The wheels look like they're borrowed from Academy's kit as well)
Two vac-formed canopies are provided, making it easy to make an opened canopy, or just to have an extra in case you mess with the cutting. One of the canopies had some slightly pebbly and cloudy spots, the other was free of defects.
The small fret of photo-etch carries the cockpit instruments, seatbelts, and exhaust shrouds. Although the fret says Ardpol, I suspect it's made by Part. Nicely done brass, nothing to complain about the parts themselves, the only trouble one might have with them is connected to the instructions, which I'll look at next.
These come in the form of two folded A4 sheets and feature a brief history of the plane, technical data, four-view drawings (I can't say "scale", because they are too small to be 1:72 scale, as said on the drawings page), and 7-step assembly instructions with well-drawn illustrations.
Although looking quite comprehensive, they are the least good aspect of the kit. They're not bad, but a few omissions and unclear parts make reference material quite a necessity. The only painting instructions are for the exterior, and have just names of the colours. No FS codes, paint numbers or anything. An antenna mount is shown attached to the canopy, but none is provided, although making one yourself shouldn't be hard. In step six, the exhaust pipes are attached, but nothing is mentioned about the photo-etched shrouds. I think no instructions should be necessary to anyone who has built a Messerschmitt kit, and for the rest, there are plenty of reference photos in the Internet. (The fuselage halves have moulded-on shroud detail on the top of the exhaust openings in the cowling, but the PE parts will surely look better)
The cockpit and fitting the canopy could be clearer. In step 1, the wedge-shaped part to which the centre instrument dials fit, is folded up from PE part number 6. Also, the two-gauge instrument shown at the right side of the main panel fits to the right fuselage half. Strangely, no mentions are made of the acetate dials that go with the PE panels. Fortunately they only fit the right parts.
Seatbelts are another thing, theyíre not mentioned in the instructions and the photos of the preserved prototype don't show them being fitted.
One option is provided, the sole prototype ever built, PM-1 in the standard post-war paint scheme.
The decals are thin and printed in register. The only complaint I have is about the blue on the roundels, it looks a little too light when compared to photos of the real plane. Photos also show the plane having some stencilling, which aren't included.
What are the chances of any of the large main-stream manufacturers doing a kit of an aircraft as obscure as this? Slim to none.
But with limited-run kit makers, this proved to be quite a popular subject, at least if you compare the number of subject planes made and the number of kits available. There's only one example ever built, and yet both Ardpol and Czech Omega have made a kit of this prototype in 1:72.
Ardpol's version is a high-quality multi-media limited-run kit that should build into a faithful replica of the real thing almost straight from the box, the only things to add would be the antenna wire and it's mount on the canopy, and drilling out the machine gun openings in the cowling and the supercharger intake scoop.
Because of the high price, need for additional references and the multi-media nature of the kit, this is not for the beginners. But for those who already have some experience in working with resin and photo-etched parts and looking to build their first full resin kit, this would be a good kit to start with. Also, people interested in Messerschmitt-related aircraft, prototypes, or otherwise interesting & obscure planes will find this a fine addition to their collections.
Books & magazines:
Suomen ilmavoimien historia 14: Suomalaiset hävittäjät
IPMS Modeler, articles in issues 108 and 115