by: Mal Mayfield [ ]
introductionHaving seen the 1/24 scale Hawker Typhoon revealed by Airfix at Telford last November I knew that it was going to be something special. I have been privileged to receive a pre-production kit via Steve Budd who built the first one for Airfix. Being able to see this remarkable kit up close and in its constituent pieces confirms what I knew when I first saw it. I am sure that some will do everything that they can to find even the slightest fault with this kit, good luck to them. Doing so however will do nothing to diminish the fact that this kit hasn’t just raised the bar for large scale models, it has probably taken it beyond where must model producing companies are willing to go, or certainly given them something to think about; the real question is what will Airfix do next?
the reviewThis will just be a first look as it is a pre-production kit and came to me loose in a Trumpeter 1/24 Hawker Hurricane box. I don’t think that would be able to do a normal review of this kit anyway as each paragraph would just contain one word, WOW! I also don’t have time to do an in depth analysis of it, due to pressures of work; so what I will do is try and give you a feel for this kit. There is no doubt though that you will want to buy it, you may not like the scale but if anything will change your mind this kit will, WOW! The instructions that I have are printed on both sides of A3 paper and are not in a booklet form, so they are not the production version; they are very comprehensive and use the 3D CAD style with the part being added shaded in red. Laid out in 231 stages, they are easy to understand but, because of the complexity of the kit, require studying. It doesn’t take long though to understand what is required and where and, more importantly, how parts fit. There are also 6 A4 pages, a page of notes about the options, 4 in colour each providing four views of each of the schemes included on the decal sheet and one four view for the stencil placement. The decal sheet is big and looks really good, but I, of course will only be using the stencil data.
We already know from Steve’s build of this kit that there are no real vices and it builds into one hell of a scale model straight out of the box; the supplement with the June 2014 issue of the “Airfix Model World” magazine is well worth getting, even if you have no intention of buying this kit but, be warned, you will probably get the kit after reading it! If you want the best review of this kit then get this supplement, there is invaluable information in there including info on the internal colours, of both the cockpit, gun bays etc. Steve consulted Chris Thomas, a leading expert on the Typhoon/Tempest, to confirm these details. In fact from the conversation that I had with the young designer of this magical kit at Telford, Sam I believe his name is, he also consulted with Chris Thomas on a regular basis about all aspects of the kit to make sure that everything was correct. I Have spoken to Chris myself in the past so when I heard this from the designer I just knew that this kit was going to be accurate. I don’t have 1/24 scale plans but I know that this kit is very accurate, trust me; I would go as far as to say that anyone claiming that this kit is any amount of mm out is wrong! Yes of course the plastic is thicker than the actual aircraft skin, but remember that it is a plastic kit! That said though where finesse is required it is there, in spades.
I am thinking of building this kit wheels up, in flight and, maybe, with a salvo of rockets being fired and the prop spinning, via the separately supplied electric motor and stand, for my Trade stand. To this end I checked the fit of the separate gear doors for this option and they fit absolutely perfectly. I have built kits with wheels up several of times and none of them had undercarriage doors that fit. The latest was the Zoukei-Mura Shinden and the gear doors did not fit in the closed position at all! Not that the option is provided in the kit but when the undercarriage doors don’t fit the gear well opening it suggests a certain compromise in the production. I also test fitted the closed ammo bay door option and, predictably this fits perfectly too. I don’t build models with the engine on display but sometimes I feel that it is worth it because the engine in the kit is so good, the Tamiya 1/32 scale Spitfires for example but, however well done, I don’t like the option of being able to add or take away the engine cowlings. Don’t get me wrong Tamiya raised the bar with the fidelity of the cowling panels but I also think that doing so upped the price of the kit too. With the big Airfix kit you can leave the engine panels off and exposed the very well detailed engine, or leave details off the engine and fit the panels. While talking about the engine a mention of the exhausts, yes they are hollowed out and they have weld beads. Unfortunately the ejector pin tabs are positioned on the outer bead so a little careful clean-up will be required, but as it’s a weld bead no sweat. There are 2 types of exhaust fairing, one with and one without a surrounding plate. None of the schemes in the kit look as if they had them and reading up on the Tiffie they were often removed by units anyway, because they made servicing difficult and cut the top speed. So unless you are going to build one having just been delivered then you probably don’t actually need them. I will be doing a bit more research on this aspect though. There are 3 different propeller spinners, 2 backing plates and the option of 3 or 4 propeller blades. The blades are nice and thin, in fact care needs to be taken when removing them from the sprues, one of them has broken off in this kit, as it has been abused a bit due to it not being in a proper box, and its edge is slightly damaged.
The cockpit is very well detailed, you could maybe add wiring etc but even with the canopy open it will be difficult to see; I will do it though when I build another on its wheels. The seat belts are nicely done in plastic and careful painting will make them look good. I will be using HGW belts which, I’m sure, will be released for this. The pilot figure is equally well done but must be added when shown, so I will be painting him early. It is clear that a car door version is planned because the upper cockpit side panels are separate items. The canopy parts are nice and clear. The instrument panel is provided in two parts one clear. There are dials on the decal sheet but it isn’t clear whether they should be fitted on the glazed “towers” or behind them; the glazing will be a bit thick if they are. The instructions that I have don’t show them being fitted. I will fit them to the front. The finished item does look good, as can be witnessed in Steve’s build, but I can’t help feeling that nicely recessed instrument faces in the IP panel, into which the decals would sit and that could be glazed with “liquid” glazing would have been a better option. So I feel that Airfix have, probably, provided it this way so that a novice can build it when not knowing about any options?
The undercarriage bays and undercarriage and gear doors are all very well detailed; the tyres are weighted. The gun bays are also well detailed. Both have, as previously mentioned, options for being displayed open or closed and the closed door option for both fit perfectly. The cannon barrel covers have positive positioning tabs on the bottom half. The outer lower wing panels are separate, but I just know that these will be a good fit.
The foot step and hand hold recesses can be displayed open or closed, I haven’t tried the closed option yet but I just know now that they will fit perfectly. The 2 vents on the port side, just to the rear of the cockpit are not hollow but the internal moulding behind them means that they can be convincingly drilled out, if you feel the need. The surface detail is very well and convincingly executed, displaying the overlapping panels and skin pillowing of the original. My photos do not do it justice at all!
There are options to have a retracted or deployed tail wheel and 2 separate fin inserts, which will fit precisely (I just know it), to allow for the regular and Tempest style tail planes, excellent.
There is a complete set of under wing ordnance, 44 gallon drop tanks, 500lb and 1000lb bombs and 2 sets of rocket projectiles. I think that they are the semi armour piercing (SAP) and the high explosive (HE) type but the only difference that I can see is in the mounting clips, I am still investigating; the decals for the rockets are for both these types. The fins on everything are commendably thin and the decal sheet includes all the stencil data for all of the ordnance.
The marking scheme options are:
A. Hawker Typhoon 1B, Wing Commander Charles Green, No121 Wing, RAF.
B. Hawker Typhoon 1B, No. 247 Sqn, 2nd Tactical Air Force.
C. Hawker Typhoon 1B, No. 245 Sqn, 2nd Tactical Air Force. With shark mouth.
D. Hawker Typhoon 1B, No 440 Sqn, RCAF 2nd Tactical Air Force.
ConclusionWell I’m not sure if I have done this kit justice as I have had to get this first look out of the way so that I can get on and build it and I feel that it really does warrant a better description of everything in the box but I just don’t have the time. Being privileged to receive this kit I had to pass on the good news about this remarkable ground breaking piece of plastic. The price I believe is to be £99.00p and that is a bargain, especially when you consider the price of the Tamiya 1/32 scale “super kits”. It is already being offered at a cheaper price and I have one on order at T7 models. Whatever you make of what I have written believe me this kit is well worth investing in and I will be building it starting next week, so I hope that you will follow along.
Who would have thought that Airfix could top their remarkable Mosquito, but they have and the bar has been raised to new heights. So what are they going to do next? I am hoping that they may revisit their original 1/24 WWII scale kits as, done to this standard, they will be very well received. My want is a Spitfire Mk I, as a tribute to the few remaining Battle of Britain veterans. Airfix are keeping the next kit a closely guarded secret, if they even know themselves. While talking to the designer the question of what they might do next, one guy asked for a 1/24 Bolton Paul Defiant, the answer was basically that nothing has been ruled out.
Buy this you will not be disappointed and above all you will want to build it straight away, I know that I do.
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