by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Special Hobby initially released their impressive largescale Hawker Tempest Mk. V as a “Hi Tech” kit with a number of mixed media accessories included. It’s since been repackaged as a cut-price “Basic” kit - essentially, the same plastic, minus the accessories – and now, with the Tempest Mk. II already very much on the horizon Special Hobby have made an expanded range of the resin/etch upgrades available separately under their CMK brand.
Special Hobby kindly supplied samples of the initial crop of upgrades along with the “Basic” Mk. V, and I will incorporate them into my full build of the kit. So watch out for the Blog in the near future for a detailed look at how the parts stack up “in action”. For now, though, here’s an overview of the sets I have, grouped together according to the parts of the kit they’re designed for. Each set includes a small sheet of clearly drawn instructions, and most are packed in a simple clear clear “wallet” with a card backing for rigidity, the sole exception to the rule having a bubble-pack. Both methods work equally well, because all the upgrades arrived perfectly intact.
The logical place to start is…
Q32 240 - Control ColumnThis features three grey resin parts, plus a photoetched trigger and a pair of brackets. Unlike the styrene version, the resin control column is split so you can model it at an angle to match offset ailerons. Interestingly, the kit includes three styles of grip, whereas there’s just one here - and, to be honest, the detail on the resin version isn’t very different. Where there is a big difference, though, is at the base of the column and the control links. You’ll need to add a couple of lengths of thin wire or styrene rod, and the overall effect will definitely be superior to the plastic parts.
Price: 4.80 Euros
Q32 245 - Tempest/Typhoon Seat with harness and Q32 246 - Tempest/Typhoon Seat without harness The kit seat is built up from four parts and is nicely done, but the resin versions are undoubtedly nicer, with some excellent detail and a subtly worn backrest - plus, of course, they are one-piece affairs and so quicker and easier to use. There’s extra detail on the sides and pan, and a major change is that the back of the seat is also detailed whereas it’s plain in the kit
The seat is available in two forms; with- and without a moulded-on harness. The seat belts are crisply defined and will repay careful painting, while the plain seat is ready for one of the many aftermarket harnesses that are available – or, of course, you can make your own.
Prices: 5.30 Euros with a harness, or 4.80 Euros without.
There’s also a choice when it comes to the gunsight. Q32 247 - Gyro Gunsight Mk.II (2 pieces) and Q32 248 - Gunsight Type 1 Mk. III are both beautifully detailed. The gyro gunsight set actually includes two items, so you’ve got one left for a second build or any of the RAF’s late war fighters.
The standard reflector sight is moulded separately from its mount, and is much better detailed - particularly at the base – while the gyro sights offer considerable extra detail on the sides and the twin lenses, along with an etched frame and clear films for the reflectors.
Price: 4.80 Euros each
ExteriorThe kit’s standard gun barrels certainly aren’t bad, but the resin upgrades offer a definite improvement.
Q32 238 - Cannon Barrels with Wing Leading Edge features the late-style semi-recessed barrels and, rather than fiddly individual barrels, is provided as a simple pair of drop-in sections for the wings’ leading edges. This means larger pieces to work with, but conversely will entail some simple surgery to fit them. The joints follow existing panel lines, so should be plain sailing. An added plus is that the resin sections feature extra detailing on the leading edges and surrounds for each aperture.
Alternatively, Q32 241 - Early & Late Cannon Barrels offers a choice of long or short protruding barrels and the semi-recessed guns as direct replacements for the kit items. All the barrels are ready hollowed out, which will save a little chore and preclude mishaps (although I’d deepen them further) and a real improvement is the hexagonal tips to the barrels.
Price: 7.00 Euros each
For me Q32 339 - Exhausts is something of a “must”, because the original styrene parts were one of the few disappointments in the excellent kit. This set didn’t make it into the “Hi Tech” kit, which is sad because resin versions are in a different league to the plastic parts entirely, with bifurcated exhaust stacks (whereas the kit’s are solid) and, of course, are hollowed out. An added bonus is the resin exhausts are moulded as one piece, whereas the styrene parts were split horizontally in order to create hollowed stacks, so they also will be quicker and easier to use. The set also includes a pair of replacement mounts to fit inside the fuselage - again with extra detail visible.
Price: 9.30 Euros
UndercarriageThe resin sets allow you to almost entirely replace the kit’s undercarriage, starting with 5108 - Main Undercarriage Strengthened Legs. The kit is pretty heavy so these are cast in a hardened black resin. Most of the detail is comparable with the standard parts, but I noticed a subtle milled effect in one are. Price: 12.30 Euros
There are two styles of resin mainwheels available. Both offer a lot of extra detail over the styrene versions, with brake drum detail inside the hub, plus maker’s logos and text and ribbing on the tyrewalls. The tyres are nicely “weighted” - not overdone, but giving a good impression of the bulk of the Tempest. Prices: Q32 242 - Mainwheels Late Type 8.50 Euros and Q32 243 - Mainwheels Early Type 9.80 Euros.
Finally, there’s Q32 244 - Tempest Mk. V / Typhoon Mk. 1 Tailwheel This is not only better detailed than the plastic version, but will be much easier to use. Whereas the kit leg is made up of four parts (which is not only fiddly, but risks being weak), the upgrade provides a single strengthened resin fork. The new wheel simply clips in place – and again that includes more detail than its styrene counterpart, with maker’s logos and radial bands, as well as being “weighted”.
Price: 7.00 Euros
ConclusionSpecial Hobby’s “Basic” Tempest is a great kit straight from the box, but the resin upgrades do offer worthwhile improvements and they all look very straightforward to use. The current selection isn’t an absolute match for the contents of the original “Hi-Tech” kit, and if you buy everything it does work out more expensive – that’s traditionally part of the attraction of the “Hi-Tech” kits – but it is an advantage for modellers who want to pick and choose which items they want to include in their own builds. Even if you were lucky enough to get the original “Hi-Tech” bowing, I’d recommend checking out the resin exhausts.
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