Made For Two
Creating the Persian Hurricane Trainer from Hasegawa's Kit
By Tom Cleaver
Persia, which was essentially a British protectorate after the First World War due to the oil industry, behaved as a proper protectorate and bought British goods wherever possible. Beginning in the 1920s, the Persian Air Force operated Hawker Aircraft products almost exclusively. When it came time to replace the Hawker Fury, it was only natural that the Persians chose the Fury's successor, the Hurricane, and an order for 18 was confirmed in 1939. The Hurricane, however, was a significant advance over what had preceded it, with such modern items as a controllable propeller and retractable landing gear, not to mention that at its operating speeds, things happened faster than the average Persian Air Force pilot was comfortable with at the outset. Thus, the PAF formulated a requirement for a conversion trainer at an early stage in the acquisition process.
The Second World War intervened before the PAF could receive its Hurricanes, and it was not until 1945 that 16 Hurricane IIc aircraft from RAF surplus stocks showed up at Tehran airport. Hawker had taken Hurricane IIc KZ232 and modified it to become the conversion trainer, flying it in 1946. At first the airplane was equipped with two open cockpits and full four cannon armament, but in its final form the rear cockpit was fitted with a modified Tempest canopy to get rid of draftiness, and the guns were removed. The airplane flew for several years in Persia, until the Hurricanes left service in the early 1950s.
The first time I saw a photograph of this hybrid, I wanted to have a model of it. Over the years, the thought has come and gone, but when I obtained Aeromaster 48-045 "Foreign Hurricanes Part 2," which had the markings for a Persian Hurricane IIc. Then one day I glanced through "Wings of Fame", Vol. 3, and in the article on the Hurricane there was an excellent side view line drawing of the Persian two-seater. All to the good, but the Hobbycraft Hurricane was not the kit for this model. Then Hasegawa released their SEAC Hurricane with the tropical filter. At last!
I knew that I wanted to do the Persian 2-seater in its original form; a Hurricane with two open cockpits looks interesting, and esthetically the final design with the forward cockpit open and the rear cockpit enclosed in a canopy looks too strange even for me. This conversion only involves a little bit of scratchbuilding; once this has been done, the model basically goes together out of the box as originally designed.
The Persian 2-seater merely had a second seat with instrument panel and controls inserted aft of the standard cockpit, with the humpback cut down for the second pilot. With the drawing in "Wings of Fame," performing the necessary surgery on the fuselage halves was easy. I then used some stretched sprue to make the stringers that would be visible inside the fuselage.
The cockpit itself involved scratchbuilding the interior structure for the Hurricane fuselage, and mating that to the altogether quite nice cockpit that Hasegawa includes in the kit. I made the frame from Evergreen .030 rod, following a drawing in the old Airfix "Classic Aircraft - Hurricane" book which was written in the early 70s to provide modelers with all the possibilities of modifying the Airfix 1/24 Hurricane kit. With lots of photos and a set of drawings that turned out to be 1/48, this was not hard. I used a seat from an old Airfix Hurricane that had ended its days in the parts dungeon and a control stick from the same source. I test fit everything to insure the cockpit would fit, then painted the cockpit and interior of the fuselage British Interior Green.
Once the cockpit was made, I made two vacuforms from the Hasegawa canopy and cut the windshields.
The rest of the model was assembled per kit instructions, and painted overall Model Master non-buffing Aluminum, which looks like aluminum lacquer when oversprayed with sealer. I used the decals for the Hurricane IIc in the Aeromaster sheet, which provide the roundels, fin flash, and a serial number in Farsi; no one can say that is not the serial number of the 2-seater, since no one I know can read Farsi. The entire model was then shot with a light coat of Future to seal it and give a slight sheen to the exterior.
So far, the Persian 2-seater has been at two contests, and while it has not won any prizes it has gotten a lot of double takes from other modelers when they first see it. It was an easy, fun conversion, and is a definite conversation-creator.