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Hasegawa's "Bubble-Top" Typhoon 1b

by Tom Cleaver

The Airplane

At the time of its first flight, the Hawker Typhoon was the largest and most powerful single-seat fighter ever flown by the RAF. The airplane involved several new developments in fighter aircraft technology, not least of which was the Napier Sabre II 24 cylinder engine that powered it, the first 2,000 h.p. engine to attain production.

The Typhoon was hurried into production while still "half baked" insofar as technical development was concerned. As the only British fighter capable of catching the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 at low level, it was needed to counter the "tip and run" raids being conducted by the Jagdflieger over southern England in 1941. The airplane acquired a nasty reputation among its pilots for having a tail that could come off in a high speed dive and an engine that was as likely to explode on its own as it would if hit by enemy fire. Eventually the tail transport joint was reinforced, but the Sabre engine was never fully developed before the end of the war, and it was common for it to catch fire on starting, a disconcerting event to say the least.

Nevertheless, when the Typhoon was mated to the 60-lb. rocket projectile, it became one of the three aircraft most responsible for assisting Allied victory in northeastern Europe, the other two being the Douglas C-47 Dakota and the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Armed with rockets and flying "cab rank" over the Allied lines, the Typhoon soon became the terror of German armor, as it only took one hit from a rocket to put the biggest Tiger tank permanently out of business.

The Kit

click on thumbnails for larger image

As predicted from the engineering of the car-door Typhoon kit released in late 1998, here is the "bubble top." The kit is standard-issue Hasegawa, with clean, crisp moldings in grey plastic. The only new parts are the changed upper center fuselage, with the modifications for the bubble canopy, and the bubble canopy itself, which is very accurate in outline and shape, and molded very thin in two parts so it can be posed open. There is also a complete set of rocket rails and rockets - which look to this reviewer to be the best take anyone has yet had on the WW2 British RP. The decals include the black stripes for D-Day invasion stripes, as well as markings for two aircraft: one from 247 Squadron in D-Day markings, and one from 183 Squadron without D-Day stripes. The kit comes with the three-bladed prop, so if a modeler wanted to do a Typhoon with the 4-bladed prop, it would be necessary to use the prop from the old Monogram kit


There is a typical Hasegawa fit problem with the kit, as regards the upper center section of the fuselage and the fuselage-upper wing connection. My solution the last time - which worked quite well - was to fit the cockpit section fore and aft and along the lower connection, strengthening the joint on the interior with thin strips of sheet styrene, leaving the centerline joint with a gap that is easily filled using a piece of 10mm sheet styrene. To properly connect the upper wing to the fuselage without using a lot of putty, glue the lower wing and then use rubber bands to lift the wing to the point where the upper wing/fuselage joint can be glued. It looks wrong, because the wing position is incorrect, but once the joint has set up and you remove the rubber bands, the fuselage will be pulled out as the wing assumes its proper position with a slight anhedral, and will not require any putty if done this way. Past that, the model goes together easily and looks good when completed.


This Hasegawa release is as close to a "definitive kit" of this interesting and important airplane as we are ever likely to see. The small fit problems are nothing a modeler of average ability cannot handle successfully, and the result will be an impressive addition to anyone's model collection. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Marco Polo Imports for the review sample.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

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PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM

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