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Revell Germanyís 1/72 Hurricane IIB

 

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

 

History

The Hurricane gained its fame in the Battle of Britain, but it continued to evolve and served throughout the Second World War on all fronts. The Hurricane Mk. II saw a change in the powerplant to the Merlin XX series engine and a twelve-gun wing. Initially, though, there was a shortage of the Browning .303 guns, so the first Hurricane Mk. IIs, the Mk. IIA, kept the original eight-gun arrangement, using the metal-covered wing. When the gun shortage was over, the Mk. IIB came out, with all twelve guns present. Another addition that came out at the end of the Mk. IIA series was the addition of wing hardpoints, initially for fuel tanks to increase range but also capable of carrying bombs. These hardpoints were carried over onto the IIB and with its twelve guns and bombs under the wings, the Hurricane IIB became a very potent ground attack platform. So much so, in fact, that the nickname "Hurribomber" was applied and the Mk. IIB went into service in Africa as well as in England with the RAF, and was exported to Russia and Portugal.

The Kit

Iím sure the question going through your head right now is "do we NEED another 1/72 Hurricane?" With the Hasegawa and Academy kits out, it seems that there are plenty of good Hurricane kits out there. But no kit is perfect, and with the Hasegawaís over-accentuated fabric texture and Academyís narrow nose, thereís room for one more, I think. Since the Revell kit will be competing directly with these two other kits, a comparison between the three is probably in order.

The Hasegawa kit is broken down to get the maximum usage out of one set of molds. The nose is separate, allowing the shorter Mk. I series to be kitted. The cockpit is very basic, and is devoid of any detail. The canopy is one piece and fairly thick. The main faults of the Hasegawa kit are no cockpit detail and very heavy (sagging) fabric on the fuselage. The Academy kit has a stunning interior, a good rendition of the fabric rear fuselage, and has a two-piece canopy that is fairly thin. Its big failing is a nose that looks too narrow when viewed from the top. So where does the Revell kit fit into the scheme of things? Well, how about "Best of Both Worlds".

The Revell kit is molded in gray plastic and has wonderful engraved panel lines and a very well done fabric rear fuselage. The cockpit, while not as detailed as the Academy kit, is more than adequate, with sidewall details, cockpit floor, a decent seat, and a decal instrument panel. Once together, not much can be seen through that small cockpit opening, and the detail present will provide a great representation of what should be there.

The breakdown of the parts makes it obvious that more variants will be forthcoming. While the fuselage isnít split like the Hasegawa kit for a Mk. I, the wings are done in 5 pieces, with a center lower section and outer wing panels. This means that a Hurricane IIC is forthcoming. The most impressive part, though, is the separate rear fuselage underside. This means that all my hard work converting the Academy Hurricane IIC into a Sea Hurricane IIC is about to become obsolete. By providing a tailhook, this kit can now be made up as a Sea Hurricane IIB or IIC, which will probably be following this boxing shortly. I know Iíll be looking for it.

The downside to this kind of parts breakdown is that the modeler will have to be much more careful in preparing the parts to get a good fit. That said, a quick dry run shows that with just a little bit of work this kit could go together with no filler needed. The trickiest part will most likely be the rear fuselage bottom piece, but Iíd rather have to fiddle with that and have the option of doing a Sea Hurricane than not.

Another little jewel with this kit is the canopy. It actually took me by surprise. Itís not as crystal clear as the Academy canopy is, but it is still more than acceptable. What really sets it apart, though, is how thin it is. When I got my Hasegawa and Academy Hurricane kits, I also picked up the Squadron vacuformed canopies for the Hurricane. In taking those vacuformed canopies and comparing the thickness to that of the Revell kit, they are the SAME THICKNESS! Yep, Revell Germany managed to get the canopy of this Hurricane to be the same thickness as the vacuform replacement canopies Squadron puts out. And with the injection plastic frames being much crisper than the vacuformed ones, I donít think Iíll be replacing this Hurricane canopy. A very big well done on that to Revell-Germany!

The decals look to be quite good and feel thin. The only shortcoming with them is the color of the "Sky" band and codes. This is a very difficult color to print, so I canít really blame Revell Germany for not getting it right here, and maybe once theyíre on the model they wonít be quite so vibrant. Other than that, the colors are very good and look to be quite opaque.

I would say that Revell Germany has a winner on their hands with this kit. Theyíve taken the best of their competition and rolled it all together into one kit, then added details that arenít available anywhere else. The future options available from this mold are impressive, and with Hannantís carrying them with the price tag of only £2.95, this kit is going to be flying off of the shelves.

My thanks to Revell Germany 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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