Fighting for Freedom: Sgt. “Sammy” Allard’s Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 “VY-P”
There is truly no need to introduce the Hawker Hurricane: it is one of the most famous aircraft of all times, mainly thanks to its fundamental role in the defence of the United Kingdom, and indeed of the civilized world, in the Battle of Britain of 1940.
Although frequently overshadowed in the modern press by the Supermarine Spitfire, there is little doubt that without the Hurricane there were no chances at all to stop "Operation Seelowe", Hitler's planned invasion of England. Two thirds of British aerial victories in the Battle were scored by Hurricane pilots and this achievement alone is sufficient to grant the "Hurri" a prominent place in the all time aircraft hall of fame.
A few months ago, after some 20 years away from the working bench, a friend of mine presented me with the new tool 1/72nd scale Airfix Hawker Hurricane kit. The "Hurri" has always been one of my favourites, so I simply could not resist the temptation of building it straight from the box. Here is the final result, admittedly not the perfect model, but it was fun and I was hooked again.
I chose the aircraft in which, on the 10th May 1940, Sgt. "Sammy" Allard shot down two Heinkel He 111s over France. Allard went on to become one of the Hurricane aces, achieving a total score of 23 confirmed victories.
The Airfix kit captures the splendid lines of the famous British fighter in an admirable way. For this reason alone, and for the excellent surface detail, it certainly is the best 1/72nd kit of the Hurricane so far and Airfix is to be duly congratulated for it.
However, some areas of the kit need much attention because of their poor fitting. As there are rumors about a new kit by Airfix of the metal wing Hurricane, it is hoped those weaknesses will be corrected before the new release.
|The kit's main fault lays in the fuselage / wing joint, as seen in this picture:|
This can be easily cured by glueing the front spar first (kit part n. A3), then adding the rear spar (kit part n. C10) and finally lateral parts nn. A5 and A6, after having trimmed their front sections to ensure a good fit.
|To make assembly stronger, I glued two plasticard squares outside the well|
The kit offers a nice decal for the dashboard, but I preferred to add new instruments and some details carved from 0,1 mm plastic card, later scribing the instrument needles with a sharp steel point and simulating glass by means of clear gloss varnish. The result is not too bad, although of course better techniques can be used.
The seat offered by the kit is good and looks better if a set of Sutton harnesses is added from painted thin aluminium foil.
|The cockpit was finally washed with Citadel dark earth acrylic, to get a more "lived" appearance.|
Main assembly posed no particular problems and only a minimum of filler was required along the joints between fuselage halves and, of course, at the wing roots. Care and patience will pay dividends at this stage.
The radiator fairing was assembled and panel lines filled in, as in this scale they should not be visible. Radiating elements are well done and accurate for the Mk 1 version, as the oil radiator was square in this variant. I chose to remove the radiator flap for a neater look, as well as its actuating levers from kit part n. A4 (to later replace them with plastic rod bent to shape), therefore the surface detail of this part had to be replaced.
(Editor's Note: the images at the bottom of the page follow the rest of the text in order.) The Hurricane windscreen was almost flush fitted to the nose, so I filled in the separation line between the kit parts.
Allard's machine had an early type radio mast, so I discarded the kit part and reduced the fuselage recess with 0,1 mm plastic card inserts.
After priming with Humbrol 1 light grey, it was the turn of painting. Of course, white was done first, then came black, dark earth and dark green. I used AML masking shapes, which proved to be fairly good if applied with some care. Help them adhering well to the wing leading edges by means of small sections of masking tape.
To make the model ready for decals, 4 light coats of Livax gloss acrylic wax were applied by brush.
The kit's decals, made by Cartograph, are very good and adhere properly using Humbrol Clearfix or Microscale Set and Sol. The set is complete with stencils and colours are accurate. I got the individual code "P" of this machine from Xtradecal sheet n X72193. I must say that, although very good, decals from the latter manufacturer are not as good as those, by Cartograph, supplied by the kit, which adhere better even when treated with Microsol Sol and Set liquids.
Wheels are well moulded, but unfortunately they are of the 4 indent variant, which was more common on metal wing Hurricanes. I got a set of 5 indent wheels by CMK.
A careful dry run on the undercarriage legs is really needed. Be careful, as these parts are very nice but also necessarily thin and so more easily damaged.
I preferred to glue to legs first, leaving the doors aside. Doors were added later, together with brake pipes from stretched sprue.
Then it was the turn of some bits and pieces. The model was finally sprayed with a final light coat of Humbrol Clear mixed with Humbrol Matt, to get a very moderate shiny look. I avoided the "artistic" technique of pre-shading and after shading, as I find it is not able to give to the finished model an accurate look when compared to real machines shown in contemporary pictures. Just my two pennies, of course...
The nice canopy sliding part doesn't fit the model in the open position unless it is displayed not completely open, which was the choice I made.
This was an interesting project, which, after so many years of WW1 aircraft modelling, helped me getting back to the workbench and more used to WW2 subjects.
I will surely build another couple of Airfix's Hurries in the future and more of them if the metal wing variant will be issued!
May I thoroughly thank Diego Fernetti, for references and advice.