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Paul A H

Westland Whirlwind "Cannon Fighter" and "Fighter Bomber" - 1:72 Special Hobby

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Westland Whirlwind

1:72 Special Hobby


Although a contemporary of the highly successful Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane, the Westland Whirlwind came nowhere near close to matching the success of those famous fighters. At first, Westland's heavy fighter showed a great deal of promise, but problems with the Rolls Royce Peregrine engines meant that it never really lived up to its potential. Early test flights showed that the Whirlwind had a good turn of speed and docile handling characteristics, but with a high landing speed that precluded deployment to some airfields with shorter runways. Reliability issues with the Peregrine engine dogged the aircraft throughout its development, and the cancellation of further work on the engine by Rolls-Royce spelled the end of the Whirlwind as a viable proposition.

The Peregrine was powerful and responsive at low level, but because performance dropped off as the height increased, the Whirlwind found most success at low level, where its four 20mm cannon could be used to devastating effect. This feature was exploited by the RAF and the Whirlwind found itself used as a fighter bomber on cross-channel raids. Around half of the Whirlwinds were fitted with bomb racks, allowing the carriage of a pair of 250lb bombs. The Whirlwind was replaced by the more modern Hawker Typhoon in 1943, and it was declared obsolete before the end of the war in Europe.

Westland Whirlwind Mk.I "Cannon Fighter"

1:72 Special Hobby


whirlwind_cf_01.jpg


The Whirlwind hasn't been served all that well by model companies over the years. Airfix have had kit in their range for many years (in fact two kits, the latest of which dates back to the late 1970s) and Pavla released a limited-run injection moulded plastic kit some time ago. Special Hobby's kit is therefore the third (fourth if you count both of the Airfix kits) different kit to appear in this scale. It was first released a few years ago now, so I'm not quite sure why these review samples have suddenly arrived at BM Towers although I'm very glad that they have!

Inside the top opening box are just over fifty parts moulded in grey and clear styrene, as well as a couple of bags holding around thirty resin parts, a small fret of photo etched brass parts and a sheet of decals. The kit looks good on the sprue, with plenty of moulded details and surface structures made up of a mixture of fine, recessed lines and raised detail for the wing fuel tanks. The quality of moulding looks very good and the resin parts are equally impressive.

whirlwind_cf_02.jpg


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Construction begins with the multi-media cockpit. This sub-assembly is comprised of a floor, front and rear bulkheads and decking, an instrument panel (complete with film and photo etched details) a seat for the pilot and a control column. The inside of the fuselage halves also feature some basic sidewall detail. The whole thing is festooned with resin and photo etched parts which are used to represent smaller details such as the seat harnesses, rudder pedals, compass and throttle controls. The overall impression is very favourable indeed.

Before the fuselage halves can be joined together, the tail wheel assembly must be fixed in place. This is comprised of two parts which form the roof and front bulkhead of the tail wheel bay, the tail wheel strut and the wheel itself. The whole thing is moulded from plastic rather than resin, so it should be pretty strong. Once the fuselage halves have been joined, the tail planes can be fixed in place. These have small locating nubs, but they won't be massively strong so you may wish to reinforce the join with some brass rod or similar. The elevators (and rudder for that matter) are all moulded in place.

whirlwind_cf_04.jpg


Unlike many kits of low-wing aircraft, both lower and upper wing sections are moulded as separate port and starboard parts. The main landing gear bays are each made up of three parts (front and rear bulkheads and roof) which fit inside the prominent and well-shaped engine cowlings. Photo etched parts are used the detail the radiators which are recessed into the leading edge of the lower wing. The wings fit into shallow sockets moulded into the sides of the fuselage via a pair of short pegs. By this stage, the airframe is pretty much complete and attention turns to the landing gear. Each of the landing gear legs is made up of three parts, all moulded in plastic, while the main gear wheels are cast from resin. The wheels themselves are nicely cast, with clear demarcations between wheels and tyres. The main gear doors have some moulded detail on the inner surfaces.

whirlwind_cf_05.jpg


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The propellers are moulded as one piece, so you won't have to worry about aligning individual blades. The shielding for the exhausts are cast in resin, which allows for a little extra finesse in terms of detail and finish. Also cast in resin are the cannon barrels, the gun sight, the actuator for the canopy and the radio antennas. A photo etched crew access ladder is provided and the wingtip lights are provided in clear plastic a nice touch for this scale. The canopy is reasonably thin and clear and shouldn't be too difficult to mask.

whirlwind_cf_07.jpg


Typically for a Special Hobby kit, a generous selection of decal options is provided:
Westland Whirlwind Mk.I, P6985 HE-J, No. 263 Squadron, RAF Exeter. This aircraft is finished in Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky, with the underside of the starboard wing finished in black;
Westland Whirlwind Mk.I, P7061 HE-A, No. 263 Squadron, RAF Charmy Down. This aircraft is finished in Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky;
Westland Whirlwind Mk.I, P7118 HE-F, No. 263 Squadron, RAF Colerne. finished in the later Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey scheme; and
Westland Whirlwind Mk.I, P7061 HE-E, No. 263 Squadron, RAF Charmy Down. This aircraft is finished in a very similar scheme to HE-F.

Each aircraft is depicted in the instructions by way of a four-view colour plan and paint references are for the Mr Color/Mr Hobby range. The decals themselves look great on the sheet.

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Westland Whirlwind FB Mk.I "Fighter Bomber"

1:72 Special Hobby


whirlwind_fb_01.jpg


This kit is almost identical to the "Cannon Fighter" edition but includes a set of resin bomb racks and 250lb bombs so you can build the fighter bomber version. The photo etched fret and decals are also different from the edition reviewed above. There isn't too much to say about the new parts, except for the fact that they are nicely made.

whirlwind_fb_02.jpg


whirlwind_fb_03.jpg


As above, four options are available on the decal sheet:
Westland Whirlwind FB Mk.I, P7094 HE-T "Bellows", No. 263 Squadron, RAF Warmwell. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey scheme, although the instructions suggest that a lighter grey is used instead of Ocean Grey over the upper rear of the airframe;
Westland Whirlwind FB Mk.I, P6974 HE-Z, No. 263 Squadron, RAF Angle. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey scheme, with a black lower wing and a white upper nose and white operational stripes on both sides of the wings;
Westland Whirlwind FB Mk.I, P7102 SF-P "Comrades in Arms", No. 137 Squadron. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey; and
Westland Whirlwind FB Mk.I, P7012 SF-V "Comrades in Arms", No. 137 Squadron. This aircraft is finished in Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey.

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Conclusion

Some kits of this type, like deep water or tasty-looking mushrooms found growing in the woods, can pose hidden risks. Happily this isn't one of them. Not only does this well-detailed kit look great on the sprue, by all accounts it is fairly straightforward to build too. The number of completed examples in the 'Ready for Inspection' forum demonstrate that this should be an enjoyable and satisfying model to build which will look great once complete. Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg

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Hi Paul,

Nice review, thank you; coincidentally I ordered the Cannon Fighter boxing from Hannant's this morning :) - I believe these kits have recently been re-issued which might explain why you have received review copies now.

Cheers,

Stew

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Thanks Stew, hopefully that means they might re-release their Fairey Battle at some point then :)

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Hi Paul,

I think the Battle was originally MPM's, but Special Hobby have had one listed on 'Future Releases' on Hannants' site for some time now, so here's hoping... (unless of course Airfix want to bring out a new one next year... :pray: )

Cheers,

Stew

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Hi Paul,

I think the Battle was originally MPM's, but Special Hobby have had one listed on 'Future Releases' on Hannants' site for some time now, so here's hoping... (unless of course Airfix want to bring out a new one next year... :pray: )

Cheers,

Stew

MPM own Special Hobby as far as I'm aware, plus all Azur/Ffrrom Azur (and some Xtrakit kits) kits are made by MPM. Also MPM/Special Hobby kits are available from some of the vendors advertising on here.

thanks

Mike

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Yes, sorry Mike, I didn't intend to imply that you could only get MPM/Special Hobby from Hannants; but it is listed on the 'future releases' section of their website :)

I know MPM and Special Hobby are to all intents and purposes one and the same, but I would have thought if the Special Hobby Fairey Battle was the same kit as the old MPM one they could have quite easily released it by now, it's been on the 'future releases' list for an age which to me suggests it will be a new kit; perhaps I am reading too much into that delay though :D

Cheers,

Stew

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Hi

The 'different whirlwinds, issue is nice

http://www.model-making.eu/products/British-2-engines-fighter-Westland-Whirlwind-Mk.I-Different-Whirlwinds.html

New resin nose for the trials aircraft, different prop for the prototype, and decals for the civilian whirlwind.

Cheers

Jerry

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Thanks for the reviews, when the stash goes down a little, I might have to consider getting the Cannon version.

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