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Mike

Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib 1:24

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Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib
1:24 Airfix


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In the design process even before the Hurricane reached squadron service, the Typhoon was initially intended to be a direct replacement of its older stable mate, but with development scope to take advantage of the upcoming 2,000hp piston engines that would be near the pinnacle of propeller powered flight. Initial problems were overcome, and the early razorback design was amended to a bubble canopy that gave the pilot a vastly improved view of the sky around him. A larger, strengthened tail and a change from 12 machine guns to four wing mounted 20mm cannon also improved the aircraft's offensive ability.

It was never fully developed into a medium altitude fighter, but it did find a role nearer the ground, especially in countering the Fw.190 that was playing havoc with the Mk.V Spitfires at the time. It was a big stable aircraft with masses of power, which made it ideally suited to low level flight, which naturally lends itself to ground attack. Fitted with unguided rockets or 1,000lb bombs under each wing, it became a feared sight by enemy ground troops and tankers. Although the rockets were tricky to aim well, they had a massive effect on morale, and played a large part in halting the the advanced made by German troops in the Battle of the Bulge, flying hundreds of ground attack sorties using rockets, bombs and cannon to great effect.

Like any successful aircraft of WWII, the list of improvements is long, but with the Tempest making inroads into solving the Typhoon's shortcomings, it was soon withdrawn after WWII came to a close, lasting only a few months of peacetime.

The Kit
We're a bit behind the curve with this one, as it is now a year since the kit was first seen at Telford's SMW in 2013. The kit has been available for some months now, but due to my rather busy workshop it became buried. I kid you not – I can temporarily lose a kit box of this size. To refresh your memory, it was the cause of many exclamations of awe at SMW 2013, as it uses some ingenious CAD generated techniques in the outer skin, and packs a LOT of parts inside the skin. As well as a full cockpit and landing gear bays, you also get a complete engine, ancillary equipment between the pilot and engine, plus gun bays in the wing. This is accompanied by a partial interior to the airframe, akin to the Zoukei-Mura train of thought. It arrives in a large red box that is incredibly heavy for a model box, and yes. I did manage to lose a big RED box in my workshop. It's happened before, and will doubtless happen again. I'm sorry Airfix, I really am :blush:

Inside the box are sixteen enormous sprues, some of which only just fit within the length of box, and were actually too large for my 60cm photobooth, so have had to be stitched together from two photos! Two clear sprues are also included, a sheet of decals that are necessarily large, and an instruction booklet that is thicker than some modelling magazines. This is printed in colour, with 3D greyscale used for the instruction steps and the previous step highlighted in red. The back 10 pages cover painting and decaling of the finished model and pilot.

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Before construction begins you have to decide whether you will be displaying the engine fully undressed, partially undressed, or fully enclosed, because it makes a difference to which parts you add to the engine and airframe before you close it up. Your options take up a full two pages in multiple languages, so study them, decide which one you feel like, then mark the instruction booklet accordingly. It will save you consternation later. As a first impression, "wow!" springs to mind, as there's a lot of styrene, and detail is great. Having so much of the internal structure on hand may deter some, and I've already heard the "over-engineered" phrases used, which could translate to "more complicated than is to my tastes". Speaking as a 1:48 modeller, it's a flipping monster, but it won't deter me one iota from building it at some point. A place to put it is a secondary concern – it just oozes charm from every lapped panel.

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Construction starts with the wing spars, which are properly detailed with tubular frames through the centre of the fuselage that change to structural members with lightening holes as they get further from the fuselage. The cockpit is suspended in a tubular frame, which is next, along with the front bulkhead, and these just slot down onto the main spar and the smaller single-piece spar further aft. The rudder linkages, pedals and foot-plates are inserts in the bottom of the cockpit once it has been firmed up, and the engine mounts are built up next, with lots of ancillary parts and a circular fuselage frame to the rear. The pilot's seat is made up from five parts, and has a nice looking quilted back panel that has asymmetric folds and wrinkles in the fabric to achieve an organic effect. Siting the seat at the correct angle is crucial, and a scrap diagram shows that there should be a 2mm gap between its back and the panel behind it. This allows space for the head armour and seat attachment brackets to slide in behind it, and your choice of pilot or seatbelts is made shortly after. The belts are individually moulded in 3D and are wafer thin, designed to drape over the seat in a natural way. The pilot is six part figure, and very nicely done, having one hand on the stick, the other on the throttle. His feet should also slip neatly within the rudder pedals, as shown in another scrap diagram later on. The instrument panels are slipped into the framework cockpit before he takes his seat, and they have their hoses or wires depicted in styrene, which you'll have to be careful of when removing them and cleaning their seams. A small tank fits behind the front bulkhead, and the instrument panel attaches to its front on a large tab. The panel is made from a styrene front part that includes raised bezels and dials, and this is backed with a clear part with cylindrical upstands that bring the dial faces to the correct level. A set of instrument decals are included, but as they have to be placed on the front of the clear part (if you follow the instructions), it makes the choice of clear styrene a bit of a head-scratcher. The alternative is to apply the decals to small white slips of styrene sheet, and offer them up behind the panel to show through. Neither option suits me however, but I'm lucky to have the Airscale instrument panel kit, which we reviewed here, so the option is moot.

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The big Napier Sabre is fully depicted in the kit, with all 24 cylinders in that massive H-shaped lump. The first step of this section covers the installation of the motor to get your prop turning, and it is a very tempting option. The motors can be had quite cheaply at £3.49 directly from Airfix here, and you are given a suggested route for the cables, but left to your own devices about switches and battery power. If you go for the un-powered option, the engine block is built up without modification, substituting the motorised drive shaft with a nicely detailed splined static one. The supercharger is installed before the block is added to the engine mounts, after which much plumbing and adding of additional engine accessories is done. The radiator assembly is begun with the upper half of the main duct, and the central duct both added before the big filter is added to the front. A scrap diagram shows the correct orientation of the supports to the inner ring, and a toroidal oil reservoir is added around the prop shaft.

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At this stage the first of the outer panels is almost ready to be added. A word on those first. Airfix have really pushed the boat out with the exterior of the Typhoon, and have tried their very best to depict realistic panels, with deformation and "oil-canning" in between the rows of rivets, and even lapped panels, which are most noticeable on the fuselage sides. They have to be seen to be appreciated fully, and set the bar for others to follow. Most impressive! The lower wing inner is the first to be added, and must undergo plenty of drilling, depending on which armament option you choose, whether you will be placing it on a stand or motorising it, so again – study the diagram and drill the correct ones out now. For reference, the motor wires leave the underside just aft of the slot for the stand, which has a product code of AF1007, but doesn't appear on their site as I write this, and appears out of stock in places, so snap one up if you can. If you are posing your Tiffie with the wheels up, you can add the main gear bay cover now, which are installed from the inside, and have handy lips to give a good grip to the fuselage. With wheels down, you install the landing gear leg mounting points that protrude through the lower wing rather than the stowed variant used for wheels-up. The skeleton fuselage is let down onto the lower wing, and you'll want to consider whether to paint the insides before you do this to save fiddly painting and masking later.

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The gear bay walls and wing interior are made up in the following stages, which includes a lot of nice ribbing that is added to the lower wing skin, rather than risking sink marks on that gorgeous outer skin by moulding them in. The flap bay hinges are also inserted at the rear into large sockets to ensure consistent placement. Each wing holds two Hispano Mk.II 20mm cannons and their ammo, which is held in remarkably simply boxes that sit on the lower wing. The cannons have full breech and barrel detail, and fix in the lower wing with their prominent drums uppermost. The barrels have moulded-in recoil springs, but aren't hollow, so you'll need to get the pin-vice out and drill them with 0.8mm drill for scale accuracy. I'm sure Master will be along with some beautiful turned alternatives, as they have already done in 1:72 and 1:48, although on first look, their set for the Mosquito looks very similar. The wing mounted fuel tanks are then added inboard of the cannon bays and along the wing's leading edges, and then the area of the wing inner above the gear bays is detailed with delicate ribbing before being added to the top of the bay. This is covered later with the wing's outer skin. The outer wing undersides are added next, with aileron hinges and a choice of two wing lights, which is all hidden away with the installation of the upper outer wing panel, which overlaps the lower join and gives the whole assembly lots of strength. The wingtip lights are added, and the cannons are covered in their aerodynamic spats, which would cover up any sexy brass barrels you might have installer earlier.

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The fuselage halves are bereft of tail skin and drop to half-depth just before the engine cowling, so appear quite small. The reason for the missing tail is to facilitate the alternative profiled elevator fins, which affected the shape of their fairings. These are added before you join the fuselage halves, which is a sensible move and allows you to get the best join possible. The tail wheel fits in the port side, as does a small round observation window low down at the front of the cockpit, and then you add this to the skeleton fuselage, which must be an odd thing to do for most of us. If you are exposing all of the engine, you should chop the front of the fuselage off using the scrap diagram and engraved line inside as a guide. If you are leaving the top cowling off, just the two upstands should be removed, and if you are covering all that lovely detail completely, just leave it intact. The same process happens with the starboard fuselage half, at which point you should probably deal with the seams, although you'd be forgiven for leaving them until the tapering underside of the fuselage has been added, so you can clean them up together (if any is needed). The exhaust stacks are added next, and each one takes the exhaust from two points, converging into one as they exit the fuselage. Each stack is separately moulded, and slide-moulding has been used to give them a nice deep opening, but with a hint of flash that should be easy to remove during preparation. Depending on how undressed your engine will be, the cowling panels are added to the mix, including some highly curved areas around the chin intake. A large styrene mesh part is inserted into the aperture, and although Airfix have done their best to make it as scale as possible, it's a bit chunky, and would be best replaced with the new one from Radub, available here, which gives a much more realistic look to the area. The radiator bypass panel at the rear of the underside cowling can be propped open using a longer ram, or closed by using the shorter part, and the optional scabbed on tropical filter used on one of the marking options is added just aft of the chin scoop. The cockpit is similarly boxed in, with the remaining sidewall details added as you go, and a choice of either open or closed crew-steps on the starboard side panels. The canopy is installed late in the build, and has been the cause of some teeth-gnashing amongst owners of the first batch of kits, as there was often a split where the canopy met its sprue-gate at the top of the horseshoe shaped front. Airfix were quick on the case (although not quick enough for some), and have resolved the issue with later editions, but check your kit and get on the blower if yours is affected. Their parts department are a good bunch and will help you out quickly.

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As mentioned earlier, there are two types of elevator with differing aerodynamic profiles. They also have different trim-tabs, which are separate, so can be offset, adding some visual interest. The fins fit using tab and slot, with the elevators able to be posed anywhere between the two maximum deflections noted in a scrap diagram nearby. The big rudder panel had raised fabric ribbing, and again has a separate trim tab that can be offset 11o each way, while the rudder itself can go 27o in either direction. The covers for the cannon bays give you yet another choice, and you can use the single-piece covers to close the bays over, or use four-piece alternatives to pose them open, with scrap diagrams showing their correct position on the surface of the wing from two angles. The ailerons are made up with two outer skins and a long rod that is placed inside without gluing. It has three spurs that plug into the fuselage, and I suspect that will lead to more than a few "stuck" ailerons due to glue seepage. The flaps are simple affairs, and glue in either the open or closed position, with a small slice cut off the inner edge of the outer flap to allow the correct flush fit.

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The wheel bays are already detailed with ribbing and structural detail, and are now treated to a quantity of wiring/hosing as well as ancillary equipment and retraction gear, before that main gear legs are slotted onto the stubs installed earlier. The legs are fitted with separate oleo-scissor links, and the upper part of the leg is split into two pieces for moulding ease. Retraction jacks are added, and the captive outer bay doors are glued to the back of the leg, as shown in scrap diagrams that also show the correct angle for the two-piece tyres, which have integral hubs. Eduard have already released some resin wheels with greater sidewall detail, and I'll be reviewing those in due course. The inner doors fit to the lower wing with separate closure jacks, and the anti-shimmy tail wheel is fitted within its yoke and glued into the small bay in either up or down conditions, depending on your choice.

To complete the airframe, you need to add the prop, which comes in three- or four-bladed flavours, with each blade having a small insert at its base to key it into one of two two-part bosses, which clamp the blades in the correct orientation. Separate front and back spinner plates are also included, and if you are going for the static prop, you just glue it on the end of the prop shaft. If you are using the motor, you will get a small length of hollow ABS rod that you cut to 33mm and slide into the back of the prop, then push through the hole in the front of the engine until it fits snugly on the drive shaft of the little electric motor. Connect up a battery and enjoy the breeze… hopefully! A crew step, antenna under the fuselage, and pitot probe are all added, and that's the airframe done.

Weapons
The Typhoon was capable of carrying four RP3 unguided rockets under each wing, or two on the outer pylons plus long-range fuel tanks. It could also carry a 1,000lb bomb under each wing on squat pylons, so could pack quite a punch. Although it was theoretically possible to switch and change, squadrons tended to specialise as bomb or rocket carriers, due to the skills needed, and the hassle of changing the fitment. Happily for us, Airfix have included all of these options, so we get eight two-part rockets with matching rails, a pair of two-part drop-tanks, and not only two 1,000lb bombs, but also a pair of 500lb bombs, both of which fit on the same two-part pylons. The larger bombs also have a choice for fuse tips, which shows impressive attention to detail.

Markings
You have four decal options which all share the same base green/grey camouflage over a light grey underside with yellow wing leading edges. They are printed by Cartograf with all the quality that infers, and look very nice indeed. From the box you can build one of the following:
  • (A) MN666 CG flown by Wing Commander Charles Green, No.121 Wing, RAF Holmsley South, England, and Fresne-Camilly, Lower Normandy France, June 1944 – D-Day stripes on wings and fuselage, sky tail band.
  • ( B) DN252 ZY-N No.247 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, France & Belgium, June-Sept 1944 – Invasion stripes on lower wings and fuselage only, sky tail band & spinner.
  • © MP197 MR-U No.245 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, Germany & RAF Warmwell, England June-Aug 1945 – Blue spinner & chequerboard tail band, white shark-mouth on the nose.
  • (D) RB389 I8-P No.440 Squadron RCAF, 2nd Tactical Air Force, Netherlands & Germany, Feb-Mar 1945 – Pulveriser IV on the cowling.

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Each option is displayed in four-view format, with the facing page showing a CGI image of that decal option from three-quarters, front and sides in photographic colour.

Conclusion
It's a super kit in both senses of the word. You get some seriously leading edge CAD work and moulding, a great, aggressive looking subject, and a huge size in the box as well as when completed, and all for a shade under £90 if you shop around. The issues with the canopy were a minor inconvenience to the fraction of us wanting to build theirs immediately, but all is well that ends well.

It needs little in the way of aftermarket to improve on what is supplied in the box, and apart from figuring out where to store the box and resulting model, there should be little to stop you from getting one. If it worries you that you have never built anything so complex before, you could look out the book that ADH Publishing have prepared to guide you along your way.

Extremely highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of
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Nice review Mike. Behind the curve or not, it is still a fantastic kit, even with the canopy problems.

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Its a lovely kit and looks brilliant when built but I cant make my mind up whether to get one or not :shrug:

Resistance is futile, you know you want one :wicked:

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Or firing rockets into it. More realistic :D

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Very nice Mike, but with the explosion of large scale kits, someone should tell them about Mansion tax and bed room tax. :lol::lol:

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:offtopic: I think you need a Tiffie Dave - stick it on a diorama base putting a few rockets into a 1:72 Tiger in a forced perspective style :) At the price they're a available for now, you'd be foolish not to ;)

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Mike,

Are there two styles of rudder as well as tailplanes ? As your 7th and 8th photo's down look similar / same ?

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Mike,

Are there two styles of rudder as well as tailplanes ? As your 7th and 8th photo's down look similar / same ?

There are two styles as one of the paint schemes is built using a different rudder/tailplane than the other 3.

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There are two styles as one of the paint schemes is built using a different rudder/tailplane than the other 3.

Actually just looked at mine and I think there's only one style of rudder. There are two tails to accommodate the original and Tempest style horizontal stabilizers and elevators but I don't think the actual vertical fin and rudder changed during the bubble top production. I think those pictures are the same.

Some earlier car-door machines had a large balance but I think it was gone by the time the "sliders" came out and that style isn't reflected in the kit. Of course, if Tiffie experts out there know better, feel free to chime in!

Edited by MicahelSatin

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