Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Troy Smith

Hawker Hurricane, propellers and spinners, a modellers guide

Recommended Posts

First, a request, please only post a response if you have a question not covered here, or any corrections or additional information.

Use the 'like this' button if it's of use but you have nothing to add to save thread clutter. Thank you.

Various threads about Hurricanes have come up.

The most confusing area for the modeller, and an important part of any model is the propeller, as it a very obvious focus point for a model.

Now, in general the Hurricane is a simple aircraft for the modeller, the only other complex area are the early Mk I's, which had a series of changes and modifications introduced over a relatively short time.

As a result, the Mk I Hurricane can have possibly one of five types of propeller, fitted in this order

Watts 2 blade

DH Spitfire Type

DH Hurricane Type

Spitfire Rotol

Hurricane Rotol

 

here's a great pre war colour shot of a Watts prop, which also shows well the inboard position of the landing lights on the fabric wing

3559753440_21aa4c4904_o.jpgHurricane mk.I by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr

 

This thread deals with some of the very early plane detail changes - http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234950986-early-hurricane-mki-details-and-a-challenge-or-two/

This drawing is from a Peter Cooke articles called "Hurricane Veracity" showing the other 4 spinner shapes.

Hurricanespinners.jpg

In this handy shot

N - Spitfire Rotol

R - Hurricane DH

U - Hurricane Rotol

shurr-2.jpg

The exact reasons are to do with the quest for performance, and an area's opertaional requirements.

The Watts 2 blade is a fixed pitch prop, which is average compromise for blade angle.

The initial De Havilland unit was a 2 pitch propeller, with fine and coarse settings, though a modification kit to turn it into a constant speed unit was soon developed and fitted at unit level.

The De Havilland unit initiallly fitted to the Hurricane was intended for the Spitfire, which has a slightly larger nose ring, so the spinner base is wide for Hurricanes nose.

I surmise that these unts were available, and as they made a big difference to performance were fitted and retorfitted to Hurricanes as they were available.

De Havilland then developed a spinner specifically for the Hurricane, which was then fitted.

From what information I have and discussion here this happened in early 1940 during the N**** serial aircraft, which was the 2nd Hawker production batch.

One other point is the DH unit had metal blades.

these two shots from the Ducimus Hurricane Camo and Markings guide,

N2358 has the Spitfire DH unit, N2479 has the Hurricane DH unit.

As can be seen the Spitfire DH is wider and blunter, and overhangs the nose ring, the Hurricane DH is more pointed and is correct diameter.

Hurricane_DH_Spinner_comparison.png

It's hard to tell, but I think N2358 has a fabric wing, while N2479 has a metal wing.

The position on the landing lights is a wing bay inboard on the fabric wing compared to the metal wing.

(N2358 shows the diorama possibilities of the Airfix Albion refueller too ;) )

The Rotol Spitfire type spinner seems to have been introduced onto the Gloster built third batch of Hurricane in February/ March 1940.

Graham Boak in a thread on Luftwaffe Experten Message Board (LEMB) still up but no longer active, suggested they appear from the P27** serial range onwards.,

which would be P2535 - P2584 (50), P2614 - P2653 (40), P2672 - P2701 (30)

from http://www.k5083.mistral.co.uk/APS.HTM

The Rotol unit has blades made out of Jablo, a compressed wood composite, and was lighter than the DH unit.

From what i can gather this gave the best performance to the Hurricane, and the became the preferred unit during the Battle of Britain.

Again, as developed for the Spitfire it is too large for the Hurricane nose ring.

see also http://www.a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=12029

This has a lot more technical information, but also some dates, note there are many links to quotes and documents here

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/hurricane/hurricane-I.html

Links to information regarding two-speed vs Constant speed propellers

http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/message/1429177650/CS+vs+two+position+props...

The 'bullet' Rotol unit was the Hurricane specific unit, and is unit seen on all Mk II and IV's, but also on some late Hurricane I's, and was also retrofitted, an example is P2617, the Hendon Hurricane which has this fitted from it's time in Training Command.

510 510 sq in France, May 1940, shows blade shape very well.

501-rotolhurri-france.jpg

The 'bullet' Rotol unit was fitted with two types of blade, and from looking at photos, the Spitfire Rotol had a slightly different blade compared to the initial Hurricane Rotol type.

this is captioned as being a 1 Sq RCAF aircraft, looks to be BoB era, note the rounded tips compared to the angled in photo above

Hawker_Hurricane_I_aircraft_of_No._1_F_S

I don't think I have ever seen a photo of a MK II or Mk IV with anything but bullet Rotol, but there are two blade types.

this ,( a 151 wing Hurricane in Russia BTW) which is the earlier type

Hurricane-MkIIbTrop-RAF-151-Wing-Vaenga-

This is the later (i think) type of blade fitted to the bullet Rotol, note the lack of the bottom 'corners'

Hurricane_later_rotol_blades.png

Edit - posted on Hyperscale http://www.network54.com/Forum/149674/thread/1429144547/2/Airfix+1-48+scale+Hurricane+Mk.I+Review

Quote

Props for the Mk.I are as follows:

 
Watts Type Z38, 11 ft. 3 in.
DH Hamilton two-position, 11 ft.
Rotol RMS7 variable pitch, 10 ft. 9 in.
 
Some late production Gloster-built Mk.Is have the Rotol props same as the Mk.IIs.
Rotol R.S.5/2 with Schwarz blades, 11 ft. 3 in.
Rotol R.S.5/3 with Jablo blades, 11 ft, 3 in.

EDIT 2/5/15

Graham Boak has mentioned that there are possibly two types of 'bullet' Rotol.

Quote

The point that there maybe 2 Rotol Hurricane spinners is fascinating. I noticed that the spinner on KW924 does look longer than on KZ320.

Another things to ponder on when going through photos!

hurr2-6.jpg

hurr2-4.jpg

The Mk V Hurricane, of which two prototypes were made, was fitted with a 4 blade unit, the same as fitted to a Spitfire IX.

hurr4-7.jpg

The DH Hurricane unit was the preferred fit for Tropical Mk I's, perhaps the metal blade being considered more durable than the Rotol unit, and on the Sea Hurricane I, where the extra weight helped counterbalance the weight of the arrestor hook.

Tropical Mk I

hurr1-4.jpg

Sea Hurricane IB, aslo fitted with a oil ring behind spinner to deflect oil leaks from prop.

the lack of the rectangular access panel and difference in tones between metal and fabric covered areas is also of note.

shurr-7.jpg

Land operated Navy Hurricanes, and CAM ship Hurricanes vary, and Mk II Sea Hurricanes have the bullet Rotol.

Finally, there are the Canadian built Hurricanes. I am indebted to this blog posting for some details on this.

see http://ascalecanadian.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/rcaf-hawker-hurricanes-part-1.html

the Canadian built Mk I's were fitted with the DH unit [type? - check]

but the subsequent X, XI, XII and XIIA were fitted with a Hamilton Standard unit, usually without a spinner,

rcafdimes1.jpg

though some had specific Canadian spinner fitted.

Trop-1.jpg

But, exported Canadian Hurricanes were refitted with the Hurricane Rotol, or in the case of Sea Hurricane conversion, a DH unit.

HurricaneBV-T.jpg

Quote

The RCAF also received Sea Hurricanes. Yes, the RCAF got some Sea Hurricanes complete with hooks. They were built by CC&F for the FAA but were diverted to Canada. They were in the BW835 to BW884 serial range. The RCAF Sea Hurricanes were basically a Hurricane Mark I with a hook, a DH spinner with a cut down Battle prop, and an eight gun wing. Early in service they carried the Fleet Air Arm scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey/Dark Slate Grey over Sky. (A common misconception here is that they didn't have hooks. I can't confirm if they all had hooks or some did and some didn't but this one sure did.) This one is BW850 BV-T of 126 (F) Squ. RCAF

I'll work on doing some kit spinner and propeller comparisons later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't 'do' 1/72nd, so don't have a selection of kits to reference, but in 1/72nd the Hurricane is poorly served, and most of the kits have serious shape errors.

In 1/144th there are only the old Revell kit, which is very inaccurate, and the Sweet kit, which looks to be very good, but is a MK I only.

In 1/32nd the choice is the PCM Mk I, which seems to be had to get, or a lot work upgrading the Revell kit. Hint, get the PCM kit.

In 1/24th, their is the Airfix kit, which is a Mk I, and suffers from having a too deep nose to fit the to scale Merling, and thus has a too big spinner, both in diameter and length. I've been working on a fix on an old one, but the blades are well shaped for the angle tip Rotol blade.

Trumpeter do several 1/24th kits, a Mk I, IIC, IIC trop and IID. I have the IIC trop, and overall it's very good, but the spinner is misshaped, being a bit too tubular.

I don't have the Mk I too comment.

I 'do' 1/48th, This will take some typing, so I'll edit more in later

There are

Monogram - 60's moulding, closest to a IIA. prop and spinner is OK

Airfix - Mk I, has the Spitfire type DH and Rotol props, both well shaped, though the Rotol has too large a diameter of blades according to Iain Wyllie. This I need to double check.

Hobbycraft - a IIC, based on the Airfix, has the best shaped bullet Rotol of all the Mk II kits though!

Hasegawa -

issued in many boxings, see here http://modelingmadness.com/splfeat/kr/has48b.htm

3 types of prop, DH Hurricane, Rotol Spitfire and Rotol Hurricane bullet.

also 3 prop blade sprues,

sprue W - 3 parts, De Havilland 10’9” propeller and spinner

Sprue D - 1 part, Rotol later metal propeller
Sprue X - 1 part, Jablo 11’9” propeller

Note, the 'later metal' D Sprue is the earlier type Rotol fitted to the Mk II, and the sprue X is the later type mk II IIRC. I can't check just at this mo.

Classic Airframes - Fabric wing Mk I, has quite a few issues, and is based on the Hase kit. Has a Watts 2 blade, a Spitfire Rotol and Hurricane bullet Rotol (which I have never seen on a fabric wing Hurricane)

Pegasus - based on Hasegawa, it's a BoB Mk I with Spitfire Rotol.

Ark - based mostly on Airfix, but with detail parts based on Hasegawa, crude moulding, and tricky to build without a lot of work.

Does have 3 props, DH Spitfire, Rotol Spitfire, remarks per Old Airfix, and Rotol Hurricane bullet, which is the 3rd best shaped bullet.

Italeri - have done a Mk I, with a DH Spitfire? and Spitfire Rotol, I put ? as Italaleri made the nose ring too big, and then made spinners to fit. The Rotol one is maybe salvageble, the DH one is hideous.

A Sea Hurricane I, with only the mishaped DH

IIC, with a really misshaped spinner, to broad at the base, then going into a weird nipple like tip. Vile.

more on the 'joys' of the Italeri kit here

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234935596-sea-hurricane-148-italeri/#entry1390213

New Airfix, not got one yet, but looks good.

I will edit in more later, like the comparison photos I need to take....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sea Hurricane Mk.Ia `Hurricat' Note;

I have noticed that many `in service' MSFU `Hurricat' Sea Hurricane Mk.Ia`s were refitted with the bullet spinner Rotol, presumably because this gave a much better climb rate which was much needed in the Hurricat role.

I have also seen a blunt Rotol unit on another MSFU Hurricat, but I would think that this was quite rare?

Cheers

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Troy,

You have paraphrased my article incorrectly. I'm working on an article that should be published later this year with more details, but basically:

CCF Hurricanes built on RAF contracts were fitted with RAF equipment in the UK. CCF only had a few engines and props to flight test the Hurricanes before delivery.

RCAF Hurricane XII and XIIa were fitted with Hamilton Standard props. The XIIs were RCAF serials 5376 to 5775. XIIa were rebuilt Sea Hurricanes and what I referenced as Hurricane Xs.

There is no such thing as a RCAF Hurricane XI. Not sure where "common knowledge" about these aircraft came from. They all appear to be British contract aircraft.

What I called Hurricane Xs in that article...which may or may not be in error; RCAF records called them Hurricane Mk. Is or just Hurricanes...were fitted with Battle props (and engines). These aircraft were RCAF serials 1351 to 1380. Survivors of this batch were rebuilt as Hurricane XIIa.

The Sea Hurricanes operated by the RCAF were diverted from British contracts and fitted with British equipment. All photos I've seen show DH pointy spinners. In the article I said they were fitted with Battle props, but they may have just been standard DH props. These aircraft were BW835 to BW884. Survivors of this batch were rebuilt as Hurricane XIIa.

"Free issue" Hurricanes XIIs may have been fitted with RCAF equipment but the engines and props would have been removed when delivered to the RAF.

Hope this helps,

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jim

I don't a great deal about the Canadian Hurricanes, which I why I used the basics from your blog, I was mostly trying to sort out the finer details of the British made props, and added your Canadian information I could find to make reader aware of the different propeller fitted, but it was more of a footnote in an attempt at completeness.

So, thank you for adding some useful corrections and information.

I look forward to your updated article and please inform us when you publish it, will this be on your Scale Canadian blog?

For anyone who has not checked the link, there is a great photo of a Mk XII with rocket rails!

I should have added that as many warbirds are from Canadian built airframes, the Canadian spinner is not an uncommon sight., for example one of the 3 Hurricanes in the Battle Of Britain film is Canadian and fitted with this type of spinner.

here's a shot from the film, with a very helpful shot of this Canadian spinner, usefully contrasted with the Rotol 'bullet'

8822787.jpg

But, AFAIK, this spinner is not available in any kit or aftermarket, though Ultracast do the spinnerless version

http://ultracast.ca/products/48/148/default.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1/144th there are only the old Revell kit, which is very inaccurate, and the Sweet kit, which looks to be very good, but is a MK I only.

There is also a Zvezda 1/144 Hurri I

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ZVE6173

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234943298-zvezda-1144-hurricane-mk1-night-fighter/

I had a look at one at Cosford last weekend. It'd not bad, better than the Revell by far, but nowhere near as good as the Sweet kit. I would build one if I didn't have a cupboard full of Sweets. It suffers from having non Frise ailerons: the chord is excessive on the upper wing surface.

Edited by Work In Progress

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an interesting point from Tony. It is said (where it is noted at all) that the Sea Hurricane had the DH prop because it was heavier, to balance the arrester gear. However, the Sea Hurricane Mk.Ia as used on the catapult ships (whether CAM ships or RN) didn't have the arrester gear, so would be free to use whatever prop was available or the "donor" Hurricane came with. It really should be said that it was the Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib which had to have the DH prop.

A good summary Troy, I was particularly interested in seeing the Canadian spinner highlighted. Now to get this thread fixed permanently

Edited by Graham Boak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But, AFAIK, this spinner is not available in any kit or aftermarket, though Ultracast do the spinnerless version

http://ultracast.ca/products/48/148/default.htm

Troy,

That is a nice shot of the much missed C-GCWH and illustrates the "Canadian" spinner nicely. I had some theories about what aircraft had the spinner and didn't, but the period photographic record dispelled all of them. They are, however; popular with the warbird guys. There seems to be no rhyme or reason why it was fitted to XIIs and XIIas. Sadly, no one makes one in plastic.

(There are also quite a few US restored CCF Hurricanes with a huge spinner kind of like the example found in the Hasegawa kit. My understanding is that these spinners were from Lockheed Constellations!)

Jim

Edited by airjiml2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The simple answer is that there were a number of different propellers on Hurricanes, so a number of different spinners were inevitable. There were two different Rotol spinners because the initial design was designed around the diameter of the Spitfire's nose. If you look closely at the photos of the first experimental Hurricane with the Rotol, you'll see that it had a modified nose shape to meet the Rotol spinner cleanly. This was not adopted for production, so when it was decided that the Hurricane should have priority in the fitting of constant speed props, the step down appeared behind the spinner with, I suspect, the oil leaks that led to the fitting of the oil spill ring on the nose. By late 1941 the production of the proper Hurricane spinner was in hand and this appeared on service aircraft.

I've no idea why there was a specifically local Canadian spinner, but this may have something to do with how the Hamilton propeller hub differed from the DeH one.

Other aircraft types also had different spinners during their development - the Spitfire had more than the Hurricane, thanks to the fit of the Griffon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"510 sq in France, shows blade shape very well". Should this be 501 Squadron?

Mike.

Yes Mike, 501 is correct, missed when I was checking it. will correct!

Troy,

That is a nice shot of the much missed C-GCWH and illustrates the "Canadian" prop nicely. I had some theories about what aircraft had the prop and didn't, but the period photographic record dispelled all of them. They are, however; popular with the warbird guys. There seems to be no rhyme or reason why it was fitted to XIIs and XIIas. Sadly, no one makes one in plastic.

(There are also quite a few US restored CCF Hurricanes with a huge spinner kind of like the example found in the Hasegawa kit. My understanding is that these spinners were from Lockheed Constellations!)

Jim

Hi Jim

Ah, I had wondered what the spinner on G-HURR was,

Hawker_Hurricane_XII_Private_G-HURR,_QFO

Lockheed Constellation

14927172911_d2dccdbd34_z.jpg

As for 'Hasegawa' I take that to mean 'Italeri', yes, there is a resemblance!

Three 1/48th Spinners

left to right

Ark, Hasegawa. Italeri

Hurricane_Spinners_Ark_Hase_Italeri.jpg

I knew I had taken at least one pic of this...need one showing Hobbycraft's as well.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234967709-white-sea-hurricanes-with-d-day-stripes-again/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No he means Hasegawa 1/72nd scale which is a dead ringer for the Connie spinner.

The Hurricane restored in Malta also had a Connie spinner fitted although when I was there last this had been removed so hopefully they have a more accurate looking one fitted by now? Still a great restoration nevertheless.

Cheers

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Troy for this. So are there any guidelines for when the oil deflector ring behind the spinner was fitted?

Jonners

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Troy for this. So are there any guidelines for when the oil deflector ring behind the spinner was fitted?

Jonners

Good question Jon

Andy L posted this here

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234963507-all-the-hurricane-questions-you-want-to-ask-here/page-3#entry1687630

scan0347_zpsdd3baf66.jpg

In answer to the oil ring question - photo taken of a 615 Squadron Hurricane, late October

1940 at Northolt

But, apart from that, refer to photos, I presume this is the earliest one Andy could find, and is also a great shot of the spinner shape.

EDIT - the oil ring was needed as the constant speed units leaked oil, which blew back onto the windscreen.

an example of the oil leak is shown here, visible on spinner, and top of cowling.

Lewis5.jpg

Plane is 85 Sq, VY-K, supposed to be 'Sammy' Allard's, taken at Castle Camps, July 1940.

Part of a series of Life photos, often reproduced, also of note is the non standard paint demarcation, indicating an in field repaint of 'sky' and the very chipped paint on wings, seen on a few Hurricanes in 1940.

Note also the distinctive oil stains on the UC doors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've no idea why there was a specifically local Canadian spinner, but this may have something to do with how the Hamilton propeller hub differed from the DeH one.

Partly yes, and partly because the RAF did not supply spinners for RCAF contract aircraft. So the RCAF adapted and used a local design.

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for 'Hasegawa' I take that to mean 'Italeri', yes, there is a resemblance!

Tony is correct, I meant the spinner in the 1/72 Hasegawa kits. (I am sorry to admit I've never seen a Hasgawa 1/48 Hurricane.) See here:

http://modelingmadness.com/review/allies/gb/geldmacherhurri2c.htm

It was also a feature of the USAF Museum Hurricane before they sent it to the UK for upgrades:

050331-F-1234P-049.jpg

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That doesn't explain why they didn't simply use an established design. One reason may be contractual difficulties: DH not having the rights to sell Hamilton-linked things in Canada

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That doesn't explain why they didn't simply use an established design. One reason may be contractual difficulties: DH not having the rights to sell Hamilton-linked things in Canada

As I said above, it was partly because the neither the DH nor Rotol spinner would fit over the Hamilton Standard hub. Also, I can find no evidence of any Hurricane spinners with CCF other than the DH design and a Hamilton Standard hub sure isn't fitting in that spinner!

The more interesting question, is why they felt the need for a spinner? So many RCAF Hurris operated without them, so why were some fitted? I had a few theories, but none of them are born out in practice.

Jim

Edited by airjiml2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DH prop was the HS one built under licence, so are we talking about different HS designs? Could it be an early Hydromatic? The later DH Hydromatic did not require such an obviously different spinner on the Spitfire - they weren't used on Hurricanes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't a great photo, but it shows the two different props used on RCAF Hurricanes. The more common Hamilton Standard of the XII and XIIa and the Battle prop fitted to the Hurricane X.

19375.jpg

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DH prop was the HS one built under licence, so are we talking about different HS designs? Could it be an early Hydromatic? The later DH Hydromatic did not require such an obviously different spinner on the Spitfire - they weren't used on Hurricanes.

Graham,

I did not know the DH prop was a Hamilton Standard design. Does it have as large of a dome as the prop on the Hurricane XII?

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, without the spinner it looks much more like the other one in your photo. I would have been quite happy identifying that as a DH prop - maybe it is, I'll have to go looking into books on the Battle.

As far as I understand the dome was largely decorative, or at least protective. The question I raised was whether this would be a different large dome with the Hydromatic version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×