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Hawker Hurricane, propellers and spinners, a modellers guide

Troy Smith

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On the Hurricane XII and XIIa, the hub was a Hamilton Standard 23E50 and the blades were 6353. This was a Hydromatic prop. I'm just a dumb pilot, but I believe the dome contained an oil reservoir.

I'm pretty sure the Battle props were DH props.


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So for a Hurricane Rotol prop in 1/48 what options do we have? I'd really fancy another Airfix mk1 in a Malta scheme, but the ones I like have the bullet Hurricane Rotol prop....


I'm blaming Mr O'Toole's excellent book for the above desire! :)


You mean a Hurricane Mk I with a Spitfire type Rotol I presume, as OOB what you get with Airfix?

if it has a Hurricane Rotol bullet on Malta it's pretty much going to be a Mk II.

Possibly a Mk I was fitted with a Rotol bullet type as a replacement (over to me O'Toole for that) , but all the tropical Mk I's I have seen have the DH Hurricane type.

As stated in the intro, this was the specified prop type for the tropical Hurricane I's

For a Mk I with the Spitfire Rotol, the options are -

Battle of France, - http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234980190-148-hurricane-mk1a-aftermarket-decals/#entry1957915

(though TP-X probably has a DH prop)

Battle of Britain, and then leaning into France era, when most Mk I's got replaced by Mk II's.

For an alternate scheme, you have some all black nightfighters, eg LK-A when repainted, VY-X


these Mk I's then ended up on 2nd line duties, Training Command, or being recycled in Sea Hurricanes (so with Hurricane DH) though ones with shore based units retained the Spitfire Rotol, eg the very famous pic of the W-8E


That's about it from memory. Does this answer your question?

You have far more marking possibilities using the DH Hurricane, and looking into Tropical Hurricane and Sea Hurricanes.

Now, Jonners, this is when you get the 2mm wide plastic strip, and convert the new Airfix Hurricane to a Mk II A or B....PM me if you want the low down on how to do this...

It's not a cut n shut, as you need to do the radiator, but do-able to a seasoned plastic fettler.



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As Sicily was only 60 miles away from Malta the RAF fighters needed the best possible rate of climb to reach the frequent Axis air raids against the island even with the help of radar but the standard DH prop on the Mk.I was not up to the task, even after the angles of the 2 stage propellers were altered by the islands senior Engineering Officer Sqn Ldr. Louks (who was also responsible for fitting modified engines and 3 bladed props to the Sea Gladiator`s amongst other things). Due to this the submarine transport `Magic Carpet Service' brought in Rotol propellers to be refitted to as many Hurricane`s as possible in Malta, so although you are right about the DH props being `preferred' for tropical Hurricane`s, (part of the reason being that they were considered more suitable for carrier ferry operations), for the same reason that MSFU Sea Hurri Mk.Ia`s were also fitted with Rotols, the Malta Hurricane`s needed the additional climb performance! In Malta`s case this was to stop the RAFfighter pilots from being continually bounced from above by escorting fighters (and in the MSFU case it was so that they could reach high flying Condors before they flew away from a convoy and reported the position to U-Boats!).

Even the Rotol props didn`t help the Hurri`s to reach the raids against Malta before the bombers dropped their bombs but the additional performance usually allowed them to climb out to sea and come back to hit the raids as they left their targets or as the rear of the raid passed overhead, which wasn`t of much benefit to the poor people on the ground unfortunately! The arrival of Hurricane Mk.II`s gave increased performance but by then they were facing Bf 109F`s & Macchi 202`s!

Only with the advent of Spitfire`s and new tactics which were brought in by fighter supremo Sir Keith Park when he became AOC Malta were the bombers finally intercepted before they reached their targets on Malta,...using the same tactics that he used with 11 Group during the Battle of Britain,.....but that is another story!



Edit- Even some early Hurricane Mk.IIa`s were fitted with DH propellers,.....not Rotols! Many of these were sent to Malta,....again maybe because this type of prop was preferred for carrier delivery ops at the time,...ie 1941?

During the dark days of the siege there were never enough Rotol propeller units available but they were so prized on the Hurricane Mk.I`s that in the case of a crash the hub unit was retrieved and either canibalised for spares or sent for rebuild by Malta based servicemen. New wooden blades were constructed in the Malta Dockyard and apparently these blades were regarded by pilots as better than those which came from factories in the UK!

Edited to correct my atrocious spelling!

Edited by tonyot
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Excellent info Tony,

very happy to learn more on this, as will Jonners as sure it will make his life easier.

I hadn't pulled your Malta book out before replying, it's a bit 'buried' at the mo, but I had no memory of Mk I's with Rotol props....should have known Malta was a special case ;)

( note to self...check available refs first!)

Got to say I'm very pleased with the information I didn't know that this thread has winkled out from you and Jim on the Canadian props.



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No worries Troy........ but please enlighten us as to where to add the extension to the Airfix Mk.I to make a Mk.II as there are lots of Mk.II`s that I want to build and I`m not 100% sure where to add this?

I thought that it might be partly behind the exhausts somewhere but with with some in front of the exhausts too,.....and weren`t the leading edge roots slightly different too,......however I don`t know anything for sure?

When you mention the radiator being different do you mean the addition of the circular section inside the radiator grills or was the entire radiator cowling different too?

My scalpel is poised waiting for your enlightenment,...not to mention my decal file which is groaning with Mk.IIa`s and IIb`s that I want to build!



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Hi Tony

Slightly off topic, anyway, the details were discussed here a while back.


The Mk II has a Merlin XX engine, it's 4 inches longer than the Merlin III in the supercharger back gubbins.

The Merlin III already sits against the main spar.

The length is added in the middle of the rear cowling panel.

This drawing was part of Peter Cooke's 'Hurricane Veracity' Article in MAM in 1999. he measured up several Hurricanes, and did this drawing.

Note position of inserted length.


Note also the deeper radiator, which then has almost square section, as opposed to the oval Mk I.

The carb intake is also wider,


From all I have read, the cowl length, measured from the panel line immediately aft of the exhausts is the same for all the the Hurricanes.


The difference is in the rear engine bearers, they are longer, because the merlin XX is longer. The added length is is in the middle of the panel in front of the cockpit, behind the exhaust panel.
The longer engine bearers need a longer leading edge fillet, it's quite subtle unless you look carefully and it's well lit, due to curves, and the camo lines, remember it's only 4 inches, a quick measure of some drawings show the rear panel on the MkI to be 39", so one a MKII it should be 43", about 10% longer.
Graham nails this point



A more obvious comparison is the fairing between the wing leading edge and the nose - this is almost circular on the Mk.I and twice the length and more elliptical on the Mk.II. This is very easy to note when you have the two to compare, of course.


These pics while not ideal, I hope show this difference.

Mk I
Mk I
neat shot of a IIA, this shows the extended root fillet well.

compare to this one again.



these posted by bob show the extended engine bearers, and lengthened root fillet

On 05/03/2011 at 13:04, gingerbob said:

Here's another demonstration of the fillet (and perhaps other) difference: both from "The Hawker Hurricane" F K Mason 1962




Mki Radiator and carb intake


From http://www.primeportal.net/hangar/mark_hayward/hurricane_mk1_l1592/

L1952, with a DH Hurricane prop.

Mk II , also has a circular core added to the radiator. I don't know how original the mesh on the carb intake is.


From http://www.primeportal.net/hangar/mark_hayward/hurricane_iia/

This is infact a IIB, note outer wing guns, but is marked as one of the first Mk IIA's, as used by 111 Squadron in the BoB.


The Hobbycraft IIC gets the wider carb intake and has the best Rotol bullet spinner in 1/48th, but misses the deeper radiator

the HC kit has what looks to be an ERS/9 spinner, and has the Canadian radiator intake.(rounded at sides)

Hasegawa get the deeper radiator and moved carb intake, but not the wider carb intake.

The hase kit has the British Radiator intake (squarer, as seen above) and what looks to be a CM/1 spinner.

Noither get the carb intake right.


Italeri get the deeper radiator, and moved carb intake, but not the wider carb intake.

So, the conversion either requires spares, (for example the Hasegawa 'Croix De Lorraine' kit has both the Mk i and II parts) or copies of these bits.

Later Mk II's have the 'knuckled' tailwheel, and fishtail exhausts. Aeroclub did a white metal Mk II tailwheel.

The Ark kit has an OK Rotol bullet spinner (pic on page 1) and both types of tailwheel.

Or, some modelling skill. Adjusting the rad and carb intake I think will be the tricky bit. I did make a smash mould for a Rotol bullet spinner, it's not to hard a shape to turn from dowel, and you could (probably) use the kit DH backplate combined with the kit Rotol blades.

There is also the business of adjusting the cowl fillet, the conversion will be easier if you have a Hase Mk II to refer to, as they get this right.( I know both Tony and Jonner's have Hase II's about for reference)

Note, the Hase kit upper cowling is bit flat.

So, not actually an 'easy' conversion unless you are good at scratch building and modifications.

This will get you to a IIA, a IIB needs the outer gun bays panels adding.


and the leading edge gun ports.

one bit of info that came up in discussion here, the guns had to be removed through the leading edge panel!

this pic shows what a sod of job that was!


useful walkaround here


so... bit tricky...

For the IIC/IID/IV you need to fill and change the gun bay panel lines....



PS note in the drawing there is a note about the canopy rail being curved, here's a warbird photo which shows this detail well, the canopy flexes down a bit as well when shut.


This is one of the BBMF planes I think, note also the round review mirror used on later Hurricanes as well...this detail change was pointed out to me in correspondence with a veteran pilot!

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The later "bullet" Rotol was a fairly common (if not standard) fit on very late production Mk.1s.

Re DH props on Mk.IIs - I haven't seen any outside of Terry's book. This does have a number including Z4544 - but Z4544 is a Mk.I from the Gloster's last production batch of Mk.Is Z4022 to Z4939. This batch is between a batch of Mk.IIs from Hawkers and Gloster's first batch of Mk.IIs, and a number of these Mk.Is went to the Middle East and Malta. The Air Britain serials book does include the same photo of Z4544. I suspect that the other "Mk.IIs with DH prop" may also come from this batch of Mk.Is.

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One propeller curio.

Every Hurricane propeller I have ever seen is black, or at least I though it was until I saw this...


Though with the prop spinning I thought it could be light reflection,(the red arrows indicate a tail marking. also discussed)

then in this thread these came up.

from http://sovietwarplanes.com/board/index.php?topic=1441.0



Same plane in 2nd and 3rd photos I think.

I don't know why the prop blades have been repainted.

Both aircraft have been regunned by the Soviets by the way.

If that is new info, please see here - http://sovietwarplanes.com/board/index.php?topic=881.0

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Thanks for the very comprehensive update Troy,....I don`t think that I`ll be converting my Airfix Mk.I into a Mk.II then, I`ll just dig out a Hasegawa kit from the stash and hope that Airfix decide to do for the Hurricane what they ave started with the Spitfire!!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Graham Boak made an observation, that there maybe 2 Rotol 'bullet' Hurricane spinners is fascinating.

A photo hunt , shows this as an example

The spinner on KW924 does look longer and 'sharper' than on KZ320.

Another things to ponder on when going through photos!



And, as this was discussed, this is the mishaped Hasegawa 1/72 spinner, relevant bits quote below. Thanks to Tony O T again.


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.



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


Lockheed Constellation


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  • 4 months later...

Hi Troy - I've been thinking of changing the prop on the 1:32 scale Hurricane I've posted, pretending to take the Revell kit that was its basis into something resembling a Mk 1 Hurricane that finished its operational career several feet under the ground near Tunbridge Wells at the beginning of Sept 1940. The prop assembly in the Revell kit is the type fitted to the Mk 11 which Revell used as the basis for the kit. I couldn't find a PCM kit at the time and until I went through this learned thread, I thought "who would notice?" I've tried to find a 1:32 scale de Havilland or Rotol prop for either Spitfires or Hurricanes but have had no luck. Do you know where such a rarity might be found or is it back to scratch building? Any help much appreciated.


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Just did an edit to add in the info on the CM/1 vs ES/9 spinners.   


And in the process I found this shot, 

a Finnish captured Hurricane (note Sa-Kuva watermark) Asisbiz caption says it's from 151 wing,  I'd need to check other captured Finnish shots for a better ID (they salvaged 4  VVS Hurricanes) 

I suspect this is a CM/1 spinner,  as I can't see any attachment holes, but it's a fascinating shot usually only seen in warbird restoration, which show the change in shape from the circular nose ring, to triangle with rounded corners shape by the first panel line, and how the quite flat nose at the point then changes into a full curve by the windscreen.    Another one of those subtle Hurricane shapes often missed by models and modellers 


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Regard it as a somewhat improve MS406 shape. The Morane does rather ram it home that there is a V-12 under there.


Also often forgotten by modeller and toolmakers, the Bf109 is like that but upside down.  There is a big one-piece engine bay door hinged at one side, wide and very nearly flat.

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12 hours ago, Troy Smith said:




shows the change in shape from the circular nose ring, to triangle with rounded corners shape by the first panel line, and how the quite flat nose at the point then changes into a full curve by the windscreen.    Another one of those subtle Hurricane shapes often missed by models and modellers 


Ah, the subtle art of developing skin lines! Takes me back many years to my time learning aircraft lofting, and then putting it into practice, (for a short time only, until I got a better job in the wind tunnel 😃 ), putting it into practice on the loft floor. That was a long time ago!! I'm quite ancient.

Peter M

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  • 1 year later...
On 21/12/2021 at 00:07, MarkoZG said:

This is an excellent topic, it would just need re-loading of lost photos.

most of the photos are there, but now just show up as links as they are  http, not https hosted.

But for ease of reference, I rehosted them.

I'm giving this a bump  as I added some new images of  Canadian 'Battle Hurricanes'  and their origin, that was not posted originally.

Thanks to @Carl V for those.

I may well do a 'redux' of this later,  as it still a bit of a mess, having had a few edits as and when new bits have surfaced.   

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