Jump to content

DeHavilland Sea Hornet NF.21. 1:48


Shar2
 Share

Recommended Posts

DeHavilland Sea Hornet NF.21
Trumpeter 1:48

boxart.jpg



History
The Hornet was designed with the possibility of naval service in carriers firmly in mind. To this end good low speed handling was required, along with good all-round visibility for the pilot. The basic Hornet design excelled at meeting these requirements.

Shortly after the first Hornet prototype flew, Specification N.5/44 was issued to de Havilland covering the modification of the Hornet for naval service. The Heston Aircraft Company was contracted to carry out the conversion work on three early production F.Is. The work entailed altering the wings to incorporate folding mechanisms so that each outer wing panel, from the aileron/flap line outboard could be folded upwards and inwards at an angle. The hinges were part of the upper wing skin structure while the lower wing skins incorporated securing latches. Lockheed hydraulic jacks were used to actuate the wing panels. Slotted flaps were introduced to improve low speed "flaps down" control.

The lower rear fuselage was reinforced with two additional spruce longerons designed to take the stresses imposed by the external "vee" framed arrestor hook, which was flush-mounted below the fuselage. The frame was made up of steel tubing with a forged-steel hook and was held against the fuselage by a "snap gear". Because the Hornet used the American "3-point" system of catapult-assisted takeoff, two forged steel catapult bridle hooks were fitted, one below each wing, close to the fuselage.

The de Havilland rubber-in-compression undercarriage legs could not absorb the rebound energies imposed by carrier landings. They were replaced by more conventional hydraulic oleos which embodied torque links. Merlin 133/134s (de-rated from 2,070 hp/1,543 kW to 2,030 hp/1,535 kW) were fitted to all Sea Hornets.

Other specialised naval equipment (mainly different radio gear), was fitted and provision was made for three camera ports, one on each side of the rear fuselage and one pointing down. Sea Hornet F 20s also incorporated the modifications of the Hornet F 3, although the internal fuel capacity was 347 Imp gal (1,557 l), slightly reduced from that of the F I. In total, all of the modifications added some 550 lb (249 kg) to the weight of the aircraft. Maximum speed was decreased by 11 mph (18 km/h).
The Hornet NF 21 was designed to fill a need for a naval night fighter. Special flame dampening exhausts were installed, and a second basic cockpit was added to the rear fuselage, just above the wing trailing edges. ASH radar equipment was placed in the rear of this cockpit; with the radar operator/navigator seated facing aft. To gain access, a small trap door was provided in the lower fuselage; a fixed, teardrop shaped bubble canopy, which could be jettisoned in an emergency, provided a good field of view. At the front of the aircraft, the nose underwent a transformation with the small rotating ASH radar dish being housed under an elongated "thimble" radome. The horizontal tail units were increased in span. The effect of these modifications on performance was minimal; about 4 mph (6 km/h)

The Sea Hornet PR 22 was a dedicated photo reconnaissance aircraft version of the F 20. The cannon were removed and the apertures faired over. Three cameras were installed in the rear fuselage; two F 52s for night time use and one K.19B for daytime use. A total of 23 PR 22s were built, interspersed with F.20s being built at Hatfield.

The Model
Trumpeter do have a penchant for producing very nice boxart for their kits and this one is no exception, painted directly from a period photograph showing a Sea Hornet on deck with wings folded. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the styrene inside. Whilst the parts are all beautifully moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, the faults that were noted in their previously released Hornets have been reproduce with this kit. Shame really as the artwork shows how it should look. The nose appears a little too deep, which has then caused problems with the windscreen, the lower edge of which should be pretty much horizontal, whereas the kit has a sharp incline from the fuselage to the upper nose panel. The rudder, ailerons and elevators also have quite pronounced ribbing effects, when they should be flat as they were metal skinned, not fabric. Without building it I cannot say whether the undercarriage position is correct, but I believe the kit of the land based version was wrong, so wouldn’t have though that Trumpeter would have corrected it since they hadn’t with the nose. There also appears to something very wrong woth the ailerons, in that they don't match the shape or even reach the wing tips, it's like they're short shot, but it looks like they're moulded that way.



sprue1.jpg


Ok, that’s the accuracy and perhaps slight negativity sorted, what do you actually get in the box? There are six sprues of medium grey styrene, one sprue of clear styrene and a decal sheet. Going by the thickness of the instruction booklet and parts count, this won’t be a complicated build, and if you aren’t too bothered about accuracy it does sort of look like a Sea Hornet, if you squint a bit, but will probably go together without too many problems.

sprue2.jpg


The build begins with the front cockpit, with the seat and seat armour being fitted to the cockpit tub. The joystick, instrument panel, with decal instruments, gunsight, gunsight glass and the rear cockpit tray. Now this tray doesn’t look quite right. It seems to be fitted with a tank of some sort, and two boxes positioned fore and aft. Now I’m happy to be corrected, but I presumed these would be the ammunition boxes and positioned athwartships, but I’m only going on what a BM member is doing with his magnificent 1:32 detailing of the HpH kit, as I cannot find a good photograph of the area even in the David Collins’ superb book on the type. Anyway, with the tray in place the spring like rod is fitted between the aft end of the try and the seat, followed by the two cockpit side panels. The rear cockpit is made up from front and rear bulkheads, seat and side panels. The two cockpits are then fitted to one half of the fuselage, after which the fuselage can be closed up, and the 20mm cannon troughs, radome, rear cockpit access door, and tailcone are fitted.

sprue3.jpg


Each of the two nacelles and undercarriage are assembled next. Each one comprising of the two nacelle halves, front and rear bulkheads, gear bay roof and sides, main gear leg, single piece main wheel and exhaust stubs. The propellers are each assembled from the backplate, four individual blades and spinner. Make sure you use the correct blades per side as they are handed. The nacelles are finished off with the fitting of the main gear doors and exhaust shrouds. The inner wing sections are split horizontally and once the two halves are joined the radiator intakes are fitted as well as the rib at the fold point. The outer wing sections are built in the same way, and have a clear part fitted to represent the navigation lights; the port wing is fitted with a pitot probe.

sprue4.jpg


The tail fin, with rudder moulded together and the horizontal tailplanes, are also moulded in two halves, which once assembled can be fitted to the fuselage, followed by the inner wing panels, windscreen, canopy and rear dome. Now, the instructions call for the outer wing panels to be fitted before the nacelle assemblies. In my view it would be better the other way round. As it is, the modeller has the option to display the outer wing panels folded or extended by way of different adjoining parts which when folded represent the main hinge point. Once the wings have been fitted and the nacelles attached the model is completed with the fitting of the tail hook, tail wheel/oleo, and optionally positioned flaps.

sprue5.jpg


Decals
The smallish decal sheet provides markings for two aircraft, both in dark sea grey over sky. Although neither marking option is provided with any information of the aircraft squadrons or bases, a bit of detective work shows that they are:-

  • DeHavilland Sea Hornet NF-21, VZ672 of 809NAS based on HMS Vengeance
  • DeHavilland Sea Hornet NF-21, VW967, Probably of the Airwork Fleet Requirements Unit, but with spurious 424 codes, although the BY tail code seems correct.

decals.jpg


The decals are well printed, in registers with good opacity and with nicely thin carrier film. The only problem I can see is that, although glossy, some of that gloss appears to have come away with the protective sheet, which shouldn’t cause too many problems once they’ve been sealed in with a gloss coat and finished with matt varnish.

Conclusion
The Hornet has got to be one to them ost beautiful piston fighters ever built, and whilst the modifications needed to build the NF-21 didn’t help matters, it’s still a handsome aircraft. This is a very nice kit, spoiled by some poor research, heck, they could have just looked at the box cover to see where they went wrong with the nose and windscreen, but no, they’ve once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Shame really as it could have been a cracker of a weekend build. I guess it still can be if you’re either ignore the faults or for the purists, go to town on the modifications. Recommended with the above caveats.

Review sample courtesy of
logo.gifUK Distributors for logo.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...