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Eric Mc

Frog/Novo Hawker Sea Fury 1/72

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When I started attending airshows in the UK back in the 1970s, one aircraft that always impressed me was the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s single seat Sea Fury TF956. I just loved the almost silent speed and power with which the aircraft was endowed – and the underlying elegance of the design.

From those days on, I had always wanted to build a model of the Sea Fury. For no clear reasons, that never happened, until now. I decided it was about time I had a Sea Fury on my shelves.

The bulk of my aircraft builds are to 1/72 and in that scale, there are a number of choices when looking at Sea Furies. The oldest kit is from Frog and dates from 1965. In the 1990s, PM/Premier released both s single seat and a twin seat version and, in more recent years we’ve had kits from MPM/Special Hobby and Trumpeter.

As I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment, and also a fan of “classic” kits, this build is of the Frog Sea Fury – although from one of the late 1970s Novo boxings.

Being of mid 1960s vintage, one would not expect too much in the way of internal cockpit or wheel well details, and one’s expectations would be fully met. The cockpit consists of a seat and......nothing else.

As a nod to modernity, I ordered an Airwaves etched cockpit detail set from a well known modelling emporium “Somewhere in the East of England”. The set is designed for the PM/Pioneer Sea Furies but I was pretty sure that with a bit of fettling, it would work in the Frog/Novo version too.

The wheels supplied by Frog look nothing like those of a real Sea Fury – being more in the nature of a pair of buttons. So another accessory set purchased was a CMK resin set of four aperture Hurricane wheels which, to me anyway, look pretty close to those seen on Sea Furies.

Starting off on the construction, I went for some basic component assembly before tackling the cockpit. Frog, in their wisdom, decided to split the tail planes into top and bottom halves. This was to facilitate the positioning of the separately moulded elevators. Back in the 1960s, it was common for kits to have working parts – or at least separate control surfaces that could be positioned. So, first task, was to get the tail planes assembled as, no doubt, I would need to go back to them later in the build to fill any gaps and tidy them up generally

Another quick fix was to plug all the underwing holes for rocket launchers. drop tanks etc as I planned to build the kit with no stores. I used plugs made from short pieces of stretched sprue which were then trimmed off with a sharp scalpel.

Being a kit of the sixties, the wheel wells contain no detail whatsoever. To add some interest to this area, a made some ribbing detail using strips of trimmed adhesive address labels. I find this technique works quite well in 1/72. I sealed the strips in place with Johnson’s Klear.

A similar technique was also used to add some detail to the main wheel doors. In fact, on close examination, I discovered that one of the main wheel doors had a moulding flaw that I decided was too obvious to ignore. Rather than try to sand out the flaw, I used the kit item as a template for a plasticard replacement.

The Sea Fury has clear wingtip navigation lights with coloured bulbs. Even today, most 1/72 kits conveniently ignore this type of set up and tend to just mould a navigation light shape into the wingtip. Certainly, back in 1965, the idea of providing a pair of clear plastic navigation lights would not have crossed the tool designers mind. So, I cut away the area from the wing tips and inserted some very short pieces of stretched sprue into the light aperture. I then painted one sprue red (port) and the other green (starboard). I built up the clear light covers using two part epoxy. Once the epoxy had dried, I used various sanding sponges to blend the epoxy “blobs” into the wing tips and then polish them to a shine.

Once all the above issues had been sorted, it was time to bring together the major components. FROG designed the model to have a “wings folded” option but didn’t provide any wing fold detail – so I went down the wings “fully deployed” route instead.

The overall construction revealed a number of gaps which were filled using a combination of slivers of plasticard and De Luxe putty, which I like because it can be smoothed with a damp finger or cotton bud. This minimises sanding later – an added bonus when building a kit with raised panel lines which will disappear under vigourous rubbing down.

I also inserted a panel of thin plasticard into the main wheel well. FROG did not supply a proper wheel well roof for the fuselage part of the wheel wells which allows a view from below right up into the cockpit – definitely not a feature of the real Sea Fury.

Missing from the kit are the twin canopy guides which were situated on the upper fuselage to the rear of the cockpit. I made these from thin pierces of stretched sprue and glued them in place.

With the main construction now complete, I could get on with the painting. The model was given a coat of Halfords Primer Grey. This was then smoothed down using sanding cloths. I applied some black as a pre-shade. However, I don’t like my models to look like a chequered quilt so the preshading was done in a fairly broad and non regular pattern. The bare metal areas behind the exhausts were painted using Alclad Aluminium and Burnt Metal

Once dry, the bare metal sections were masked off and the entire aircraft was spray painted with Tamiya Royal Blue (X-3). This is quite a translucent colour so it took quite a few coats to knock the preshading back to the point where it was barely noticeable – which was the effect I was after.

The propeller spinner was sprayed white.

It was now time to tackle the canopy. Even though I polished and dipped the kit canopy in Clear, it still didn’t look clear enough to me. Luckily, I already had the Falcon Vac Form canopy set for Royal Navy aircraft and I was able to make use of one of the Sea Fury canopies provided within. This was dipped in Clear and, once dry, was masked and painted Tamiya Royal Blue. It was attached using Pacer 560 white glue, which is my favourite for attaching clear parts.

The kit decals were well past their “best by” date (which was probably sometime around 1980). I had previously purchased Xtradecal set X72074 which covers a whole range of Sea Furies. Two Aussie examples are included, one in the traditional Dark Sea Gray/Sky scheme and the other in an all over Deep Blue scheme (WH589/115 of 724 Squadron, Royal Australian Navy based at Nowra in the early 1960s). I went for the latter as it does stand out .

As always, the Xtradecal set behaved impeccably and they were laid down on the model with no drama or fuss.

Once the decals had bedded down, I sprayed on a coat of Klear to bed them in, followed by a coat of Matt Varnish to dull down the finish a bit.

Wheels and undercarriage doors were then added followed by a short length of stretched sprue to represent the dorsal whip aerial.

And that was the Sea fury finished. – a rather elegant design in a classy finish, in my opinion.

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Still got several of each squirrelled away, necessary for my "comfort" zone. :) I do like the RAN job, beautifully finished.

Steve.

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I love trying to make the most of elderly kits. It can be very rewarding when one turns out half decent.

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Very nicely done on that old kit. I used to build a LOT of Frog kits "back in the day" as they tended to be very Esoteric types not kitted by anyone else (Percival Proctor, Martin Maryland & Baltimore, Skuas, anyone?).

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They can still be got in multiple variations - whether original Frogs, Novo or the multiple issues from multiple manufacturers that came along later.

I try to build original Frog issues wherever possible because their mouldiings were also crisp and sharp. The Novo issues aren't too bad but the plastic was softer. The Soviet Union issues are usually the poorest and, in my opinion, best avoided, as the plastic they used (often in odd colours such as brown or lurid yellow) was poor and I find it doesn't always react well with polystyrene cement.

More modern issues, such as by Revell or Eastern Express, are usually OK - and in Revell's case with vastly better decals too.

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Very nice indeed. For some reason it seems Frog itself released at least two different issues of this kit. I have in my stash a version in which the propeller has five separate blades you have to put together, instead of the single prop with the five blades like yours. I belive the separate blade propeller is more accurate than the one that comes with more recent 1/72 kits such as the Trumpeter offering.

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I've had a number of Frog/Novo Sea Furies in my stash over the years although this is the first one I've never managed to complete. None of the ones I bought had props with separate blades. Indeed, I can't recall any Frog/Novo kits adopting that approach.

The kit did have a separate propeller and spinner arrangement.

Are you thinking of the Special Hobby/MPM Sea Furies? SH and MPM often use the separate approach.

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I've just been & had a look at an old Frog Sea Fury I still have in dire need of a rebuild, the prop blades were attached to segments which are a neat fit in the back of the spinner, exactly as I recalled. Definitely a Frog one too, not a repop or PM.

Steve.

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Its a long time since I made it up, +/- 45 years, most of what I bought back then were bagged ones with the folded card board header, instructions inside, heading art & colour schemes on the outside. Just like in this one.

Steve.

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I can see the separate blades on the sprue. They obviously amended the moulds at some point to a more conventional prop.

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The prop was modified around 1971 for a proposed motorised version. FROG seem to have given up on the motorised "spin-a-prop" kits fairly quickly, with just the Beaufort, Ju 88A and Beaufighter being released.

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That makes sense.

I hadn't realised that any of the "mainstream" kit makers had ever gone down the separate prop blade route. It's fairly common practice amongst the short run boys of course.

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I sold my old Frog Furys when Trumpeter came out with their Sea Fury. Your a brave and talented man. Very nice Job!

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I sold my old Frog Furys when Trumpeter came out with their Sea Fury.

Should have kept them.

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Agreed, It's a basic but fairly accurate model.

There is a lot to be said for old kits - some of it even good.

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