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Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib - 1:72

Paul A H

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Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib

1:72 Airfix




The Hawker Typhoon started life as a medium-to-high-altitude interceptor intended to replace the Hurricane in RAF service. It was designed to meet Air Ministry Specification F.18/37, which called for an interceptor based around the formidable 24-cylinder Napier Sabre engine. As well as a more powerful engine, the aircraft also featured a much thicker wing than that used on its predecessors. This gave the Typhoon tremendous strength and also allowed it to carry more fuel and armament than either the Hurricane or the Spitfire. The Typhoon was rushed into service in an attempt to counter the threat posed by the Luftwaffe's then-new Focke-Wulf Fw 190. This proved to be an unwise decision when the immature design ran into serious difficulties, culminating in an incident In August 1942 when Hawker test pilot Ken Seth-Smith was killed when the tail of his Typhoon broke away during a test flight. The problem was eventually traced back to the elevator mass balance, which necessitated some re-design work. Although never trouble-free, the Typhoon matured into an effective low-level interceptor, successfully countering the threat of the Luftwaffe's 'tip and run' fighter bomber raids. The Typhoon's story didn't finish there, however. It was perfectly suited to the fighter-bomber role and following the Normandy landings it was used for both tactical strike and close air support for troops on the ground. Although responsible for a relatively small percentage of the total number of German AFVs destroyed in the months following D-Day, the effect that rocket and cannon strafing attacks had on enemy morale was profound, drawing compliments from the Supreme Allied Commander himself, General Dwight D. Eisenhower.






Over the years, the Typhoon has been a popular subject for modellers. Early kits from Frog and Airfix were superseded by Academy's very decent effort in the 1990s. More recently there has been a series of kits from new Czech firm Bren Gun. Airfix released their kit in 2013, and apart from making an appearance in the occasional model sets, this is the first time the kit has been re-boxed by Airfix. The kit is presented in the familiar bright red top-opening box adorned with a beautiful image of a pair of Tiffies taking off on a summers day when the sun is low in the sky. Four frames of plastic are crammed inside the box, together with a small clear sprue, decal sheet and instructions. All together, the kit is made up of a respectable 74 parts. It looks nicely moulded and the panel lines look reasonably restrained, but some of them fade out towards the very top and bottom of the fuselage. It's clearly not as good as a brand new kit from Airfix, but that only serves to show how far they've come in a few years. The overall shape of the model looks good. 


As with many Horby-era Airfix products, the kit offers an interesting mix of detail, design and straightforward construction. This is evident right from the start, as the cockpit floor is moulded in a single piece along with the main landing gear bays and the interior parts for the prominent chin radiator. The cockpit itself is comprised of a seat, an armoured rear bulkhead, an instrument panel with separate gun sight, a control column and rudder pedals. There is also plenty of sidewall detailed moulded on the inside of the fuselage halves. The overall effect should be very nice indeed. The wheel wells, which also form part of the cockpit assembly, look good, with structural and hydraulic details picked out nicely. The only fly in the ointment is a small ejector pin mark in both sides. This will be difficult to remove, so I imagine a great many modellers will choose to live with it instead. The prominent radiator features a separately moulded oil cooler/carburettor intake and exhaust flap. The exhausts themselves drop in to place once the fuselage halves have been joined, which makes painting much easier. The tail wheel has to be fitted before the fuselage halves have been joined though, which may make it vulnerable during construction. Handle with care!








The lower wing has been moulded as a single span and it must be joined to the fuselage before the upper wing halves can be fixed in place. This is a slightly out-of-the-ordinary construction sequence, so pay attention to the instructions carefully! The prominent 20mm cannons are attached to complete gun bays which fit inside the wings. The cannons are quite nicely detailed, but if you want to show them off, you'll need to cut away the corresponding panels in the upper wing and use the pre-folded replacements provided. The horizontal tails are moulded as solid parts, but the rudder is a separate part and can be deflected if desired. The undercarriage is very nicely detailed indeed and the tyres have flat spots moulded in place. A separate set of undercarriage doors is provided in case you want to build your model as it would appear in flight.






A full set of rocket rails is provided, as well as separately moulded 60lb rockets. Also on the sprue is a pair of bomb racks and bombs. The huge four-bladed propeller is crisply moulded, with a further four parts used to make up the hub assembly. The cockpit canopy is nice and thin and is moulded in two parts, so all of that lovely cockpit detail won't go to waste.




Two options are provided on the decal sheet:

  • Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB, No.245 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, Germany and RAF Warmwell, Dorset, England, June-August 1945. This is the aircraft depicted on the box artwork; and
  • Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB, No.121 Wing, Royal Air Force Holmseley South, Hampshire, England and B.5 Le Fresne-Camilly, Lower Normandy, France, June 1944. This was the aircraft flown by Wing Commander Charles Green and has invasion stripes. 

The decals themselves look thin and glossy, so hopefully they will prove easy to apply.




I remember that I liked this kit when it was first released, and I have to say it has aged reasonably well. Although it isn;t quite as sharp as the latest offerings from Airfix, it is well detailed, well designed and offers some interesting features, particularly the cannon bays for the wings. Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of 

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Anybody spotted the error on the box art?



The rocket pigtails are all disconnected! these would normally be plugged in just before takeoff, with them unplugged the rockets are just dead weight.


If you're building MP197 with the sharkmouth, it was fitted with the longer MkIII rocket rails, not the short mkI's in the kit, it also had a dust filter with cuckoo doors in the centre of the chin radiator which is missing from the kit.

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