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Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (A06105A) 1:48


Mike

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Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 (A06105A)

1:48 Airfix

 

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The Hawker Sea Fury was a fast, agile fighter that, despite having entered service at the dawn of the jet age, enjoyed a successful career with a surprising number of air and naval forces around the globe.  The Sea Fury evolved from the aircraft it was designed to replace; the larger, heavier Tempest. Originally conceived of as a smaller, dedicated fighter, the Fury began gestation in 1943 and although it missed the end of WWII, it eventually developed into a highly capable fighter-bomber with a change of operator and renaming to Sea Fury indicating its pivot to carrier operations under the auspices of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA).

 

Phenomenally fast thanks to its powerful Bristol Centaurus reciprocating engine that output around 2,500hp through a five-bladed prop, the Sea Fury entered service with the Royal Navy in September 1947 with four Hispano 20mm cannons mounted two in each wing that gave it a powerful punch, and when it was found to be suitable for ground attack missions, hard-points were added under the wings to carry 1,000lb bombs and rockets for the role.  The initial Mk.X was subjected to extensive land and sea-based trials, with the resulting improvements integrated into the Mk.11, which took up most of the 600+ Sea Furies that the FAA ordered, around 60 of which were two-seat trainer T.20s.  The Sea Fury also did well in the export market, further increasing the number of airframes in service around the world, and while the type left British service in 1955, it carried on flying with other operators considerably longer.  In 1959, the Cuban Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba, or FAEC) purchased seventeen refurbished Sea Furies from Hawker for use in the unsuccessful struggle against the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro.  Following Castro's victory, the Sea Furies were retained by the new Fuerza Aerea Revolutionaria and saw limited action during the Bay of Pigs invasion.  The Sea Fury later proved popular with pilots participating in the Reno Air Races, although many had their Centaurus engine replaced with US-built Wasp Major or Cyclone engines, as well as aerodynamic modifications and flashy paint schemes.  Some of those racers were later converted back to original specification as war birds or museum pieces, and there are some still flying today, although those complex Centaurus engines do sometimes cause problems that cut short their performances.

 

 

The Kit

This is a reboxing of the original tooling from 2018, which feels like 10 minutes ago and a lifetime ago at the same time, thanks in part to Covid.  This is the third outing of this superbly detailed kit, with new decals depicting some more unusual markings that the type has worn.  It is hard to believe that we’ve not yet reviewed this kit, but it’s here now, resplendent in its red-themed top-opening box that holds five sprues in the new darker grey styrene, clear sprue, a large decal sheet, and an A4 portrait instruction booklet that is printed in colour on matt paper.  There is also a folded sheet of glossy A4 that has the detailed stencilling guide printed over a line-drawn set of profiles to avoid confusion on the other colour profiles in the back of the instruction booklet.  Detail is excellent, with finely engraved panel lines, raised and recessed features, and a well-appointed cockpit, most of which will disappear into darkness after being painted black, and when the fuselage is closed.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit tub, which has side consoles moulded-in, and is fitted out with control column and rudder pedals plus the instrument panel, which has six dial decals to detail it.  The seat has a quilted back cushion and is glued to the rear bulkhead and joined to the rear of the cockpit, adding a stepped bulkhead to the front to create the foot well around the rudder pedals.  Scrap diagrams show how these two important aspects should be aligned, then a pair of ribbed inserts fill the gap between the two bulkheads with detail painting of the equipment there adding to the realism, and this sits against the fuselage interior once installed, so remember to paint that to match.  The tail wheel bay area is also painted, but in interior green primer, adding the cockpit, tail wheel bay and forward bulkhead with spar to the port side of the fuselage, then mating the starboard side and dealing with the seams in your preferred manner.

 

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Much like the Tempest from which it was derived, the Sea Fury had a large pair of gear bays in the centre-wing, which are supplied as a single ribbed insert that has a divider and a pair of actuator jacks fitted to the centre recess, then it’s painted and inserted into the lower centre wing panel, remembering to drill out the flashed-over holes for the appropriate choice of drop-tank you intend to use, and for the optional RATO bottles at the rear edge.  A shallow C-shaped intake housing and twin cannon barrel inserts are added to the leading edges of the lower wing, then the assembly is brought up under the fuselage, aligning the lateral groove with the spar projecting from the underside of the fuselage.    To complete the fuselage, the circular ring of cooling gills at the rear of the engine cowling has a pair of multi-port exhaust inserts fitted to the inner surface of the ring, then it is mated to the two-part cowling, adding the lip with a depiction of the front of the huge Centaurus motor slipped inside it before joining the assembly together and mating it with the fuselage on a stepped lip.  The elevator panels are slotted into the sides of the tail, adding the flying surfaces that can be deflected anywhere between 21.5° up, or 11.5° down, remembering that they operate as one pair in unison.  The rudder is offered up to the curved recess in the fin, and that too can be deflected up to 27° to either side if you wish.

 

You have a choice of building the model with the wings deployed for flight, or folded for stowage under the deck, or just for fun.  The straight wings are made by inserting substantial extensions into the inner panel before fitting the upper portion, then building the outer wing panels over the protruding section, finishing off with the elevators, which can be deflected up 14.5° or down 17.5°, with the opposite wing taking the opposing position, and remembering the inequality of the movement needed to raise the wing compared to dropping it.  There are multiple flashed-over holes in the underside of the outer wings that are drilled out if you plan to use the rockets or bombs that are provided, some of which are close together, so take care which ones you open.  To fold the wings, the upper centre surface is glued in place with a rib outboard, into which a vaguely L-shaped hinge is inserted.  The outer wing panels are built up with their own rib that has a matching socket, and the same caveat applies to the use of weapons under the wings of your model.  The elevators deflect down by 17.5° when the wings are folded, so have your protractor at the ready!

 

The next choice is to pose your model in flight or not, remembering that Sea Furies don’t fly too well with their wings folded.  To depict your model in flight, closed gear bay door inserts are laid into all three bays, each one playing the part of multiple individual doors so that alignment is simplified.  To model your kit with the wheels down, the tail-wheel is made from strut and separate yoke, flexing the one-part wheel in between the two arms, then gluing it into the hole in the bay roof and adding the two doors to the sides of the bay.  The main gear legs are a single part each that have a large captive door glued to the bottom portion, fixing it into the bay and securing it with a long retraction jack, and adding another smaller bay door outside of the leg, taking note of the scrap diagram beside that step for orientation.  The same task is done in mirror-image, then the two centre doors are glued to the line between the bays, locating on the actuators installed in the bay earlier.  The wheels are in two halves, one having the full hub moulded into it, the other providing the other half of the tyre.  They fit onto the axles at the ends of the struts, and a pair of scrap diagrams show how the completed gear assembly should look from the side and front.  A powerful engine needs a large prop, which in this case is a five-bladed unit that has all the blades moulded as one, clamped between the front and rear parts of the spinner, and fitted on a pin to an insert that glues into the tubular cowling-within-the-cowling, taking care with the glue if you want the prop to remain mobile for any definitely non-childish reasons.

 

There is a great choice of stores, fuel tanks and RATO packs to be pondered over, starting with the Rocket Assisted Take Off packs that are built into two sets of three cylinders that are mated at an angle on the back plate to form a V-shape, plus a bracket fixed to the front for location under the airframe centreline behind the gear bays.  There is a choice of two styles of fuel tank for under the wing, which have their pylons moulded into the top half, and one decal option has a clear lens inserted into the front of the starboard tank.  Moving further outboard, there is a choice of two sizes of bomb that fit on shallow pylons outboard of the drop-tank locations, one of which has a ring stabiliser around the standard fins, or in a similar position using different holes you can mount three pairs of rockets on moulded-in launch rails.

 

The build phase is completed by installing the crew step under the wing root, either deployed or by using a flat door part to depict it retracted, adding the cooling vents at the rear of the wing-mounted radiators, putting a pitot probe in the tip of the port wing next to the clear wingtip lights, and clipping the arrestor hook onto a peg inside its housing beneath the tail, which should allow it to remain mobile providing you don’t lock it in place with glue.  The windscreen is glued to the front of the cockpit opening, and the canopy can be posed closed or slid back along the track moulded into the fuselage to give better visual access to the cramped cockpit.

 

 

Markings

There are three options supplied on the decal sheet, all substantially different from each other, one of which is a civilian machine with a custom civil registration code, and gaudy red paint job complete with go-faster stripes.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • G-FURY, UK, 1981
  • Exercise ‘Momentum’, 1831 Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, RNAS Stretton (HMS Blackcap), Cheshire, England, 1952
  • No.724 Sqn., Royal Australian Navy, Naval Air Station Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, 1961-2

 

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

It’s good to see this well-detailed kit back on the shelves in some interesting new liveries, one from my home county, one in bright red with a cool tail-code, and the other from the opposite side of the world.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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