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Hasegawa + MDC 1/48 scale
Hawker Sea Hurricane Ib

by Fernando Rolandelli


Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk Ib
AF974 “7D”, 880 Sqn., Fleet Air Arm, HMS Indomitable, Indian Ocean, 1942


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Hurricane Mk.I is available online from Squadron





In early WWII, the Admiralty half heartedly recognized that carrier-borne aircraft should be at least capable of facing their land-based counterparts. Moreover, fighters specifically did not necessarily need to be big two-seaters. While the two fighters already on development were (the Fairey Fulmar and later the Firefly), trials were made with RAF single-seaters. The first to become navalized was the Hurricane, in various hybrid forms, like the Mk I “Hurricat”, first, and then a true naval fighter version, the Mk Ib, albeit still lacking wingfold.

HMS Indomitable, the only Illustrious class whose lifts could accommodate a Sea Hurri, took part, after the “Force Z” disaster, in the reinforcing of Ceylan first, and the taking of Vichy French Madagascar later (Operation Ironclad). In this operation, it embarked the Sea Hurris from 880 Sqn, FAA. CAP was left to 881 and 882 Sqn Martlet Is and IIs off HMS Illustrious, but Sea Hurris from 880 Sqn. took part in the sinking (by machine-gun fire alone!) of the armed sloop D’Entrecasteux. Only nine machines were available, so there is a high possibility that AF974 took actually part in the attack. After this operation, HMS Indomitable returned to the Mediterranean to take part in the better known “Operation Pedestal”, the big relief of Malta in August, 1942, with virtually the same aircraft complement. Most pictures of 880 Sqn. Sea Hurris come from this operation, but one of the best known ones does not show the Yellow leading edge tactical markings adopted during Pedestal, so there is a strong chance that it was actually taken during Ironclad.

The Kit

This is the well known 1/48 scale Hasegawa model, in its “Nº 09494 Night Fighter” incarnation. I wanted to keep the FAA theme as well as the Far East theme, so I settled down for AF974.

The decals came originally form the SkyModels 48-052 “Hawker Hurricane Pt.2” sheet. I also used the Ultracast resin wheel well, Eduard 48-301 “Hurricane Mk I” PE set, and Model Design Construction set CV0016, “Sea Hurricane MkIIc” conversion set.

In the end I also resorted to the Eagle Decals “Early Spitifire and Hurricane Roundels” and to Xtradecals X023-48 “Squadron Code Letters and Numbers, 24” and 30”, Sky”.



Of course, the heart of the project was the conversion. The MDC set is most complete and well moulded. However, after cutting (seemingly accurately) the fuselage I found that a gap had been created. I decided that the problem could be addressed by adding some plastic to the tailwheel well, and it worked indeed. Once I had made the conversion to my satisfaction, I laboriously built the cockpit using the Eduard set and some scratchbuilding.



Then I very cautiously added the nose, glued in the front and left more or less open at the back, so I could maneuver it into the fuselage, minimizing the gaps successfully. I also corrected the “step” in the pilot’s headrest, widening it with layers of Parsecs epoxy. The head armor should cover the entire surface, but modifying this would be a chore, and I left it as it is. Following some of my references, I sanded off the oil ring collector, but looking at some pictures I realized I shouldn’t have done so. I restored it with a plastic sheet, which looks more scale-wide in the end.


Installing the resin wheels well was also a chore, aggravated by my forgetting about painting its back Interior Gray-Green. Wing construction proceeded rather smoothly; the Eduard set allows you to lower the flaps, but the structure looks very daunting and pictures of parked Hurris in such a configuration are rare. The gun inserts were faired after long sessions of sanding; I had feared that the wing’s surface had been “flattened”, but the effect is hardly noticeable. The wingtip position lights are also troublesome, being much thinner that the sockets. I found no better solution to this than restricting the step to the undersides and filling and sanding as best as I could.


I had planned to mimic the Red tape over the gun muzzles just by painting, but some preparations should be made at this stage. I first filled the gun troughs with White Glue, hoping that they would remain barely visible. The effect, however, was too stark and I resorted to putty. I still managed to conserve a hint of the gun troughs, however. If you want a completely smooth effect, using the “IID” inserts, which show only one gun trough, may be a good idea.

Hurricane I’s propeller and spinner combinations are some sort of a conundrum. I suddenly realized that my kit did not have the one I needed! I quickly ordered another kit, Nº 09562 “Croix de Lorraine”, which can be finished as either a Mk I or a Mk IIb, and comes with all the “prop’n’spinner” combos issued in Hase’s kits. Therefore, I raided the kit for the De Havilland prop and “small” spinner.

With everything adequately glued, puttied, sanded and polished, the model went to the paint shop.



Painting and Markings


The interior was painted British Interior Gray-Green from the Polly S range; no surprises here. The wheels well was painted Silver, using WEMM’s “Alluminio” FS 27178, together with the interior face of the u/c doors and the struts.

The camouflage is the standard FAA Pattern nº 1, “B” Scheme, in DSG/EDSG/Sky. The DSG is the famous Xtracolor one; the other two are WEMM’s. They were painted over a Light Grey primer preshaded (yes… preshaded!) in Raw Umber. The Sky was applied unevenly, and made even more so by means of further applications of the same colour somewhat darkened. Then, the uppers were painted in EDSG, again in uneven fashion. I masked this with Maskol, and in went the DSG, following suit. The Sky band was masked at the beginning. The result, specially the DSG on the darker EDSG, is interesting to the view.

The red tape was painted next.

Weathering was performed mainly by oil washes and some postshade in a dark glaze. Exhaust fumes were mimicked by airbrushing Light Gray and Burnt Umber. Minimum paint chipping was achieved with a silver pencil.


Though I did not use the kit’s decals, I am happy to report that they seem good: the White is not entirely White, but at least not entirely Ivory either! Regarding the scheme it seems dead on, though the “Combat Colours” book shows it in a profile with a Dark Blue spinner and flash (they are Red in the decals). Also, a picture in Osprey book confirms the use of six-stack exhausts (the former reference show standard fishtails) The decal for the flash seems daunting enough to make you seriously consider painting it, so in fact you can choose the colour you deem most plausible.


I prepared the surface with many coats of Testor's Glosscote, then I started to cut the SkyModels decals. Again, problems arouse. Roundels in the Sky Models sheet have less than perfect colours, specially the underside “A type”, whose center is undoubtedly in Bright Red. So I resorted to the Eagle Decals ones… but the “Type As”, in theory 50”, were a tad bigger. The Sky Models codes, which should be in Sky, are darker and greener than the paint (conversely, those in Sea Gray Medium are too light). The effect is noticeable and very ugly, to say the least. Pity, for they are the right size. I used the 30” Xtradecals codes, though the originals were 27”. Pictures of the left side show the codes painted in a very odd fashion, as if using the stringers in the fuselage as a guide. I cut the decals to follow suit. I have not seen a picture or the other side, but I guessed the same procedure would have been applied. The decals withstood the cutting and abusing quite well. In the end, only the serials used came from the Sky Models sheet, and they also worked fine.




A nice project, not devoid of challenge, and involving the use of a resin conversion set and generic decals.



In this way, you can model one of the handful of Sea Hurricanes to see combat in the Far East, and this one even successfully!





  • “Combat Colours Number 2, the Hawker Hurricane 1939 to 1945 in RAF, Commonwealth and FAA service”, HC Bridgwater, Guideline Publications.

  • “The Hawker Hurricane”, Richard A Franks, SAM Publications

  • “Britains’s Fleet Air Arm In World War II”, Ron Mackay, Schiffer Military History Book

  • “Fleet Air Arm, British Carrier Aviation 1939-1945”, Ron Mackay, Squadron Signal Publications

  • “British Naval Aviation. The Fleet Air Arm, 1917-1990”, Ray Sturtivant, Naval Institute Press


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Modelling the P-40
Hawk 81, Tomahawk, Warhawk and Kittyhawk
Osprey Modelling 15

Author: Brett Green
US Price:
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 January 10, 2004
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841768235
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Text and Images Copyright © 2006 by Fernando Rolandelli
Page Created 10 July, 2006
Last Updated 09 July, 2006

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