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De Havilland Hornet F.1

by John Valo


De Havilland Hornet F.1


Classic Airframes' 1/48 Hornet F.1/F.3 is available online from Squadron




If ever an airplane could be described as 'sexy', DeHavilland's Hornet certainly would qualify. Using redesigned small-frontal-section Merlin engines, the Hornet took the elegance of the Mosquito and refined it to aesthetic perfection. With aerobatic performance described by Captain Eric Brown as 'sheer exhilarating joy', the Hornet was one of a handful of airplanes that defined the pinnacle of piston-engined fighter development.


Classic Airframes recently released the Hornet F.I/F.3 as well as the Sea Hornet F.20/NF.21 in 1/48 scale. As usual, the kits contain crisply molded resin cockpit and detail parts, with the majority of parts in plastic. The scribing on the Hornet kit is excellent, on a par with the CA S.79 Sparviero, and every bit as crisp as any other 'major' manufacturer.




After the usual cleanup of the pour stubs, the cockpit parts fit beautifully. One fuselage half has a set of scribed lines inside to assist with lining up the resin parts. The cockpit detail is well done, and nicely represents the tight accomodations for the pilot.


The main landing gears are constructed as subassemblies, then located into the nacelles after all major assembly is complete. The effect is quite convincing. It would appear that the tailwheel should be of the 'anti-shimmy' type, but a solid type is provided. Likewise, the main tires are of a straight tread design, while the vast majority of photos show Hornets with a checkerboard or diamond type tread. Neither of these issues was important enough to goad me into action to modify the kit parts, and they look fine when all is said and done.

The assembly of the major airframe parts is straightforward; the wing is a butt joint to the fuselage roots which demands a bit of care to align properly. Folks who like to fly their models around the workshop may want to add a spar to reinforce the wing root joints, lest there be a catastrophic structural failure in flight.

If your kit has any flash in the exhaust cutouts, use care when cleaning them out as the soft plastic makes it easy to enlarge the slots and compromise the fit.

I had to tweak the fit of the nacelles to the wing just a bit, but that was probably my fault, not the kit. Aside from that, I experienced no other problems with assembly.

The scribing on the canopy appears to be a bit suspect toward the rear, so I made a new frame from vinyl electrical tape cut to the proper shape.



Painting and Markings

While I feel the elongated stabilizers and dorsal fin add to the aesthetic appeal of the F.3 version, I couldn't resist the garish red chevrons of the F.1 markings provided in the kit.

The model was finished in PollyS Metalline Silver with a touch of white added, and the Microscale-printed decals went on flawlessly.


In a fit of cocktail-inspired silliness, before adding the landing gear and propellers, I took a few shots of the model and made a quickie inflight illustration with Painter and Photoshop. That's me flying the Hornet!

What a view!




Thanks to Classic Airframes for finally releasing a very nice kit of this aircraft - long overdue. I recommend it to any reasonably-experienced modeler who wants a companion for his or her Mosquito sitting on the shelf.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2003 by John C. Valo
Page Created 29 January, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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