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Hawker Sea Fury FB.11

by Stuart Hurley

 

Hawker Sea Fury FB.11

 


Hobbycraft's 1/48 scale Sea Fury is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

Amazingly, the Hawker Sea Fury has been almost overlooked in kit form and there has been only one in 1/48 scale. The venerable Hobbycraft kit is still going strong and complete with its trench-like detail and awful canopy, is pretty much the only game in town as far as Hawkers brutal looking fighter-bomber is concerned. The kit captures the look of the original reasonably well but is subject to being slightly under scale.

I found that after market decals and detail sets, when incorporated into the model show up the deficiency in scale size.

This really only hit me when I had completed the main building of the kit.

 

 

Construction

 

I used the old PP aeroparts detail set for this project. P.P. did some great sets years ago (Thanks Tim) but sadly have ceased trading. It is a comprehensive set, featuring a cockpit, inserts for the cooling gills, prop blades and spinner, wheels and undercarriage, wingfolds and flaps, gun bays, tanks, bombs, lots of etched parts and a decal sheet. I had decided to use Almark decals for this model as their sheet featured an aircraft for which I had good references. The PP cockpit parts fitted well although the cockpit opening needed to be enlarged. I had decided to fit an engine, so the cowls were cut out. The resin inserts for the chain driven cooling gills were to be fitted later. The exhaust/gill apertures were not quite big enough so these were opened out. If this is not done the exhausts and gills will look too low down the fuselage in comparison with the EDSG demarcation line. It is all a matter of getting key proportions to look right. The exhausts were made from military connector crimp terminals. It was at this point that I cut out the Falcon canopy and test fitted it.

 

 

Something looked wrong. The canopy looked too big and when in the open position, it was too close to the fin. Measurements showed the kit to be under scale, and the fuselage in particular to be about 3mm too short. I cut out the codes from the decal sheet and taped them in position. Sure enough, they could not be positioned with the correct spacing and also looked too big. There was nothing for it. Out with the saw, off with the tail.

I made up a plug from laminated plastic card and extended the fuselage by 3mm. just in front of the tailplane. This doesnít sound much, but it made all the difference. There generally isnít much that can be done about the size of the kit, but for me, this combined with exhaust modification transforms the appearance of the model. The decals now looked in proportion, with the correct spacing, and the canopy size and position looked right. With that panic out of the way I decided to scratchbuild the Centaurus engine and cowlings. Not much is visible of the engine except for the cylinder heads and exhaust system so a piece of plastic tubing of the correct diameter for the crankcase was marked out, drilled and tapped to take some cut down M5 screws to represent the cylinders. I made a cylinder head from plastic and used it to mold the rest from milliput. These were glued onto the ends of the screws. The exhaust manifolds were made from solder wire, and the cowlings from plastic card. With the gill inserts and engine fitted, the cowl ring was rounded off a little and glued to the fuselage.

I wanted to show the wingfold and also the gun bays, so as Sea Furies were often seen with one wing folded, this was the way I went. The control surfaces were cut out, the starboard wing cut away and the aileron on the folded wing was angled upwards (The ailerons are sprung inwards when the wings are folded) Some thinning of the wing halves was required to get the resin wingfold inserts to fit. These were detailed with wire and plastic card. On the other wing, the gun bay hatches were cut out and the etched bays, resin ammo boxes and white metal cannons fitted. These were also detailed with wire. I also cut off the wingtips, inserted a 2mm spacer and refitted the tips to improve the wingspan.  The flaps were cut out and the etched kit parts made up to be fitted later.

 

 

All surface detail on the model was sanded off and the engraved Ďtrenchesí filled with C.A. When I had got a smooth Sea Fury, I re-scribed the panel lines and details. Some detailing and scratch building was carried out in the wheel wells. The PP undercarriage parts were cleaned up and assembled. These are a great improvement over the kit parts and I added some extra detailing such as springs and brake pipes. With the etched doors fitted these look superb.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

Xtra-colour sky and EDSG. paints were used, with the sharp demarcation lines masked with Bare Metal Foil. The Almark decals went on with no problem. Roundels were from Xtra-decal. The superb resin spinner and metal prop blades were a huge improvement over the kit parts. 

I kept the weathering to a minimum as these aircraft were kept immaculate. There is a great photo of VX639 inside the cover of the Squadron ĎSea Fury in actioní book, and the only weathering visible is the characteristic exhaust stain. I believe that Flightpath now have re-released the P.P. detail set, although Iím not sure if it is in exactly the same form as it was. A Sea Fury kit is unlikely to attract huge sales so we will have to make do.

There are a couple of other sets available as well, so thing are not that bad for Sea Fury fans!

 


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Stuart Hurley
Page Created 09 December, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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