"CLASSIC" HURRICANE MK. IIB
Charles B. Payne, Jr., IPMS 25274
Recently the Monogram Company announced the re-release of some of its older 1/48th scale aircraft kits as "classic" kits at significantly reduced prices. One of these is their Kit #6802 Hawker Hurricane. At a recent contest I was able to secure one of the original 1964 releases. Many of you will remember the retractable landing gear and ability to model five Hurricane versions; a Mk IIC "Last of the Many", a cannon-armed Mk IIC with bombs, a rocket-armed Mk IV and the 40 mm cannon armed Mk IV and MkIID tank-busters. I decided to model none of the above, choosing instead the Mk IIB with 12 .303 machine guns and pylons for two 250 lb. Bombs, the "Hurribomber" version used for cross-channel attacks, Western Desert work against the Afrika Korps, and sent to the Soviet Union.
The kit supplies only an instrument panel decal and a pilot figure for the cockpit. Using reference photos, I was able to scratchbuild a rudimentary cockpit consisting of a complete rear armor bulkhead, pilot seat with seat belts and cut-out for the parachute pack, throttle quadrant and propeller pitch controls and landing-light adjuster. A lower bar was cut for the bottom of the instrument panel and a compass replica was mounted using tube stock with a center closed by styrene disc. There was no floor in the Hurricane cockpit so a framework was made from round stock and rudder pedals mounted as per references. A control-column with the characteristic spade-shaped handle and red-painted gun trigger was inserted. A reflector gun sight was next made from tubing and transparent sheet plastic and mounted with a crash-pad toward the pilot. Not a great deal of this can be easily seen but it is a vast improvement over the vacant kit cockpit and poor figure. The propeller tips were painted white, then yellow and flat black and the propeller base and mounting plate were added as per kit plans. Separation exists between the spinner and the fuselage front but this is present on the real airplane.
The fuselage halves were closed around the cockpit and fit quite well. Seams were closed with Tenax7 and a minimum of putty. The tail assembly including elevators was aligned and assembled. Using references, the rudder trim cable and assembly were added as well as the rudder cables and their mounts just below the horizontal stabilizers. The tail wheel (which is not correct for a late model IIB) was next mounted. The interior of the cockpit and sidewalls was painted with the gray-green color used in British fighters of the period. The seat was done with armor and seat belts with light tan. The throttles were silver. Fine wire mesh and a divider in the radiator intake were added to the radiator which was then attached after the wing was joined with the fuselage. The tropical air filter was also given a fine mesh screen in the intake and it was mounted similarly after the wing was attached. The step for the pilot was fabricated from thin sheet brass and styrene rod and strip and mounted in the lowered position.
The wings were next assembled. The lower wing contains the wheel wells which were detailed with the pneumatic master and slavecylinders for landing gear retraction as well as the pipe carrying coolant from the engine to the radiator and what appears to be a fuel line. The kit supplied landing gear struts were cemented into position after detailing with fine, soft wire hydraulic lines and the wheel covers were attached. The toy-like retracting features were eliminated by cementing the gear down. The kit wheels and interior of the well covers and struts were painted silver, the tires black with panzer-gray weathering on the treads. The wing halves were then assembled, cemented and the leading and trailing edges gently sanded to preserve surface details. The landing light bays were cut out using a fine saw and knife blade and backing plates inserted with very thin circular mounts for 1/16th inch MV lenses were added from tube styrene. The backing plates and lens bases were painted with chrome silver and transparent lens covers were cemented into place after finishing the exterior painting using Micro Kristal Klear. The gun openings were drilled into place and the four guns outboard of the landing lights were made from fine styrene rod and located using references slightly above and below the center line of the wing leading edge. After finishing the inboard 8 gun openings were covered using red tape. Weapons pylons were then mounted and 250 lb. bombs were finished with gun-metal and silver fuse tips and mounted beneath the wings. The pitot tube was mounted after finishing.
A type A desert color scheme was painted using Azure blue undersides, RAF Middlestone and Dark Earth from ModelMaster paints after scribing any panel lines eradicated by seam closure and sanding. Gloskote spray was used before placing the kit decals using the MicroSet, MicroSol system. The lightening bolt insignia of No. 274 Squadron was hand-painted using ModelMaster Blue Angel blue. Aircraft serial numbers were Verlinden transfer numbers. The control surface lines and canopy tracks were enhanced with a black oil wash and, after drying, Future floor wax was added. After masking the cockpit and landing lights Dullcote spray was used. The canopy was cleaned, the ribs painted with flat black and then with Dark Earth using tape masks. After drying, Future floor wax was again used on the canopy. The canopy could not be posed open and was glued in place with Micro Kristal Klear. Antenna wire was made from stretched sprue and mounted using super glue. An insulator at the tail was made from white glue.
The results are pleasing and while not the modern engraved panel line, etched brass kit, the resulting model represents the Mk IIB Hurribomber well and for a price not beyond the pocket of a junior or retired model builder. Its also a lot of fun to do.
Walk Around: Hurricane. Walk Around Number 14, Squadron/Signal Publications 5514 1998.
Hurricane In Action: Squadron/Signal Publications Aircraft No. 72 1072, 1986
Cockpit: An Illustrated History of World War II Aircraft Interiors, Daniel Nijboer, 1998, Howell Press,Inc.pps 24,27.