- Published on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 08:01 Robin Jenkins
1/48 Hawker Hurricane I
Catalogue # 2705
The Spitfire's ugly cousin; the "bomber killer"; the stable gun platform; the workhorse; the aircraft that served with most squadrons in the Battle of Britain and that shot down the most enemy aircraft; the forgotten hero. All are epithets that have been used to describe the wonderful Hawker Hurricane I. It did not need the British public's awe and recognition that gave the Spitfire it's immortality; it was simply the aircraft that in the greatest numbers actually took on the Luftwaffe to defend Britain's skies and became loved by its pilots.
As an unashamed Boulton Paul Defiant fanatic, the Hurricane will always come second, but the Spitfire will always come third......
There is something very striking about a Hurricane, something workman-like and purposeful, that the thoroughbred Spitfire has never had. Of course, I know my view is a minority one, but whenever the RAF BoB Flight is airborne, it is their Hurricane I look for and follow; all Hurricanes look great in the air (below).
There have been several 1/48 Hurricane models over the years: Monogram, Hobbycraft, Airfix, Classic Airframes (CA) and Hasegawa have all entered the market, with most modellers believing the latter company's models are the best available in this scale, though they are not without fault. Only Airfix, CA and Hasegawa model the Hurricane I (and only CA model a really early one with fabric covered wings). I have experience with all of these kits (as well as the recent 1/32 Pacific Coast Models kit), so our editor thought I would be the right reviewer to examine the all-new 1/48 Hurricane I from Italeri.
Looking inside the box, there are 4 light grey sprues, two of which duplicate each other, a clear sprue and a small photo etch sheet. The first main sprue (below) provides the wings, ailerons, undercarriage bay and leg covers and alternate spinners, a fatter Rotol and a more pointed de Havilland. The latter is fine; there is something about the Rotol that isn't quite right but I'm not sure what it is! It seems to compare well with my plans but having seem some photos of completed models, it just seems a touch bulky forward of the propellor blade entry points. Fabric finish on the ailerons is very good. The engraving on the metal wing panels is a touch too shallow, something I will address later. Flaps are moulded in the up position. Care will need to be taken to hide the joint lines in the undercarriage bay when it is assembled in place.
The second major sprue (above) holds the fuselage parts, correctly shaped radiator (but with disappointing internal grills that call out for photo etch replacement), wing leading edge inserts, undercarriage legs, engine panels, a good Merlin engine and the cockpit interior along with some other detail parts. Some reviews have commented on mistakes with the thickness of the fin halves and the lack of stringers on the spine; the only mistake is with the reviewers – Italeri have got both of these features correct. Some of the cockpit parts could be moulded a little more sharply for my taste.
A close-up of this sprue (below) shows the moulding of the stringers on the fuselage, which is better than all other 1/48 Hurricane kits apart from the old Airfix kit, which I always found sublime in this area. You can also see the over-fineness of the engraved panels; these will just about disappear under coats of primer and paint and may need to be re-engraved to a slightly greater degree by the modeller. Also visible are a couple of annoying sink marks on the cockpit area surface which will need to be filled. The engine shows good detail but the cockpit tubing is a touch heavy and not as crisp as some other pieces.
The duplicated sprue is shown above. This gives the modeller the tailplane halves and elevator, some well-shaped alternative propellor blades (one set of which is probably reserved for later Hurricane mark kits yet to be released), flattened tyres (perhaps a touch too flat) and wheel hubs along with some exhausts which are the poorest part of the model, being very inaccurate representations of the original exhausts fitted to the Hurricane I.
The next photo (below) shows the small etch fret provided. It holds the Sutton harness, the control panel and, most welcome in a Hurricane kit, the various handles for both the inside and the outside of the canopy.
The transparency sprue (above) is clear and distortion-free and is the best canopy yet given in a 1/48 Hurricane when it comes to the shape and the framing, but the old problem of its fit over the spine will no doubt emerge if it is to be portrayed open. From past experience with various Hurricanes in this scale, only a vacform canopy is thin enough to look truly realistic.
The photographic reference manual (below) is a 36 page booklet that not only gives colour profiles of the decal options but has reference sections on technical details and a general walkaround, in combination with a brief history of the type. It is well produced and a useful source. The 16 page instruction booklet gives clear instructions but loses quite a bit in translation into English – some phrasing is poor and the descriptions of the decal options contain several spelling mistakes.
Finally, the decal sheet gives an interesting selection of schemes; it is well printed and in perfect register. The schemes are:
- P2981, 242 Sq., Coltishall, December 1940 – F/O W.L. McKnight
- V7434, 151 (American Eagle) Sq., Digby, October 1940 – P/O J.Havilland
- V6879, 605 Sq., Croydon, November 1940 – Sq. Ldr. Archie McKellar
- P3901, 303 (Polish) Sq., Northolt, September 1940 – F/O W.Urbanovicz
- V7101, 69 Sq., Luqa, Malta, 1941
- Irish Air Corps, 1st Fighter Squadron, Shannon A.B. Rineanna, Ireland 1943
Of these, my favourite would definitely be the Malta Hurricane in its largely azure blue scheme.
Lots of modeller's have been comparing this kit with the Hasegawa 1/48 Hurricane. The Italeri kit gives you many more detailed parts, such as the engine, separate control surfaces, small etch fret and two spinner and propellor blade types, as well as much better transparencies. However, the Hasegawa kit still scores in the areas of crisper molding of many parts and slightly better overall detail as well as a better cockpit and exhausts. In truth, neither matches the older Airfix 1/48 kit for the appearance of the stringers. This probably means, at least in my view, it is an honourable draw. Finally, I have noticed that many retailers have already discounted the kit from its RRP of nearly £30.00 in the UK; the RRP is perhaps a little too high, £23.00 -£25.00 would have been nearer the mark.
So What Do We Think?
A really well executed kit, not perfect by any means, but which does capture the shape of the Hurricane really well. The softness of some of the molding and the shallow engraved panels stop it from stealing the Hasegawa Hurricane crown but it is the equal of that kit. It should also be more widely available than the Hasegawa kit, which has always seemed difficult to find.
A recommended offering
Our thanks to Italeri for the review sample. Italeri model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit www.italeri.com
TAG WORDS: italeri,hawker,hurricane,1/48,