Hawker Sea Fury T.20, RNAS Eglinton Station Flight, 1955, RN Historic Flight, RNAS Yeovilton, 1976-1990 (PM Model)
For an aircraft of such fame and elegance, the Sea Fury has been strangely ignored by model manufacturers until relatively recently. I can remember when the PM kit first appeared and was hailed as a breakthrough by model enthusiasts for its engraved lines and flash free parts. My own ancient Frog/Novo Sea Fury was immediately consigned to the bin (actually it was reborn as a gaudily painted racer for my daughter) and 2 PM kits quickly joined the stash.
However, since then MPM/Special Hobby and Trumpeter have produced more modern (and expensive) offerings that have been eagerly snapped up by Sea Fury enthusiasts. Nevertheless, last month's Trumpeter kit was slightly disappointing, so I thought I would start the year by breaking open the stash and trying out the PM kits, starting with the 2 seat T.20.
Initial impressions are good; the kit comes on 3 main sprues (plus a small clear sprue), one of which carries the fuselage and varies depending on which variant you have purchased (in addition to the 2 RN versions, PM do an Iraqi 2 seater). To my surprise, parts fit is excellent (almost Tamigawa!) with absolutely no need for filler. Detail is lightly engraved, and the plastic surface is slightly pebbly. I'm also assured that the PM prop is better than the other kits.
Clearly, the kit is very simple, so I have done a fair amount of work on the bits of the cockpit that can be seen. The undercarriage and wheel wells are also rather vague in detail, but good enough for me! Accuracy is less easy to assess; the only glaring difference from the Trumpeter kit is the size of the heat shields aft of the exhausts, which PM have made far smaller. Comparing with my references, I think Trumpeter have got it right (but I am not totally convinced - somewhere between the 2 looks best to me!) and this would be very difficult to correct, but is only really noticeable when you put both kits together. Panel lines match those on the Trumpeter, but there are far less. I briefly considered engraving new ones to match, but decided that they would be easier to pencil on after painting.
The only real issue I have had (and it was really minor) was the periscope gunsight - I suspect the mould maker misunderstood what was wanted, as the kit requires you to glue 2 parts together and then prise them apart - not easy, and when you do, you find out that the legs are far too small to fit anyway! As a result, mine are scratch built from polystyrene strip.
I have had poor experiences with PM decals in the past, so I was pleasantly surprised when they did not disintegrate on contact with water. That said, the "clear" backing layer is very yellow, although I expect this will reduce as they dry and as I apply some Klear overcoats.
p.s. whilst researching on the web I discovered that this particular aircraft is currently (Jan 08) for sale, for a cool $1.4M !
..... and here she is finished:
Hawker Sea Fury X/F.10, 799 NAS, RNAS Yeovilton, 1948 (PM Model)
To finish off my trio of Sea Furies, this last aircraft is the PM single-seater kit, marked up as an early F.10 Sea Fury form a profile in Scale Aircraft Modelling. The single seater kit doesn't go together quite as well as the 2-seater, particularly around the wing joints (I ended up with both a small step and a gap on both sides), but nothing that cant be easily fixed. The intake on the stbd inner wing does not match the profile of the fuselage, which is rather disappointing and I get the feeling that the wing may have been designed for the 2-seater, then modified for the single seater.
The lack of detail in the cockpit (especially rear and front coamings) is also quite noticeable and I think that my fuselage has a slight twist, as I found it very difficult to square up the tailplanes satisfactorily.
That said, the
fuselage goes together very well, with no need for filler at all, and
the exhaust heat shields are a better size than the 2-seater.
And it does build very quickly - this picture is about 90 minutes after starting; almost fully assembled and half painted. I'm using enamels, but I reckon that with fast drying acrylics, I could have had this finished in one night !
..... and here she is finished. I tried to be a bit more restrained on the weathering this time, and used pencil lead to provide the exhaust stains, which seems to have worked a lot better than the previous 2. Decals are mainly Modeldecal:
..... and finally, my trio of Sea Furies all together !
Alvis FV 103 Spartan APC, 2003 (Cromwell) and GKN Sankey FV432 APC, 1982 (Cromwell)
Just for a change from aeroplanes, here are a few AFVs which I actually started last month, having purchased them on impulse from Hannants' London shop; These are Cromwell's 1/76 resin models. I remember, as a small boy, back in the mists of time (the 1960s or very early 70s), having a ride in an FV432 at the Leith Summer Pageant with my Grandad.
Forty years later, suitably up-armoured and re-engined, those same vehicles (which should be museum pieces by now) are the British Army's latest patrol vehicle in Iraq (The FV432 MK3 Bulldog). That's progress for you.
The Spartan is a bit more modern. Not much though. Actually, I'm really impressed with these. They're resin, so not particularly cheap, but the detail is superb and I feel I got my moneys worth! Have a look: Cromwell Models
Eurocopter EC135. Western Counties Police Air Operations Unit, Filton Airfield, Bristol, 2008.
......and finally: You know how some models build themselves, whilst others crawl along as if you are squeezing blood from a stone. Sadly, this is the latter.
I am trying to convert the 1/72 Revell EC135 into the local Western Counties Air Support Unit Police Helicopter. Its a truly superb little kit, with astonishing engraved detail, but I'm not making the progress I would expect, partly because the cockpit interior is so intricate that it deserves some time and effort.....oh and because the grey Humbrol paint I used for the interior seems to have gone off.
OK - after 3 nights on the cockpit, I seem to have cleared the blockage now and the build is motoring along. This is quite an intricate kit, with a nicely detailed interior. However, it is slightly too delicate in places, with some familiar assembly problems; e.g. the completed interior proved too wide for the fuselage, plus the nose glazing is a difficult fit. In addition, one I haven't encountered before, the side glazing is curved, but the fuselage is not. Fortunately the clear plastic is quite flexible, but in the process of applying force to get the fuselage halves to meet, the side windows unspringed, requiring some remedial fixing that has left them not quite as clear and neat as I would have wanted.
The additional police role kit consists largely of an underfuselage pod. There is also a camera, spotlight and loudspeakers/sirens, which I have made up from various bits of sprue.
Starting to look like the real thing, but I can't help but feel that the fuselage is not as rounded/squat as in the photographs? I also fitted the fin tips upside down at my first attempt and didn't notice until 48 hrs later, but it was easily remedied. Here she is with assembly complete, and 2 coats of Humbrol enamels applied. The border between yellow and blue has yet to be tidied up - tomorrow night's job!
.... and here she is 2 nights later. The plan for the checkered fins failed miserably, so I now intend to use some cut down ex-801 Sqn Sea Harrier decals instead. The white lettering will be recoloured yellow in-situ (I'm wavering between a light yellow wash, or a yellow marker [and in the end I used yellow food colouring mixed with Klear]). Tomorrow/over the weekend, I will do a very small amount of oily washing to brig out some of the detail (e.g. around the windows), then a touch up of any small details before I start piling on the Klear to build up a gloss finish.
In any event, nicely on track to complete this before next month's Fleet Air Arm Museum Model Show. Here is a picture of the real thing, pinched from the WCAOU website: