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A Modeler's Evolution

Part Three

by Russell M. Field

1/72 Hurricane I





For those who haven't caught the first two in this series, these "Evolution" articles aren't kit reviews or construction pieces. They're intended to provide a non-expert perspective on technique and results for other novices like myself ... and this one was a goodie!

This kit launched me further into the depths of detailed modeling. It's the 1/72 Hasegawa Battle of Britain Mk I Hurricane (kit #51338, AP38), giving a choice between R-S Tuck's mount or Arthur Clowes' bird. I chose Tuck's plane.

My photography is improving, but still, please bear with me.





Like the Spitfire in Part 2, I accumulated a lot of references on the Hurricane. Again, however, my major information source was responses to questions on sites like the "Remembering the Battle of Britain" website (and again, special thanks to Doug Tidy and others) and Hyperscale folks. Another plane "built by the Internet"!

My primary published references included the Squadron-Signal Hurricane In Action, the S/S Walkaround, the KokuFan Hurricane book, and the Arco-Aircam series.



Key Features


While most folks generally liked this kit, there was some controversy over a few details. The main issues were the length of the nose and the depth of the fabric representation on the aft fuselage. Some said Hasegawa got the noses switched between their Mk I and Mk II kits. I bought a Mk II to swap the noses as suggested, but when I put a steel rule to both I could discern no measurable difference. The Mk I kit nose comes without the oil ring, and since Tuck's plane was "ringless" I opted to stick with the original kit parts (of course, I now HAVE to build the Mk II nightfighter I HAD to buy …).

I was much better this time about making a plan and sticking to it. The only "in-process" decision was to add the dual-handled starting crank (no big deal since the hole is easily accessible).



Construction Modifications


Some of the major features and modifications included:

  • Jaguar resin interior and dropped flaps (mastered by Roy Sutherland); 

  • Drilled out the exhausts (buckets o' fun at this scale!), added the crank handle, a Squadron vac-formed canopy, rear-view mirror, brake lines and IFF wires; 

  • Removed inappropriate panel lines from wing tops (Mk II gunbay panels; "common sprue" syndrome) and sanded the fuselage fabric area some;  

  • Reset all control surfaces (yeah, yeah … and matched the joystick position … at least I didn't go for the trim tab!); 

  • Opened the fuselage handhold and added a footstep (found out they worked together after I'd opened the handhold); 

  • Added clear plastic wingtip, underside and topside navigation lights, and scratch-built the landing lights and covers; 

  • Detailed the radiator with styrene rod and nylon mesh and opened its flap; 

  • Totally scratch-built the wheel wells (the stock wells are a poor imitation); 

  • And the whammie (there's always a "whammie") - opened the port gunbay and detailed with Aries resin Brownings and scratch-built structure.

Actually, you could say there were two "whammies" in this project - that wheel well rebuild was no small deal! Actually, once I figured out how to do it, the process was rather quick. The gunbay was a different story.

I had to add front and rear webs, barrel shrouds from aluminum tubing, make and fit the ammo cans and make the chutes. I used styrene sheet stock and channel extrusion for the cans and chutes, respectively. The biggie was fitting it into the wing; next time I'll thin the wing skins closer to scale before I get too deep into the task! I left 'em way too thick on this one.

Here are the gunbay and the wheel wells. The ammo belt is from the Aries set; the wing panels are .010" sheet stock and the ammo containers and chutes are scratch-built. The wells are boxed in with sheet stock and detailed with rod and wire.



Below are pictures of the front and rear of the radiator. Note the support struts and screening; in the kit, the radiator screen appears to be a Mk II type with a circular insert.



All together now, for the third time, with feeling: "Why, oh why does it take Russ 3 months to build such a small airplane?" …

I'd show you a close-up of the cockpit, but the sad fact is (add this to the "Lessons Learned" section) that when it's all buttoned up, even with the canopy open it's tough to see inside a 1/72 Hurricane. In person, with a flashlight, you can get a really neat view - but I've not been able to get a well-lit camera shot!



Painting and Finishing


There were two major issues painting this little bugger. One was the primer I used: it was really too thick, and went a long way toward obliterating panel lines. The second was the aft fuselage stripe and the fact that I opted to paint it on rather than use the kit decal.

The first decision was what color to paint the light portion of the underside. Some references said "white", others said "Sky", and still others didn't say. I finally went with RAF Sky, and the band to match. I sprayed the entire underside and the band area with Sky, lightened 4:1 Sky to white.

When it had dried for a couple of days (I wanted it really cured), I masked the underside to protect the Sky part. I re-sprayed the tape edge with Sky to prevent bleeding of the black, let it dry a day and sprayed the black.

Then the fun began. I masked the fuselage band and the underside edges and sprayed the Dark Earth topcoat; so far, so good. When it had dried for a day, I penciled in the Dark Green pattern and sprayed it on. Much better this time than the first run on the Spitfire, until I realized that - can you guess? - on the starboard wing I had sprayed the wrong areas of the pattern!

A fairly easy fix, a quick respray with the Dark Earth in that area, but unnerving nonetheless. However, when I went to remove the masking tape from the fuselage band, I found that a significant paint ridge had built up along the tape edge. I don't know why I didn't have this problem on the underside, but this ridge required a little trimming, burnishing and touch-up. All better now …

The only notable item on the underside, over the process described in Part 2, was leaving the big radiator off, painting it separately and installing it just before weathering. To install it before painting the underside would have made masking for the half-&-half underside scheme more difficult, so I just left it off.

The loss of many of the panel lines was unfortunate, but I was able to compensate to some degree with oil-paint post-shading. I used the same oil paints and pastels techniques as described in Part 2, minimizing dirt but depicting noticeable operational wear and grunge. The leading edges received a "chipping" treatment of silver Rub'N'Buff (a wax-based highlighting substance available in most craft stores) applied with an eye makeup sponge applicator. This has become one of my favorite techniques!

Add the aerial and upper navigation light, buff the wingtip nav lights and we're ready to take off!

Wheewww … 3 ½ months after starting …





Lessons learned Tuck's bird taught me a few things:

  • Make sure you know what's going to show and what won't. I'd do the Jaguar interior again, just because I'm like that, but the fact is I was pretty disappointed that the interior is so hard to see when the unit's assembled. If you're not as anal as I am, you can save time, eyestrain and bucks by not over-detailing an area nobody can see anyway. Probably less of an issue in the bigger scales.

  • Along that line, many construction and conversion articles are written around 1/48 and larger. Scale does make a difference, and how I represent things in 1/72 can be different than how I may do it in larger scales. Put such articles in perspective relative to the scale in which you will be working.

  • The only scale error I made on this model (that I'm aware of) was the thickness of the wing skins in the area of the gun bay. I should have thinned them more; not only would it have made the installation easier, but it would have looked more accurate as well.

  • Again, I used 2 lb. monofilament for the aerial. I learned 1) passing a match quickly under the antenna will tighten it up quite nicely, and 2) passing a match slowly or too close will … well, guess which one I learned first…

  • Once again, I really liked the oil paints and pastels. Can't overemphasize that you ought to try this approach.

  • As a final weathering touch, a lightly tinted burnt umber or brown oil wash overall can really tie things together. Brush it on lightly and let it dry; don't keep brushing it on if it doesn't look like you've got enough. When it dries, it will look different. Touch up with a little more here and there or a thinner-dampened Q-tip where you've got too much.

Next time: Revell's 1/72 Focke Wulf 190A-8 with BV 246 Hagelkorn Glidebomb!


Article, Model and Images Copyright © 1999 by Russell M. Field
Page Created 14 November, 1999
Last updated 26 July, 2007

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