by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
In what must be one of the least predictable developments in recent years, Trumpeter have virtually cornered the market with their kits of postwar naval aircraft. Following the resounding success of their 1/72 scale Hawker Sea Fury, it was only a matter of time before they released it in 1/48 scale too and the kit duly landed on the UK shelves last week.
Packed in a tough conventional box adorned by a pair of Korean War Sea Furies, the kit comprises:
81 x pale grey styrene parts
8 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 2 x aircraft
As you'd hope with a new mainstream kit, the moulding is clean with no sign of flash or sink marks. Ejector pin marks have been kept pretty much out of harm's way. The surface finish features some neatly engraved panel lines, but also sees the return of Trumpeter's "demon riveter". Although nothing like as heavy handed as on some of their earlier kits, the embossed rivets are still exaggerated - the full-sized Sea Fury being quite a clean flush-riveted airframe (although, maybe not quite as clean as we might believe, because it does have also some areas of raised rivets that, ironically, aren't depicted in the kit).
Compared to scaled up MAP plans (Note: I should point out that I'm always a little wary of relying on plans scaled-up on domestic systems), the kit compares very well and certainly looks like a Sea Fury. The one part that does look really wrong is the spinner, which seems too long and pointed. The kit can be built with folded wings and the fit of the major parts is fine and the kit looks set fair to be a straightforward build.
A few detailsDetail-wise, Trumpeter's Sea Fury is a little basic for 1/48 scale - in fact, there's an overall impression that it's scaled-up from its small-scale predecessor. The cockpit is very simple and the pilot's seat distinctly undersized. No harness is provided.
The main wheel well has some decent detail, as do the undercarriage legs. The wheel hubs are very basic, though, and the wheels themselves seem rather thick. The wheel doors have nice structural details, but the tailwheel really does look like a straight scale-up from the smaller kit.
There's no engine provided, so it's odd that the kit contains separate cowling panels. Maybe the designers planned to include an engine at some point in the kit's development - whatever, it's an open invitation for the inevitable aftermarket sets. A nice touch is hollowed out exhausts.
Underwing stores include a set of 6 x 60lb rockets, plus a pair of drop tanks. The latter look absolutely enormous at first glance, but comparing them with the MAP plans shows they aren't as oversized as you'd imagine when compared with 90 gallon tanks (45 gallon tanks were also commonly fitted, which might explain the initial shock). That said, they do seem a bit bulbous and the streamlined fairing doesn't quite match.
The clear parts are nicely done and the canopy can be displayed open. Capturing the blown profile of the original has required a 2-part mould, so there's a (rather heavy) seam-line that needs polishing way - but that's a small price to pay for an accurate profile. Purists can always go for the Aeroclub or Falcon/Squadron vacuform canopies, which are thin and crystal clear and, obviously, have no seam-line to remove.
Instructions and decalsThe assembly diagrams are clearly drawn and there's little scope to go wrong in what is, essentially, a simple kit. Colour matches are provided for Gunze Sangyo paints.
Decals are provided for a pair of aircraft. No details are provided for either, but they are:
A. s/n VX691 flown off HMS Theseus in Korean War era camouflage with identification stripes.
B. s/n VW238 painted in the earlier solid Extra Dark Sea Grey topsides scheme.
A 4-view painting and decal guide is included for the first scheme (a single profile for the latter) and one point to watch out for is that the serial under the port wing is shown reversed - it should read from the front.
The decals are well printed and are thin and glossy. The Korean War stripes are included, although many modellers may prefer to paint them. The serials for VX691 are quite chunky and are shown fully-obscured by the stripes under one wing - lacking a photo reference for the particular aircraft, I can't say if that's correct or not.
ConclusionI was really looking forward to this kit, but I must admit to slightly mixed feeling. Yes, it measures up pretty well and is certainly an improvement over the old Hobbycraft kit, but it does feel over-simplified in places and I'm afraid to say my unavoidable feeling is that it's overpriced at £25 (especially when compared with Trumpeter's neat little MiG 3 which is half the price...). Nevertheless, I'm sure the kit will still sell well, because the Sea Fury is such a favourite and there's bound to be a plethora of aftermarket accessories to correct the spinner and cockpit and add detail where needed.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.