During 1955, Rolls-Royce completed development of an improved Avon engine, the 10,000 lbs Avon 203. It was decided to install this engine in the Hunter under the designation F.6. The Hunter F.6 differed from the earlier variants in a number of ways. The increased power from the new engine resulted in some increase in nose pitch-up problems at altitude and to cure this, the outer wing panels were fitted with a leading edge extension. Additionally a series of modifications, known as Mod 228, were made that included provision for mounting twelve three inch rockets under the outer wing panels or installation of a second underwing pylon. The aircraft was cleared for bombs, rocket pods or fuel tanks on either set of pylons. Gun firing at high altitude produced a tendency to pitch-down and to cure this, the guns were modified with blast deflectors being installed on the gun muzzles. At the same time the shell-casing ejector chutes were lengthened.
The Academy kit captures the lines of the Hunter very well. It is also very accurate in regards with Mod 228. For this review I will go over the instructions and comment on the parts that make them up.
Construction starts with the cockpit. The kit cockpit is very well detailed, with raised dials and knobs on the consoles and control panel. The big disappointment here is the ejection seat. The detail on it is good, but the seat is way underscale, being more suitable for a 1/72 scale kit. An aftermarket seat is a must for this kit. It is really a pity because the rest of the kit is really quite good.
Next step is the construction of the intake trunks. This assembly is supposed to be inserted thru the assembled fuselage halfs and than trapped inside the wings. I imagine great care will be needed to make everything align.
In the nose area you have the choice of two inserts. One has the gun blast deflectors and the other doesn’t. This allows the builder some marking choices since some F.6s were not fitted with the blast deflectors. Academy instructs to install 20 grams in the nose to keep it down.
Next is the wing assembly. Here the builder will be required to open some holes depending on what ordinance you decide to include. Academy gives many options here. You can either install fuel tanks, 500 lbs bombs, 1000 lbs bombs, rocket pods or three-inch rockets. Another option for the wings are for either open or closed flaps. The only problem in leaving the flaps open is that there are a couple of shell ejection holes on them that will be nearly impossible to remove without destroying rib detail. The same thing is true about the main gear doors.
Under the fuselage you will have to glue the link collector blisters and the shell ejection chutes. The chutes are hollow, which is a nice touch by Academy. Here you also install the air brake, and you have the option to leave it open or closed.
The landing gear assembly follows. The wheels look really good and the struts are very well detailed with separate scissors and actuating arms. The last step is the ordinance assembly and painting. Academy includes a diagram to help the modeler figure out what hangs where depending which marking option you choose.
Marking are for two RAF machines. The box art plane was assigned to No. 63 Squadron and had the fin and horizontal stabilizer painted in yellow and black checks. The squadron commander flew this aircraft. The other option is for No. 65 Squadron and it sports a more tactical paint scheme. Both aircraft are camouflaged in Dark Green and Dark Sea Gray uppers and with the lowers painted in what Academy instructs as being a mix of Silver and White to make what is a dull metallic gray. Academy also includes all the stenciling needed which will keep the modeler busy for a while. All decals look very well printed and usable. The only problem is that comparing with aftermarket decals there seems to be some issues with the roundels. In the kit decals the blue looks a bit too light and the red is too dark. There are plenty of aftermarket sheets out there if you wish not to use these, including marking for the many other nations who flew and still fly export modifications of the F.6.