by: Darren Baker [ ]
IntroductionThe Hawker Hunter had a less than gleaming record in its early years, the early examples I have seen described as ‘unfit for purpose’. As time moved from the aircraft of the early 1950’s the Hunters had the weaknesses that were present ironed out, and by the 1960’s the Hawker Hunter could hold its own as a fighter for the most part and was an excellent ground attack aircraft. As an export offering the Hawker Hunter was the aircraft version of the Centurion tank, 19 countries took the Hunter including many European Countries.
The following is from thunder-and-lightings.co.uk:
"In 1968 it was the RAF's 50th birthday, yet the top brass did not see fit to mark this with any flypast, choosing instead for mere parades on the ground. Many RAF personnel were less than impressed and one Flt Lt Alan Pollock of 1(F) Squadron decided to mark the occasion in style - first with toilet-roll bombing missions against rival squadrons, and then on April 5th, while suffering from the beginnings of pneumonia which no doubt had some affect on his decision making processes, he flew his Hunter over London and at the last second decided to fly under the top span of Tower Bridge! Knowing of the consequences of his unauthorised trip, he proceeded to beat up several airfields and landed to meet his fate. It would be the end of his RAF career (he went on to run a successful exporting company), with political influences making sure he was treated incredibly unfairly - thrown out of the RAF with no right to appeal, no court martial at which he could present his case, medical evidence ignored, unable to meet with his superiors, etc. It took until 1982 for his case to be fully heard, and only then was he exonerated. Coincidentally, that same year the Hunter he had flown (XF442, which had been sold to the Chilean Air Force) was written off in an accident."
ContentsThis offering from Academy of the Hawker Hunter is packaged in the usual card tray and separate card lid. Inside of this you will find:
6 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
A decal sheet
An assembly guide
A decal placement and painting guide
ReviewThe sprues for this model are supplied in three bags, 2 sprues in each and a further very small bag for the clear sprue which is placed in a bag with the other sprues. 2 parts have been broken loose during transit, but a look over them shows no damage to the parts that I can see. The mouldings are free of flash in this example and so clean up on that front is not required. On the bad side is the dreaded ejector pin marks which are liberally spread around the mouldings. The undercarriage doors appear to be badly effected with this issue, there are at least two on each panel, the flaps all have at least three on the inner faces and even the air brake does not escape this issue. The upper wing surfaces also have a few shallow sink marks. By far the worst issue I have located is a short shot of plastic meaning the control column is in two parts with a lot of it completely missing. So this kit is going to require the modelling skills be brought to the fray and is a disappointing set of affairs for me to find in a new offering from Academy even if it is a re-release.
As with most aircraft models the instructions start with the cockpit and so that is where I will start the review proper. The cockpit is fairly basic in my opinion and will benefit greatly from the after-market, scratch building skills or a combination of both. The ejector seat is a multipart affair and so is quite reasonable detail wise, but there is no harness detail present and looks to be on the small size, more braille scale than 1/48th scale. The lack of harness detail is a double edged sword; it makes it easy for those modellers going down the route of after-market harness detail, but for others it means the seat will look odd with the detail missing. This issue could be cheaply and easily overcome by providing the seat portion both with and without harness detail for the modeller to choose. The instrument panels have moulded detail on them, but it is fairly simple and will not meet the needs of the more demanding modeller. A full resin cockpit is available for this model and I found it at Model Hobbies for less than £10. I have provided photographs of the model parts against the resin parts in order that you can see just how far adrift the cockpit is.
Next up is the trunking for directing the air to the first set of blades of the compressor. Detail here is quite nice despite there not being a lot of detail required. The face of the compressor fan is pleasing for where it sits in the model. The tunnels that funnel the air are very nicely shaped, but for reasons known only to the modelling gods Academy has placed the ejector pin marks on the face that will be seen rather than the hidden face. The jet exhaust has a nice depth to it, but is devoid of any detail what so ever.
The two halves of the fuselage can now be closed up, and I see no obvious issues with this. The nose of the aircraft requires two further elements to complete and I am pleased to see that Academy has supplied information on weight being required and how much to prevent the model being a tail sitter. I like using ‘Liquid Gravity’ from Deluxe Materials for this purpose and with the weight being required either side of the nose wheel bay this product is ideal. There are two alternate rear ends supplied for the fuselage; flat ended is for the F6 variants and the one that is flared at the top is for the FGA9 variant.
Moving onto the wings of the aircraft, where I like that Academy has provided the side walls of the wheels bays as separate parts and so enabled some nice detail to be present. The wings are butt joints onto the fuselage and support provided by the intake trunking, this does cause me some concern, but it will only be answered when I get to assembly. As stated earlier the flaps on the wings can be displayed lowered and are designed specifically to be displayed that way, the detail on the inner face is quite nice, but cleaning up the ejector pin marks will be a royal pain here. Additionally the one piece inner flap is for the F6 and the two piece flaps for the FGA 9, this is not clearly pointed out without looking back and forth. Academy has provided a drilling guide for the mounting of external stores and so you will need to decide what you want on show here. I have decided already that at most I will add fuel tanks to the model. It should also be noted that only the short fuel tanks can be carried on the F6 which is not indicated at all in the instructions.
The undercarriage of the model is a little hit and miss in my opinion. The nose wheel strut could have been so much better detailed than has been provided by Academy, but with a little work and some wiring added it can be improved. The main wheel struts are much better I feel, but again the addition of some wiring will improve the look and lift them. I mention again here the issue of ejector pin marks on the inner faces of the doors that will be difficult to deal with.
The canopy of the model is good, being of a reasonable thickness and from what I can see not causing any distortion when looked through.
The external stores provided with this offering from Academy are as follows:
2 x 100 gallon fuel tanks
2x 230 gallon fuel tanks
2 x 500 lbs bombs
2 x 1000 lbs bombs
24 x 3inch rockets
2 x Mantra rocket pods
The weapons don’t do a lot for me as they are very basic, but if you have to load up your model for bear there are plenty of weapons sets available.
The decals for this offering have been supplied and printed by Cartograf, as such I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that the quality is very good. They are thin and have excellent colour saturation which will result in a nicely finished model. The finishing options supplied are:
4FTS Hawker Hunter F6, XF526/78, 18th August 1979
RAF 56 Squadron, Hawker Hunter F6, XF526/C, 1960
IAF 20 Squadron, Hawker Hunter F56, BA360A, 1970’s
RAF 54 Squadron, Hawker Hunter FGA6, XJ642/L, 1967
Swiss Air Force ‘Patrouille Suisse’ Aerobatic Team, early 1990’s
Swedish Air Force Acro Hunters, Vasteras Air Show
ConclusionExterior wise this model is quite good. The recessed panel lines are nice and there is nothing to worry about in the way of flash. Closer examination reveals a poor cockpit, weak detail on the under carriage and a lot of ejector pin marks in hard to rectify places, the cockpit can be cheaply replaced with a resin offering, which looking from above the model will greatly improve the look. The price of this offering is what keeps this worthy of consideration as the finishing options are nice and if given some tender loving care should result in a pleasing finish. For an out of the box build I would only give this offering 70% tops.
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