by: Tim Hatton [ ]
The Tempest Mk.VI was the last variant to see service with the RAF and was also the RAF’s last piston engine fighter. The more powerful Napier Sabre V 2,340 hp engine required a bigger radiator, so the carburettor air intakes were placed in the wings leading edges. Most Tempest VIs were tropicalized for use in the Middle east. Two hundred and fifty Tempest VIs were on order for the RAF, but the end of the war saw the order reduced to only one hundred and forty two aircraft were built.
I was surprised how much space there was in the large box. I thought the number of sprues and the size of the parts would have the box bulging. This kit is not the multimedia release previously seen; it’s just about the plastic. The size of the wings and fuselage is impressive as is the quality of the moulding and detail. The grey styrene parts are packed in two bags and the clear sprue is packed separately. There is little to no flash present and the sprue attachment points look reasonable.
There are lots of parts to make up the cockpit, plenty of detail to please the majority of modellers. There are 16 stages in the instructions dedicated to the office alone. The guide for its construction is excellent with colour images as well as black and white. There are three decals that replicate the instrument faces. Unfortunately there are no harnesses for the seat.
The two part fuselage has separate nose and rudder. The cockpit detail extends to the inside of the fuselage and there is also raised detail in the tail wheel bay. The two part nose has a nicely detailed radiator grill and the radiator door to the rear can be displayed in two positions. The prop has separate blades, but the blade roots are shaped to fit the back plate to create the correct pitch.
The lower wing is moulded in one piece and the leading edge carburettor air intakes are separate. There is some slight shrinkage on the upper wing corresponding to a area of the wheel bay roof where there is some deeper detail. The detail in the main undercarriage bays is very impressive. Each bay wall is made up from six parts. There are numerous small parts to create more detail. The inside of the gear doors also have good detail. The main wheel tyres are weighted, capturing the low pressure look characteristic of the Tempest.
There is the choice of ordnance including under wing fuel tanks, bombs and the rather impressive rocket projectiles. Holes need to be drilled for their locations; these are indicated by very slight depression on the outer surfaces
The clear plastic parts look very good. Some care will be needed fitting the frame for the gun sight as this is attached to the windscreen. The canopy can be slid so it can be displayed open or closed.
All the markings are post WWII based in the Far East. There is good mix of markings including natural metal and two types of disruptive camouflage.
NX201, Tempest Mk.VI, JV-U, ‘Poppet’, No 6 Squadron, RAF, Devesoir, Egypt, 1949
NX126, Tempest Mk.VI, GN-A, No 249 Squadron, RAF,Habbaniya, Iraq, 1948
NX135, Tempest Mk.VI, V, No 6 Squadron, RAF, Devesoir, Egypt, 1949.
NX179, Tempest Mk.VI, B, No 6 Squadron, RAF, Devesoir, Egypt, 1949.
There are four sheets with two sources Eduard and Cartograf. The quality looks very good and there is a sheet dedicated to the rocket projectiles.
The instructions comes as a printed A4 sized manual. There is a good mix of black and white as well as colour illustrations. There are 45 building stages, which seems a lot. It does make for uncluttered illustrations making the placement of parts much easier to identify. The painting guide is in colour, there are four profiles for each marking option. The rocket projectiles have their own small section for painting and applying the stencils. The paint guide uses Gunze Sangyo and Alclad as references, but these can be used as guides for the paint manufacturer of your choice.
This is a very impressive release from Special Hobby. The attention to detail is evident and the quality and amount of detail where it matters is superb. I like the no-nonsense approach to this kit: clean fuselage and wings with no open panels. The kit also provides an excellent platform for super detailing. Special Hobby's Tempest has been around awhile now and there are some very good builds to be found on the web.