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In-Box Review
Hawker Typhoon (car door)
Pavla Hawker Typhoon Mk. Ib (with car door canopy)
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by: Ben Micklem [ ROBOT_ ]

In 1937, Sydney Camm was already thinking of the next generation of fighter-interceptors. Two aircraft were designed: both with large water-cooled engines that were expected to easily exceed 2,000 hp. One was the Typhoon, with the Napier Sabre motor, the other- powered by a Rolls-Royce Vulture- was the Tornado. Both engines had development issues, and the Vulture was eventually axed by Rolls-Royce.

The Typhoon's design featured a large chin radiator to provide adequate cooling for the Sabre. Add to this the very thick wings, and limited supercharger, it can clearly be seen- with hindsight- that this aircraft would not become the ultra-fast mid-to-high altitude interceptor it was conceived as. The hoped-for top speed of 460 mph was never reached, and performance over 20,000 ft was particularly poor. The future of the Typhoon was in question, until the appearance of the Fw 190 in late 1941. The Typhoon was rushed into service to intercept low-level raids by this new Luftwaffe type.

Once in service, the Typhoon had to updated frequently to correct flaws as they were found: reinforcing the tail, anti-vibration seat, cockpit vents to prevent carbon monoxide build-up, updates to the rudder mass balance, four bladed prop, larger tail planes, and many more. By the end of the war the engine was quite reliable (developments included a new alloy for the sleeve valves- on advise from Bristol, who were also using them on their high-performance radial engines- and new rubber seals from the US that prevented the leak of CO into the cockpit). One of the biggest outward changes was the move from a fixed rear canopy with a car-style door (complete with window lowered by a winding handle), to a sliding bubble canopy.

While not completely unsuccessful as a low-level interceptor (in late 1942 the Typhoon claimed the first two Me 210s shot down over Britain, and they had some victories over the Fw 190), the real success of the type came as a ground attack aircraft. Wing Commander Roland Beamont was one of the aircraft's strongest supporters, and he used experience from his night raids in Hurricanes on trains to obtain much success with 609 Squadron in the heavier type. Later, rocket projectiles became the most iconic weapon used by Typhoons. While they were of limited use at actually destroying tanks and land vehicles (their accuracy was simply not good enough for small targets), their psychological effects enabled allied ground troops to capture targets with less resistance. The strong wings of the Typhoon were eventually put to use carrying a pair of 1000 lb bombs- four times the original planned weight.

In the Box
Pavla's 1/72 model kit of the Hawker Typhoon was released in 2003. It is priced in the upper part of the market, costing nearly three times that of a typical injection plastic kit from a mainstream manufacturer, but at the same time costing nearly half that of complete resin kits such as those produced by Czech Master Resin.

The kit comes in a shallow end-opening box that is easy to crush.

The 42 grey styrene parts are all found on a single sprue. There is a little bit of flash to clean up (wheel well opening in the lower wing, instrument panel and around most of the small parts)- but easily at the upper end of the limited run quality bracket.

The resin parts are packed together with the vac-form clear parts in a small zip-lock bag. There are
19 cream colour resin parts. There are some casting problems with the wheel wells (air bubbles and extra resin around the inside edges), and the chair back is distorted.

The clear parts consist of two types of canopy (with and without the top teardrop that housed the rear-view mirror)- Beamont's PR-G uses the canopy without the teardrop. The covers for the landing lights are also provided.

The transfers feature three sets of markings:
W/Cdr Gillam's Z-Z, R7698, Duxford, Autumn 1942;
S/Ldr Beamont's PR-G, R7752, Manston, March 1943;
S/Ldr Taylor's JE-DT, EK273, Ludham, Summer 1943.

In Detail
The plastic parts have very finely engraved panel lines, and the rudder's fabric finish is very restrained. However, they have not reduced the prominence of aircraft's cannon bulges on the upper wing surface- they are accurately steep sided. There are no locating pins on any of the parts, so definitely not a kit for completely inexperienced modellers.

The fuselage does not include moulded detail for the fishplate tail re-enforcement, as this would have precluded it representing older airframes. Instead they supply a transfer to wrap around the tail. There are two cockpit vents on the port side of the fuselage- below the rear part of the canopy. These should only be present on EK273, the older airframes would not have had these. EK273 should have another of these vents on the starboard side.

The car-door is supplied as a styrene part, in case you which to model the aircraft with it open. In which case, you are expected to hollow out the opening for the door's glazing, and fit your own clear sheet material. The right fuselage half is missing the space for the lower part of the door, so at least you don't have to create this opening as well. There are two large sink marks in the outer surface of the car door part.

Pavla have provided two type of exhausts- even though the shrouded type are not used in any of the three aircraft for which marking are provided. They are separate parts from the fuselage, so can be painted separately. However, the slot in the engine cowlings goes all the way through, it may be hard to glue in the exhausts at the right depth after the fuselage is closed.

The propeller is in five parts- a central hub, the spinner, and the three separate blades. The instructions are not much help on getting the correct alignment.

The interior styrene parts leave a lot to be desired- the instrument panel is dominated by large central sink mark, that is impossible to fill without obliterating the instrument dials. Luckily, most of the cockpit is represented with resin. The side walls are very bare looking, with the only detail being an attempt at the throttle. I would have thought it would take very little extra effort to add more details, but I expect the manufacturer thinks the target for this kit should have the skills to add their own wiring. The gun sight and control stick are both excellent. The seat, though distorted, features the quilted back padding, and the lower two harness straps.

The undercarriage looks tricky to assemble- very fine styrene and resin components are needed. The resin wheel wells are crisply moulded, and apart from the flaws already mentioned (bubbles, excess resin on edges), will look impressive on a model of this scale. A hydraulic cylinder and some plumbing details are present. The wheels look very nice- they are weighted, but the effect does not look exaggerated to my eye. The hubs have crisp and accurate spoke detail.

The ends of the cannon barrels are separate parts- either faired (made of styrene) for Beamont's plane (he had Spitfire cannon fairings altered to fit- these were the first to be fitted on a Typhoon), or resin exposed barrels.

One of the most distinctive attributes of the typhoon is its radiator. The resin representation of this is not convincing- it lacks the central duct that guides air down to the inner oil radiator, so where you are expecting a protruding central part of the radiator, there is actually a large void. It will be very tricky to made these thin ducts (it requires two thin-walls tubes of similar diameters).

The vac-formed canopies are made from thick stock, so are not particularly clear. Probably due to the box being crushed, the teardrop on the top of one of the canopies has been dented.

Marking options
Pavla should be commended for stating their references for the schemes. The next step would be to reproduce photos of the aircraft to back them up.

The manufacturer has chosen some great marking options. Beamont's plane has his famous score-board, the squadron crest, his S/Ldr pennant on both sides, and Tally-Ho wording. The yellow sinner and cannon fairing make this a distinctive-looking aircraft. The marking guide doesn't show the pale stripe under the radiator that is obvious in the clear photos of the nose of this aircraft (probably left over from when the entire nose was painted white)- the box art even shows this. My best reference for this aircraft (Model Aircraft Monthly, June 2006), suggests this band was yellow.

EK273 features nose-art of Donald Duck carrying a golden spear.

Gillam's Tiffie features oversize 'Z-Z' code letters, a W/Cdr's pennant on one side, and 'Penny' and a pegasus on the other. This is the only aircraft not shown to have black and white ID stripes. The instructions could have helped the modeller by stating the required widths and spacing of the stripes.

The roundels are perfectly in register, and the colour accuracy for all the colours looks very good to my eye.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Some of the resin parts are highly detailed. Surface detail is very accurate and restrained.
Lows: Will be harder to construct compared to mainstream kit. Radiator needs work to represent this most prominent feature of the Typhoon. Would like to have seen photo-etch included- this would solve the instrument panel and radiator problems.
Verdict: At this price, it is tempting for advanced modellers to go the whole hog and splash out on one of the CMR resin kits with all their extras, or to buy resin and photo etch extras for the Academy kit. If it was cheaper, it would be much harder to criticise
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 72044
  Suggested Retail: 15.65
  PUBLISHED: Sep 02, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Ben Micklem (robot_)

I have an interest in photographic reconnaissance, in particular the Photographic Development Unit based at Heston at the beginning of WWII.

Copyright 2021 text by Ben Micklem [ ROBOT_ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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