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Hawker hunter model

18 Apr

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Representing the cutting edge of British fighter design when it entered service, the Hunter was quickly superseded in the air defence role. However, it found a new lease of life as a robust attack aircraft and refurbished airframes sold well abroad.

Hawker’s first swept-wing jet fighter to enter production was conceived as a response to Air Ministry specification F.3/48. During the design process the aircraft’s nose intake was changed for a pair of intakes in the wing roots, and its tailplane was lowered from the top of the fin to a position about three-quarters of the way down. Three prototypes were followed by a series of variants.

P. 1067: The first two prototypes (WB188 and WB195) were powered by the Rolls-Royce Avon, the third (WB202) by an Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire. Hunter F. Mk 1: The first mark to enter squadron service, this was Avon powered and had a limited internal tankage of 334 Imp gal (1518 litres). During its early use an underfuselage airbrake was added (the original intention had been to use the flaps as airbrakes, but the trim change was too great), along with link collector fairings, colloquially known as ‘Sabrinas’, which saved these parts of the ammunition snake from striking the new airbrake.

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Hunter F. Mk 2: The Sapphire-powered equivalent of the F. Mk 1, similarly short-legged, but without the engine stoppage problems when the guns were fired. Hunter F. Mk 3: WB188 modified to have an afterburning Avon, with airbrakes either side of the rear fuselage and with a more pointed nose and a rounded windscreen fairing for maximum low-level speed. In this form, and painted scarlet, it took the World Absolute Speed Record in the hands of Neville Duke on 7 September 1953, following this on the 19th with the 100-km closed circuit record. Hunter F. Mk 4: The major production version of the ‘early’ Hunters, this had increased internal tankage 414 Imp gal (1882 litres) for additional range, and the ability to carry two 100-Imp gal (455-litre) underwing tanks, though this facility was little used in practice. As well as serving with the RAF, this mark was used by the Swedish and Danish air forces, and was built by Fokker for the Dutch and Belgian services. Hunter F. Mk 5: The Sapphire-powered equivalent of the F. Mk 4, and seen with the underwing tanks when based in Cyprus for Operation Musketeer. The F. Mks 1, 2, 4 and 5 were visually almost identical, with the exception of a few small intakes around the engine bay and the streak of lost oil habitually worn by the 2 and 5.

Hunter F. Mk 2 WN904 is seen here after its retirement for maintenance use with serial 7544M.

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Hunter F. Mk 6: The first mark with the more powerful 200-series Avon, all but the first few had the dogtooth leading edge to reduce the probability of pitch-up in sharp turns (a few late production F. Mk 4s also had this feature. Many of these being upgraded to F. Mk 6A standard, visually similar to the FGA. Mk 9). Hunter T. Mk 7: RAF two-seater with 100-series Avon, used initially for conversion training and later for the advanced part of the pilot training programme, not least because it could be used to demonstrate spin recovery technique. Provision for one 30-mm ADEN cannon only. Hunter T. Mk 8: Royal Navy version of T. Mk 7, the external difference being the provision of a runway arrester hook. A few later modified as T. Mk 8M with the Sea Harrier’s Blue Fox radar. Hunter FGA. Mk 9: Final major production version, with 200-series Avon, four under-wing pylons for fuel tanks or ordnance, and a brake chute housing above the tailpipe. Baseline variant for most of the refurbished or new-build export marks. Hunter FR. Mk 10: Low-level fighter reconnaissance version based on the F. Mk 6, with a nose mounting for three cameras and still combat capable with cannon and stores.

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Hunter GA. Mk 11: Mark 4s converted for Royal Navy training by the deletion of the cannon, the ability to carry rocket pods and the addition of an arrester hook, similar to that of the T. Mk 8. Many of those that served with the Fleet Requirement Unit (later FRADU) at Yeovilton were fitted with a Harley light in the nose to make them more visible to their naval targets, and a few (PR. Mk 11A) had camera noses. Hunter Mk 12: One-off conversion (XE531) of an F. Mk 6 with a two-seat nose and 200-series Avon. Originally intended as a lead-in trainer for the TSR.2, when that was cancelled it was allocated to RAE Farnborough where it acquired a bump above its nose to accommodate a vertically mounted camera, and was used on fly-by-wire trials.

Export Hunters: While early Hunters for Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden were basically F. Mk 4s, most of the later sales used the F. Mk 6/FGA. Mk 9 as their baseline standard, even though some were rebuilt and upgraded F. Mk 4s. Many of the export trainers had the larger 200-series Avon, and the most developed were those of the Swiss air force, whose F. Mks 58 and 58A, and T. Mk 68s were progressively modified to carry Sidewinder and Maverick missiles, and whose most notable visual difference in later life was their extended ‘Sabrinas’. Test Hunters: Several Mark 4s and 6s were used for test purposes, some of which resulted in visual differences. Notable were the Fireflash and Firestreak missile-carriers with re-profiled noses – XF310 and XF378, respectively – and XG131 with tip tanks in an attempt to alleviate the perennial range problem. XF833, the Mark 6 prototype, was later fitted with reverse thrust, requiring cascade vanes either side of its rear fuselage.

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Above: The Hunter T. Mk 7 was distinctive for its side-by-side two-seat nose, which made for an elegant trainer version.

Revell hawker hunter 1 32

Surprisingly represented by only a few kits in the past, the Hunter has recently been a centre of attention for Revell, with excellent new kits in 1:72 and 1:32 scale. Modellers still await a definitive 1:48 scale Hunter, however, or a good two-seater in any scale. 1:72 Hawker Hunter F. Mk 4 WT811/H, No. Ill Sqn, RAF Fighter Command

Before it converted to its famous black Hunter F. Mk 6s, ‘Treble One’ Squadron used Hunter F. Mk 4s in standard camouflage with the Squadron’s well-known black bars on the rear fuselage. I wanted to build one of these aircraft as a contrast to the black F. Mk 6 I’d already made. For this model I used the Revell 1:72 kit and a prototype conversion set from SAM, which provides a replacement fuselage plug to reflect the changed grilles and intakes for the early Rolls-Royce Avon engine, smaller tailpipe and new wheels.

Revell’s kit is one of my favourites and fits together very well. In fact, I like it so much that I have built three and thoroughly enjoyed every one. I think it is more accurate than the 1:48 Academy kit and certainly looks right, particularly around the nose section. Although the moulds are now showing some flash, overall the panel lines are delicately engraved and the parts well detailed, particularly in the cockpit and wheel wells.

My building technique is to assemble the entire airframe, paint it externally and then paint the cockpit. This may sound heretical, but in fact the cockpit is so well moulded that it can be realistically completed from outside with blacks, greys, dry-brushing and some brighter colours to represent switches. I used the kit’s ejection seat, to which I added belts from an old Reheat set.

I started by assembling all the fuselage and cockpit components. The fit around the nose can be improved by gently sanding the mating surfaces of the ftiselage halves at the top in front of the cockpit opening: this reduces their width slightly to match that of the lower nose section (part 10) and nose cone (part 11). I then cut the fuselage along the two panel lines that bound the fuselage plug area of the conversion set, one in front of the wing trailing edge and one behind. After trimming, the fuselage plug needed some small amounts of filler (I used Squadron Green Stuff) to blend it in. In order to avoid damaging the surrounding detail I wrapped Tamiya masking tape either side of the join before applying the filler. The tailcone and jetpipe section was also added as a straight replacement for the kit parts 12, 13 and 14.

I then added the wings, which needed trimming at the trailing edge to fit into the cut out in the resin fuselage plug, and other details such as the link collectors (‘Sabrinas’). After this I applied Halfords automotive primer and then, after masking the canopy components, camouflage colours from the Xtracolor range: Dark Green (X001) and Dark Sea Grey (X004) over the new RAF High Speed Silver (X038) colour, which looks very good.

The decals for No. Ill Sqn came from SAM Hunter sheet X072-53, which was produced in association with Xtradecal. They went on beautifully and I was pleased that all the necessary markings came on the sheet – there’s no need to scrabble around for individual codes and serial numbers. The only challenge is cutting up the underwing codes to fit on each of the undercarriage doors. The stencils came from the kit sheet and went on well using Johnson’s Klear.

Some gentle weathering with pastels and a wash around the undercarriage bays completed the painting, followed by the addition of the smaller details – canopy, undercarriage and fuel tanks. It was at this point that I realised I’d made a mistake. Although I had added nose weight, I’d forgotten that extra would be needed to balance the resin rear fuselage plug and tailpipe, hence I discovered too late that the model is a confirmed tail-sitter. However, I solved the problem by using the mini-weights supplied by fellow SAM contributor Ted Taylor. These consist of tiny balls that can be poured into cavities. In the case of the Hunter, I drilled a 3/32-in hole in the front of the nose gear bay and inserted them one-by-one, each dipped in cyanoacrylate glue, through the hole until the model was balanced.

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The finished model represents a reasonably pristine and well-maintained RAF Hunter and makes a nice contrast to my F. Mk 5 and FGA. Mk 9, which show variations on the standard RAF scheme.

1:72 Hunter F. Mk 5 WP190/K, No. 1 Sqn, RAF, Operation Musketeer, 1956

The 50th anniversary of the Suez campaign, Operation Musketeer, fell in 2006. RAF aircraft sported an interesting variety of yellow and (sometimes) black stripes, and I was inspired by the excellent Don Greer painting of a No. 1 Sqn Hunter F. Mk 5 that adorns the cover of Squadron/Signal’s Hunter in Action. The aircraft is painted with full ‘Suez stripes’ and I wanted to reproduce it in model form.

I again used the 1:72 Revell kit, with a prototype F. Mk 5 conversion set from SAM, which provides the replacement fuselage plug to reflect die grilles and intake configuration of the Sapphire engine, a revised tailpipe and ‘weighted’ wheels. Again I assembled the entire airframe, painted it externally and then finished the cockpit. I started by assembling all the fuselage and cockpit components as for the F. Mk 4.

I then cut the fuselage along the two panel lines, added the fuselage plug and again needed small amounts of Squadron Green Stuff to blend it in. I then carefully trimmed the new wing leading edge sections and test fitted them to the wings: some further adjustment was needed before they were attached with slow-setting superglue, following which the kit wingtips were added. After joining the wings and the ‘Sabrinas’ to the fuselage, I gave the model a final rub over, before carefully restoring any panel lines. The fit was again very good and in fact the biggest challenge with this model was the colour scheme. I decided that, since yellow is notoriously bad at covering dark camouflage colours, I would apply the Operation Musketeer stripes first and then all the other colours on top.

Firstly I applied a coat of Halfords automotive primer and then laid down a base coat of automotive white primer, followed by three sprayed coats of Humbrol 24, which has an appealing darker yellow shade and covers reasonably well. I then added the stripes from Microscale ‘/s-in black stripes (reference PS-2-1/8), applied over several coats of Johnson’s Klear/Future floor wax. Some touching up was required using acrylic gloss black paint from one of the Airfix ‘starter’ sets. Masking this proved tricky, since friends had wisely advised me not to put masking tape directly onto the decals. I therefore added thin strips of tape to define the outer extremities of the yellow areas, and then used paper to cover the black stripe decals, again attached with thin strips of Tamiya tape. Over this parcel I sprayed camouflage colours from the Xtracolor range, as used on the F. Mk 4.

The decals for No. 1 Sqn came from Modeldecal Sheet number 86, which is still available from Hannants, although the squadron bars seem slightly undersized for the aircraft I wanted to model. The serials – I cheerfully dispensed with the underwing codes – came from other Modeldecal sheets, and all needed careful application. I could not find anything approximating the red with white surround individual aircraft number and had to use a generic RAF dull red serial, which does not look right. Modeldecals tend to have a large amount of adhesive with their images and this can leave brown stains on the model. My technique was therefore to wash each decal carefully in warm water until no traces of glue remained, then bed it down with Johnson’s Klear. The stencils came from the kit sheet and went on well using the same method.

Following a coat of Hannants acrylic matt varnish, some gentle weathering with pastels and a wash around the undercarriage bays completed the finish, followed by the addition of the smaller details. I was pleased with the final effect, although for future Operation Musketeer models I will try to reduce the number of paint layers, which have almost obliterated the kit’s very fine surface detail. This would be a very good scheme for an after-market decal company to depict.

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1:48 Hunter F. Mk 6 XF526/C, No. 56 Sqn, RAF Fighter Command, 1959

Released amid great anticipation in 1997, Academy’s 1:48 Hunter F. Mk 6 was well received. At the time, the only other options were the very old AMT kit or Aeroclub’s vacform.

However, the Academy kit has some accuracy issues, some of which I overcame with plastic surgery and a little help from Aeroclub. The kit includes two pairs of fuel tanks, large and small; a pair of multiple rocket launchers; some fairly well done rockets on rails; and a pair of unconvincing bombs. It has a very comprehensive decal sheet offering plenty of stencil data. I wanted to improve the kit but at the same time I did not want to spend a lot of money on it. In the end I settled for an Aeroclub correction set, V152, which deals with the worst of the kit’s problems in the simplest ways and costs only about £10.00. It includes metal undercarriage legs and wheels, three styles of injection-moulded rear fuselage insert, two metal exhaust rings, an injection-moulded cockpit tub, metal control column, ejection seat, gun sight and rudder pedals, and a vacform canopy.

Construction started with the cockpit, where the only kit part used was the instrument panel, since the cockpit tub is too shallow and the seat and control column are to 1:72 scale. The cockpit was assembled with the Aeroclub parts and seat being left out until later. Next I assembled the bifurcated jet intake system. Academy has made a fairly good job of this area, but 1 decided it could be made simpler to fit by cutting the jet intake trunks off the centre section. The centre splitter plates were also left out, since I have not seen them on any real Hunters. Once assembled and split into its new sections, the system was painted silver and set aside with the cockpit.

I then moved on to the fuselage. First the rear part of the fuselage was replaced with the Aeroclub inserts. The kit parts are too long and the jet exhaust too narrow, while the Aeroclub parts were a good fit and required only a little filler to blend them in. At this point the wings were built up and test fitted to the fuselage. The wings themselves are good, with adequate detail in the undercarriage bays, the only area that needs improvement being the jet intakes, which don’t extend far enough away from the fuselage. This was simply rectified by extending them to more of a point using a round needle file.

The wings fit into a recess in the fuselage, leaving a few gaps that were fixed by applying pressure from the inside while applying MEK to the outside of the join. However, great care should be taken to set the correct wing anhedral. I put a little too much anhedral on and this leaves the sit of the model looking a little odd. Once the glue had set, the intake trunks were inserted and adjusted for a good fit. From here on construction was straightforward, with the only other modifications being made to the tail area. The length of the tail bullet fairing was reduced by cutting it at its widest point, reducing its length on both sides of the cut by 1.5 mm and then gluing it back together. The tailplanes were moved forwards 2.5 mm by reducing the length of their fixing pegs and then the resulting gap between the bullet fairing and the elevators was filled with plastic card.

Once work on the fuselage was complete the Aeroclub ejection seat was painted and detailed with seat belts made from masking tape. It was then fitted to the cockpit and the area was dry brushed with a medium grey shade and silver. 

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The Aeroclub canopy was now cut to profile, but it didn’t fit! I think this is because the fairing behind the cockpit is too large on the Academy kit and the canopy may be from Aeroclub’s own Hunter kit. In the end I decided not to alter the fuselage, so the kit canopy was used, even though it is a little short, fitting inside the fuselage hump rather than overlapping it slightly.
Before any paint was used the canopy was masked using 6-mm Tamiya tape pushed into the frame detail with a cocktail stick and then cut with a new scalpel blade. Black acrylic paint was then air-brushed onto the canopy frame. Then the whole model was sprayed with Halfords aerosol grey primer – this not only provides a good base for the colour paint, but also shows up any imperfections. Next I airbrushed all the panel lines and areas of natural shadow with black acrylic. I also painted the inside of the jet pipe and any black areas on the airframe, masking prior to the application of the camouflage colours.
My technique for completing the High Speed Silver underside of the model was rather long winded, but I was very happy with the final results. Light grey and silver acrylic paints were mixed together in equal proportions and this mix was then airbrushed onto the model, taking care not to completely hide the black preshad-ing. The finish looked odd, being neither grey nor silver, so to achieve the desired look a very light coat of Alclad ‘A’ flat aluminium was misted on. Once dry the silver area was masked off ready for application of the green/grey camouflage. First to be applied was the green, choosing the appropriate shade from the old Aeromaster acrylic range. I thinned it using tap water and airbrushed it on free hand. With the green dry I masked the camouflage pattern using thin Blu Tack sausages and paper masking tape. Xtracrylix Dark Sea Grey, thinned with tap water and Xtracrylix thinners, was then airbrushed on.
The masking was removed, leaving only that protecting the canopy, and then a gloss coat was applied by brush using Johnson’s Klear in preparation for the decals. The model was left overnight for the Klear to dry thoroughly. The decals provided by Academy are fine, although I have had experience of them silvering. On this occasion I wanted to model a subject from an Xtradecal sheet that had been languishing in the decal box for some years and only used the stencil data provided by Academy.

The decals were placed using Micro Sol on the Academy decals and just Micro Set on the Xtradecals and all behaved very well. Once the decals were dry they were sealed with another brushed coat of Klear. Painting the metal ring around the jet exhaust began the final stages of the build. It was masked with a thin strip of electrician’s vinyl tape and brush painted with silver enamel. To achieve a burnt metal look the silver paint was polished with a little graphite dust on a cotton bud just before the silver had fully hard ened.

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 The undercarriage was then prepared. The white metal Aeroclub castings required a lot of cleaning up and the reinstatement of some detail. The legs were a direct replacement for the appropriate kit parts, being only shorter in length to take account of the larger Aeroclub wheels. They were painted in Light Aircraft Grey, the wheel hubs being aluminium and the tyres black with a drop of pale grey added. The undercarriage doors, bays and legs were all given a wash of mixed black and rust enamel paint heavily thinned with high-grade white spirit. Once this had dried everything was dry brushed with its underlying colour to further enhance the detail. The metal components were then fixed in place using superglue. I used the kit pitot tube, re-profiled to taper evenly to its tip. The small whip aerials were made from stretched sprue, fixed into drilled holes with superglue.
The project was now very near completion. The model was given a light airbrushed coat of Xtracrylix’s superb flat varnish, thinned with tap water and Xtracrylix thinners. Once this was dry the clear navigation lights were painted in appropriate colours on their inner surfaces and fixed to the wings. The model then received a little subtle weathering and was complete. In conclusion, the Academy Hunter will make a nice replica built straight from the box, but with some inexpensive extras and the employment of some basic modelling skills it can be given that extra refinement that will set it apart from others.

1:48 Hunter T. Mk 7, No. Ill Sqn the ‘Black Arrows’, RAF Fighter Command

The two-seat Hunter has been badly served by kit manufacturers and the best solution of recreating it in scale form is the Aeroclub conversion for the 1:48 Academy F. Mk 6/FGA. Mk 9. The package includes injection-moulded and white metal parts, the latter including two Martin-Bakers, two control columns, two gunsights and all three undercarriage legs and their wheels. Plastic parts, as well as the upper and lower nose sections, are the cockpit floor and instrument panel, a single ‘Sabrina’ and two tailcone halves for the smaller Avon.
With the cockpit interior completed I needed some fit, file and fit again to get the nose assembly into place, and to chamfer the underside edge of the spine to get the best fit against the original fuselage moulding. I had to do the same with the lower part of the fuselage to accept the lip on the new nose. I needed filler around the lower join here, and on the rear fuselage/tailcone join. There were no decals supplied, and I took probably the simplest possible option for the colour scheme of the ‘Black Arrows’ T. Mk 7, using the markings for the F. Mk 6 from Xtradecal X033-48. Reference to
Warpaint No. 8 will suggest a considerable number of alternatives, and there are many decal sets available, at least for single-seaters.

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 Apart from the old Matchbox kit – Matchbox managed to get both the single – and two-seater noses seriously wrong – the T. Mk 7 and its several variations has been neglected almost entirely in 1:72 scale, although I do have a Skybirds ’86 kit in a shadowed corner somewhere (please write to PJ Production and beg PJ to think about it). Fortunately the Aeroclub conversion is still available, its current price being £13.75 and to quote John Adams, ‘it’s simple enough for a reviewer to manage’. My review model has survived nearly seven years to be photographed once more, though it has mislaid its pitot head; worse things happen in museums!

1:48 Hunter FGA. Mk 9 XE552/D, Nos 8/43 Sqns, Tactical Wing, RAF Khormaksar, Aden, January 1966

In 1966, Nos 8 and 43 Sqns both operated Hunter FGA. Mk 9s from Khormaksar in the ground-attack role. One of my friends, who was an army quartermaster at the time (and was nicknamed ‘Auntie Fatima’), said that they always appreciated being able to call on close air support from the Hunters. The aircraft wore the distinctive coloured bars from both units and, with a slightly weathered camouflage scheme, one of these makes for an interesting model that contrasts with my ‘shinier’ F. Mk 4 and F. Mk 5.

I wanted to build this model in 1:48 scale and the choice therefore had to be to use the Academy kit, which was released in 1997. At the time, the joy in the modelling fraternity that greeted its arrival was soon tempered by the difficulties experienced in build and the inaccuracies in some of the parts. Although pleased with the excellent surface detail and armament options, reviewers gave dire warnings of wings popping out, poor undercarriage and a shallow cockpit with a l:72-size ejection seat. Since then, a number of correction sets have appeared and I therefore decided to see what was available and how useful it was. The good news is that a decent Hunter can now be built, but it is not a project for the faint-hearted. Many was the evening when I felt that, after a hard day’s work, I simply didn’t have the mental fortitude to tackle the beast!

I purchased Aeroclub’s correction set (V152), plus a spare canopy in case of accidents (C073), the NeOmega cockpit set (C16), Eduard’s etched brass detail frets (48-233) and canopy/wheel masks (XF047) and the Aires resin wheel well set (4087). Of these accessory sets, by far the most useful was the one by Aeroclub. As well as providing a robust and accurate undercarriage, canopy and cockpit, it also contains a corrected tailpipe and instructions on how to remedy some of the kit’s flaws. The NeOmega cockpit set was also superb and well worth the money. However, the Aires wheel wells were a disappointment – not so much for the wells themselves as for the difficult undercarriage doors. The Eduard masks are, of course, designed for the inaccurate kit canopy and do not fit the Aeroclub canopy, apart from the windscreen side panels. In the event, these curled up and let paint bleed underneath.

Friends who had already tackled one of these kits advised me that the best way to get the wings to stay on was to assemble them first and then glue them to each individual fuselage half, before the latter are joined together around the intake assembly. I decided to use the Aires wheel wells, so sanded off their substantial moulding blocks until the roof of each was paper-thin. In retrospect, it might have been better to sand some material off the walls where they join the lower wing as well. I then joined the wing halves, trapping the wells, and offered each assembly up to its fuselage half. The new wells had slightly distorted the wings’ inner profile, so some trimming was necessary to make them fit the fuselage recesses. The mating surface area is very small, so this needed some care. I taped the fuselage halves together during this process so that I could check that the wings were symmetrical and had the correct anhedral. When they had set, I carefully reinforced the joins with plastic card and superglue. The kit intakes are too blunt in shape and need to be re-profiled at their outer points. Aeroclub’s instructions provide guidance on how to do this.

Turning to the cockpit, the NeOmega set fitted perfectly and only needed a small section removing from its casting block to fit around the kit’s nose wheel bay. I did not use the multi-part Aires nose wheel bay since it looked too fragile a structure to provide a mounting for the Aeroclub nose wheel leg. The cockpit was painted in Revell Anthracite (No. 9) then weathered with citadel washes and dry – brushed in lighter greys. Instrument glasses were made from drops of gloss varnish and switches picked out in various colours to add interest.

I joined the fuselage halves, which were a poor fit, and spent some time sanding and filling the joins and rescribing the lost surface detail. I assembled the Aeroclub FGA. Mk 9 tailpipe and joined this to the fuselage. I followed Aeroclub’s advice to shorten the tail bullet. Because the fuselage halves are hollow at that point, I filled them with cyanoacrylate and baking powder and carved a reshaped bullet from the agglomerated mass. I did not attempt to move the tailplanes or reshape the rudder, as suggested, simply because it would have involved considerable rebuilding.

After basic fuselage assembly had been completed I added the ‘Sabrinas’ and assembled the other components – fuel tanks and the like. I drilled out locating holes for the Aeroclub undercarriage legs and glued them in place. I was pleased by how strong they were and how well they stood up to handling. I decided not to use the Aires wheel well doors; these are copies of the kit items but without the kit’s prominent and annoying sink marks. However, they are strangely cast, partially embedded in blocks of resin from which they have to be carved.
I primed the model then sprayed RAF High Speed Silver on the undersides (Xtracolor X034), followed by coats of Dark Sea Grey (X004 – progressively lightened with white) and Dark Green (X001) over the uppersurfaces, using paper masks to give that slightly feathered edge to the camouflage colours that seems to arise when they undergo harsh weathering.

The decals came from the excellent Xtradecai sheet X034-48. They were in perfect register, had good colour density and bedded down well over Johnson’s Klear/Future varnish. I made one change, which was to use the No. 8 Sqn bars from an ADS decal sheet (003-48), because the yellow colour was slightly more gold than the Xtradecai colour and seemed more accurate. Decalling was fairly straightforward, apart from the underwing serials, which needed to be cut to fit the undercarriage doors. Because I’d already put the legs in place, I couldn’t tack the doors over the wells in the closed position and spread the decals over them. Instead, I had to cut them up individually to make them fit and therefore turned the air blue over several evenings! The stencils came from the kit decal sheet and gave no problems whatsoever. However, a strange omission is the very prominent markings for the fuel tanks. I made these from spare black decal strips and white stencils from the spares box – just don’t look too closely at the lettering. I used a mixture of Tamiya Smoke (X-19) and Citadel black wash on the panel lines, followed by a few coats of Revell matt varnish to tone everything down. I used artists’ pastels to give a slightly dirty look to the airframe, matching the photographs that I’ve seen of these aircraft. Final assembly included the wheels, canopy and select items, such as the mirrors, from the Eduard etched fret.

Now that the model is finished I am pleased with the result. Apart from the rudder and a slightly bulbous nose, it looks like a Hunter. I certainly enjoyed using the NeOmega cockpit set and the essential Aeroclub correction set. The Xtradecals were also superb. However, 1 think that there is still room for a well-engineered and accurate Hunter in 1:48 and perhaps we might prevail on Revell to repeat its successful 1:32 and 1:72 Hunters in 1:48 scale?

Acknowledgements hawker hunters for sale

Thanks to Hannants for the provision of Xtradecai set X034-48 and to Revell for supplying the 1:72 scale Hunter kits

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