Sea Hurrican Mk. Ib
The Fleet Air Arm drew from the backbone of the Royal Air Force to flesh out their ship-born fighter contingent, adding an arrestor hook and catapult spools to the venerable Hawker Hurricane to convert it into a naval fighter.
Arma Hobby are building a reputation for some great kits, especially in the underserved 1/72 scale. They have a growing line of Hurricanes among their recent releases, and the Sea Hurricane is a very welcome addition.
The box and instructions include colored art for 5 different aircraft, accompanied by nicely printed decals that performed well. Care must be taken to determine which aircraft you want to build, and then run through the instructions and mark which parts and markings are to be included on selected version.
The Arma Hobby styrene has a nice feel – not as soft as Airfix, and not hard or brittle. It was a pleasure to handle and responded well to filing and sanding clean-up.
The conversion to a Sea Hurricane is straight forward. The 3D printed parts need to be carefully extracted from the print block and cleaned up. Fair warning – several of these parts are miniscule and must be handled with care, or the carpet monster will lay claim to them! The tail hook assembly is a large plug for the bottom of the fuselage, once you have cut out the section of each fuselage half. This is accomplished easily, as the main cut is made along a panel line. Once the fuselage halves are matched, a little bit of test fitting and filing clean up creates a tight fit.
Be careful of the flame dampers (if that’s what they are) – they have a bevel to the edge that meets the fuselage, and they only fit on the side for which they are made.
The remaining 3D parts fit well once cleaned up, other than I felt the rear-view mirror was a bit oversize, so I carefully filed it down until I thought it looked right.
The cockpit section contains the metal frame tubing, and this was the most arduous part of the build. It took some test fitting and making sure the parts were oriented correctly to get the frame together, and then nest it where it belonged. In the end, you don’t see much of it, especially if you close up the canopy and have a pilot in the seat. This was also the only area that created fit problems. When I tried to nestle the fuselage assembly to the wing section, it would not seat all the way down, and I had to snip off the bottom of the frame assembly on each side. This solved the problem, and you can’t see the missing parts anyway. This could mean I didn’t have the frame assembly exactly as it should be positioned on the cockpit, but I thought I had!
I did drill out the gun ports to make them more realistic, and I added rivets to the airframe. This is where I noticed one other issue – the plastic in a couple of places tended to flake or blister under the stress of the rivet wheel. I’d never experienced that with other manufacturers. In the end, once polished a bit, you can’t see any residual damage once painted and weathered.
Kudos to Arma Hobby for the design of their wing tip light lenses! They are pre-drilled, so you just need to add a tad of clear red and green paint to create the bulbs. You do have to file out the spot on the tip of the wing to seat the lenses, but this is a far cry from having to create light lenses from sprue!
Final touches – the kit comes with a set of masks for both canopies. Again – select the correct set of glass and matching mask, and you’re golden. Lay down some paint and your weathering of choice, and you have a beautiful little Sea Hurricane!
Thanks to Army Hobby for the review kit, and for extending the line of 1/72 offerings for us small-scale builders!