The molds for these kits were originally produced by Impact in the early 60s as part of a series of British fighters that included the Bristol Bulldog, Fairey Flycatcher, Hawker Fury and the Gloster Gladiator. The molds have changed hands from Impact through Lifelike, Pyro and Lindberg and now are the property of Lindberg/Round 2. This double kit is a reissue by Lindberg Round 2 with improved instructions, one additional decal option per plane and two 36" lengths of rigging wire (not included in any of the previous issues).
Included in the box are:
- 2 sets of three light grey sprue with each kit packed separately..
- 1 sprue with clear parts (bagged separately).
- 2 decal sheets.
- 2-36" strands of bright silver wire
- 2 five-step instruction sheets with rigging guides and decal placement guides for two of each aircraft.
The kits retain many of traits of 1960s kits: limited interiors, some flash (but not bad for 50 year old molds), thick clear parts and ejection pin marks. The light gray plastic used in this release sands easily and has a smooth surface.
The interior detail includes a floor with rudder pedals and tracks, a generic seat, a control column and a decent instrument panel. The interiors beg for detail which will be easily visible through the cockpit opening.. The representation of the Flycatcher's Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar II engine includes both cylinder banks, crank case cover and separate pushrods. There are neither air intake plumbing nor exhausts for the highly visible power plant.
The instructions and the decals are, in my opinion, the two biggest improvements to these kits. The instructions have been expanded from a single expanded construction view to five easy to understand construction steps with a separate rigging diagram for each kit. The decals have been improved with two options for each plane, although the Fury's choices are limited to two aircraft in 43 Squadron. The decals are in register, densely printed and tough.
The Builds and Painting
Hawker Fury Mk 1
I followed the instructions with the exception of leaving off the windscreen until after emplacing the rigging wires as the windscreen makes installing the wires between the cabane struts even more difficult. Additionally, I added the propeller assembly last. The first step after removing the major airframe parts from their large sprue attachment points was to remove attachment stubs and the prominent ejector pin marks.
The fabric covered portions of the airframe have a light cross-hatch pattern where the fabric surfaces would actually be smooth. Removing the ejector pin marks and the fuselage seams destroys the hatch-marks. Time restraints of this review kept me from trying to sand smooth the fabric surfaces of both kits.
Before assembling the fuselage, I decided to sand down and drill out the six exhaust ports on each side. The kit has solid protruding exhaust ports where the real aircraft has fine, barely protruding exhausts. At normal viewing distances the exhausts appear to be just holes in the fuselage skin. That was the effect I wanted to achieve. I think I had partial success with the surgery. You may want to paint the ends black and the outside surfaces with burnt iron or similar color.
I painted the cockpit interior British interior green, with aluminum seat, black control column and silver instrument panel. There are no instrument decals and as the instrument panel is tucked forward in the cockpit I just painted the dials black. The cockpit opening is large enough to allow any detailing to be visible. I added a half bulkhead behind the pilot seat per my references and painted it interior green. Additionally, before I closed the cockpit with the interior attached to one side, I secured three 6-inch strands of invisible thread to the inside each rear fuselage half, running two each through the oval opening, to be control cables for the elevators and one each through the bulge to act as rudder control cables. The cables were painted aluminum at same time as the airframe.
I used medium viscosity super glue from Squadron to fill the seams on the fuselage, which left a smooth surface for the future aluminum paint scheme. It took numerous fill, sand, check and repeat rounds to totally remove any evidence of the seams. I attached the two lower half wings to the fuselage and then primered and painted the fuselage/lower wing, upper wing and tail surfaces separately. I used Tamiya gloss-aluminum for the metal fuselage surfaces and Tamiya semi-gloss aluminum for the fabric surfaces.
Before I painted the horizontal stabilizer, I added two small strips of plastic to represent the control cable fairleads as indicated in my references (see photo). After assembly I ran both elevator cables across the respective fairlead and attached with superglue. One cable then went to the lower control horn and the other through the hole in the stabilizer to the upper control horn. A metalizer paint like Alclad or Model Master lacquer would be more appropriate to represent the highly polished forward fuselage panels on the real aircraft, but I did not have that capability for this build. I polished out the gloss aluminum paint with Novus scratch remover on cotton buds.
Before adding the top wing I painted the two machine guns with Polly Scale steam power black. The struts and lower braces for the horizontal stabilizer were painted primer gray and polished with wet cotton buds to achieve a slight gloss. I removed the four radio antennae attachment points on the upper wing, the top of the tail and on top of the fuselage behind the cockpit. I replaced them with short lengths of copper wire inserted into previously drilled holes. The wire added to the top of the tail was smoothed-in with super glue. The mounting of the top wing was uncomplicated as the tabs for the cabane struts set the proper angle to match the holes in the top wing. Once the cabane struts are secured and glue has set, the outer struts were installed and the airframe was set aside to let the glue cure. I set the airframe onto two blocks under the upper wing tips and a support under the rear fuselage, to avoid putting pressure on the antennae masts.
At this time I installed the undercarriage. After rigging I added the radio antennae with EZ Line. The propeller for the Fury Mk I was wooden with a fabric cover on the blades. Based on color pictures of surviving airframes I painted the fabric portion primer gray with aluminum for the metal covering on the leading edges. The propeller hub, along with the wheel covers, were painted the red paint mixture I used to touch up the tail surfaces (see below in section on decals). The propeller was added last after the rigging was completed.
The assembly and painting for the Flycatcher mostly followed the same process as for the Fury with following exceptions.
There are two major construction issues with the Flycatcher kit. First is the installation of the lower wing. The lower wing should install like the wing halves on the Fury, into slots on the sides of the lower fuselage. Instead the lower is engineered to have two half wings meet on underside of the fuselage. This leaves a seam down center of bottom wing, plus seams at front and rear of wing (see photos). I attached the wing halves and filled the three seams. I then engraved two new seams where the wing halves should meet the fuselage.
The other issue is the method of molding the cabane struts, The Flycatcher has two straight cabane struts on each side, not the N-shaped struts on the Fury. Impact's original solution was to connect the two struts with a bar at the bottom that fit into a slot on the side the forward fuselage. That left four ditches on the sides of the bar. Additionally, the bar had a hump, that even if the ditches were filled, the hump had to be sanded down. A reviewer (their review is listed in references) writing in SAMI, broke off one of the cabane struts while trying to repair the ditches. I had the same problem, except that somewhere during painting I broke off the second strut on the same side. I ended up cutting down the broken to stumps. I then mounted the main wing struts and use the two remaining cabane struts to align the wing. When the glue set, I painted two over-long sections of plastic rod, same diameter as the struts, and them into place.
There are only two control wires required for the rudder as control rods for the elevators are provided in the kit. The control wires were glued to the inside of the fuselage, as in the Fury, but were run through holes I drilled in fairings on each side of the rear fuselage. The Flycatcher has external control wires and control horn to operate the full length ailerons on both top and bottom wings. I used invisible thread painted with a silver paint pen to represent the control cables, held in place with super glue.
The biggest difference with the build of the Flycatcher is the uncowled Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar III/IV 14-cylinder air-cooled radial. The kit provides two nicely detailed 7-cylinder banks, a crankcase cover and 14 sets of pushrods, two per cylinder. The pushrods are oversized in diameter and I will probably replace in the future. Missing entirely and highly visible on the prototype are 28 plug wires, which run from the spark plugs over the top of each cylinder to the rear of the engine. Additionally, at the rear of each cylinder are an intake manifold and an exhaust stub. I painted the crankcase cover medium gray with a brass painted ring under the propeller shaft opening. The cylinders were painted gun metal gray with a black wash from The Detailer to add depth to the cylinder fins. The rocker arm covers were painted semi-gloss black and push rods silver. I drilled two holes into each cylinder to either side of the front center line below the rocker arm covers. Into these holes I inserted a very fine copper wire, which I had removed from an electric motor from an old Tamiya tank model. the wires were painted brown for the spark plug boot and the remainder was painted white, per reference photos. The wires were run up between the respective rocker arm covers over the top of the piston and down the back side. I twisted them together as they crossed over the piston head. I added aluminum painted copper wire to the right rear port (intake and exhaust ports are represented on the back of the cylinder heads) for the intakes. I used .02 inch plastic rod to make the exhaust stubs. I drilled out one end, sanded that end at an angle per my references. I then added a bend, cut off the exhaust stub and attached to left port at rear of each cylinder.
The exhausts were painted with Metalizer burnt iron. The propeller was painted wood, then burnt umber was streaked with a brush. The propeller hub was painted gunmetal gray. I mounted the engine and propeller last. The instructions want you to mount the retaining ring between the cylinder banks and insert the propeller. I could not easily detail the engine with the propeller mounted so I left out the retainer ring.
The propeller is inserted without glue. It can be glued if you are concerned about it spinning.
The decals for both aircraft were applied after the lower wing halves were attached to the fuselage and the airframe components were painted. I used the decals as provided in the box. The decals are thick, which is a good thing as those for the upper wings are large, and they tend to stick to the model surface despite a coating of Micro Set. I used the tip of a #11 Xacto blade to lift a decal edge to allow me to maneuver the decals into position. Once in position I used a wet cotton swab to smooth out the surface and remove any air bubbles. I used Micro Set for the decals on The Fury, but had to use Micro Sol on the wings of the Flycatcher due to the numerous inspection plates and the deep slots between the wing surface and the ailerons.
Overall, the decals performed flawlessly with one exception. The red panes for the tail on the Fury and the stripes on the rudder of the Flycatcher were not large enough to meet at the edges. I mixed some insignia red and international orange paints to match the red paint on both kits. I used the same red for the prop spinner and wheel covers on the Fury. I then used white and a mixture of dark blue and black to finish the edges of the Flycatcher's rudder. I recommend painting the rudder on the Fury and cutting out the squadron emblem and applying it to the painted rudder. When the decals were fully set, I over coated the fabric covered portions of both aircraft with semi-gloss clear lacquer. I masked the metal surfaces as they were not covered with decals and left them without a clear coat.
Once the clear coat had cured I used a #11 Xacto blade to poke holes in the decals where rigging wires, control wires (Flycatcher) or antennae posts (Fury) were to be inserted. The upper wings on both aircraft consist of three sections: a center section and two outer wing panels. After the decals had set and before the overcoat was applied I ran a brand new #11 Xacto blade down the junction between the center sections and their respective outer wing panels. I used some paint to touch up a section of the makings on the Fury, but otherwise it worked well.
Both aircraft have extensive interplane rigging, rigging on the undercarriages and for the Fury, on the tail planes. I used the kit provided wire for the Fury.
The wire was a soft, bright metal that came in a 36" long loose coil. The only way to straighten the wire was to cut the lengths required then straighten each section of wire. I found that gripping one end of a wire in a set of hemostats and then using my fingers to straighten the wires worked the best. The wire would roll if I tried to hold it between my fingers.
The rigging diagram for the Fury is incorrect concerning the placement of the wires between the cabane struts and the upper engine cowl. The diagram shows the wires, on each side, crossing parallel to the struts. They actually run from the underside of the top wing, adjacent to two ends of the cabane struts, to a point near the center line of the engine cowling. There are predrilled holes in the wings and the fuselage of both kits to mount the wires with the exception of the top of the engine cowl on the Fury and at the front undercarriage mounts on the Flycatcher. I drilled four holes through the Fury's engine cowl at the appropriate locations prior to attaching the top wing. I used a caliper to get a rough length for the wires between the outer wing struts the fuselage, but made an estimate for the those inside the cabane struts on both aircraft. I also used the calipers to measure for the wires on the respective undercarriages. From there it was a series of testing and trimming until the wires fit.
After using the kit provided wire for the Fury I used steel guitar wire for the Flycatcher. The guitar wire did not require straightening and could be flexed to snap into position in the predrilled holes. Super glue secured all wires that could not be secured with pressure alone. I tried to work from inside out installing the wires but there are some overlapping wires on the Flycatcher that required careful maneuvering so as to not knock loose other installed wires. The effort expended in rigging, second only to filling seams, is well worth the effort.
For kits from 50+ year old molds, and from 1960s technology, they are nice, fairly simple kits. The Flycatcher kit is the only mainstream 1/48th kit in town. The Fury is one of two 1/48th kits available, the other being from Airfix. I have the Airfix kit and this new Lindberg Round 2 kit is the better build. I hope they bring out the Bristol Bulldog as it is the only 1/48th kit out there, other than the earlier boxings. There are many 1/48th Gladiator kits available, so don't know if Lindberg 2 will produce it.
- Fairey Flycatcher
- Owen Thetford, The Fairey Flycatcher, Number 56 (London, Profile Publications LTD), 10.
- Richard Carnana, Fairey Flycatcher, Scale Aviation Modeller International, pages 435-441, May 2002.
- Hawker Fury
- Alex Crawford, Hawker Fury & Nimrod, No 8105, (Redbourn, UK, Mushroom Model Publications) 2007, 168.
- Francis K. Mason, The Hawker Fury, Number 18, (London, Profile Publications LTD) 10.
- James Goulding, Robert Jones, Camouflage & Markings, RAF Fighter Command, 1936-1945, pgs 97-120, (Garden City, NY, Doubleday & Company, INC) 1971.
- Neil Pinchbeck, To Make an Inpact, Scale Aviation Modeller International, pages 242-248, March 2006.
I would like to thank Lindberg Round 2 for this double review kit.