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Airfix 1/72 scale Hawker Typhoon IB

Kit:A02041 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$9.49
Airfix, from Hornby America
Surface, cockpit, and wheel-well detail; optional opened gun bays; excellent decals
Ejector-pin marks in places that are difficult to fill and sand
Injection-molded, 74 parts, decals

Even as Hawker’s Hurricane was becoming operational in the Royal Air Force, the company was busy working on a successor to its fighter. The Typhoon, designed around the massive Napier Sabre IIA engine, was to be a high-altitude fighter. Though deficient in that role, it became a very effective low-altitude, ground-attack aircraft.

Although the Hawker Typhoon IB may never win any contests for good looks, the newly tooled Airfix kit is a real beauty. Typical for Airfix these days, it’s molded in soft, blue-gray plastic with excellent detail throughout. Panel lines are recessed and a little heavy, but better than some earlier Airfix kits; I found them totally acceptable. An interesting feature is the option to show the gun bays opened.

The instructions are straightforward and include a 2-page color painting and decal guide for two aircraft. Only Humbrol colors are listed.

Initial construction centers on Part B30, which forms both wheel wells, the roof of the radiator housing, and the cockpit floor. That whole assembly slides into the right half of the fuselage; then the other fuselage half is attached. Next, the lower wing slips in under it. Sounds complicated, but it works. I did have to sand the upper edges of the wheel-well housing to produce a good fit for the upper and lower wings.

From here on, construction was trouble-free. I used a bit of filler here and there and had to do some scraping around the port wing root for a smooth fit. In Step 12, there’s an optional piece attached behind the radiator; it’s a tropical air filter, a factory modification to late-model Typhoons operating from dusty airfields supporting the ground offensive in Europe.

If you want to display the gun bays open, you must remove the access doors from the top of the wings. A sharp hobby knife made quick work of this, and the guns and separate “opened” doors fit nicely into the bays. Use care when removing landing gear parts from the sprue, as they are to-scale and delicate. I broke one strut’s retraction arm, but the positive fit of the strut into the wing offset this faux pas.

I thought Airfix erred by not having landing lights in the wings. However, I learned some aircraft, particularly those designed to fire rockets, had the lights faired over with sheet metal to protect them.

As a final bit of construction, I had to drill holes in the fuselage for the extended step below the wing and a whip aerial behind the cockpit. The latter is not provided in the kit; I used a paintbrush bristle.

The kit offers two sets of markings, both in standard late-war RAF camouflage, and two optional weapon loads. I chose the more-colorful No. 247 Squadron with the red and yellow spinner. I was impressed with the decals — they were opaque, easily moved into position, and settled into recessed detail. This was especially true for the invasion stripes and yellow ID leading edges on the wings.

I’ve built several of Airfix’s new releases, and I feel this Typhoon is one of the best. I enjoyed a relaxing 16-hour build and would highly recommend it to any modeler.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2013 FineScale Modeler.


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