Trumpeter | 02414: 1/24 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I (late)

Reviewed by Randy Bumgardner

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“I'd like to thank the Academy...”

Alrighty then... We've finally got a large scale kit of the Hawker Hurricane. I'm certainly not dismissing the Airfix kit and banning to the wastebasket because there is a new tool kit on the block. The Airfix kit has served it's purpose, and will continue to do so into the future. However, now we have a choice of what to build. Trumpeter continues to march on, releasing kits that other mainstream manufacturers pass up or don't even think about. That's cool. With the release of their Hurricane Mk.I (late), Trumpeter continues to refine their manufacturing processes. Those irritating metal rod hinges are gone, the deeply engraved panel lines and rivets are not present either. Trumpeter seems to be listening to the guy on the street.

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“Wha'cha got in that big box?”

The one thing that Trumpeter has consistently done very well is package their large scale kits. Everything comes in a large sturdy box, wth separately bagged sprues. The photoetch, instrument film and decals are also separately bagged. The box is virtually indestructible – I have several in my stash, at the bottom of very large piles of kits and no dents, dings, or crushing of any sort. It's like the Hefty bag of model boxes.

When I say big box, I mean big box. It has to be – it's a 1/24th scale kit after all. Upon opening the box, you'll soon spy 9 sprues containing 260 parts, a photo-etch fret containing 12 parts – mostly for the Sutton harness, the film for the instrument panel, a large sheet of decals, a color painting guide, and – of course – the instructions. The instruction booklet is typical Trumpeter – a 20 page pamphlet that breaks down the assembly sequence into 26 clearly defined steps. Let's look at what's on those sprues...

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“Wow, look at all the detail!”

The two major details items in this kit are the cockpit and the engine. The cockpit consists of 32 parts not including the PE for the Sutton harness. The cockpit is very well done, and is well detailed right out of the box. Of course, there is always room for more detail, and those among us have an excellent starting point with this cockpit.

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The engine is a good representation of the Merlin III found in the late Mark I's. Detail is sparse – Trumpeter supplies a vinyl ignition harness – if built strictly OOB, so a little “creative gizmology” will go a long way. I'm not sure how I feel about the vinyl ignition harness – it's better than nothing I suppose. Trumpeter molded the cowl panels in clear styrene, to show off that marvelous Merlin, so adding a few plumbing bits is necessary if the modeler decides to go this route.

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The fabric detail, on the rear half of the fuselage, is very well done. The ribbing is subtle and restrained, not madly furrowed like a crazy farmer's garden. The only drawback to this is on the surfaces of the horizontal stabilizers and elevators. These surfaces are a bit too restrained, they look washed out. The ribbing should be nice and crisp, as shown in the images below (Squadron/Signal Hurricane Walk Around, pg. 23).

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So, what about the question you're all thinking, “What about those rivets?” Well, Trumpeter scores another point here as well. The riveting is restrained and very well done. Hawker used round headed riveting for the majority of the Hurricane's wing structure as shown in the images below. The rivets are small and there are hundreds of them. I just get cramps thinking about it. Trumpeter represents the rivet detail on the wing's surface quite well, emulating those hundreds (probably thousands) of rivets. Other detail on the wing is accurately portrayed, such as the fairing covering the joint between the outer wing panel and the wing center section. The Simmond's nuts, which attach the wing cover panel to the fuel tank, are a prominent feature of the Hurricane's wing and are depicted very well by a series of raised fasteners, as shown in the images below (Squadron/Signal Hurricane Walk Around, pp. 31-35).

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“The Good, the Bad, and the ???...”

With this kit, Trumpeter shows us that it can certainly produce a stellar kit. The details on this Hurricane are outstanding – the detail in the cockpit is sharp and crisp, the clear parts are as thin as can be and crystal clear without flaws, and I couldn't find any flash on my review sample. As stated previously, the rendering of the fabric is the best Trumpeter has done to date. While the fabric detail on the stabilizers and elevator is fairly soft, the aft section of the fuselage, the most noticeable portion, is rendered exceedingly well.

Some things just puzzled me, though. Trumpeter, fond of loading their kits with details, include the internal fuel cells for the wings. Curious decision to be sure, but I can at least say, I know it's there!” The vinyl tires are another curiosity. Why do manufacturers include them in their kits? Haven't they heard the uproar by now? Those somewhat realistic (alright, not really...) little bits are prone to devour the hubs they sit on. (Although, I've heard recently that the latest ingredient list used to cook up these little beauties prevents this from happening. I don't know for sure – I've got a few degrees, one of which is in Chemical Engineering, but I specialized in reaction processing of semiconducting materials, not plastics and petroleum engineering. Anyone know for sure, drop me a line.)

And...like everything in life, nothing is perfect. It seems with the Trumpeter kits it's the decals. This kit is no exception. The registration is great and the decals are wafer thin, kudos to Trumpeter for that. What doesn't give them the gold in this event is the color choices. Based on the sources I've been able to dig up, the insignias should contain Dull Red, Dull Blue, and White for their colors. Trumpeter used Insignia Red, Insignia Blue, and White. This color choice leads to much darker blues and much brighter reds – making the roundels and fin flashes too bright and looking wrong. The squadron/aircraft codes are incorrectly supplied in white. Everything I've read stated Sky or Medium Sea Gray for the color of the squadron/aircraft codes. On the bright side, no pun intended of course, the stencils look very nice and are quite usable.

“How does it measure up?”

Comparing the basic structure to a set of plans, as shown by the purple lines in the images below, the fuselage and wings measure up very nicely – almost exactly. The plans are from the Squadron/Signal Walk Around volume on the Hurricane. They scaled out at 1/60th, and I enlarged them to 1/24th scale for this review. There are only two problem areas. The first lies with Trumpeter and the second with your faithful reviewer. Trumpeter molded the fuselage too short – somewhere between the antenna mast and the tail. As you can see from the image below, it's about 2mm short at the rudder hinge line and a corresponding distance at the base of the vertical stabilizer. Now, we could chalk it up to errors in the enlarging process, and call it a day. After all, the plans themselves contain some errors, which are magnified by the scaling process, and that process itself introduces error as well. That a lot of error floating around...

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However, working on the assumption that the plans are basically sound, and a minimum of error is introduced by the scaling process, and the fact that we can measure the fuselage length, we can check our assertion that Trumpeter has a short fuselage. It's not the end of the world, and Trumpeter certainly hasn't been called to the carpet over it. But, it's a good exercise in error estimation. So, printed material lists the length of the airframe at 31' 9”, or 381”. At 1/24th scale, that's about 15.875”, or 15 7/8”. The actual fuselage of the model measures 15.550”. So, the difference of 0.325”, when scaled back up, corresponds to approximately 7.8”. (For those of you who are more scientifically minded out there, please forgive my liberalism with accuracy. You're probably saying, “He's using three decimal places there and only one here – this doesn't make any sense!” You'd be right.) That's a big discrepancy. But, you see, one can never escape the clutches of error propagation. All this calculating we've done, multiplying this and dividing that, simply increases the propagation fo error in our final answer. So, here's the question you have to ask yourself, when all is said and done and the glue has dried, “Does this look like a Hurricane?”

The second issue is with me. If I may call your attention to the purple line that wanders off after the trailing edge of the upper surface of the wing. Well, that's my fault for having my four year old insist on helping hold the kit part over the plans and trace around it. Somehow the kit part slipped, taking my pen with it, and my four year old – sensing that this was Daddy's last set of scaled up plans – scampered out of the kitchen as fast as possible.

“And in conclusion...”

“He likes it... Hey, Mikey!” The fit is great, the detail is fabulous, the decals are up to you. Trumpeter has shown that they really are coming of age and getting better with each release. Sure, there will be hiccups, but overall Trumpeter is doing well bringing out subjects the Tamigawa's out there won't touch.

We've all been waiting a long time for a new tool, large scale, early Hawker Hurricane. Here it is, and it's definitely worth it. Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of Stevens International.

Additional Images

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© Randy Bumgardner 2007

This article created on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Tuesday, October 01 2013