Silver Wings | 1/32 Hawker Hart

Reviewed by Doug Nelson

Silver Wings 1/32 Hawker Hart Review and Building Guide

When I decided to review the new Silver Wings 1/32 Hawker Hart, I thought about what kind of review I could do. I then remembered that the reviews I found most helpful were the ones in the old “Military Aircraft (later Model) Preview” magazine.

I liked that the models were unpainted, so that nothing was hidden by a nice paint job, and you could really see how everything fit. In retrospect, those reviews could have almost been considered a building guide as they also provided guidance and tips for the best way to assemble the model.

I then decided that if I were to do a kit review, I wanted to emulate that style of review. What follows is my attempt to do so.

Silver Wing’s 1/32 Hawker Hart is only their seventh 1/32 resin model kit, although based on the quality, one would think they had been at this for many years. Silver Wings has earned a reputation as one of the top producers of resin kits in general, and has become the undisputed leader in interwar aircraft models. As a fan of aircraft of this era, I was most pleased to learn of the release of this icon British interwar aircraft.

One of the fastest, and best looking, biplanes of its day, the Hart was so fast when it entered service that the fighters in service at the time could not catch it. The successful mutation of the basic design into a family of aircraft (Hart, Hart (India), Hart (Special) Hart Fighter, Demon, Osprey, Audax, Hardy, Hind, Hector, as well as the Swedish B4) attests to the excellent design of the basic airframe.

Note that the kit only provides parts to build the “original” Hart, and the builder will need to source their own modified parts to do any of the other family members. References on the Hart are surprisingly few and far between, but the most well known is likely the recent Mushroom Models Publications book “Hawker Hart Family” written by Alex Crawford.

For information and photos of the parts, please visit the Silver Wings website at:

Parts Cleanup

Since they are not numbered, I decided to start this build by cleaning up all the parts. Immediately, I noted that the resin used for this kit is “softer” than resin I was used to dealing with. This made it much easier to do the parts cleanup since the parts were not as brittle. I was able to use my sprue cutter to clip all or most of the pour stubs from all the parts, and what remained just required a small bit of sanding with a sanding stick to finish. Overall, I think cleaning up these parts was easier than doing so for an injected plastic kit!

Things to note:

Interior Subassemblies

I began construction with the interior subassemblies. The instructions show these are a number of steps, each focused on one part of the interior. I encountered no issues with getting these completed. Photos 3 and 4 show the completed cockpit subassemblies.

Things to note:

Cockpit Assembly

This proved to be the most challenging aspect of building this kit, so once you’ve got this part completed, the rest is easy ?. Unfortunately, the instructions are not very clear on the location of some of the interior components. It is also easy to get the sides misaligned with each other resulting in a twisted cockpit frame assembly. The good news is that most of the cockpit frame is not visible in the finished model, so even if you end up with some twist, you can still fit everything into the fuselage (which will help untwist it some) and it will look fine when finished. For best results, I recommend the following order of assembly:

  1. Glue the floorboard to the frame assembly with the compass, the rear set of tabs on the bottom of the floorboard should go on the front side of the compass frame and let set. These parts should be 90 degrees to each other.
  2. Begin assembly of the fuselage frame by attaching the two 22mm and one 20mm seat frame/cross-frames (with the seats), as the provided holes should ensure that your frame is aligned. Next, also attach the 21mm cross-frame that attaches under the oil tank support, as that frame also goes into holes provided in the frame. Visibly ensure your frame is aligned and let set.
  3. Attach the cross-frame with the control column in its place (in line with the bumps on the outer sides of the frames), and then insert the floorboard/compass assembly from #2 above. Note that the front tab on the bottom of the floorboard should rest behind the cross-frame you attached in #3 above (see photo 6). The rod holding the control column should be just under the read of the floorboard. If you will be adding the aileron control wires (the ones that go up in a “V” from the vertical “wheel” behind the control column), attach them at this point. The ends can be glued to the behind the instrument panel once it is attached at the end of this step.
  4. Attach the front 19mm and 18mm cross-frames to the frame. Check the frame alignment, and if good, insert and glue in the oil tank to the supports on each frame (see photo 7).
  5. Attach the floor, ensuring that the hole is to the front, padding to the back (I installed my floor backwards and had to remove it later to correct this.
  6. Attach the rear 14mm cross-frames, ensuring that both sides of the frames bend in the same amount. Once set, glue the shelf holding the two tanks into position.
  7. Attach the camera into position, with the camera frame resting on top of the stubs on the fuselage side frames.
  8. Attach the radio gear frame to the port side if you did not do so in the interior subassembly section above and attach the PE bulb (flare?) holder (PE21).
  9. Attach the fuel tank, ensuring it is centered on the frame, and then attach the instrument panel. I put a couple small pieces of resin pour blocks on the frame to help hold the panel in place. At this time, you can run the aileron control cables up and attach them to the blocks (if you are installing them).
  10. If you are installing the rudder and elevator control wires, do so now using the instructions to route them correctly. Note that these cables run on the outer side of both frames and should be mirror images of each other.

While this may seem complicated, you should be able to complete all these steps in 30 minutes or so. If you are worried about your ability to align your fuselage frames, another option is to line up both fuselage side frames, and either drill holes or notch the frames where the cross-frames should go while the two frames are aligned.

Other Subassemblies

In addition to the subassemblies needed to complete the cockpit, there are few others that can be completed as well.

Fuselage Assembly

Fuselage assembly is straightforward and should not present any issues. My sample did have some slight warping inward on the bottom of the fuselage around the cutout for the bomb aimer. Fortunately, being resin, simply pouring some hot water on it and then bending back into shape worked fine. If at the end of the previous step, your cockpit subassembly ended up with a slight twist, you should still be able to fit it correctly in the fuselage following the directions below.

Landing Gear

The landing gear, although it looks delicate, is surprisingly strong – which it must be as the completed model weighs about 250 grams (or just over ½ lb). As the instructions are not clear on how to assemble the components, I consulted my references and discovered that the main struts attach at the front of the axle tube, and the supporting struts attach at the upper-rear of the axle tube.

Lower Wings

Before attaching the lower wings, you may want to test fit your radiator, and sand the mating surface as needed to ensure that the brackets fit properly. Once you are satisfied with the fit, you will want to drill out the interplane strut attachment holes at a slight angle outwards and forward. If you wish, you can make a drilling angle template from a piece of cardboard using the drawing on page 8 of the instructions (see photo 19). You may also want to drill out your rigging attachment points, depending on your rigging method of choice. Note that the Hart, like many British biplanes of the Interwar era, did not use external turn buckles, rather these were hidden beneath the surface of the wing.

Test fit each wing to the fuselage. Once you are satisfied with the fit, you are ready to attach them. The instructions kindly let us know that the bottom side of the wing tip should be 11mm higher than its attachment at the fuselage. An easy way to ensure proper fit and dihedral is as follows.

Using an old kit box, or some other thin cardboard, cut two 11mm strips. Then, using some old styrofoam; Legos; or your favorite jig material, set up your jig so that your landing gear will not interfere with your fit. Test fit both wings, and slide your 11mm cardboard strip into place under each wing tip. If all looks correct, remove the wings and glue one wing into position, sliding your 11mm strip under the tip. Once this wing has set, repeat the process for the opposite side. See photo 19 and 20.


Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the struts provided in the kit. In photo 22, you can see we have interplane struts (wing-to-wing); cabane struts (upper wing -to-fuselage) and tailplane struts. Note that the tailplane struts are different lengths, with the two longer struts being the forward pair, and the shorter the rear pair. The same applies to the cabane struts, the longer pair go forward, and the shorter pair go towards the rear. With the interplane struts, the 2 shorter struts are the middle, almost vertical struts, with the remaining 4 being the forward and rear struts as indicated (note the slight difference in the notch at the end of the strut – which faces the middle strut where they attach).

Rear Empennage

The tailplane and rudder can be attached at this point, or after you have attached the upper wing (or even later if you need to paint stripes on your rudder). Depending on your material of choice for the control lines, you can either attach them to the fuselage at this point, or after painting/decaling. You may want to drill some holes in the horizontal stabilizer where the control lines attach to make it easier to do so, as well as drill holes for the rigging material of your choice.

Upper Wing

This seems to be the part that most modelers, in particular those who have not built a biplane, dread. It is really not that difficult to do, provided you plan ahead a bit. There are many different ways to go about attaching the upper wings, but I will just review the way I did it for this model.

Final Assembly

Now we just have to attach the remaining small bits, and the model should be done. I would recommend painting decaling and rigging your model (if you prefer to rig after painting/decaling) at this point (don’t forget the control lines for the ailerons, elevators and rudder). Once completed, attach the final parts as follows:

Photos 26 through 35 are of the completed model. I hope that you have found this review/build guide helpful. Look for a review/build guide on the Silver Wings 1/32 Gloster Gladiator I/II in the near future!

© Doug Nelson 2011

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This review was published on Thursday, August 18 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016