Drew Hatch returns with his gorgeous build of Fisher Mold and Pattern’s 1/32 Sea Fury, an all resin kit.
On my recent adventure to the IPMS Nationals, one of the many vendors’ tables I went to was the table of Fisher Mold and Pattern. Paul Fisher, what can I say, is nothing short of a genius. The subjects that he has come out with are awe inspiring. The Hawker Sea Fury is one that grabbed my attention as soon as it was released. I couldn’t wait to have one. Well, I had to wait. She who I must obeyed insisted I couldn’t order one. Well, poo! So I waited until our family vacation to Disneyland (which just so happened to coincide with the nationals – what a coincidence!) to get one. Once those vendor room doors opened, I was like a mad man (and not the only one either!) to seek out my treasures. Within mere minutes, I had what felt like 10 pounds of resin in my hands and several other bags full of new found goodies. Once I was back at my hotel room (I wasn’t going to wait!) I was in shock as to the level of detail and the crispness of the resin parts. The one piece fuselage and upper wing assembly was simply incredible.
Some advice from a friend of mine who has built one of Fishers kits before told me to really read and follow his instructions. Had I not done so, I would have had several problems that would have been nearly impossible to fix. Deciding on markings was an easy feat for me. Canadian. That’s it, Canadian all the way. It just so happened that the kit comes with two different markings for Canadian aircraft.
The build began with several bedtime readings of the instructions and tips from Fisher. Once I felt confident with how I was going to proceed with the kit, I searched out my reference material. I used several photos from the web, various magazines, publications and personal photos from a friend. I started by washing the parts in warm water and bleach. Yes, bleach! That’s what Fisher recommended to remove the mold release agents he uses. So for the first time in my modeling career, I listened to the instructions.
I started construction with the engine, propeller and exhausts per the instructions. It took several attempts to get the prop blades to align properly in the jig. Once that was accomplished, I primed, painted then glued them together. Wow, some many days after actually starting this kit and I had a whole propeller assembly! Next came the gear bay and the wings. These took some fiddling and shaving to have everything align correctly. Fisher warned of resin shrinkage and he wasn’t joking. I had several areas that gave me considerable grief due to shrinkage of the wings. The alignment of the gear bay was one of them. The front spar in the gear bay has strengthening ribs that were designed to align with the ribs in the gear bay roof. Due to the shrinkage, they didn’t. I had to modify the ribs on the gear bay to get a tight fit and keep everything in alignment. I found I had a slight warp in the forward fuselage also. A fast run under hot water and a mating to the wings to cool easily corrected this problem.
Before I started the cockpit, I cleaned up all the parts, gave the etch parts a scrub with an extra fine sanding stick then gave all the parts a good dose of Alclad gray primer. This ‘hot’ primer would adhere to the resin better than the paint I planed on using. Once that was dry, I painted all the parts Model Master Interior black and let them sit for a week. I then dry brushed cockpit with RLM 66. Why RLM 66? Because I ran out of gunship grey, why else? After that had a chance to cure, I picked out the details as needed. Adding the photo etched levers proved challenging. Their placement was easy enough, but there were some 6 different types of levers to choose from. Some of the photos in the instructions did not help much here. I relied on a drawn image of a cockpit I found on line for the proper placement. I added bits of plastic and drops of white glue to build up the levers to give them a proper look. The inclusion the etch belts was a sever relief to me. I can not for the life of me add photo etch buckles to scratch built straps and have them turn out looking anything like seatbelts. Once all the paint was cured, I gave the entire cockpit a filter wash of black. This darkened some of the highlights and gave the lowlights the visual depth that I was looking for. And for the first time it actually worked as I planed! Egads – this is going too smooth!!
I stole the tip from Jay Laverty in Modelx on painting the upper fuselage before installing the cockpit to ease masking. It sure paid off later on. After a few dry runs at installing the cockpit and ensuring its alignment, the glue came out. After it was tacked in place, I ran a bead of thick CA around the entire assembly and gave a generous dose of kicker with a Q-tip. Not trusting Ca that much for fear of cracking when I attached the wings, I glued two strips of styrene under the cockpit acting as a spreader to the fuselage.
Now came the big moment. Attaching the wings to the fuselage. Did I mention resin shrinkage? To say the worse part of this kit was the fit of the wings would be half correct. The trailing edge of the wing root fit perfectly. The forward half, well, good thing for Milliput and styrene shims. There was a slight gap on the sides of the wing joint, a .040 gap on the lower fuselage and was .060 short of mating up flush with the forward fuselage. I had my shim work cut out for me. After filling the lower wing join I concentrated on building up the forward lower wing to have the cowl sit flush with no gap. I started with short pieces of .060 square stock leaving extra to sand off to shape requiring very little filler. Once I filed away the bulk of the excess, some fine sanding finished the contouring. A few passes with a rough file squared up the front for a clean fit of the cowl. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I just thought out the process before I did it.
I gave the remaining parts a coat of primer and fine sanding. A few blemishes were found and easily fixed. I decided early on to paint this in the late RCAF two tone Scheme 3. Yes, an odd ball scheme that was painted on only a few aircraft. Finding references were scarce to say the least. I did find one photo, but was nearly impossible to see the id numbers on the tail. The RCAFs painting practices were like Aunt Mary’s casserole recipe. When she died she took the recipe with her. There is little argument on the color of the upper wings and fuselage – Extra Dark Sea Gray. As for the light gray, well we may as well talk about the correct shade of olive drab. The generally accepted as close enough is Fs 36270 Neutral gray, which is what I chose.
I gave the model a nice coat of Extra color Acrylix. For me these paints spray like silk. The finish is almost flawless. After I removed the masking for the hard demarcation line, there was a bit of paint that peeled off. The nice thing with these paints is that touch ups are nearly invisible. A quick re-spray and the evidence was gone. I wanted to keep the clean look of this airplane and give it a ‘flown’ look also. I started with the heat shield behind the exhausts. I sprayed a base coat of Alclad duraluminum and added shading with mist coats of Alclad jet exhaust and Alclad burnt metal. I think this gave me the right effect I was going for. Next I made a home brew of clear smoke using Gunze Acrylic paints. I thinned this down to almost 75% thinner to paint which gave me more of a wash. I sprayed this on most of the panel lines just enough to just give them a darkened tint. Afterwards I gave the entire model a pin wash of Paynes Gray oil paints. I prefer oils over acrylics for this due to their ability to be manipulated. Once the wash dried slightly, I streaked a soft cloth moistened with turpenoid over the model in the direction of airflow. This gives some subtle shading and breaks up the monochromatic look of the clean aircraft. Again, I think I stopped just at the right time.
Time for the decals! The decals Fisher provides are beautifully printed by Cartograph of Italy. The markings I wanted to use were not on the sheet, but were easy enough to create with the extra markings provided. I wanted to have the larger Canadian roundels of the late Royal Canadian Navy scheme. This also coincided with the scheme that I wanted to have. Most of the decals went on beautifully. However I couldn’t find the appropriate sized number for the lower wing. I tried several military fonts but they did not match up to the rest of the decals. So I had to succumb to the kit markings and have a different ID code on the lower wing. The second problem that came about was when I applied the RCN & inventory number decal under the elevator. One side went on fine, but the second decal disappeared! From what I can figure, there was no clear film under this image. It was the only one on the sheet that seemed that way. So I had to substitute the ones from the earlier RCN scheme. A quick coat of Polyscale clear satin sealed them in and blended the weathering together.
I finally had the courage to cut the clear resin canopy and windscreen from their casting blocks. Since there is only one of each, I better get this right or I’m doomed! I pulled out the trusty photo etch razor saw and went to it. Whew! Now that that was done, I cleaned up the parts ensuring to only remove the excess. Time for a dry fit. The canopy fits perfectly, but, and I knew there had to be a but, the windscreen did not. It took some judicious sanding and filling with Krystal Klear to make the windscreen fit and look alright.
Adding the landing gear proved to be a challenge in alignment. Even though Fisher provides very solid and deep locating positions for them, the tiny bit of wiggle room is enough to make one go bald. Attaching the gear doors was a challenge in acceptability. The instructions give you clear and concise positioning for the large doors attached to the gear legs. However getting them to align themselves in that manner was a different story. I had to settle for something a bit off. It’s not noticeable unless you really know Sea Furies. Lastly I added the tail hook and intake screen. Nothing fancy about those pieces, they just finish the model off.
I’m finally finished! Whew! I have taken on and beaten an all resin kit. Will it be the last time? I don’t know, but I’m sure not afraid of resin anymore. This is the crown jewel of my model collection and one that I am extremely happy and proud of to have completed.
Drew Hatch has been an avid modeler since he was a teenager. Taking a modeling hiatus while flying in the Canadian Armed Forces, he picked it up again when he met his wife. They’ve been married ten wonderful years. Drew’s interests are naval and Canadian aviation, with an emphasis on the Pacific War. (Along with the slight detour into N. Africa during WWII.)