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Build Report: Airfix’s 1/72 Hawker Demon

airfix_hawker_demon-4One of the things that I’ve always loved about modeling is it’s tie-in with history. I’m not sure if I started modeling because of a love of history, or developed a love of history because of modeling. I do know my first word was “airplane”, though.

I’d picked up this Hawker Demon kit at the National Museum of the Pacific War during a visit to my in-laws who live nearby. (Not nearby me, but nearby the museum, which is in Texas, a long way from here in North Carolina.) I’d always liked the look of the various aircraft that developed from the Hawker Hart, the Demon being one of them. One thing I do not like though, is bare metal finishes. So I set out to find a paint scheme that would give me a choice other than a shiny, happy Demon. ๐Ÿ™‚

As so often happens when researching the history or aircraft, I stumbled on an RAF camo scheme for my little Demon, and in the process, learned something about the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, fought from October 1935 to May 1936.(The Italo’s won in overtime by a field goal.)

You can follow the link to read what Wikipedia has to say about the details of the conflict, but what caught my eye was the fact that England sent some squadrons of Demons to Egypt- and gave them a coat of something close to dark green and dark earth on the upper surfaces. Cool- keep the NMF on the bottom! (And who looks at the bottom?!?)

Building the kit is fairly simple. Interior detail is… none. Two pilots are provided, and can cover up the lack of detail, but to be honest I got bored painting them, threw them in the spares box, and figured if anyone was too upset about the unpainted, undetailed interior, I’d give them a box of rivets to count and proclaim “Be off with ye!” OK, maybe not, but suffice to say I ain’t worried about it. It’s a hobby, right?

Right. Good.

Anyway…. the fuselage went together well enough. A little filler was needed to blend the seams, but no big problems were encountered. I added the tail planes, and made my own struts for the horizontal stabs, as the kits ones were just a wee bit short.

Upper and lower wings went on, along with the ever fun struts. The fuselage struts didn’t fit right, so I drilled holes in the fuselage and mounted the struts solidly, gluing the upper wing on. Outer wing struts went on nicely.

I decided to rig this biplane (having not done so on my two previous biplane builds), and I drilled holes in the appropriate places on the upper and lower wings, as well as the fuselage. I used some colored monofilament from Hobby Lobby. I can’t recall if it was .04 inches or .004 inches…. the spool is across the Man Cave from my recliner, and though I care deeply about each and every one of you, I hope you’ll understand why I don’t get up and walk all the way over there to check. Trust me- it’s tiny thread. Looks thinner than a human hair, though certainly thicker than all the integrity in Washington DC stacked up.

I threaded one end through the hole in the upper wing, then hit it with a dab of superglue. Once that dried, I threaded it through the lower wing hole, and using my super-sophisticated weighting device (a clothespin) to pull the thread tight, I then dropped a dab of superglue on the other end. Once all the rigging was done (or the part I actually did….) I clipped off the projecting ends and sanded it over. (Except for the bottom- who looks at that?)

I hit the bottom of the aircraft with Pollyscale silver, which is a really, really bad way to do a NMF finish, but since it was only going to be on the bottom…. well, you know.

I masked off (rather poorly) the lower surfaces, and airbrushed on a coat of Pollyscale British Dark Earth on the upper surfaces. (Sidenote to anyone in the UK: is that really the color of the dark earth there?) I sat staring at the model trying to decide how to mask the thing with wings and rigging in place (what- think through a build logically?) and after several minutes I devised a brialliant approach worthy of the greatest modelers. I decided to freehand it and if it came out bad I’d only look at the finished build from a distance.

I’m happy to report that the freehand camo job came out looking like a freehand camo job.

After that, I slapped on some Future, added the wing roundels, more Future, an oil wash, and a dull coat. The sources I had said only the upper right wing roundel was used, and no fuselage markings. I thought the one roundel looked weird… kinda made me feel like I was leaning over every time I looked at it. So I added the other one.

The wheels turned out to be a challenge to paint. Masking did not seem to work, and after several attempts at airbrushing with proper masking, I decided enough was enough and slapped some paint on in a sloppy fashion while laughing maniacally. A good time was had by all.

Last thing to add was the prop. The Demon had a wooden prop, so I painted a coat of Middlestone on, and dry brushed some artists acrylic brown on to give a wood grain effect. It dried a little thick, and has a texture that looks like oatmeal in 1/72 scale. But I kinda like oatmeal, so I left it alone.

This was a fun little build. I really enjoyed it. Learned a neat history lesson along the way, learned to rig a biplane, and now I have a Hawker Demon sitting on my shelf that is an accurate representation of the Hawker Demon on my shelf. ๐Ÿ™‚