Build Report: Hasegawa’s 1/48 Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc

hasegawa-1-48-hawker-hurricane-night-raider-cover

Though my favorite aircraft to build are the Spitfire and the P-40, I do enjoy building a Hawker Hurricane. While the Spitfire garnered so much attention for its role in the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane was the far more numerous type during that battle, and did an amazing job during that struggle. And even after that, it continued to be a tough, durable performer in nearly every theater of the war. (In many respects the role the Hurricane and P-40 played in the war was very similar.)

The Hasegawa kit was, until the release of Airfix’s new tool Hurricane Mk. I, the most well regarded Hurricane kit on the market. It’s cockpit detail, out of the box, is exceptional. The surface detail, as is the case for all of Hasegawa’s offerings, is excellent. It does have a few knocks against it for the use of inserts in a few places to facilitate multiple versions in fewer toolings, but unlike Hasegawa’s P-40 line, the Hurricane kits don’t suffer s badly from this, making far less use of them than the P-40.

The interior was painted with Tamiya XF-71, some craft paint acrylic black. white and a few dabs of red and yellow, and given a wash of artists oils and a quick drybrushing. I did not have an Ultracast resin seat on hand, so I resorted to the use of photoetch belts. Which of course reminded me why I prefer Ultracast seats. (If I could afford to do so, I’d simply order a dozen seats for every type I build and be done with it. Two dozen for the Spitfires and P-40s. 🙂 )

Assembly of the fuselage is painless, with good fit all around. The only issue is not so much an engineering problem on Hasegawa’s part, but a reality of the Hurricane itself. Because the aft part of the fuselage was fabric, eliminating seams must be done carefully, so as not to obliterate the “ribs”.

The wings go together nicely, though where they meet up at the aft portion with the fuselage is a bit of a problem. Hasegawa chose to break the parts across the fabric detail, and closing up that seam is very difficult. I finally decided to simply “move” the area where the fabric detail no longer showed, and just sanded it smooth. This worked quite nicely, though it is not 100% accurate. (It is, in fact, 0% accurate…. but I’m OK with it.)

The rest of the build is uneventful. All the pieces fall into place nicely. The lowers were painted in Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black, and the uppers in Tamiya XF-81 and 82, their colors for Dark Earth and Ocean Gray.

Decals were Tally Ho!’s Hawker Hurricane Mk.II – “Kut” Kuttelwascher (48005) set.

I normally try to be fair with my remarks about any products I use. If they aren’t great, I still try to find some positive. I try to avoid being overly harsh. Some folks have accused me of being to soft on some products at times. (I’m OK with that.) But I cannot avoid a single, simple conclusion with this decal set.

They were awful.

On the paper, they looked good. However, they were very translucent, almost too thin to work with, and despite every bit of experience I have gained in 190+ model builds, I could not find a way to keep them from silvering, or to treat the silvering afterwards.

My standard technique for applying decals is to gloss coat the model, pre-treat the surface with a setting solution, dip the decal in warm water, place it on the model, work out the moisture underneath with a cotton bud or paper towel, and then after a few minutes of drying, hit it with Solvaset. For virtually every decal I put on a model, that is the procedure I use.

If I do encounter silvering, I simply use the tip of a #11 blade to slice it, add a drop or two of Solvaset, and then go on about my business.

Because this aircraft did not have underwing roundels (at least according to the marking guide), I started with the upper wing roundels. Putting them on, I quickly saw that they were so thin that the camo pattern could be seen underneath. So I slid the decal off, and used the Hasegawa kit decal.

Then came the critical pieces- the aircraft codes. They too, were way too thin and translucent. But I had no replacements for them. (Or so I thought… I later found another set that would have worked better…. so much for my decal organization.) As I tried to work the bubbles out after application, I was confounded. They simply would not come out. I slid them around, took them off, reapplied them, even added a Future solution. Nothing. So I thought “OK- I’ll just use my old slice them and Solvaset them trick”.

Only that didn’t work either. I finally had to find replacements for everything but the aircraft codes. And where the aircraft codes were, I had to carefully airbrush more paint on, as close as I dared to without getting overspray, just to hide the silvering.

In the end, it looked…. OK. But I have never been as confounded by decals as I have this set. I’ve had decals that were in poor register, or were overly thick. I’ve had some that were just obviously bad- shattering and falling apart. But never have I had decals that just refused any treatment I had for silvering. (I actually tried more techniques than I’ve outlined here…)

So I am going to do something I rarely do, and that is to say I cannot recommend Tally Ho decals. Maybe I had a bad set- I hope so. But I won’t be buying any more for my own use, until I hear enough weight of evidence to sway my thinking otherwise.

However…. my experience with the decals had no affect on my enjoyment of the rest of the build. I can recommend the Hasegawa kit over the Italeri & Hobbycraft kits, as it is clearly superior. I have not built the Airfix kit, but an examination of its parts, and the testimony of others leads me to conclude for a Mk. I Hurricane, go with Airfix.

But if you’re looking to build any variety of Mk. II, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Hasegawa’s kit. And if you have the Hasegawa Mk. I in your stash, or can get one at a good price, I would not pass it up.