Building the Airfix Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib - post 3

Going forward

Having done the cockpit (see previous post) it was time to move to the front. The engine in the Hawker Typhoon is an impressive piece of work. The Napier Sabre was a British H-24-cylinder, liquid-cooled, sleeve valve, piston aero engine. Developed during the 30's it saw daylight in 1940. Evolving from 2,200 horsepower (1,640 kW) in its earlier versions to 3,500 hp (2,600 kW) in late-model prototypes. The first operational aircraft to be powered by the Sabre were the Hawker Typhoon and Hawker Tempest.

The kit's depiction of this power monster and it's cooling system is made up in some 74 parts alone and the building instructions for the engine etc. covers 5 pages. Having done the Airfix's version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin in their de Havilland Mosquito a few years ago I must say that this was one step beyond. The the instructions pedagogics is reasonable clear and understanding exactly where the parts go is quite easy even if it's sometime complicated.

Starting with the core

First off is the engine block. You have the option to include an electrical motor (bought separately) inside the engine to have a turning propeller on the finished model. I made the choice not to add this for two reasons. Primarily because I'm going to have open service panels on this kit and then it doesn't make sense to have the engine running. The second reason is that I don't want to bother about wires and stuff needed for the electrical motor.

As with the aircraft frame I chose not to paint the core engine parts before assembly. The engine block is a square affair and quite sturdy and the assembly is quite easy this far. After the main parts of the engine is done it's time for some colour. Now, according to the instructions it should be black and browsing pictures of the Napier on the net this looks right. There's plenty of pictures where it's green or even metallic but these are all pictures of engines in museums etc. In all pictures of operational aircraft it's black.

Before mounting the engine onto the aircraft frame I realized I needed to do some weathering. I'd just bought Vallejo's Engine Grime (73.815) and thought this was the right moment to test it. At first I thought it was quite thick and covered too much but after trying some, wiping off excess and letting it dry the effect was astoundingly good.

Struts, cables and pipes

Fixing the engine block to the frame is pretty straight forward even if you need to be firm and yet careful. But you're far from done yet. There is still 37 steps in the instruction left until you can call the engine done. There's small parts as pipes, extra struts, cables and canisters. Mostly it's straight forward where they go but when it comes to colour it pays to have closer looks at available reference pictures. Parts that Airfix indicate one colour for often looks more authentic in two or three colours. Most parts is either black and/or silver though.

When you arrive at the underside (in step 69) things start to get very fiddly. There's pipes that goes in, under, over and through parts already glued. It takes a good pair of tweezers, a steady hand, an angels patience and some sheer stubbornness to succeed. Still, part D01 in step 70 had me beat. I had to cut the last 5-10 mm off to get it in place. That end is barely visible anyway so it was mostly just irritating.

Before doing the air intake on the under side I went over the result thus far again with some weathering. The metal parts got some Vallejo Engine Oil Stains (73.813) and the black parts some of Vallejo's Engine Grime (73.815).

Taking in the intake

You start off with a plate that goes under the engine. The down side of this plate should be in external under side colour of the camouflage. It's really the first part of the fuselage. For the underside I use Vallejo's Model Air  BS Medium Sea Grey (71.307), in Humrolian that's 165 Medium Sea gray.

Fitting the air intake cannister is OK. The instructions are clear down to a tenth of a m.m. what the distance should be from the rear edge of the afore mentioned plate tu the intake (30.7 m.m.) and the exact angle between the intake and the propeller shaft (90°).  Even if the fit was OK I could not get better than a about 31.3 between the air intake ant the aft edge of the plate. Let's hope this won't create problems later on.

After adding yet another set of pipes it's getting close to the end of the engine part. Last main part is the ring that goes around the propeller shaft. Even if I tired to be meticulous the two pipes that should fit to this ring where too short. Which basically means that the air intake cannister sits too far forward (it didn't make 30,7 m.m.) and still to far back (the pipes leading from it did nor meet the ring). Hmmmm.... I had to use some putty to extend them to the ring (approximately less than a m.m.).

A last pipe leading from the ring onto the rear of the engine and it's done. Some more engine oil and engine grime and I'm happy. Although you could continue endlessly adding wires and other details if you really want to go hard core I'm satisfied with the result.

To be continued...

Next post will be about constructing the wings including the gun bay. There is a risk that a few other project gets in the way though so be patient.

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