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 is made up in some XX+ parts alone and the building instructions for the engine covers X 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.

Making the main frame

Finally, ready to get going on the Typhoon! All things in place, if you're wondering what that would include have a read in my Guides for building.

First thing to get done is the central, internal, structure including the cockpit. I first took some time to study the reference material (see post 1) to determine the right colours for the different parts. From most pictures it was quite clear that most of the internal stuff was bare aluminium. Mostly I usually paint details when they're still on the sprue an then touch them up when they're in place. Some areas can be hard to paint when they're in place. This time though I decided to glue together the main parts of the frame before painting.

First of all I glued the two parts of the front wing spar together using clamps to minimize any gaps. Slowly progressing step by step until frame 8 in the instruction leaflet letting the glue harden between every step. Some times it's a bit tricky to see exactly how the parts should fit together from the instructions but Airfix has put some effort in making the parts speak for the selves. If you dry fit the parts first it soon becomes evident how they should fit together.

Base colour

Having done the Typhoon base frame it was time to give it some colour. I began with giving it a coat of Vallejo black primer as I was going to use metal colour. I mostly use primers from spay cans as I want an over all layer and don't want the hazzle of cleaning my air brush all the time.  As you will find out during this series I rely heavily on Vallejo products when it comes to painting.

Next coat was a layer of Vallejo's Metal Colour Aluminium (77.701) applied with my air brush giving the whole structure a nice metal shine. Now it looks like something straight out of the factory or even cleaner than that. This is not the look I'm after though. So to complete the base frame I first used some Vallejo Wash Light Grey (76.515) to get some shades and then some Vallejo Engine Oil Stains (73.813) to get some realistic looking dirt on it.

Typhoon cockpit interior

With the internal frame done it's time to start with the cockpit details. This is a place where you can easily go berserk in details. Questions that is valid in this circumstances are: How much will be visible after you've closed the fuselage? Where's the balance between scale accuracy and something visibly appealing? Or basically how far should you go?

Personally I have the view that I'm building for the fun of it and to that means that I put some extra effort into details that won't be visible afterwards. I also go for as accurate as possible but I'm also prepared to compromise and cut some corners.

I found the pilot seat in the kit detailed enough and decided to not buy a resin version available. Instead I bought some fabric seatbelts. When working in scale 1:24 this makes sense. Working in 1:48 I prefer the pre painted, etched, metal ones but here the fabric versions comes into their right. The pilot seat comes in four parts and the back rest with it's stuffed leather looks good when painted and weathered. Mounting the seat in the cockpit frame is a bit tricky as the parts it fits to is a bit wobbly. Give it time and when done handle it with care.

The fabric seatbelts I managed to get hold of must be made for the later 'car door' version of the Typhoon because the instructions does not quite adhere to the parts in the kit. With some reference pictures I think I made them fit with some creativity. Unfortunately I didn't read the instructions in detail first. Because of this I managed to fix some of the parts without removing the protecting paper on the back side. On the later parts I learnt this and then the belts really came into their right! Building in scale 1:24 I really recommend fabric seatbelts. As mentioned in the first post I used Eduard ED23020 - Fabric seat belts this time.

The finishing details

The side panels are well depicted with connecting tubes. Following the painting references in the instruction leaflet leaves you with quite a dull cockpit though. There is only one colour indicated per part even if you can suspect more from the way they are depicted in the instructions. As always reference pictures are a big help here. Using the pictures in The Hawker Typhoon Including the Hawker Tornado by Richard A. Franks and those found by simple Google searches I put the right colours to tubes, leavers and buttons. Doing this and adding some Vallejo Model Wash White (76.501) and carefully adding some wear with Tamiya Weathering Master Silver (ITEM87085) puts some life into it.

Lastly I arrived at the instrument panel. I had two choices, 1. the original panel in the kit with included decals for the instruments and 2. the Yahu Models YMA2405 - Instrument panel I'd bought extra. I was really into two moods here, I even considered cutting and filing and joining the two together. After consulting the The Scale Modelers Critique Group on Facebook, where I got a lot of good points, I decided to ditch the Yahu panel and go for the original version. The pre painted metal version simply was to flat. The kit version might be a bit exaggerated but it really looks better. Had I had more patience I would have ordered Airscale decals for the instruments, a tip I got at the 1/24 AIRFIX HAWKER TYPHOON MK.IB BUILDS group, but now I decided to head on.

To be continued...

Next post will be about constructing the engine.

Since 2014 when it was released I've had Airfix's Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib in scale 1:24 on my shelf. Finally I've started the build. In these posts I'll try to describe how I build the kit. My choices on the way and methods I use. I hope it can be useful to someone.

The content

The kit's box contain the 16 spruces with parts in a common grey shade in separate plastic bags. The hood is separately packaged in soft protection. The instruction booklet has 48 pages of detailed building instructions. The instructions are fairly clear and the stages seems to be thought trough. The decal sheet has markings for four individual aircrafts.

  1. D-Day spearhead: MN666 'CG' Aircraft flown by Wing Commander Charles Green, No. 121 Wing, Royal Air Force Holmsley South, Hampshire, England and B.5 Le Fresne-Camilly, Lower Normandy, France, June 1944
  2. Normandy workhorse: DN252 'ZY-N' No.247 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, France and Belgium, June-September 1944
  3. Sharkmouth: MP197 'MR-U' No.245 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, Germany and RAF Warmwell, Dorset, England, June-August 1945
  4. Canadian bomber: RB389 'I8-P' No.440 Sqadron (Royal Canadian Air Force), 2nd Tactical Air Force, Netherlands and Germany, February-May 1945

Extras

Even if the kit is fairly good in quality and detail I usually think that most kits can do with some extra detailing. I usually surf up to Hannants web shop to see what's availible. This time I've chosen three items to add to the kit. They are:

Yahu Models YMA2405 - Instrument panel

Eduard Brassin ED624002 - Detailed guns

Eduard ED23020 - Fabric seat belts

Soon I also realized that this 1:24 Airfix kit did not contain rubber tyres as most of it's predecessors in this scale. The wheels in this kit is in two halves which means that you have to handle a joint running along the outside tyre. So I made another order for:

Eduard Brassin ED624001 - Wheels

Choices

The kit's interior is very detailed so it makes sense to have different maintenance hatches open to display this. This has me in two minds. On the one hand the planes mostly has their hatches closed and this would be the natural way to display the kit, ready for flight. On the other hand you want to display all the work you've put into the interior. The kit has three different build choices you can make. One with all the hatches closed, one with the gun ports open and some of the engine visible and one with all the hatches off with the engine and the cooler fully visible. It seems like you have to choose either one.

I will try to make a mix of the first and the second. I.e. with one gun set visible and the other closed and the engine partly visible. Most of all you wish you could make three kits to do all choices at once.

References

This kit has got a lot of attention as it's one of Airfix's flag ships. There's books, facebook pages, pictures and tons of reviews available. Personally I've bought two books to have as references at hand when I build. These are:

 

I've also joined the Facebook group 1/24 AIRFIX HAWKER TYPHOON MK.IB BUILDS where I hope to pick up some tips. Then, of course, Google-searches for reference pictures are also invaluble.

Equipped with these references I'm finally ready to go.

To be continued...

Next post will be about constructing the cockpit frame.

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