The Arma Hobby 1/72 Hurricane Mk.I in PR Scheme, Malta 1941

Introduction:

I was so taken with the new Hurricane Mk.I from Arma Hobby (reviewed here) that plastic dust was flying and my compressor humming not long after I opened the box. This build was a joy but it’s not without issues: more later. Bottom line: the Arma Hobby Hurricane builds up into a very nice model: possibly the best Hurricane in it’s scale and well worth the extra elbow grease required to get the most out of the kit. I’ll be building another.

More information on the Arma Hurricane and other Arma kits can be found on their website.

With this build article, I’m introducing a new format that utilizes full-page photos with embedded text. In between each picture additional text and links will be provided.

Drop me a line and let me what you think 🙂


Background:

The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter of the 1930s–40s designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Hurricane was overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Spitfire’s role during Battle of Britain despite the Hurricane having been responsible for ~60 percent of the losses sustained by the Luftwaffe in the engagement and went on to fight in all the major theaters of the Second World War.

The Hurricane originated from discussions during the early 1930s between RAF officials and British aircraft designer Sir Sydney Camm on the topic of a proposed monoplane derivative of the Hawker Fury biplane. There was an institutional preference at the time for biplanes and a lack of interest from the Air Ministry, but Hawker chose to continue refining their monoplane proposal, which resulted in the incorporation of several innovations which became critical to wartime fighter aircraft, including a retractable undercarriage and a more powerful engine in the form of the newly developed Rolls-Royce Merlin. The Air Ministry placed an order for Hawker’s Interceptor Monoplane in late 1934, and the prototype Hurricane K5083 performed its maiden flight on 6 November 1935.

In June 1936, the Hurricane was ordered into production by the Air Ministry and entered squadron service on December 25, 1937. The manufacture and maintenance of the aircraft was eased by its use of conventional construction methods which, enabled squadrons to perform many major repairs themselves without external support. The Hurricane was rapidly procured prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 by which time the RAF had 18 Hurricane-equipped squadrons in service. The aircraft was relied upon to defend against the numerous and varied German aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe, including dog fighting with the capable Messerschmitt Bf 109 in multiple theaters of action.

The Hurricane developed through several versions, as bomber-interceptor, fighter-bomber, and ground support aircraft in addition to fighters. Versions designed for the Royal Navy were popularly known as the Sea Hurricane, with modifications enabling their operation from ships. Some were converted to be used as catapult-launched convoy escorts. By the end of production in July 1944, 14,487 Hurricanes had been completed in Britain and Canada.

Hurricane Mk I

First production version, with fabric-covered wings, a wooden two-bladed, fixed-pitch propeller (first 435) or three blade two -pitch propeller, powered by the 1,030 hp (770 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk II (first 364) or III engines and armed with eight .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns. Produced between 1937 and 1939.

Hurricane Mk I (revised)

A revised Hurricane Mk I series built with a de Havilland or Rotol constant speed metal propeller (from mid 1940), metal-covered wings, armour and other improvements. A total of 4,200 Mark I’s were built, 1,924 by Hawker, 1,850 by Gloster Aircraft Company and 426 by Canadian Car and Foundry between December 1937 and July 1941. The Canadian Car and Foundry Hurricanes were shipped to England to be fitted with engines.

(Edited from Wikipedia)


               Hawker Hurricane Mk.I / PR.1 V7101

Malta 1941:

 

In the early days of the attempted siege of the island by Nazi Germany, it became increasingly dangerous for Martin Maryland’s of the RAF to venture too far inland during photo-reconnaissance (PR) flights. The RAF responded by modifying a Mk.I (metal wing) Hawker Hurricane, V7101, for high-altitude PR work.

 

Under the guidance of S/Ldr Louks, the airframe underwent numerous alterations including the removal of all guns, armour, radio equipment, and radio mast. To increase it’s range, a 150 gallon fuel tank salvaged from a crashed Wellington was installed. Additional modifications included a Rotol propeller and F.24 cameras. V7101 was reported to be capable of reaching 35,000ft but it’s normal operating altitude was closer to 30,000. The increased tankage permitted overflights of areas as far away as Naples. A pilot that flew V7101 reported it being prone to spinning due to an aft center of gravity.

The most notable feature of the airframe is, of course, the overall blue. The proper blue paint was unavailable on Malta at the time so the blue was reported to have been made from “5 gallons of Deluxe Bosun Blue, seven pints of turpentine, 16lbs of Zinc powder, and 3lbs of De Lux Black” (Reference 1). The few photos taken of the aircraft indicate a fair amount of bleaching consistent with exposure to the intense sunlight of Malta.

Some sources (Reference 2) report that , following damage, V7101 had it’s vertical stabilizer and rudder replaced with those of a normally camouflaged Hurricane although this has not been confirmed.

References:

1) No Place for Beginners, Battle Over Malta: June 1940-September 1941 by Tony O’Toole. Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing, 2013 (ISBN 978-1-905414-18-5.

2) The Hawker Hurricane, Modelers Datafile by Richard A. Franks. SAM Publications (ISBN 0-9533465-1-X)


The Build:

♦To remove mold release, all sprues were soaked in a 50:50 solution of Windex:Denatured Alcohol for 2 hours before the build was started.

♦Parts were removed from the sprues with God’s Hand parts nippers and cleaned up with a new #11 blade, micro-files, and a sheet of 600 grit Alpha Abrasive.

♦The cockpit parts, inner fuselage halves, landing gear, and propeller were shot with Mission Black Primer followed by Mission RAF Interior Green.

NOTE: See Technical Notes below for suggestions on spraying Mission Primers and Paints.


Shoot 1 mm Lines  and  Primers—–All With One Brush: The Infinity

For Tips on Fine-Line Airbrushing and Configuring the Harder-Steenbeck Infinity for Super Fine-Line Work and for Spraying Primers and Clear Coats, Check This Out⇒


♦Only scraping with a #11 blade and a little buffing with Micromesh 4,000 pads was required to blend the dorsal fuselage seam. This is fortunate as any filling here could alter the nice fabric-covered effect.

♦ Per the kit instructions, the main gear were installed and the wing assembled prior to joining with the fuselage.

♦ Assembling the main gear legs (parts 28 and 29) under the up-lock supports (parts 23 and 24) was a bit of a challenge. The fit here is finicky and required a lot of test-fitting and trimming of some of the parts.

♦ Once the main gear were installed, the wing halves were joined with Tamiya thin cement.

♦ At this point the fuselage was attached to the wings and the fit of the two is excellent.

♦ Only a small amount of putty and blending with Micromesh 4,000 was required: Awesome!

 

 

 

 

♦ The kits wing leading-edge landing lights and navigation lights were glued in place with thick CA (Bob Smith Industries) and then blended with a series of abrasives using the following sequence:

Alpha 600 grit paperAlpha 1,000 grit paperTri-Polisher (grey grit)Micromesh 3,000

Micromesh 6,000Micromesh 8,000

♦ For more information on buffing clear parts and canopies go here.

♦ With the model assembled it was time to move on to my favourite part: painting 🙂

♦ Prior to masking, the canopy and windscreen were buffed with a dry Kimwipe, dipped in Future (or “Pledge with Future Shine”), and allowed to dry overnight.

♦ In preparation for shooting the model with Primer, the canopy and all clear parts (Nav and Landing lights) were masked.

♦ Aizu Micron Masking Tapes                                               ♦ Precision Mini-Scissors

 

 

 

 

Note: Many liquid masks contain a fair amount of ammonia which will harm acrylic finishes and dried Future. One notable exception is Mr. Masking Sol R which can be applied to Future-dipped canopies without harming the clarity of the part when removed.

             Mission Thinner                 Mission White Primer              Mission Green

Harder-Steenbeck Evolution

 

Harder-Steenbeck Infinity

 

Mixing Hurricane Blue:

♦ As mentioned earlier, the blue paint used on V7101 was made from materials on hand in war-stressed Malta. These were “5 gallons of Deluxe Bosun Blue, seven pints of turpentine, 16lbs of Zinc powder, and 3lbs of De Lux Black.” Being plumb out of Zinc powder and Deluxe Bosun Blue, I opted to make a custom mix of Mission paints that would amount to my best guess. I was guided in this by some good advice from Jim Bates. With his knowledge of V7101,  he warned me not to mix the paint too light: ‘Nuff said.

♦ After a little trial and error the following recipe looked right to my eye:

60% Mission Blue, 30% Mission White, and 10% Mission Medium Gray

♦ This was diluted to 30% paint and applied at 15psi with an H&S Infinity fitted with a 0.20mm tip.

♦ See the Technical Notes below for suggestions on diluting and spraying Mission Paints.

 

 

 

 

 

♦ With the Hurricane Blue sprayed and post-shaded with blue lightened with 25% white, the appropriate decals were sourced from the spares box and applied using conventional methods and Micro-Set and -Sol. 

The Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder:

♦ The vertical stab and rudder were primed with Mission White as described below.

♦ The two-tone, desert-tan scheme was applied using custom mixes of Mission Paints and an H&S Infinity fitted with a 0.15mm Fine-Line tip. 

Weathering:

♦ Having read the excellent description of V7101 in “No Place for Beginners” (Reference 1), I opted for a sun-beaten finish using mostly artists oils and some weathering powders.

♦ To prepare the finish for weathering, the model was sprayed with Mission Semi-Gloss (diluted as described below) applied at ~15psi with an H&S Infinity fitted with a 0.20mm tip.

♦ Dollops of White, Buff, Brown, and Grey artists oils (Abteilung) were placed on think cardboard for 1hr to allow the oils to leach from the pigments (rendering): a technique beautifully described by Mike Rinaldi in his “Tank Art” series of books. The rendered oils were then used for most of the following weathering steps.

 

 

 

 

♦ After various panels on the wings and fuselage were faded to varying degrees with the rendered-oil wash, the landing gear and wheels/tires were treated to a dusting with light tan and brown weathering powders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

♦ The oil wash and powders were then sealed with a coat of Mission Semi-Gloss.

♦ The panel lines were brought out with a pin wash of Dark Brown Tamiya Panel Liner.

 

 

 

♦ The flat, bleached appearance of an aircraft exposed to a lot of sunlight was achieved with a final coat of Mission Flat, diluted as described below, and applied as multiple, light, dry coats with an H&S Evolution fitted with a 0.20mm tip.

 

 

 

 

 

♦ The tapes and liquid mask were carefully removed from the canopy and landing/Nav lights and after a little touch-up to the canopy frames, this Hurricane was deemed done.

 

 

Conclusion:

Okay, that was a blast! The Arma Hurricane is not without it’s faults but with a little extra elbow grease it builds into a very nice looking model. The one area to pay attention to is the installation of the main gear. The fit here is tight and a bit finicky but nothing that can’t be handled with a little test fitting and patience. I have been impressed with all of the previous Arma kits but their Hurricane is really a cut above: Well done Arma. Highly Recommended!

Note: I’d like to send a special appreciation to Tony O’Toole for writing such a fantastic book on the siege of Malta: “No Place for Beginners.” It’s well worth the read.

Now go prime something!

–John                                                 

♦More Arma Hurricane Pics

♦Mission Models Painting Technical Notes

Below⇓


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Technical Notes

Diluting and Spraying Mission Primers:

I dilute Mission Primers 1:1 or 50:50 with Mission Thinner. No Polymix should be added. If it’s a dry or hot day, I’ll add a few drops of Liquitex Flow Aid to lessen tip dry. I usually spray diluted primer at 12-15psi. The size of the model determines the airbrush tip size used but usually between 0.20 to 0.40mm for 1/72, 1/48, and 1/35. I apply the primer first as a dry or tacky coat followed by a wet fill coat.

Diluting and Spraying Mission Paints:

To spray Mission paints I first prepare a solution of Mission Model Thinner to which Missions Polyurethane Mix Additive (Polymix: a flow and leveling agent) has been added to ~10%. I then dilute Mission Models Paints directly into this solution for spraying. Using a pre-mixed solution of Polymix and Thinner allows you to prepare paint dilutions in a much more reproducible way thereby ensuring the resulting mixes will spray in a predictable manner.

If counting drops is how you roll, no worries. Thinner-10 is roughly 1 drop of Polymix to ~10 drops of Thinner. If you prefer to work in ratios Thinner-10 equates to a ratio of Polymix to Thinner of 1:10. I prepare a large volume of Thinner-10 (40ml) and store this in an appropriate bottle for use when painting. Properly stored, Thinner-10 lasts for many months with no issues.

I then dilute Mission Paints with Thinner-10 using the following guidelines:

General Spraying

Dilute 60:40 with Thinner-10. That’s 6 parts Paint to 4 parts Thinner-10. Spray at ~12-15psi.

Fine-Line Spraying

Dilute 50:50 to 40:60 (depending on the job) with Thinner-10. Spray at ~10psi or less.

Modulation (spraying over pre-shading)

Dilute 50:50 to 40:60 with Thinner-10. That’s 1 part Paint to 1 part Thinner-10 and 4 parts to 6 parts Thinner-10, respectively. Spray at ~10-12 psi.

Spraying Mission Metallics:

I dilute Mission metallics 70:30 with Thinner-10. That’s 7 parts metallic paint to 3 parts Thinner-10. I apply diluted metallics as light, over-lapping dry coats. I let the preceding coat coat dry (sometimes aided by a hair dryer) before spraying the next coat. The metallic sheen will develop with successive coats.

Spraying Mission Clear Coats:

Mission Gloss Coat:

Dilute 40:60 with Thinner-10. That’s 4 parts Gloss to 6 parts Thinner-10. Spray at ~12-15psi. I like to build Mission Gloss up slowly using light over-lapping dry coats. Avoid getting too much gloss on the model as puddling and runs can occur.

Mission Flat Coat:

Dilute ~25:75 with Thinner. That’s 1 part Flat to 3 parts Thinner. Spray at ~12-15psi and apply as over-lapping, light, dry coats.

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