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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Academy 1/72nd Hawker Hurricane converted to racer

 (this is the step-by-step building article, for the completed model please go here:

What do you do to relax?
I read (Borges and C.S. Lewis at the moment), listen to baroque and contemporary music, watch British TV shows like Poirot, and Fellini's DVDs...and I build models.
And to relax of building models?
I build more models.
Nothing more pleasurable than to take a troglodyte -or a small brain dinosaur bound to kill-, and turn it into a Bach interpreter.
Or perhaps to provide to your drab shelves some note of color, or simply to build something different, or, if you happen to have a certain amount of neurons, to build something you can show your children and youngsters that in fact had a purpose other than kill, maim and the like. A nobler destiny, if one may, or at least a non-destructive intention. It may be refreshing, you never know.
Academy's 1/72nd scale Hurricane is a perfect candidate, for many reasons: the necessary modifications are absolutely minimal, and a wonderful decal set already exists for the purpose, by Life Like Decals from Japan (set 72-025, Hurricane Part I).
I built one of  these kits in its more common livery using the kit's decals 20 years ago, when it was just released, and loved it.
The photos bellow will show the level of detail and care put into this small and affordable product by the master-maker and manufacturer.
This is the way, in any case, that I use for relaxation from the rigors of scratchbuilding and conversions of despicable kits, which tend to arrive from Lübeck.
So in order to make a beautiful racer of this model, get rid of the armament and gunsight, blank the armament-related openings under the wing, and look at photos to observe the details (for example the number of exhaust stacks, changes in livery, propeller and spinner, landing lights, etc) according to the stage in life in which you are representing this speed seeker.
I went for the earliest incarnation, still with the three-stack fishtail exhaust -so no new aftermarket exhaust is required- and in the livery with civil registrations but still without race numbers.
There is a surprising quantity of after-market sets for this kit that you can use to spice-up your build, like spinners, props, wheels, photo-etched galore, etc. I will ignore them all, since I want to keep things simple this time.
Did you know that this very plane was bought by Princess Margaret for racing purposes? Or that it was the last Hurricane ever built? Or that the English term "Hurricane" derives from Spanish "Huracán", that in turn derives from Caribbean native language "Hura-Kan", which means "Heart of Heaven", and was also the name of the god of storms?
Now you do.
See, wasn't that difficult, you stop firing and bombing, start reading and thinking, and the world becomes a better place.
That easy.

The kit is well known, so look up reviews online if you are curious. To me it looks very good:
 Very nice detail, and 20 years old:

 The armament holes are plugged-in with stretched styrene. The bulges were present in the racer, don't obliterate them:
 The right light is glued and will be painted over, as it was in the racer (Hasegawa 1/48 kit got it wrong):
 The sight is cut-off too:
 The chutes are filled:
 The interior is built and glued on the wing ready for painting:
 The radiator is altered to make it more realistic:

 Interior painted:
 Touch-ups and inst. panel:
 The fuselage halves are closed to a perfect fit:
 A styrene sheet dashboard is cut and glued to hide the seam, seat belts are added:
 The wing is glued. If you are careful and clean up and do several dry-runs, the fit is almost perfect, only a hair line appeared on my model on the join of the left wing:
 The "disc" on the nose is toned-down a bit, in thickness and diameter:
 The excellent decals from Lifelike Decals of Japan (set 72-025, Hurricane Part I):
 Plenty of instructions and several options:
 Excellent printing quality (by Cartograph):
 The bulk and the remaining parts. A very quick build, the kit is so good that what you see is the product of may be 3 hours of work:
Cockpit stuffed, nose skewed, and ready to go for priming together with other projects:
To make it more like the real Rotol propeller, the blades are cut off, re-contoured slightly at their bases and given sleeves:
 Metal pins are added after drilling their location on the hub and blades:
 The wheels covers, which are tad thick in the kit, are sanded, and then a tiny protrusion is put back again in place from the rounded tip of a segment of stretched sprue:
Primer on:
White primer is applied:
Since all LG parts, even the wells, were blue -nut the wheel hubs, though- they are added to the model before airbrushing the blue mix:
The blue color of the fuselage is airbrushed. Spinner in gold, exhausts in tarnished hue, prop blades in black, wheels in rubber color:

 To be continued....

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