Build Date: Start April 8 2019, Finish May 10, 2019
The Hawker Hunter, along with the Hawker Sea Fury, Gloster Javelin formed the basis of British military aviation excellence during the early Cold War period in Europe. The Hunter’s design is conventional with a swept wing. This design limits it to 1171 km/hr max. on the prototype, which is less than the speed of sound (1225 km/hr at 15 deg C). Pilots that flew the Hunter described it as having excellent handling capabilities. Its design was so good such that subsequent developments did not change the overall shape of the plane too much.
The Hawker Hunter F. Mk. 1 entered service with the RAF in July 1954 with 43 Sqn. Yet, the F. Mk. 6 prototype was test flown in January 1954! It was developed specifically for the role of a clear-weather interceptor. It had an improved Rolls Royce Avon 203 turbojet engine which increased its rate of climb. Outward appearance-wise, the outer wing leading edges were revised with a “dogtooth” (leading edge extension which increased the wing camber ) to correct a pitch-up problem common on all swept wing design. The F. Mk. 6 entered service in October 1956. Finally, the last improvement of the Hunter was the F. Mk. 9 variant, which steamed directly from the F. Mk. 6 design. The Mk. 9 was a dedicated ground attack variant when the Hunter’s fighter-interceptor role was replaced by other supersonic aircraft.
The development and obsolescence of fighter jets in the 1950s were fast. Development of faster and more capable jet aircraft increased almost yearly during this decade as Designers and Pilots worked hard to attain the coveted “Supersonic” capability. By 1956, just as the Hunter Mk. 6 entered RAF service, it was already too slow and not able to keep up with the new higher and faster Avro Vulcan bomber which it was supposed to protect. By 1963, the Hawker Hunters were relieved from service and replaced by the supersonic English Electric Lightning.
I am building the fantastic Revell Germany 1:32 Hawker Hunter Mk.6 kit. This kit was released around 1998. When I first saw the opened box of this kit in Uncle Bill’s Hobby Shop, I was very impressed with the quality of the fine details and panel lines. I was not obsessed with the first generation British jet subject as I find their shape unique but strange: kind of an acquired taste. I did not purchase this kit until I saw someone build one and put it on display in Uncle Bills and then I was sold.
I read that this kit sold well, however, it appeared to be a shelf-sitter as I seldom see a finished model in model shows. I think I bought this kit in the mid-2000 and it sat on my shelves for a long time unbuilt. Over the years, I had taken this kit out and tried to start building it twice, but it always ended up going back on the shelf while another project got my attention. This time it will be built! The fit-up seems to be really good so far and I look forward to a fun and easy build.
The reference material for this project is the Mark I Guide book on Hawker Hunter F.Mk.6
This quality of this kit is so well such that the only enhancement it needs is a detailed ejection seat and a set of metal landing gears. The cockpit in the Hunter is very cramped so only the seat and the instrument panel is visible after closing up the fuselage halves. The Revell kit’s cockpit details are excellent with very fine details for the knobs and gauges. However, the seat details are bit lacking and the depth of the cockpit tub is too shallow. Hence, I opted to use the inexpensive resin cockpit from True Details (ex KMC) 1/32 Hawker Hunter F-6 Cockpit set. The dials on the resin instrument panel gauges are basically a copy of the kit’s excellent details but with minor additions. This set corrected the depth of the cockpit tub and provided a detailed seat with seat belts and more details in the aft area of the cockpit.
Painting the cockpit for a Hawker Hunter is easy: Just paint it black. Of course, I did not use black, but rather I use a mix of dark grey for scale effect. To make the details pop out, I dry brushed the details with Vallejo white paint. Some might say that white might be too stark, but I feel it is necessary because the cockpit is cramp and not well lit. To that point, I’m sad to see all those nice details in the back of the cockpit and the side walls will never be seen again once the cockpit and seat are installed.
The resin cockpit fit very well into the fuselage without any modification or adjustments – Nice job KMC! To keep this plane from being a tail dragger I put a whole lead sinker inside the front fuselage cavity to weigh the nose down. I smashed the oval-shaped lead sinker with a hammer to form it into the proper shape to fit.
The engine intake trunk is assembled and painted in aluminium paint before glueing the halves together. I don’t spend too much time painting or detailing this area because it will not be very visible later. All early Hunter’s intakes were in silver metal colour. However, in late 1980 the RAF painted the intakes with a cream colour coating. So, for the aircraft I’m doing, aluminium is the correct colour.
Here’s a photo from my reference book showing the intake. The Mk. 6 aircraft in this photo has the cream colour intake which indicates this aircraft was painted during or post 1980s. It is also noted that there is a continuation of the fuselage behind the intake splitter plate on the right side of this photo.
One fault with this kit is the fuselage at the intake area does not extend far enough back such that one could see a gap next to the intake splitter plate. I easily fix this annoyance by glueing an extension piece made from styrene card.
This next photo will make clear of what I’m talking about. Looking into intake trunk, you can see the white piece of styrene extension behind the intake splitter plate. So imagine if the filler styrene card is not there, you would see a hole and that would be bad.
Assembly of the intake, rear fuselage and the wings is rather…. interesting. As there are no locating marks, the air intake assembly has to be loosely slipped on first and then I can attach the rear fuselage. Only after that can I install the wings and hope the lips of the intake piece will butt up tight against the wing’s intake lips. I would say this is one of the two major weaknesses of this kit.
The best design with this kit is the almost perfect fit of the wings into the wing grooves in the fuselage. It is a tight fit, but with the aid of liquid cement and carefully pushing the wings into the grooves, the result is a flawless and gap-free wing joint.
The bottom fuselage seam and the nose cone’s seam required a lot of sanding and that destroyed all of the panel lines there. I restored the panel lines by rescribing new lines and rolled on additional rivet details. Afterwards, I sprayed a coat of grey primer to the model to check if all the seams and panel lines are good. For the bottom surfaces where I will be spraying a silver paint, I polished the primer surfaces with 4000 grit polishing cloth so that the silver paint will look smooth.
I mentioned before there are two weaknesses with this kit. The second weakness is the spindly thin main landing gears. I know that the landing gears are to scale, however, the thin wheel attachment piece is really too thin to hold up a model this big and heavy. The only way to prevent this portion of the landing gear from bending is to put the wheel on absolutely straight so that there’s no sideward force to act on the wheel.
Revell really should have provided a set of metal landing gears. I found out someone is selling a set of white metal landing gears, but I’d just try to finish this the way it is and hope for the best.
I am building a Hunter F. Mk.6 XG159/P, from No. 56 Sq. at RAF, Wattisham, Suffolk, in 1959. This is the same squadron as that of my 1:48 Tornado.
RAF colour, up until the mid-1970s, was semigloss and in the period between late 1960s and early 1970s most RAF camouflaged aircraft had a high-gloss polyurethane finish. The upper side colour of Hunter’s camouflage was RAF Dark Sea Grey and RAF Dark Green. For these colours, I am using Tamiya RAF Dark Green 2 (XF-81) and Tamiya RAF Ocean Grey (XF-82). Up until the mid-1960s, the underside of camouflaged Hunters was painted High-Speed Silver (not natural metal). I used Alclad Semi-Matt Aluminum to simulate the silver paint finish. I freehand sprayed the grey-green camouflage with my airbrush set at 12 psig. The result is a tight demarcation between grey and green. The model is lightly buffed with an 8000 grit polishing cloth and sprayed with a coat of Future to prep it for decals.
For this model, I am using the kit decals to replicate an RAF Hawker Hunter F. Mk.6, from No. 56 Squadron, circa 1960.
As I removed the masking tape on the windshield, I saw that I had somehow cracked the windshield. That just broke my spirit. I was going to throw this model in the garbage can, but I choose to just slap it together and finish it. So here it is. Not my best model but it is done.