I’m beginning to think I just can’t be happy with new kits. First it started with Eduard’s 1/48 Spitfire Mk. IX. Now it seems that I’ve run afoul of the new 1/48 Airfix Hurricane.
It almost feels as if I’m in a movie about a bad relationship.
Scene: A rainy night on a lonely street.
Hurricane: “It’s me isn’t it? It’s me…”
Me: “No, really, it’s me. You’re great and all, I just… I …. I’m just not good enough for you.”
Hurricane: (with emotion) “Don’t tell me that! You are good enough for me! You’re more than good enough for me! I know when it’s me!”
Me: (forlornly) “No, it’s not you. I just… I just…..” (runs into the darkness while Hurricane stands crying.)
I’m sorry, I just really am not enjoying this new Airfix Hurricane.
All’s well that ends well….
I did finish this kit up, and was quite happy with the final result, despite the issues outlined here. You can read the full build report over at ApapeModels.com.
Now, it has gobs of detail. Its cockpit is the most complete Hurricane cockpit out of the box of any kit I’ve built. (I’ve built the old Airfix, Pegasus Hobbies, Hasegawa, Hobbycraft and Italeri. Pretty much all of them.) And it gets those details right- the “bottomless” floor, the tube structure of the cockpit, the finely restrained fabric detail. It has separate control surfaces, comes with a tropical filter and a tailhook for a Sea Hurricane, flattened wheels, nice decals…. it has the works.
But in my opinion, it’s over-engineered to the point it’s taken the fun out of trying to get the thing assembled.
I suppose I’m a bit of an odd modeler. Most clamour for detail, for accuracy, for scale fidelity. But I’m perfectly happy with a nice, simple build. As long as it looks like the subject, I’m OK.
And it’s not that it’s too hard. Good grief- I built the Special Hobby Il-10 and CA-13 Boomerang! Those were nightmares that literally almost drove me from the hobby. So I’ve built difficult kits.
I guess what really disappoints me is a feeling that it doesn’t need to be like this.
The cockpit is built up of a number of parts into a nice framework. But while it all fits, generally, it’s not the type of structure that works best fitting generally. It needs to fit specifically. Precisely. This type of assembly calls for Tamiya precision.
Airfix has made great strides in their models since Hornby took over. They’ve produced some wonderful kits. Yet the area I think they’re still playing catch up in would be precision. Tamiya is the king of that. Eduard is getting very close. Hasegawa flirts with it. Even Trumpeter has flashes of brilliance- even if it is horribly researched, inaccurate brilliance.
The cockpit is built on top of the wings, and then mated to an already assembled fuselage. But it just doesn’t quite fit. It’s close…. but the amount of clamping and filling to hide the tiny imperfections is almost on the order of what I’ve had to do with ICM Yak kits or anything Special Hobby.
The control surfaces leave large gaps. The radiator opening isn’t quite fitted properly. There’s a hole in the tail. Yes it’s a casting imperfection, but there it is, just staring at me.
And like the Eduard Spitfire, I came into this build with such high hopes. I’d seen several write-ups of it, and all looked to be wonderful builds.
Yet I sit here building it wondering “Is it me, or is it the kit?”
It will get finished, and it will look fine. Probably better than fine. Because I’m a stubborn modeler. I will make it work out.
But the disappointment over building this kit has really deflated me. I hope this is not an example of the type of engineering Airfix will do from now on.
Airfix, I love you. I really do. Of the nearly 200 models I’ve built since February 2006, 31 have been Airfix. The next closest manufacturer is less than half that number. I’ve built every Spitfire you’ve produced, in every scale. But I have to say- I think you stretched a bit too far. Your level of engineering finesse just isn’t up to this type of structure. Yes, it’s buildable. But Airfix is about fun. That’s your marketing slogan.
And to be honest, I don’t get that from this kit.