Kit: No. 2164
Manufacturer: Academy, distributed by Minicraft Models, P.O. Box 3577, Torrance, CA 90510, phone 310-325-8383
Comments: Injection molded, 172 parts, decals.
As an impressionable youngster in the 1950s, I loved the Hawker Hunter. That shark-like fin and graceful lines made it one of the prettiest aircraft to come out of England.
Academy's F.6 is the first injection-molded 1/48 scale Hunter kit in decades. (A later F.9 also has been announced by this Korean manufacturer.) It features crisp recessed panel lines, many optional parts (most for the future F.9 kit), and two sprues filled with parts for underwing stores: fuel tanks, bombs, and 3" rockets. The instructions are well illustrated and easy to follow. Decals for two Hunters are provided.
I was impressed by the amount and quality of detail and the fit of most of the parts. The complex landing gear fits perfectly. The wheel wells and dropped flaps are well detailed, too. I like Academy's method of joining wings to a fuselage: The wings fit into recesses in the fuselage halves. They don't fit perfectly, but the design reduces the amount of filler necessary.
The two-piece canopy is thin and fits well, but if you want it open you'll have to cut down the fuselage spine to accurately pose the sliding section. The cockpit interior is disappointing; not a lot of detail and a seat that is too small for the scale. The real seat nearly filled the Hunter's cockpit.
Other wrinkles to an otherwise smooth assembly include obvious ejector-pin marks inside the intake trunks and on the 3" rockets. Take your time filling and sanding and the marks will disappear. The intake trunks need a little adjustment with sandpaper to make them fit inside the fuselage and wings.
I painted my model with Polly Scale acrylics with Testor Metalizer on the bottom. The decals went on without trouble and responded well to Micro Sol.
My references show the Academy Hunter is accurately scaled. The easiest book to find is Squadron/Signal's Hawker Hunter in Action.
While I spent 32 hours building my Hunter, I spent extra time on my paint job, including accenting all the recessed panel lines with pencil. If you have built a few good-quality 1/48 scale kits, you shouldn't have trouble with this one. Purists likely will want to improve the detail and accuracy of the cockpit.
- Hank Borger