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Airfix 1/24 scale Typhoon Mk.Ib

Kit:A19002 // Scale:1/24 // Price:$149
Well-engineered for strength and ease of assembly; tons of options; beautiful surface detail; awesome engine
No decals for the rocket noses; flash, knockout marks, or mold seams to clean up on almost every part; decals don’t respond to Micro Sol or Micro Set solvents; incomplete paint info uses numbers only
Injection-molded, 503 parts, decals
Airfix crammed so much detail into the Typhoon’s cockpit, it looks like you could climb in and start the engine — and it’s almost big enough!
A big British brute in real life, the Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib has been released by Airfix in what seems to be a nearly full-scale replica — even though it’s 1/24 scale.

The kit is a study in contrasts. The box is packed with more than 500 parts, but many of them will head straight to the spare-parts bin, depending on the numerous options, such as the 54 unused weapons parts left over after loading my Typhoon with eight rockets. The kit exhibits loads of detail in every visible area — and some not so visible. The Napier Sabre engine truly deserves the “kit in its own right” phrase, with 83 parts. Surface details are nothing short of astounding, with rippled skin texture molded effectively.

That’s a bunch of good news, but with it comes some not-so-good news: Airfix apparently had great difficulty molding the bubble portion of the canopy. Reported defects range from a small stress crack at the center of the front bubble frame to larger cracks and deformation in the teardrop portion of the canopy. Airfix has been working to fix this, but I used the canopy as-is. The distorted bubble is easy to miss, and the stress crack is not obvious, either, so check your kit.

Additionally, every part had molding flaws that needed some form of cleanup, ranging from ejector-pin marks to parting-line flash and joint edges that were not square and true. The cleanup is easy: It just takes time — 10 hours in my case. I suppose that’s not bad for a kit this complex.

After my marathon cleanup session, I assembled the entire interior structure using the lower wing as a jig. Airfix provides wing spars, and alignment is critical for good fit between the wing and fuselage. I painted the interior a combination of various Testors Metalizer shades and Tamiya blacks and dark grays, masking in between. Some optional steps in the instructions are presented left to right, some top to bottom — after study, I found it helpful to circle the path I chose. Go slowly and follow the directions carefully — they typically show placing only a handful of parts in each step, and they helpfully show them installed (shaded in red in the following step). Airfix missed placing a hose (Part C14) between the starter cartridge holder and starter assembly (parts C41 and C54/C55) — you can see Airfix’s page for details. Beware of the seat cushion (Part B08) — it’s only for installation when using a pilot; otherwise the injection-molded lap belts won’t fit. You’ll want to study the instructions carefully when installing the plumbing and various engine fittings to see what passes over or under what — reviewing the red-shaded portions in the following steps helps there.

I don’t get the idea of including a rear-mounted clear instrument panel part, as the decals go over the “glass” anyway. I just painted mine black and put acrylic gloss over the dials as usual. The individual instrument decals fit well. I had to trim a large portion of the tab mounting the engine to the firewall to allow clearance to fit the engine, but it didn’t matter for fit or alignment.

There is another instruction error to watch out for: The main picture for Step 61 shows part C24 mounted to the large pipe on the engine, but the close-up detail view in the same step shows the correct position. There were a couple of hoses mounted at the end of the construction (parts D03 and D04) that I could not get to twist through the frame, pause, flip in midair, and land on the supercharger — but you can’t tell I cut them short, can you?

All the internal-wing structure and detail parts fit tightly after clamping firmly. I found out too late that my kit had a short shot on the top of the gear bay that shows up at the wing root.

My decision to leave the entire engine bay uncovered was influenced by the wonderful job Airfix did on the engine, and the fact that the cowl panels are each a scale 2" thick and devoid of internal detail.

Assembly of the main components went well, with a little filler required at the lower wing junction. A choice of tail surfaces is included, and the fit was commendable. Test fits during cleanup had revealed an ugly “toenail” segment of flash nearly encompassing the main wheel mount; much carving and shaping was required to get the wheels to fit on the gear legs. In contrast, the 20mm gun shrouds fit nearly well enough to leave off until after painting.

Masking and painting takes a while, due to the size of the model. It also takes a fair amount of paint! All options for markings include a wealth of detail specific to each airframe history — nice one, Airfix! I used Testors ocean gray and RAF dark green over Tamiya medium sea gray. Although the decals are numerous, none are supplied for the rocket warhead rings — I dipped these, ring by colored ring. The supplied decals do not respond well to Micro Sol. They grudgingly lay down after several coats, but a stronger solvent may be needed.

After painting, a large portion of time was involved in placing the final details and weathering before I completed my 100-hour odyssey. The finished kit is impressive in both size and detail, and it appears accurate. Disappointing mold quality and stubborn decals are let-downs, but the model is buildable and provides many hours of modeling. Just make sure you have a big, sturdy shelf to place it on when it’s done!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the March FineScale Modeler.

Airfix has gone all out with this kit, which features a ton of detail including large sections of the internal structure that can be left visible. However, flash and mismatched molding require a lot of cleanup. The gun bay structures show this to good effect: The part on the right has had all the flash and mold lines removed.

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