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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Typhoon Mk. Ib Limited Edition -- 1:48 Scale



The Hawker Typhoon was a WWII-era British single-seat fighter-bomber.  It was big, very powerful, and did not turn out to be the fighter plane it was intended to be.  Instead, it found its strengths in the ground attack, night-time interdiction, and long-range fighter escort.  Indeed, the Typhoon truly earned its reputation as perhaps the Second World War's most effective ground-attack aircraft.  In this 2018 release, Eduard has re-boxed Hasegawa’s great 1:48 scale Typhoon Mk. Ib kit and added their own Brassin detail parts, photoetched metal detail parts, and Cartograf decals for six airplanes.  A sample just arrived on our review bench.  Time to open the box and see what we’ve got.

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By the late 1930s, the Hawker Hurricane was slated to become the RAF’s premier fighter, but even before it entered production in early 1937, Sydney Camm was already designing its successor.  The design fit a 1938 call for proposal from the Air Ministry, looking for a 400 MPH-class fighter with a two-speed supercharger.  The armament fitted was to be twelve .303 inch Browning machine guns with 500 rounds per gun.  Camm and his design team started formal development of the designs and construction of prototypes.  The manufacturing approach to what was to become the Typhoon involved a hybrid approach, combining “traditional” thinking used on the Hurricane production line and more modern construction techniques including bolted and welded duralumin or steel tubes covered with skin panels and a flush-riveted, semi-monocoque rear fuselage.  Further, the wings were built to be very strong, which had the effect of being a steady gun platform while also providing ample space for internal fuel tanks and guns.  It also featured a large and very distinctive engine radiator slung under the nose.

The inaugural flight of the first Typhoon prototype occurred in late February 1940, delayed owing to teething problems with its Sabre powerplant.  While a promising heavy fighter, the German menace led the Air Ministry to prioritize Spitfire and Hurricane fighter production, and the Whitley, Wellington and Blenheim bombers).  As a result, development of the Typhoon was slowed but still continued.  The twelve guns were replaced by four belt-fed 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannons with 140 rounds per gun.  The Air Ministry gave Hawker the go-ahead for the construction of 1,000 production Typhoon Mk. 1bs.

The Typhoon, now nicknamed the “Tiffy,” was rushed into service with Nos. 56 and 609 Squadrons in late 1941.  The Spitfire Mk. V has been badly outclassed by the new Fw 190s particularly at low altitude – but the Typhoon thrived at low altitudes.  While quite effective against the 190s, the Typhoon was still an aircraft very much under development.  Several Typhoons were lost when they broke up in flight.  Flight tests (including one that claimed the life of Hawker’s deputy chief test pilot) revealed the development of intense flutter in particular parts of the flight envelope that tore the tail away.  Structural changes were implemented that reduced tail failures but never fully eliminated the problem.  Other design improvements, especially those related to enhancing its very troubled high-altitude performance, were developed in what was originally called the Typhoon II.  It was effectively a totally different aircraft and renamed the Hawker Tempest – but that’s another story altogether.

The Typhoon finally matured as a reliable aircraft by the end of 1942, racking up kills against increasingly advanced Fw 190A-4s, Bf 109G-4s, and Me 210s.  Yet, by 1942, the RAF needed a ground attack fighter more than a "pure" air-to-air fighter.  The Typhoon was perhaps perfectly suited for the job and famously transitioned to this role.  "Bombphoons" could carry up to 1,000 pounds of bombs, and by 1943, Typhoons were also armed with up to eight RP-3 rockets under the wings representing an immense amount of firepower, however inaccurate the rockets could be.  By D-Day, the RAF had 27 squadrons of Typhoon Mk. Ibs, carrying out interdiction raids in Europe, preparing the battlefield.  This was followed by direct support of Allied ground forces during and after D-Day.  Rocket-armed Typhoons also made their contribution to the destruction of German forces in the Falaise Pocket.  Typhoon firepower was also called upon for so-called "cloak and dagger" operations.  Today, we call these “decapitation strikes,” such as when in 1944 intelligence sources directed British Typhoons to attack a gathering of the German 15th Army leadership with deadly results.

By the end of the war, Typhoons had shot down only around 300 German aircraft but had expended many thousands of tons of air-to-ground ordnance.  Some 3,317 Typhoons were built by the end of their production run – almost all by the Gloster factory.  By October 1945, the Typhoon Mk. Ib was retired, leaving behind a clear mark on history. 

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Eduard’s Limited Edition Typhoon Mk. Ib kit in 1:48 scale comes on 11 light blue-gray sprues holding a total of 68 parts.  About 18 of those parts go unused in the Mk. Ib.  Nine clear parts come on two connected sprues.  This boxing also contains 13 Brassin cast resin detail parts.  Two frets of photoetched metal detail parts are included.  One is pre-painted and contains 42 parts, and the unpainted fret has 54 PE parts.  One pre-cut self-adhesive vinyl mask set assists in the masking of the clear parts and wheel hubs.  The instructions guide the build over some 33 steps.  The markings come on a single Cartograf-printed decal sheet for the following airplanes:   

Strengths:  Any time you have a combination of Hasegawa plastic and Eduard detail parts, you really can’t go wrong.  This Limited Edition boxing of the Typhoon Mk. Ib makes this point quite clearly.  The Hasegawa plastic, though coming from a 1999-era molding, is still an awesome kit by today’s standards.  Parts breakdown is really simple, straightforward, and logical.  Test fitting of the wings and fuselage revealed perfect fit.  Exterior detail is high-quality Hasegawa with gorgeous recessed panel lines, rivets, fasteners, and other details.  Interior detail is okay on its own (but see below).  There are also parts for eight RP-3 rockets and underwing pylons.    

The photoetched metal parts really elevate the Hasegawa kit to another level.  A lot of the PE parts go into the cockpit and they will transform it into a really breathtaking interior, especially if you have some experience working with PE parts.  There are tons of small details here, from the pre-painted instrument faces treated with Eduard’s unique “raised glass” effect, to various raised handles, knobs, and the throttles, a new seat, shoulder harnesses, lap belts, rudder pedals, the pilot’s armor plate, and many other small but important details in the front office.  If you’re not into PE parts, decal instrument faces are also provided as an alternative.  Other PE parts are provided for the radiator face and grill, radio antenna, and external airframe details.

The Brassin detail parts provide the large-style horizontal stabilizers (derived from the design of the Tempest) with the elevators as separate, positionable parts.  There’s a cast resin tropical air filter part and a replacement four-bladed propeller and propeller hub that are indeed nicer than the kit parts.  To make your life a little easier, Eduard provides a propeller alignment jig.  There’s a great deal of the value in the masking set, too, which saves a lot of time and provides very precise edges and geometry for masking on the clear parts and wheel hubs.

The markings options are all great, and the decals look flat-out gorgeous in terms of color, accuracy, and printing.  The carrier film is both so thin and tightly restrained it is  hard to see it sometimes.  All of the markings options range from very inviting to practically inspiring, but the white and blue checkerboard fuselage band and sharkmouth is my favorite.

Weaknesses:  I think Eduard missed a few small opportunities here.  It would have been nice to have the Brassin engine exhaust stacks in here with hollowed out ends.  I also wonder what some extra PE details could have done to snazz up the main gear wells.  And speaking of the kit, some builders might feel a little let down that the rudder, flaps, and ailerons are not separate parts.

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Eduard’s Limited Edition Typhoon Mk. Ib is an excellent kit of this legendary aircraft, and you cannot go wrong with this model.  If you seek more detail, Eduard also produces a range of Brassin detail sets including Typhoon Mk. Ib drop tanks, RP-3 rockets, two wheel sets, and yes – exhaust stacks!  There’s also Eduard # 48916, which is their PE Typhoon upgrade set.  However you choose to proceed, this kit represents a great combination of fit, detail, great markings, and overall allure that’s hard to beat. 

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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