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KIT REVIEW


Special Hobby # SH32070
Tempest Mk. V "High-Tech" -- 1:32 Scale



In the latter part of the Second World War, the British developed one of the fastest and most lethal airplanes of the conflict: the Hawker Tempest.  Originally starting out on paper as an improved version of the Hawker Typhoon, the design evolved into a significantly new airplane, capable to taking on any German target, from the V-1 buzz bomb to armored trains, tanks, and the Me 262 jet fighter.  Special Hobby released its 1:32 Tempest Mk. V in 2016. Following on its heels in 2017 is the “High-Tech” edition of this kit with lots of detail parts, new decals, and other extras.       

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The Hawker Typhoon was one of the RAF’s most famous airplanes during WWII but it had some limitations.  The Typhoon’s performance was particularly poor at both high altitude and high airspeeds.  Engine troubles and structural flaws also plagued the Typhoon.  Hawker engineers, led by Sydney Camm, developed a Typhoon variant in 1941 that incorporated a thinner, laminar flow wing design that was first known as the Hawker P. 1012 or Typhoon II. The wing was redesigned into a near-elliptical shape with a 43-foot span and wing surfaces were very purposefully flush-riveted to optimize laminar flow.  The wing was also designed to incorporate 800 rounds of 20 mm ammunition for four Hispano cannons.  Additional internal fuel tanks were added to bring internal fuel capacity to 162 gallons.  The heart of the new deign was the powerful Napier Sabre IV powerplant.  The accumulated changes prompted a new name for the new design, and the Typhoon II became the Tempest. 

Six prototype Tempests were built as a single Mk.I, two Mk.IIs, one Mk. III, one Mk. IV, and one Mk.V variant.  Each example featured a range of different airframe and powerplant configurations.  Delays with the other prototypes saw the Mk.V first take to the air in September 1942.  Tempest flight tests validated the new design that indeed overcame the Typhoon’s performance shortcomings.  By 1943, a production line for the Tempest V was established in Hawker's Langley facility, alongside the Hawker Hurricane.  Low rate initial production fed airplanes into extensive service trials at Boscombe Down using the early Tempests.  By April 1944, the Tempest was ready for combat.

The RAF knew it had on its hands one of the most powerful fighters of its day. From about 10,000 feet down to the deck, the Tempest was the fastest low-altitude propeller-driven aircraft of the war.  Tempests soon flew fighter sweeps and reconnaissance missions. Leading up to D-Day, Tempests frequently flew into northern France, Holland, and the Netherlands to attack German airfields, radar installations, ground vehicles, coastal shipping, and “vengeance-weapon” launch sites.  Further, the high-speed performance of the Tempest made it an excellent interceptor of the V-1.  Tempests brought down no less than 638 V-1s inbound to England.  In September 1944, Tempests supported Operation MARKET GARDEN and by the end of that year, their missions were generally focused on systematic destruction of northern German railways.  By 1945, the Tempest’s speed and tactics had begun to accumulate kills against the Me 262, and by the end of the war, the airplane had accumulated an overall kill-to-loss ratio of 6.5 to 1.  Indeed, what had started out as a redesign of the Hawker Typhoon lead to an airplane that produced a definitive contribution to close the Second World War in Europe.

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Special Hobby’s 1:32 scale Tempest Mk. V is an injection molded plastic model kit.  It contains 379 medium gray parts distributed across nine sprues (approximately 70 parts will go unused) along with an additional 16 clear parts on one sprue.  An additional 80 cast resin detail parts produced by Special Hobby’s detail parts division, Czech Master Kits (CMK), are packed in their own box.  One fret of photoetched metal detail parts contains 37 parts.  A set of HGW Models microfiber pre-painted shoulder harnesses and lab belts are included.  There’s also a precut self-adhesive vinyl masking set for the clear parts and the wheels.  Also included in the box is the color instruction booklet which covers assembly of the Tempest Mk. V proceeding over 59 steps.  Markings are provided for five Tempest Mk. Vs:

Strengths:  Over the years, Special Hobby has been steadily improving their game in terms of molding quality, detail, and fit.  The Tempest Mk. V truly shows how far Special Hobby has come.  This kit is on par with any high-quality modern manufacturer, and I would probably draw the closest comparison with Hasegawa and their peers.  Overall size and shapes appear to be very accurate.  The surface airframe detail is excellent, featuring crisp and restrained panel lines.  Recessed screw, rivet, and fastener detail is likewise very well executed, and also captures the details of the different sized and shaped fasteners on the engine cowling and wing roots.  The rudder and elevators are separate parts and can be positioned deflected though the instructions only show them to be placed in the neutral position.

First, let’s look at the High-Tech components.  Just when you might have though Special Hobby might be done with detail, the parts in this edition of the kit blew this reviewer away.  Inside this box you will find a remarkable combination of kit and detail parts that give the builder the raw materials to create an amazing replica of the Tempest Mk. V.  It’s jaw dropping.  The casting quality of the upper portion of the Naiper Sabre engine is really some of the best I’ve ever seen.  The other resin parts are also top-notch, from the firewall to the pilot’s seat, other engine details, great exhaust stacks, and really nicely done resin wheels that are just subtly budged and flattened to perfection.

The shoulder harnesses and lap belts are really nice microfiber parts by GHW.  The masking set will make painting the clear parts and wheels/wheel hubs a breeze, and the photoetched metal parts look sharp.  The paint schemes included in the box are all excellent, but the overall silver scheme from 1946 has something about it that really draws me in as a scale modeler.  Perhaps it’s because the scheme is so different than the standard camouflage and invasion stripes that comes to mind when one thinks of Tempest paint schemes.  Printed by Eduard, the decals look amazing and receive top marks after a careful examination (but see below). 

Second, let’s get back to the plastic kit:  The base kit also comes with a pair of drop tanks and two air-to-ground bombs, though only limited number of Tempests carried air-to-ground munitions during the war.  Here, an additional sprue has been added (Sprue L) that has parts for eight air-to-ground rockets, pylons, and rails.  Should you choose to hang anything off your Tempest, to pay attention to the holes that will need to be drilled from the inside of the lower wing half to mount the pylons.  I also like the internal propeller hub plate that helps one align the prop blades correctly.  I snipped off the fuselage, wings, and tail parts for a test fit.  Everything fits very precisely, and you’ll not likely need much filler here.  Also, the full-span wings allow the builder to achieve the proper dihedral angle literally right out of the box.

The cockpit is outstanding.  The level of detail and intricacy that is provided translates into the potential for most scale modelers to produce a small masterpiece here.  The detail provided just by the kit is excellent, and one can tell the thinking that went into the parts breakdown, from the control column to the throttle, rudder pedals, seat, and surrounding airframe structure was very careful indeed.  The plastic parts themselves are nearly on-par with resin casting.  Instrument bezels look great, but there no detail on the instrument faces, as they are to be represented by very nicely detailed decals.

I would almost always opt to use a photoetch metal part to represent the face of the big radiator under the nose.  Here, the molding is so finely executed that aftermarket parts aren’t necessary to achieve the greatest degree of detail possible.

In a similar fashion to the cockpit, scale modelers will also be very impressed by the fidelity of detail in the main gear and tail wheel wells and gear doors.  The structures of the main gear wells appear to be very well represented, only lacking wire bundles or plumbing.  The main gear themselves and their retraction cylinders and other struts are very nicely detailed and crisply molded.  Further, ejection pin marks are nowhere to be seen.  Other smaller details are to be commended, too, including the exterior lights and very nicely printed decals that represent the straps on the drop tank pylons.  And speaking of the decals, the markings were printed by Eduard.  Their colors are accurate, vibrant, and in perfect register.  Carrier film is thin and quite well restrained.  The print fidelity, including for the finest airframe stencils, is excellent.  I also like the choice of schemes represented here, and the two that feature invasion stripes are particularly appealing – but you’ll have to paint the stripes themselves since they are not offered as decals.     

Weaknesses:  There’s only a few critiques that I think can be entertained for this kit.  The pour gates are still a bit large proportionally speaking, and for almost every part, a few moments of extra clean-up will probably be necessary.  While the rudder and elevators are separate pieces and can be positioned, the flaps and ailerons are integrally molded into the trailing edges of the wings.  The instruction booklet shows the side registration of SN330 to have the “J5-H” in bright green, but on the decal sheet, it’s more of a subdued medium/dark green.  They’re different, so who’s right?    

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Special Hobby’s 1:32 scale Tempest Mk. V appears to be an excellent injection molded kit in all respects, and the superdetail parts and mask set really elevate this kit to a different level.  This is clearly a contender for 2017’s “Kit of the Year.”  Looking at this kit, I thought, “Yup, it’s stuff like this that inspire me in this hobby.”  Most scale modelers will find this to be a pretty stunning kit.  For those interested in upgrading the kit even further – and yes, that’s possible – there are a range of detail parts from CMK from the control column, gun sight, sitting and a climbing pilot figure, cannon barrels, strengthened main landing gear and a resin starboard side gun and ammo bay.  Enjoy this one.  Kits like this are meant to be built.

Sincere thanks are owed to Special Hobby for the review sample. You visit them on the web at http://www.specialhobby.info/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/specialhobby

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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