Magnificent Fighter: 1/48th Hobbycraft Sea Fury FBII
Hobbycraft were known for their simple, sometimes unusual, inexpensive, but mostly decent kits. (If we keep our expectations realistic and not compare bargain kits with top-dollar ones.) This Hobbycraft 1/48 Sea Fury FBII was released in 1989 and can be built up quickly for a fun kit or require a bit of work to enhance the model end product. At the time, It was a welcome release, as it was the first injection mold version of a Sea Fury in 1/48th scale. (Falcon Models had previously released their quite respectable 1/48th Sea Fury vacu-form kit.)
Notable Kit Features:
Low parts count
Good basic outline
I had built a Korean War version of the Sea Fury in Royal Navy markings to commemorate a rare piston engine victory over a jet aircraft in that conflict, and had reserved a future build for a Canadian aircraft. I decided to try my skills at a scratch-build wing fold on this kit to bring a bit more interest to this basic kit. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) received its first Sea Fury on 23 June 1948, to replace its existing inventory of Supermarine Seafires. The Sea Furys would be tasked primarily with fleet air defence, operating from the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent.
Very basic Cockpit and seat (questionable accuracy)
Overly thick and distorted canopy (Falcon produced a vacu-formed canopy)
Little wheel well detail
Pin ejection marks are present especially on the gear doors
Gear doors are a bit thick and simplified
Engraved panel lines are a bit heavy-handed and shallow
Reported wing shape issue
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Added seatbelts (although anything in the cockpit is difficult to see)
Simplified scratch-built wing-fold added
Modified the main gear doors to thin and then add heavier lower section
Drilled out the lower wing lights and added clear lens (using thickened Future / Klear)
The Canadian Sea Furys were finished in a slightly different scheme to their Royal Navy (RN) brothers. It was felt that the Greenish Gray the RN was using was best replaced with a Light Gray (matched to FS 16373) which would server as a better camouflage colour this side of the pond. The RCN retained the Extra-Dark Sea Grey (matched to FS 36118) upper surfaces on their aircraft. The black wig walks were painted on. As the kit decal was not up to the task of conforming to the propeller hub curves, I had to resort to some basic math to determine how to cut out a white star mask (which for reference sake - each point is 36 degrees).
The After-Build Report:
This 1/48 Hobbycraft Sea Fury FBII is a nice quick budget build kit (considering my purchase price of under $15). It was a good place to try out a wing-fold for instance. More recently Trumpeter produced a Sea Fury F.B.II example in 2008 (which was better, but had some notable issues); AMG released a series in 2016 (which I am unfamiliar with) and then Airfix stepped up in 2018 and produced probably the best kit to date of the Sea Fury (minor issues but a step past the competition). The bottom line for me, is my next Sea Fury in 1/48th will most likely be the Airfix product.
Completed build #259 - May 2023 using the 1/48th scale Hobbycraft #1583 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers
Hawker 'Sea Fury' FB. 11 aircraft of the RCN and a Douglas AD-4B Skyraider aircraft of the USN on the flightdeck of HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21) during Exercise Mariner, 1953.