Hawker Gets a MiG - 1/48th Hobbycraft Sea Fury FBII
Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Here is another basic-build Hobbycraft kit. They were known for their simple, inexpensive, but mostly decent kits. (If we keep our expectations realistic and not compare bargain kits with top-dollar ones.) Hobbycraft's Sea Fury was released in 1989 and can be built up quickly for a fun kit or require a bit of work to enhance it. It was a welcome release with model makers at the time, as it was the first injection mold release of a Sea Fury in 1/48th scale. (Falcon Models had previously released their quite respectable 1/48th Sea Fury vacuform kit.)
Notable Kit Features:
Low parts count
Good basic outline
Nicely done wing radiators
Kit series markings released for Royal Navy Royal Australian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Royal Canadian Navy as well as Dutch
This kit release was the Korean War one, featuring Peter "Hoagy" Carmichael's "MiG Killer" from RN 802 squadron, operating from the HMS Ocean. This victory claim resulted from the only air-to-air engagement by British pilots in British aircraft during the Korean War. Carmichael's victory is currently disputed, as the kill is claimed by another Royal Navy pilot (Brian 'Schmoo' Ellis) who was flying with Carmichael that day. The brief story is as follows:
On 9 August 1952 Carmichael, flying his regular Sea Fury (WJ232), was leading a four aircraft formation to attack railway facilities between Manchon and Pyongyang when, in the vicinity of Chinnampo, his Number 2, Sub-Lieutenant Carl Haines, gave a radio warning of MiGs diving towards the Sea Furys from behind and the right. As Carmichael later stated:
Eight MiGs came at us out of the sun. I did not see them at first, and my No. 4, 'Smoo' Ellis, gave a break when he noticed tracer streaming past his fuselage. We all turned towards the MiGs and commenced a 'scissors'. It soon became apparent that four MiGs were after each section of two Furies, but by continuing our break turns, we presented impossible targets. They made no attempt to bracket us. One MiG came at me head on. I saw his heavy tracer shells. I fired a burst, then he flashed past me. I believe Carl got some hits on him too. This aircraft then broke away, and went head on to my Nos 3 and 4, Lieutenant Pete Davies and 'Smoo' Ellis. They were seen to get good hits on one who broke away with smoke coming from him.
Lt. Peter 'Hoagy' Carmichael (2nd from R) and his Sea Fury 09AU52
In 2018, it was found that the kill may have been erroneously credited to Lieutenant Carmichael, as part of a practice in the Royal Navy at the time, to simply award any vague kills to the most senior man in the flight (Carmichael). The MiG kill is now claimed by Brian 'Schmoo' Ellis, a sub-lieutenant flying in formation with Lieutenant Carmichael that day. Ellis claims that he was the only pilot in the flight that returned with no ammunition left, while Carmichael only expended about 10% of his cannon rounds during a routine 'gun check' strafing-run on a stretch of sand. The Royal Navy has not disputed Ellis' claim, although there is currently no way to verify the kill claim.
Very basic Cockpit and seat (questionable accuracy)
Overly thick and distorted canopy (Should be replaced - Falcon produced a vacuformed canopy however I was unable to source on at the time)
Little wheel well detail
Gear doors are a bit thick
Engraved panel lines are a bit heavy-handed and shallow
Reported wing shape issue
Carmichael's airplane is shown with a blue spinner (He was Blue Section Leader). I couldn't find documentation confirming this, and other references have it gray. There were Korean War Sea Furies with red and yellow spinners, which would fit into the Squadron colour theory, however I decided on the gray.
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Added seatbelts (although anything in the cockpit is difficult to see)
Added tail tip antenna using paint brush hair
My Sea Fury was finished using Model Master oil-based enamels with Extra-Dark Sea Grey (FS 36118) over Sky (FS 34424). The recognition stripes were painted on and kit decals were used. Minor exhaust stains were applied using dry tempera paints.
The After-Build Report:
This kit was a nice quick build and considering the purchase price of $16 it was a welcome kit for the time. (I bought another to serve as my Canadian Navy example). 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 #78 - April 2005 using the 1/48th Hobbycraft HC1531 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 suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers