Hawker Hurricane Mk I

Model review

I built this Hasegawa's Hawker Hurricane Mk I (JT 65) almost out of box. The kit is excellent, accurate and well datailed. Fit of the parts is basicly good aside from few exceptions. Wing joint under the rear fuselage caused little problems. The seam was just middle of the fabric covered area and it was difficult to fade it out without spoiling the fabric covering. Little putty was also needed to fill the wing and fuselage joint. If you are going to built a Finnish Hurricane Mk I out of the kit you have to do little extra work. Finnish Mk I's had de Havilland Hamilton variable-bitch propeller and spinner, the kit offers Rotol propeller and spinner. Finnish planes had five spoke rims, the kit offers them with four spokes. Finnish planes had also earlier type antenna mast which the includes. Finnish Hurricanes didn't have rear view mirrors. Also small air scoops has to be removed from the left side of the wing root and from both sides of the cocpit below the wind screen.

To make the spinner look like de Havilland one I filled it with Milliput and I turned it with my electric drill using file and sandpaparer. It was quite a quick job. Because I didn't have de Havilland propeller and five spoke rims I decided to evade the problem. I built my model airborne. I used a transparent disc representing a spinning propeller. Wheel rims looks right when the landing gear is retracted, because the outer side of the rims is right in the kit. Airborne plane must have a pilot too which I took from Tamiya's Beaufighter kit. I had to fix the figure quite a lot to make it fit in the cocpit. As usual I made the Sutton harnes out of painters tape. It's much easier to fasten them than the metallic ones. Front of the cooler I made a strut rod middle of it and to rear of the cooler I added two struts from thin brass thread. I also slightly sanded down the fabric covering of the rear fuselage.

The painting scheme is typical British scheme from year 1939 which the planes weared when they came in Finland in March 1940. The colors are Dark Earth / Dark Green in upper surfaces. Underside of the left wing is black and the right wing is white. Undersides of the front fuselage, rear fuselage and rudders are silver. Wheel wells, landing gear legs and inside of the wheel well covers are silver. I used InScale72's Hurricane decal sheet which offers markings for three Finnish Mk I plane and for one Mk II B. To prevent gleaming I sprayed white primer under national emblems and then masked them with masking tape circulars which were accurately cut to same size as the decals. Upper surface scheme is painted using paper masks. I zoomed the painting guide to proper scale and then cut masks out of it. Masks were fastened using small tape chips under them. To get right scale effect I lightened top side colors and black adding 10 % white to them. On the photos that depicts Finnish Hurricanes contrast between the upper surface colors seems to be weak. I used Humbrol 29 as Dark Earth and XtraColor X215 as Dark Green. At the end I sprayed Revell's matt varnish tinted with light blue grey and weathered the model with pastel chalk.

My model depicts HU460 of Osasto Räty/LLv 22 at Malmi in April 1940, the plane was flown to Finland by kers. Uuno Karhumäki.

History

Hawker Hurricane will always be remembered as a fighter, beside the Supermarine Spitfire, which won the Battle of Britain. Although Hurricane was not as good fighter as Spitfire, it was in service from the beginning of the war to the end of it almost in every main theatre. Hurricanes served in Malta, North Africa, East Front, Far East, British aircraft carriers (Sea Hurricane) and in merchant ship convoys in the Atlantic Ocean mounted on and launched from a catapult at the ship's bows (CAM ships). Hurricane was outdated as a fighter already on 1942 but its career continued in fighter-bomber and tank-buster roles for a long time. Hurricane was also the first Allied plane which was able to shoot air-to-ground rocket projectiles. But now it's time to go a little back in time to see how this maybe the thickest winged fighter of all the times grew to one of the greatest fighters in the history.

In October of 1933 Sidney Camm, the main designer of Hawker Aircraft Ltd, introduced his plan which based on to a successful bi-plane Hawker Fury. The plan introduced monoplane fighter with fixed landing gear and 600 hp Goshawk engine. The plan had no order by the Air Ministry but it was widely noticed. Fury Monoplane would have been cheap, strong and traditional configuration compared to all metall stressed skin configuration like Spitfire. The plan was changed for the first time on January of 1934 when the engine was changed to a new 1000 hp Rolls-Royce PV12, later known as Merlin. The Camm's plan was named as Hawker Monoplane.

Air Ministry announced the specification sketch F.5/34. Later in the same year the landing gear was changed retracted and the Hawker High Speed Interceptor Monoplane had borned like the new specification F.36/34 which had built for the Hawkers plan. When suspension in Europe was increasing there was no time to arrange traditional competitions between factories and to order several prototypes. At the beginning armament consisted four machine guns but it was changed to incredible eight machine guns battery. The demand was to destroy a bomber with a two seconds burst, it was tought that there was no time for longer firing. Prototype was offered to Air Ministry on 4.9.1934 and one prototype was ordered in February of 1935. The prototype completed in October of 1935 and flew it's first flight on 6.11.1935. Test flights flown showed that performance and handling characteristics were expected. During the test flights maximum speed of 507 km/h was reached at 5350 meters.

Air Ministry orded 600 planes on June 1936, it was the biggest order ever made during peace time. The first serial production plane completed on October of 1937. The first serial production planes had two-plade wooden Watts-propellers. The plane had problems when pulling it out from spinning dive. Solution was found in wind tunnel tests which were made using a model plane. Rudder was lengthened three inches downwards and to the front it was made a low fin. Tail wheel was also made fixed. The changes were brought to assembly lines in March of 1937. At the beginning of 1938 new Merlin II engine and ejector exhaust pipes come to serial planes. From January of 1939 serial planes were equipped with a new three-plade variable-pitch de Havilland Hamilton propeller. Maximum climbing speed was increased and maximum level speed arised 20 mph.

Due to Munchen conference British Government ordered on 1.11.1938. 1000 Hurricanes more. Assembling of back armours and bullet proof windscreens to serial planes started in spring of 1939. Initial production planes had fabric covered wings but the structure was not sufficient to the speeds of the Hurricane. Totally new duralumin covered wing was designed, it flew for the first time on 28.4.1939. They were produced gradually so that the last fabric covered winged Hurricane was completed from the factory in March of 1940. Allmetal wings was also changed to older planes from damaged Hurricanes. Production of Hurricane Mk I planes was 3934. When The Battle of Britain begun RAF had in use over 600 Hurricanes and about 200 Spitfires. Theoretically it was planned that the slower Hurricanes intercepts the bombers while the faster Spitfires attacks against the fighter escort. But often happened that Hurricanes were forced to fight against Me 109 E's when they were often defendants. Advantages of the Hurricane was that it had smaller turning circle than the Me 109 and it was a steady gun platform. Also it was very strong plane and could absorb lots of hits without breaking. About 75 % of the downed German planes during The Battle of Britain were shot down by Hurricanes.

Installations of the new 1280 hp Merlin XX engine with two-stage supercharger begun on June of 1940. Top speed arose to 550 km/h at 22000 feet. The new model was named Hurricane IIA Series 1. Hurricane IIA Series 2 had lengthened and reinforced fuselage. The following IIB and IIC models had bombracks and 12 machine guns or four 20 mm Hispano cannons. The first Hurricane II Series 1 planes entered in RAF service in September of 1940. On the year 1942 the Hurricane was obsolete as a fighter but production continued still a long time. Model IID was developed for ground attack duties. It had improved armour and two 40 mm cannons. The type was very succesful tank buster in the North African Theatre. Hurricane Mk III was planned to have American built Packard-Merlin engine but it never materialized. Hurricane Mk IV (originally IIE) was also ground attack plane armed with 40 mm Vickers cannons, bombs and rockets. It was powered by Merlin 24 or 27 engine with 1620 hp. It's flying mass has already increased up to 3850 kg (Mk I 2800 kg). When the last Hurricane was completed on September of 1944 it was the 14233th plane manufactured.

Before declaration of war against Germany on 3.9.1939 the British Air Ministry delivered 100 planes for sale. Planes and / or manufacturing licences were sold to Yugoslavia, South Africa, Rumania, Canada, Persia, Belgium, Poland and Turkey. When Germany attacked to Soviet Union Great Britain and USA started to support Soviet Union supplying war material there. During the winter of 1941 - 1942 2952 Hurricanes were delivered to Soviet Union principally through Murmansk. Subtypes were as follows: 210 IIA, 1557 IIB, 1009 IIC, 60 IID and 30 IV. The Soviet VVS used Hurricanes widely also in the Finnish front.

Hurricanes in Finland

During the Winter War Finland tried to acquire planes from everywhere. Great Britain allowed Finland to buy Hurricane fighters, but not until the contribution of Mr Churchill. Twelve planes was promised to Finland on January of 1940 and the retrieve group, "Osasto Räty" (Detachment Räty), began its journey to England on 30.1.1940. Planes to be sold were used and renovated. The planes had both fabric and all metal covered wings. Detachment Räty arrived to St. Athan on 5.2.1940 where they started practising with Link-Trainer and then whith Harvard I. After that the pilots flew 10 - 15 hours with Hurricane. Great bulk of the pilots had never flown a plane equipped with retractable undercarriage or with variable-pitch propeller, they had just came from replenish squadrons. After the test flights were flown the planes were received to Finnish air force on 27.2.1940. RAF style markings HU451 - HU462 had been painted to the planes.

The first group of six planes started towards Finland on 25.2.1940 and flew the route Edinburgh-Wick-Stavanger-Oslo-Västerås. The planes were led by two Lokheed Hudsons and followed by Sunderland flying boat. The Sunderland was to pick up the pilots from the sea if anyone had to ditch. Weather over the North Sea was bad and the ceiling was only at 15 - 20 meters, but the whole formation managed to get to Sola airfield near Stavanger. The second group of six planes started on 28.2.1940 to the same route. When landing to Wick HU461 damaged and the RAF bought it back later. The second group begun its attempt to cross the North Sea on 1.3.1940, again two Lokheed Hudsons were leading and Sunderland flying boat was with if anyone had to ditch to the sea. Weather on the route supposed to be good but the forecast was totally wrong. Over the rainy North Sea the ceiling of clouds lowered all the time and on the half way the planes were flying at the height of two meters. One Hudson and Sunderland had dissapeared some time ago. The Hurricanes followed the leading Hudson and tightened their formation.

After flying two hours they saw some islands and crossed the coast. At the end of the route the leading Hudson got lost. When kersantti (sergeant) Uuno Karhumäki, leader of the Hurricane group, saw that the Hudson was lost he decided to find Sola airfield himself because they were soon running out of fuel. Because cloud cover was at 30 meters the planes had to fly between two mountains to get to Sola airfied where they straight landed. Just now was noticed that one plane was missing. It was sergeant Laitinen's HU462 which got into cloud in lousy weather and got lost from others. Later it became clear that HU462 had made a forced landing in Eigeröyn island outside the cost of Norway. Sergeant Laitinen was injured and he was taken to Egersunds hospital. Wreckage was later used as spares. The planes arrived to Finland on 7. - 10.3.1940 after they had been repaired and some modifications had been made in Västerås (among other things preheaters to carburettors was added).

Hurricanes didn't enter Winter War in time. At the outbreak of the Contunation War Hurricane flight was incorporated to LeLv 32 as "Osasto Kalaja" (Detachment Kalaja). Because lack of the spares and maintenance equipments only few planes were in flying condition at the time. Usage of the Hurricane in the Finnish air force was minor because small number of the planes. When channels to Great Britain were closed supplying spares and engines was prevented. In Finnish air force Hurricanes achieved only 5,5 kills. The war booty Russian Hurricanes didn't help the shortage of engines because they had Merlin XX engines and the Finnish planes had Merlin III. One war booty Hurricane Mk II was repaired in flying condition in markings HU-465. During the initial stage of the Contunation War Finland tried to acquire more Hurricanes from Germany but its bad reputation against Brewster changed the thoughts and Finland offered the planes to Rumania through Germany on October of 1943. The Rumanians were not interested. The last flight of the type in Finland was flown by the war booty HC-465 on June of 1944.

More pictures

Technical Data of Hawker Hurricane Mk I

Engine 1030 hp Rolls Royce Merlin III
Dimensions Span 12,19 m; lenght 9,55 m; wing area 23,98 m2
Weights Empty weight 2285 kg; max. take off weight 2950 kg
Performance Max. speed 515 km/h 6000 m; 450 km/h at sea level (5 min.)
Armament 8 x 7,7 mm (0,303") Browning-Colt Mk I machine gun
Production 3934 (Mk I); 14233 (all models)

Sources

  • Lentäjän näkökulma II, Jukka Raunio
  • SIH12 Englantilaiset hävittäjät, K Keskinen, K Stenman, K Niska
  • Hurricanes to Finland, Jussi Räty
  • Hurricane in Action by Jerry Scutt, Squadron /signal publications
  • Pienoismalli lehti 7/99 artikkeli J Miettinen

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