This is the first Typhoon I have ever done (though there was a Matchbox 1:72 Tempest II back in the 80s). Tooled in 2013, this kit looks very nice in the box, and as a Series 2 kit comes on four sprues and with two decal options. I had intended to do the more colourful scheme with invasion stripes, but didn’t trust such large decals not to pose grab and alignment problems that might result in tearing; plus I wanted to get this one off the bench before New Year and wasn’t in the market for surprises, or for backing up and painting the stripes.
Another good-looking addition to Airfix’s stable of British aviation in miniature, the model’s pleasing lines conceal a few challenges. I got the feeling Airfix somewhat over-thought the engineering in this kit, especially in the way the cockpit interior locates, and the cockpit floor/wheelwells part, which demands a certain order of assembly and unavoidably introduces the potential for misalignment. Fit problems I found inevitable, steps at the wingroot being the most serious, though gaps manifested on the horizontal tails too: whiteglue to the rescue. I expected the keyed landing gear to be out of alignment also, but surprisingly it was not – the wheels are flattened and bulged, and keyed to the struts, and once the model is “up on its feet” the flat spots are firmly to the ground. Assembly took a little time, and there was plenty of prepainting to do, between the prominent radiator/carburettor intake assembly, the cockpit and surrounds, landing gear, bay doors and propeller assembly.
Overall, though, the model looks the part, and once it was together the finishing techniques flowed along well enough. I used Tamiya’s accurised RAF late-WWII shades (XF-81, -82 and -83) topped with Microscale clears and Florey panel wash, finished with oil wash weathering and Mig pigments. I used the Eduard mask set for the canopy and wheels, and the AML masks for the Type A camo scheme. The set includes an extra sheet of straight strips doubtless intended for painting the invasion stripes.
The best part of the kit was the decals, they were superb and pulled into surface detail even before MicroSet was applied. Very thin, they grabbed a bit quickly, but are of solid tone, fully in-register, and seem especially accurate. They behaved much better than the sheet in the Spitfire I finished last, indeed I completed all decals, with the exception of the leading edge yellow stripes, in a single day of work.
Criticisms? The small antenna on the underside of the fuselage did not fit its locator hole – I fiddled and fumbled with it for a good twenty minutes, most of which was involved in getting hold of the tiny component, over and over and over, while applying a file to the base until it actually dropped into the receiver. The tailwheel is moulded as one part and must be seated before the fuselage is closed, which ups the odds of damage during handling and makes painting the unit a matter of a small brush and prayer. When the propeller is finally installed, the mounting calls for a cylindrical unit to be inserted between four moulded guides which “tension” it into place – why so complicated? The fuselage aperture had to be filed to accommodate the outer ring of the cylinder, and when it slid home it became apparent the outer diameter of the fuselage mouldings is larger than the outside diameter of the spinner backplate, leaving a strip of unpainted plastic exposed – yet with the prop now quite firmly in place there seems no way to tease it free again to paint the strip. Chancing getting camo green on the satin black spinner is not a risk I’m willing to take at the very finish, so it stands as-is, and angle of view will hopefully conceal the flaw for the moist part.
I have another of these, in the “Dogfight Doubles” edition with Pips Priller’s FW 190 (an unusual combination, as the Tiffie found its forté as a ground attack plane and probably never tangled with a 190, at least not on purpose) but it may be a few years before I welcome going 15 rounds with this kit again. There are some lessons learned here, of course, such as leaving the main gear bay doors off until after the struts are in place, which would make it easier to keep the doors aligned and not “toed-in” a bit.
Enjoyable? It’s always nice to see a project come together, but I would have to say I was happy to see this one leave the bench in the end. Maybe the shake’n’bake kits have somewhat spoiled me, but I had hoped for better alignment. Recommended nevertheless, to those with a little experience under their belts.