Started: Apr 2019
Finished: May 2019
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Eduard has recently released a new tooled Hawker Tempest Mk.V family in 1:48 scale. I have the Mk.V Series 1 ProfiPACK (82121) kit as well as the Big SIN (64856) set which includes a full Brassin Cockpit, Exhausts, Wheels and Landing Flaps. I also have some of the Barracuda Studios correction sets including the spinner and radiator intake. I'll highlight all these goodies (and compare them to the kits parts) as I progress through the build.
As with most of the modern Eduard new releases there is a mountain of add-on goodies from them and other manufacturers that, if you had the patience (and budget), would allow you to build the ultimate Tempest in this scale. A quick search on Hannants revealed no less than 34 related parts (decals, PE, resin etc) designed specifically for the Eduard kits. Whew !!
As I have the Profipack I'll be selecting one of the kit decal options, of which there are six. Xtradecal have reprinted their Tempest decal sheet (X48100) which would be an option if you don't particularly like any of the Cartograph printed schemes provided by Eduard.
In the box this looks to be a stunning kit with fully riveted surface detail. I expect this to be an easy and enjoyable build.
Eduard provides a very decent plastic cockpit in the kit which is further supplemented in this ProfiPACK boxing with PE belts, rudder pedals and pre-painted instrument panel,consoles and assorted placards etc. If you want to build the ultimate 1/48 Tempest Mk.V you will want to get hold of the full Brassin cockpit (ED648416). Mine came as part of the Big SIN pack and after thoroughly examining the instructions and some planning I set to work.
Let me say upfront that I do not recommend this set for the faint of heart or beginners. Its an advanced resin set and you will need some experience (and steady hands) to construct and paint it properly. The first task (which is also the most nerve racking) is to separate the fragile resin parts from the cast blocks
In their Brassin sets, Eduard are well known for going "all out". Every switch, knob, cable harness etc that is on the real aircraft is reproduced here in exquisite detail. In 1:48 scale some of these parts are extremely small and you will need good lighting, a magnifier and fine tweezers.
I thought about the best way to cleanly separate the cockpit framework from the pour blocks and settled on using my trusty Airwaves photo-etch saw blade. I tried to keep the blade as far from the part as possible to minimise the threat of a slip or wayward cut. Once separated I needed to then remove the pour channels left over and for this I wet block sanded the part using 360 grade emery paper. This was slow and tedious work but in the end I managed to remove and cleanup all the Brassin parts with zero breakages (I breathed a sigh of relief)
Construction, using CA glue, was quite rapid as the parts are cast to a high level of dimensional accuracy, so everything fits as it should. Alignment holes and tabs are plentiful and the instructions very clear about orientation of parts. The set uses a combination of resin and PE parts.
I broke the cockpit down into five major sub-assemblies to allow for ease of painting. The cockpit cage was the first, the floating floor was second with the remainder being the seat, instrument panel and fuel tank. The gunsight and pilot armour plating panel were attached to the cockpit sills as well.
This was the first kit I had built for which one of the new Eduard LööK series of coloured resin instrument panels was available. These are a relatively new idea that Eduard have released and are not PE but rather coloured resin. They are designed to be drop in replacements for the kit plastic parts. Upon closer examination it became obvious that the part was cast from the same master as the Brassin IP, just in black resin. It's a nice time saver and very reasonably priced (US$11) especially when you consider it also includes a set of STEEL belts
It was time for a couple of dry fit tests and to my relief (I guess I was not really surprised) everything fitted like a glove. The only kit plastic part needed is the forward bulkhead as this holds the fragile spidery resin framework in place. As I had a little spare time I decided to also build the kit plastic cockpit to allow a fair comparison. It's certainly not as detailed as the Brassin set but is certainly not bad either.
A closer view of the kit plastic cockpit. This really would look the part under a coat of paint. The armour plated headrest needs thinning and the seat probably replacing with the Barracuda Studios option but other than these small things it is very passable.
Time to load up the Iwata and lay down some interior paint. A base coat of MR Paint Fine Black Surface Primer (MRP-85) was followed by Mr Color H364 RAF Interior Gray Green. Be sure to leave the top half of the sidewalls in black and only spray the Grey Green on the lower sections. I chose to not remove those ejector pin marks as I checked they would not be seen once the fuselage was assembled.
The main cockpit sub-assemblies were also painted using the airbrush for the base coats (H364) followed by hand brush painting using a mixture of Vallejo and Citadel acrylic paints. A fine wash of Oilbrusher Starship Filth and then a light drybrush of OilBrusher Medium Grey meant the cockpit was ready for final assembly.
The Brassin Tempest Cockpit really is a beautiful model in its own right. It almost seems a shame to hide it away in the confines of the fuselage so I figured I had best take a few photos before then so I can always appreciate the work that Eduard (and I) put into it.
A final test fit with the lower wing in place gave me green lights across the board. With the cockpit complete it's now time to move onto the intake so I can work towards buttoning up the fuselage.
One of the distinctive features of the Mk.V Tempest is the large chin housing the radiator. This need to be assembled and fitted into the front fuselage, just ahead of the cockpit. The radiator is quite visible from both the front and rear perspectives so its well worth the effort of painting and weathering this properly.
Barracuda Studios have released a correction set (BR48401) designed to directly replace the front face (E43) of the kit intake. The set contains a new radiator front casting with the concentric ring type intake shroud that is missing from the new Eduard Tempest V kit. Tempests not fitted with dust filters would always be fitted with the shrouding to prevent hot radiator air from entering the carburetor intake. An alternate dust filter with "cuckoo clock" style doors is also included. These filters were fitted to Tempests operating from unimproved forward airfields on the European mainland. The master patterns have been done by Roy Sutherland himself so you know the quality is assured.
A side by side comparison of the Barracuda and kit parts show the extra detail provided with the interior of the ring intake shroud. The Barracuda part is designed to be a direct drop-in replacement so assembly is very easy.
The intake module sits snugly in the chin. The creamy resin of the Barracuda resin parts is obvious here and I glued it in place using two-part epoxy glue as this gives more working time to get alignment right compared to super (CA) glue
From my research it seems the intake housing and radiator grill was left unpainted so I used Alclad ALC-101 Aluminium with a light wash of MiG Blue Black PLW. The rear housing was painted the interior grey green colour which I'm not 100% sure is accurate but in the absence of any evidence seemed like a credible solution.
The Brassin cockpit and intake radiator sub-assemblies were now glued in place prior to closing up the fuselage.
Before you join the fuselage halves don't forget the tail wheel housing as well (I almost did in my haste). The kit fuselage halves have alignment pins provided which make for a clean fit when bought together.
Whilst holding the two fuselage halves together with my fingers I sparingly applied Tamiya Extra Thin liquid cement. Shown here is the newer "Quick Dry" variant which has a bright green lid. I find myself often using this newer type (compared to the "classic" Extra Thin cement) as it is way less aggressive and therefore more forgiving when applied along a seam from the outside like here. The only part of the assembly that needed "help" as the glue dried was the lower part of the chin. For this I have some cheap spring clamps on hand. Because the surface detail on this kit is very fine I needed to be extra careful when working on the seam. Strips of tape were used to protect the surface either side of the seam work. Here I have applied a thin layer of Tamiya Basic Putty which was subsequently sanded off with 600 grade wet n dry. The tape is damaged in this process but that is the point, better the tape being sacrificed than the model surface.
The top of the engine cowling is covered in exquisite surface rivet detail and some of this needed to be replaced where I had damaged it across the join seam. For this I used the 0.75mm wheel from the RB Productions Rivet-R MINI set. To ensure a straight line I like to lay down a thin strip of masking tape against which to run the wheel along.
The same 0.75mm wheel was used on the lower fuselage chin to replace all the rivet detail (which had all been sanded away). For the rivet runs along the kit panel lines I did these freehand using the panel line as a visual guide. A tip is to lay down a coat of primer before doing your rivet work as it makes the rivets much easier to see as you apply them.
With the bulk of the fuselage work now complete I turned my attention to the wings. First cab off the rank was the main wheel wells. All the parts interlock reassuringly into the alignment slots on the wing upper surface parts.
I dry assembled all the main sidewall parts in place and then applied a few drops of liquid glue to lock things in place. For painting I once again applied a coat of black primer followed by a couple of different shades (lighter and darker) of the BS283 RAF interior gray green colour
A series of light oil washes were applied (MiG Oilbrusher Starship Filth followed by Dark Mud) to the wheel wells to highlight all that nice raised detail and to give them a used appearance.
The optional Eduard Big SIN (64856) set includes the Tempest Mk.V Landing Flaps (48977) in brass photo-etch. Where practical I like to show control surfaces (things like flaps, elevators and rudders) in a dropped or relaxed pose as I think this gives the model a more realistic "look" about it.
The Hawker Typhoon/Tempest used a "split flap" system whereby only the lower portion of the wing moved when the landing flap was needed. This Tempest under restoration shows how the flap works and also gives us a good idea of the detail within.
The first step in installing the PE flap set requires some surgery. The lower portion of the kits wing trailing edge needs to be removed. For jobs like this I find the use of a PE razor saw is ideal. These are available from many manufacturers and the ones I use often are from Airwaves.
The top wing parts also need some attention as Eduard have molded some of the lower wing onto the top wing (presumably to give a clean and sharp trailing edge. As we want to replace all this with photo-etch that small strip at the very rear (marked in red on the photo) also need to cut away. For this I use a combination of sharp blade to scrape and 360 grade wet n dry to sand smooth.
With the grunt work complete we can now bend up the first of the PE parts (the flap interior) and mate it onto the opening at the rear of the wing. To aid with the alignment of the PE to the kit plastic I added some "shims" of varying thickness onto which the PE would sit. This will make life much easier during the next step while applying glue.
The mostly complete flap interior is now dry fitted to check for gaps and any alignment problems. You can see how those plastic shims help to keep the PE in the perfect alignment with the rear of the wing. Once I'm happy I'll use two part epoxy glue to secure the PE in place.
The joint between the rear fuselage and tail unit of the Tempest Series 1 (and late Typhoon) was reinforced, by riveting over with fish plates thus rendering the tail unit nondetachable. Eduard provide these reinforcing fish plates as individual PE parts (groan). By comparison, the older Hasegawa Typhoon kit has the plates molded into the plastic. I personally find gluing and positioning PE parts very fiddly when using CA glue (due to the extremely short working time) so getting each of these plates properly lined up around the fuselage was tiresome. In the end I settled for 'near enough is good enough' and hoped no-one would look too closely (and then I go and take an extreme close-up photo anyway and post it on the internet).
The fit of the wings to the fuselage is actually very good with only a small gap evident on the upper wing roots. To close that gap while the glue dried I used some tape from the wingtips to coax them upwards. There was not enough pressure applied to in any way affect the dihedral of the wing.
Once I fitted the wing to the fuselage I found a reasonably significant gap (about 15 thou) that needed closing with some plasticard. I'm assuming it was because I had to do some surgery on the wings and fuselage to accommodate the dropped flaps as I've not heard of anyone else having this sort of mismatch. In any event, it was an easy fix.
I also found that some 10 thou shims were needed around the fuselage ends of the flap cutout, again most likely caused by my less than precise trimming. Doing some minor shimming work now saves a whole lot grief later with putty and sanding once the PE gets installed.
Once all my test fitting and adjusting was done I committed the PE parts to the model using Epoxy glue. I needed something that would bond with the brass and plastic while giving me ample drying time to make adjustments to alignment as needed. The two part epoxy glue is ideal as you get upto 5 minute working time and when dry it is very strong (even more so than CA). The only downside of this glue is that it sticks like tar, to anything and everything. I therefore used some strips of tape to protect the wing surface from any stray drops or smears (as happens regularly with my clumsy fingers).
Whilst the flaps themselves may look complicated they actually took way less time and mucking around than the flap wells, probably because no surgery was needed. Eduard are masters at designing complex PE and if you follow their folding instructions things literally drop into place. The hinge is 1mm Evergreen rod, which seemed to fit the PE hinge mounts well.
At each step I was impressed with the engineering of this kit. The fit of the cockpit sills was perfect with no gaps or misalignment evident. I fitted the STEEL belts at this point as well. Theses belts are packaged together with the LooK instrument panel and are pre-painted. I applied a light oil wash to give them some wear.
By the time I began work on my Tempest, Roy from Barracuda Studios had already released a collection of useful detailing and correction sets for the Eduard kit. In many cases aftermarket sets can be considered optional however for this Tempest kit I would almost say that at the very least the corrected spinner should be mandatory on your shopping list. This set contains a new detailed de Havilland 4 blade spinner with smaller & accurately shaped blade openings to replace the kit spinner in the Series I and Series II kits.
Barracuda have also released weighted wheels for the Series 1 (and 2) kits. The kit wheels are quite nice but as usual the resin items give you that extra detail. This set consists of a pair of super detailed, accurate mainwheels as fitted to Series 1 Tempest Mk. Vs. The wheels feature subtle tire beading, logo and size data, as well as accurate front and rear hubs. Designed as a direct replacement for the kit wheels, this is a fast and easy upgrade.
The last item in the kits plastic that benefits greatly from the resin treatment is the exhaust stubs. Barracuda do make resin parts here as well but I already had the Eduard Big-Sin set which includes a Brassin exhaust. The resin parts are properly hollowed out exhaust stacks with mounting flanges & weld beads. A simple and very visible upgrade.
With the airframe construction complete, I moved quickly (following masking) into the painting stage. For this model I tested out a new black primer that I had not used before, but heard of others having good results on the net. Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 (Black) was thinned with Mr Color Leveling thinners and then laid down using my Iwata Revolution. The result was an extremely thin and excellently smooth finish. Looking to continue my recent experimentation with deepening my paint finishes I applied some random colours (tan and blue) over the black to see what that might do to the upcoming color coat.
For the primary colors I once again turned to my current favorite MRP Acrylic Lacquers starting off with MRP-112 MEDIUM SEA GREY. I applied the paint in very light coats, working to build up the color depth without overpowering the primer coat entirely. You can clearly see the effect of the spots where I used a different base color. The trick I found here is to not let it overpower so much as to be distracting.
The end result, which I now think could have been a bit bolder with the variation (something for next time I guess). I also sparingly used my Artool FX Mini mask to apply some darker and lighter patchy areas. More on this shortly as I used to much better effect on the upper colors.
As the upper colors on the Tempest scheme are darker when compared to the underside, I decided to try something lighter than the black primer. After some testing on my paint mule I settled on a sandy tone as I found it gave a pleasing result under both the Dark Green and Ocean Gray. For the demarcation lines I masked with rolled Blu Tack.
First up was the MRP-110 DARK GREEN, not too heavy as I wanted at least some of the warmer sand tone to seep through. I felt the single color was a bit lifeless and needed some color variation.
I wondered what randomly applying some darker and lighter colors over the base green would look like. Out came the Artool FX Mini mask and in short order some "mottling" had been applied. At this point I was shaking my head (probably much like you are right now) thinking "nope that's crap, way overdone". What it needed was toning down, not completely but by say 70% (yes I was making it up as I went)
I loaded up the brush with the original "primary" color once more and began covering the mottling. As I built up a few light layers the result starting to look more appealing and far less cartoonish. Perhaps this method could work after all. Would this work with the Ocean Gray as well ?
For hard edge demarcation masking I like to use Blu Tack for the edges with Tamiya tape to back fill. It's time consuming but I am able to achieve a result I am happy with consistently, certainly compared to other techniques I have tried.
The first coat of MRP-115 OCEAN GREY was applied lightly so that some of the sand primer could be seen. MRP paints spray so smoothly and thinly I could easily apply 2-3 coats of paint without any fear of the surface detail being affected (just as well).
Next up I applied a darker gray (randomly chosen from my drawer) with the Artool FX Mini texture mask. I started using the mask laying directly on the model surface but realised this caused edges that were too hard and so I lifted the mask to about 1cm above the model. This resulted in a much softer edge, closer to what I wanted.
Next I selected a lighter gray, which just happened to be the underside color (perhaps a mistake) and used the Artool FX Minimask to mottle the Ocean Gray again. This also helped to tone down the dark gray considerably.
Last step was to circle back to the original color (Ocean Grey) and "mist" this over the previous layers to tie them all together, but not so much as to undo the mottling entirely.
With the masking removed I realised that the effect was quite heavy (especially under my camera flash lighting which seem to accentuate the effect greatly). Knowing that much of the wing would be next covered with invasion stripes and roundels etc I decided to leave it as is and see what happened. One thing I was happy with was that the colors were definitely no longer monotone or lifeless.
The scheme I had selected was adorned with invasion stripes, which naturally covered the undercarriage doors and landing flaps. I carefully fitted the flaps and doors back into place on the model before masking and spraying the white (MRP-135 INSIGNIA WHITE)
The scale width of the 18" stripes were measured out and masked onto the wings. Of course (Murphy's law) the edge of one stripe went directly across the cannon bulge and so some additional masking work was need to get the curve masked properly. The Hispano Mk. II cannons used on the Series 1 Tempest had long barrels resulting in the need for fairings protruding from the wing leading edge. These were not painted in the invasion stripe colors so also needed to be carefully masked off.
For reference the black I used for the stripes was Tamiya XF-85 Rubber Black. I've been regularly asked if its accurate to have such nicely masked invasion stripes because "they were all applied by hand". Well from my research there are just as many photos of aircraft with clearly masked and painted stripes as there are of one with rough stripes. Like most things in life, one size does not fit all, so check your references if it concerns you greatly
With the main painting complete my thoughts turned to decals. I was impressed that so far the very delicate surface rivet detail had held up nicely under the paint coats. I was equally concerned however that even with thin Cartograph decals that the very same detail would be obscured. So it was that my thoughts turned to other ways of getting the markings applied.
I have owned a Silhouette Portrait mask cutter for some time and always find a reason to avoid using it as 'decals are easier'. Again in this case decals would have been faster/easier but almost certainly not give me the result I desired. With that in mind, out came the cutter and software and in relatively short order I had a set of roundel, fin flash and code masks. If you are looking for tips on making your own masks I can highly recommend the Cutting Edge Modelers group on Facebook
Some of the masks I cut were on vinyl and some on washi (kabuki) tape. I found the vinyl worked well on flat surfaces, like the wings but would not sit down properly over small raised details like the rivets on the Tempest rear fuselage. For this this paper (washi) tape worked much better
I mixed all the roundel colors myself from Tamiya acrylics (using mix ratios found on the net). There is no doubt its a lot more work than applying a decal, but once you see the finished result it's most certainly worth it.
One of the essential tools you will need for masking is 'Transfer Tape'. This clear tape comes in rolls and is designed to help you move your mask (with all the elements in place) from the backing paper to the model surface. Most letters and numbers (like this R) have cutouts in the center of the letter and without transfer tape you would have difficulty keeping the spacing alignment. I used Cricut Vinyl Transfer Tape which is readily available from Amazon or Ebay.
Using the transfer tape position the mask on the model surface and then burnish it down (I used a pointed cotton bud). Peel away the transfer tape and check the mask is correctly positioned and aligned.
To deal with overspray, mask around the lettering using plain old Tamiya tape. MRP-118 SKY was applied (same color as the tails identification band) whilst keeping the airbrush perpendicular (90 degrees) to the mask to minimise the chance of paint leaking under.
When dry, remove the mask and smile at your wonderfully accurate painted on markings :)
Of course in reality you can't avoid decals entirely as small markings like stenciling is beyond the reach of masking cutters. I applied a coat of Tamiya X-22 Gloss Clear thinned with Mr Color Leveling thinners to both prepare for decaling and protect the paint from later weathering/panel wash steps.
I have now settled on using the incredibly handy MiG Ammo Panel Line washes as I find the convenience (and consistency) of the product to be worth the cost. I used two shades of wash on the Tempest. For the invasion stripes I used a lighter wash MiG-1601 Medium Grey whilst on the remainder of the airframe I selected a darker grey wash MiG-1602 Deep Grey. Leave the wash for an hour to set and then lightly wipe off with a dry paper towel (or tissue). I have found that you should not need to use thinners to remove the wash unless you leave it to set for over 24 hrs.
I next applied some oil washes to the flap interiors and wheel wells. Using a micro mesh pad I also lightly distressed the white on the stripes to simulate wear and tear. I was quite pleasantly surprised how much of the panel line wash stayed in the rivet detail.
With the main weathering complete the fiddly bits are attached and a matt coat applied. Here are a selection of photos of the finished model.
Let me get straight to it. This is a fantastic kit from Eduard, no two ways about it. Built straight from the box you really can't end up with anything but an excellent model. When you combine it with any of the extensive Brassin and third party accessories already available you have, what will be for a long time, the ultimate Tempest in any scale.
Not only is it an accurate kit, perhaps even more importantly, it is an enjoyable kit to build. At no point did I find the kit fighting me, instead all the parts are cleverly engineered to "just work".
I don't use such a comparison lightly, but this kit is closing in on Tamiya. I can't wait for their P-51 !! I'll also be curious to see if Eduard extends the molds into a Mk.II Tempest with the radial engine. I think that would be a welcome addition to their range.
Many thanks to Eduard for the kit and Barracuda for the upgrades and correction sets.