The Hawker Tempest was a distinguished member of that exclusive club of fighters developed during WW2 that saw service in both inline- and radial-powered versions. While the Tempest Mk.II numerically preceded the better known Mk.V, its development suffered a number of delays and it only reached RAF squadrons too late to join the conflict, although it did see action post-war. Without the bulky chin radiator of the Sabre-engined Mk.V, the close-cowled Bristol Centaurus radial made the Mk.II arguably the most streamlined and attractive of all the operational Tempests.
In Kit Form
Just as with its full-sized counterpart, Special Hobby have followed up their impressive Tempest Mk.V with the Mk.II. Initially available as a “Hi-Tech” kit, the new version arrives in a very stylish top-opening box that contains a formidable selection of resin and etched extras to accompany the standard styrene parts.
As you’d expect, the new version shares the same sprues as its predecessor, but adds new mouldings for the Centaurus nose along with 60lb rockets.
The kit comprises:
271 x grey styrene parts (plus 64 unused)
13 x clear styrene parts (plus 3 spare)
44 x grey resin parts
43 x etched metal parts plus a clear printed film
A set of die-cut fabric seat harnesses
A sheet of vinyl painting masks
Decals for 5 x colour schemes
I’ll make this very much a first look at the kit and concentrate on the new items – primarily because it shares so much in common with the Tempest Mk.V
and I’ve reviewed the resin upgrades separately HERE
– but also because I’m itching to get on and build it! So watch out for a fuller report once I get underway.
The Mk.II unsurprisingly maintains the high quality moulding seen in the Mk.V. There is minimal flash and the exterior finish comprises fine engraved panel lines and delicately embossed rivets on the metal areas, with a good rendition of the fabric surface on the rudder.
As before, a quick dry assembly of the main components is very encouraging, but this time the separate nose looks like it might need a bit more coaxing to fit because the profile seems slightly more convex than the corresponding area of the fuselage. Interestingly, though, it’s not always 100% flush in every photo of the full-sized aircraft (both vintage shots and restorations) and some aircraft show the cooling doors removed, so I’ll wait until I reach that stage in the actual build before drawing any firm conclusions on the way it’s been tackled in the kit.
A Few Details
The reason there are so many unused styrene parts in the kit is twofold; some are obviously redundant because they are only applicable to a Sabre-engined Tempest, but the main factor is that this Hi-Tech boxing comes complete with what would otherwise be “aftermarket” upgrades to replace many items.
Working through the instructions in sequence, you see evidence of this from the word go in the cockpit, with resin and photo-etch adding a mass of extra detail. The control column is completely replaced, as are the rudder pedals and heel boards, while the cockpit sides and consoles benefit from a new throttle unit and other equipment. There’s an excellent gyro-gunsight that’s a mix of a resin body, etched frame and film reflectors. The standout upgrade for many will be the seat, which is supplied as a one-piece resin casting ready for a superb fabric harness and etched buckles and catches.
The instrument panel is still supplied as styrene, and is very crisply moulded with decals for the instrument faces. The decals provide the dials as grouped items, so I’d recommend using a punch and die to separate them to apply individually for a better effect.
All told, the cockpit comprises over 60 parts, plus the harness – so the finished result should look superb.
The obvious change in the Mk.II is the new nose housing the Centaurus, and this tackled quite simply with a rather basic blank showing the first row of cylinders. If it’s carefully painted and highlighted it’ll do the job and suggest more going on behind, but it’s never going to set the world on fire and I won’t be surprised if a full resin engine is released at some stage in the future. There’s no detail included at the rear of the engine, so if you choose to open the cooling flaps you’ll need to do some extensive scratchbuilding to fill the empty void.
In a way I’d have preferred to see extra attention given to the engine than what comes next – an optional open cannon bay for the port wing. Fitting this involves a bit of surgery to remove the access panels in the wing top surface (note: a small addendum to the instructions points out a mistake: don’t
cut out a notch in the lower surface too), and the gun bay itself looks very impressive with 20 parts.
To accompany the radial engine, there are new intakes for the wing leading edges. These include internal baffles and radiator faces, and a test fit shows they should blend in neatly following a panel line.
The new resin wheels are excellent and offer a choice of plain or treaded tyres. The detail is much better than the styrene wheels, with crisper hubs plus maker’s lettering on the tyres. Both the resin and styrene wheels are weighted, which I welcome in helping give a sense of the bulk of the massive Tempest.
You get a choice of underwing stores in the kit. As with the Mk.V, there are drop tanks with their clear-moulded fairings, and this time the neatly rendered bombs are appropriate. What’s all new is a sprue full of parts for 60lb rockets and their launch rails. The detail is excellent, with really crisp moulding. The tail fins are separate, while the warheads are split in half to avoid any sink marks. All told, the four rockets and rails comprise no less that 82 parts, and the way the sprue is named suggests that Special Hobby may well offer it as a separate purchase
Instructions & DecalsThe construction guide is colour-printed as a slick 20-page glossy A4 booklet, with the assembly sequence broken down into 52 manageable stages. The sequence itself appears refreshingly logical – drawn for the convenience of the modeller rather than the graphic designer – and the diagrams are clear, with extra info-views in places. The colour chart of suggested paints is slightly oddly placed in the middle of the instructions, but this is a minor niggle. The colours themselves are matched to Gunze Sangyo and Alclad II ranges.
The kit includes decals for 5 aircraft offering an interesting variety of schemes:
A: Tempest MK.II s/n MW774, HF-X, 183 Sqn. RAF, Chilbolton, August 1945
B: Tempest MK.II s/n PR533, 5R-V, 33 Sqn. RAF, Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, 1949
C: Tempest MK.II s/n PR733, EG-X, 16 Sqn. RAF, Fassberg, West Germay
D: Tempest MK.II s/n A139, “T”, 14 Sqn. RPAF, 1948
E: Tempest MK.II s/n HA557, “0”, RIAF, 1950s
The decals are printed by Eduard and look to be excellent quality. Spread over four sheets, the items include a comprehensive selection of servicing stencils along with the national and individual a/c insignia. The colours of the national markings look good, with both dull and bright RAF insignia to reflect the change at the end of WW2.
ConclusionSpecial Hobby’s Tempest Mk.II looks another excellent model that will make an impressive stablemate for the earlier Mk.V. While it approaches mainstream moulding standards in many areas, this is still a kit best recommended for quite experienced modellers – not least because of the extensive mixed media accessories included in this boxing.
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