1/48 Academy Hunter FGA.9 "XG228, OCU 79 Sqn" plus Aeroclub correction set V152 and Xtradecals X48034.
The Hawker Hunter is most probably one of the most elegant post war British jet aircraft to have been built. Its sleek lines provide a superb subject for a modelling project and there are many variants that can be built in 1/72 and 1/32 scales. However, if you are looking for a hunter in 1/48, there is only one real option and that is the Academy kit whcih was avialable in both the F.6 and FGA.9 versions but sadly, only the F.6 is currently available.
The kit is moulded in grey plastic with fine recessed panel and rivet detail. The sprues are very well cast with hardly any flash to clean away. There are some slight inaccuracies with the kit for the eagle eyed, but even with these the kit will give a very nice model of the Hunter. Aeroclub has corrected the inaccuracies with the kit with their Hunter correction set V152. It corrects the following issues:
1.) Replaces the tail cone section with one of the correct length. (Both F6 and FGA9 replacements are in the set).
2.) Provides wheels cast in white metal of the correct diameter.
3.) Vacform canopy included replacing the kit canopy, which has the frame present around the rear of the sliding section.
4.) Provide a 1/48 Ejector seat as Academy cast a 1/72 seat!
5.) As a result of the seat being moulded in the incorrect scale, the cockpit tub is too shallow. The correction set replaces the cockpit tub with one of the correct depth.
The horizontal stabalisers are also set too far back (2mm) but this is easily fixed by either lengthening the attachment slots on the fuselage or by trimming 2mm from the pegs on the surfaces.
I chose not to use the rather nice Vacform canopy as I am not that confident with them, but to fix the kit canopy is really easy. I used the same method that should be used to polish out those annoying seams that you can get on other kits clear parts. In esscence, you sand down the rear framing with gradually finer grades of sanding sticks until smooth. The canopy is then dipped in Klear/Future to remove those fine scratches then VOILA!
The kit goes together very well with no real problems. I did find that if you leave the engine intake trunking loose when fitted to the main fuselage, this allows it to adjust when the wings are attached, thus eliminating any fit issues.
The kit was primed with Tamiya grey primer then painted using Xtracrylix Dark Sea Grey, Dark Green and Light aircraft grey.
The kit stencils were used as none are provided on the Xtradecal sheet apart for the basic “RESCUE” arrows and ejection seat warning triangles. The decals were in perfect register and very opaque and sat perfectly with no silvering using Klear as the setting agent.
I chose to build my kit as XG228 the RAFs last serving Hunter. XG228 was initially delivered to 92 Sqn in 1956 based at RAFG Geilenkirchen as an F6 variant. In 1965 XG228 was subsequently converted to the upgraded FGA.9 variant and was then sent to 1 Squadron at RAF West Raynham. Following use with 1 sqn XG228 was then transferred to RAF Chivenor and to 79Sqn to form part of the OCU in 1972. It is this period that I chose to model my kit. Decals come from the excellent Xtradecal set X48034 which provides markings for part of XG228’s history. XG228 stayed with 79 squadron with its move to RAF Brawdy to form 1 TWU and was eventually retired in 1984.
The kit, despite its minor flaws, is very well detailed and provides an excellent representation of the Hunter. With many choices of variants and decal options there is no reason not to have your own mini squadron of them! If 1/48 is your scale there is no real alternative, but don’t let the ‘issues’ put you off, they are all pretty minor and the aftermarket boys have figured it all out for you.