So, as the last shall be first, so the first shall be last. This is the last kit in Phase One of the 800 Squadron Project – with this kit I have one of every type of aircraft flown by 800NAS in its history, from 1935 to 2010. What I don’t yet have is every mark of each type – with wing folded examples too – but that is Phase Two and the culmination of the whole thing. Oh, plus the aircraft of 4020 and 404 Fleet Fighter Flights that were the direct antecedents from which 800NAS was formed. But I digress…
So, the Hawker Nimrod, in this case the Mark II. These already equipped 402 Flight when the amalgamation with 404 Flt spawned 800NAS. Very similar to the RAF’s Hawker Fury, but designed from scratch, the Nimrod was a very fine machine and very popular with its pilots. The Mark II differs from the Mark I by having a slightly larger main wing with a distinct yet small sweep and a more powerful version of the Kestrel engine.
The kit is made from polyurethane resin (PUR). I have used PUR in detailing items before, but this is my first whole kit. I can’t say it was an enjoyable experience as the process of working with PUR is a steep learning curve. ‘Normal’ kit glue (polystyrene cement) doesn’t work, so the best thing is superglue. But that, of course, has its own issues. Also, although the detail achievable with PUR is amazing, the two fuselage halves were poorly fitting and had a slight warp. I’m told you can correct stuff like this with hot air as PUR is a thermoplastic, but it’s not something I’ll try. I’ll live with a wonky tailplane. The interplanetary struts are also of a rather optimistic definition of ‘fitting’, in that they don’t naturally line up correctly.
The kit also is bewildering in its included stuff. Decals are fine, and the small slab of photo-etch detailing is excellent. Then there is a kind of transparent blob from which one is supposed to fashion the tiny windshield. It was done much better in the Miles Magister kit, and would have been cheaper to make I suspect.
Anyway, I didn’t take any production photos because I found the whole thing reasonably traumatic (in a very much First World sense). It didn’t help that, while painting the rigging lines, I dropped the bloody thing and had to completely reset the upper wing.
The paint is for an aircraft of HMS Courageous, with an adapted squadron badge on the fin and a painted blue stripe. The checker markings on the upper wing derive from the markings from 402 Flight as seen in a photo from Ray Sturtivant’s superb book “Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm“. I think 404 Flt used the blue diamonds seen on some Nimrods, so I’ll use those on the Nimrod I.
If I get over this, I will do more PUR kits as they are the only way to get some things, the Parnall plover, for example. But I’m not looking forward to it. Instead, I’ll probably go for the aforementioned Nimrod Mark I by converting the Hawker Fury. But in polystyrene…