When 800 NAS was formed from the amalgamation of Nos.402 and 404 Fleet Fighter Flights, the squadron was equipped with two Hawker biplanes, the Nimrod and the Osprey. I have previously made a resin kit of the Nimrod II and a polystyrene kit of the Osprey I. My sense of completeness demands a Nimrod I and an Osprey III and/or IV.
Problem is that there are no kits of the Nimrod I available. There was one made by Czech Master resin, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. However, a common way round this is to convert a Hawker Fury. How difficult could that be?
So, to start off are a couple of Hawker Fury kits as donor models. Fortunately these are inexpensive and easy to find. There are several changes needed, but none was too troublesome (or so I thought).
The Fury kit is reasonably simple – three sprue and a tiny windshield transparency. The first step is extending the wings. The wings on the Nimrod I were straight (the Nimrod II had a slight sweep) and four ribs longer than those of the Fury but with the same chord.
So all you have to do is cut one wing to either side of the cabane strut marking, cut the other wing two ribs wider than that on each side, then square them off and glue them up. To help out, the two kits had been moulded from slightly different colour plastic – very thoughtful!
This has to be done for both top and bottom wings. Luckily, this means the outer struts will still line up with the holes for them in the wings.
So, we then build up the fuselage as per the kit. We have to add some extras. First of all is a headrest being the cockpit for when the pilot was shot off the deck by the ‘accelerator’ (catapult). We also need to extend the exhausts, make an oil cooler for under the engine and, of course, an arrester hook.
The headrest can be cut from the underwing gun pod supplied. The other of these can be used for the basis of the oil cooler, which is built up with tiny bits of plastic and acrylic. The exhaust is simply a bit of 1mm plastic round rod cut to length.
To decorate the upper surface of the main wing, I am using the blue diamond pattern. I marked this out on a wide piece of masking tape then cut out the diamonds. Worked very well, I think!
As always, it is best to lay down some white first, then the colour on top. Then the blue is laid down to complete the diamonds.
The fuselage was painted a mix of cerrux grey for the metal panels and aluminium for the doped fabric on the rear fuselage and wings.
Wings are a bit of a pain to set as there are no pins or recesses to help. I then set the struts to roughly the right angles, then when the glue has almost set I put the main wing in place, holding the wings apart at the right distance.
We then had to make the undercarriage from some spare bits of the Osprey IV kit, as the Fury came with the later single-piece undercarriage legs. They were lower drag than the original triangular legs, but not as sturdy for deck landings.
Finally, the rigging is put in along with some radio wires, plus a bit of dirt and oil and there we go, a not too shabby Hawker Nimrod I. Oh, and some Micro Sol applied to the port upper roundel to make it conform to the curve of the wing.
So, an Osprey IV is next then back to the heavy metal with a Buccaneer.