Hawker Typhoon FR Mk.1B
I like to find things that are just a little different to build, which led me to this Typhoon tactical reconnaissance aircraft. These builds often send me down a rabbit hole chasing information on obscure aircraft, and so it was with this one. This build started with a kind gift from Tom Bebout (@tom-bebout). I have said many times in iModeler that I really like building old Monogram and Revell kits, and that they will still yield a nice model with a little tender loving care. So, last November Tom sent me the venerable Monogram Typhoon (thanks Tom), still stamped with a copyright date of 1969. In December, we moved out of our home of 30 years to a new home near our kids and our new granddaughter. So, six months after the unexpected gift I finally built this kit.
Here is a little background:
If you are like me, I had no idea there was a photo reconnaissance version of the Typhoon. In the early 1940s, RAF tactical reconnaissance was accomplished by planes such as the Mustang F-6 and the Spitfire PR. They wanted a plane that could fly in the same formation as the Typhoon strike aircraft and provide photo reconnaissance of the strikes as they happened. Several Typhoons were modified to carry cameras and were called Typhoon PRs. These led to FR version. The FR aircraft were converted from existing Typhoons and carried 4 cameras. The inboard port cannon was removed, and three cameras were located in the same bay formerly used by the port cannon. The starboard cannon was removed to keep the aircraft balanced. Part of the inboard starboard cannon pylon was retained and fitted with a high speed movie camera used to film the strikes as they happened. In a typical mission, the PR aircraft would follow the strike aircraft into the target as the last airplane in the attack. As you might guess, this mission was not popular among the pilots. The way it would usually work is the first Typhoons in the strike would wake up the flak gunners, and the last airplane in the strike (the PR aircraft) would get slammed. Only 60 aircraft were ever converted. It turned out that the Typhoon vibrated too much to get clear pictures, so all of the PR aircraft were reconverted back to standard configuration. I might add that it is very difficult to find information on these planes, probably because there weren't many of these planes and they were unsuccessful in their primary mission.
This was a fun build. I scraped off the internal detail, and added half round strips to recreate the internal structure.
I found a tremendously old True Details photoetch set for this kit in my stash, along with a resin seat. I suspect this photoetch set was from the first generation of photoetch. The thick brass made it difficult to fold. The instruments were formed in a brass plate, and the instrument panel was then glued over the instruments. I had my doubts, but the instrument panel went well. I drilled out the locations of the cameras in the port wing and filled them with white glue. I also removed the molded-on kit gunsight and scratchbuilt a new one.
I had a lot of fun with this build. Now it is time to start looking for the next rabbit hole to run down. Cheers.