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George R Blair Jr
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Hawker Typhoon FR Mk.1B

September 3, 2022 · in Aviation · · 20 · 1.1K

I like to find things that are just a little different to build, which led me to this 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 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.
Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

5 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. Great to see this interesting model in Headlines, George, and I thoroughly enjoyed following your WIP over in Groups. Any more classic kits like this in the pipeline?

    • Thanks, George (@chinesegeorge). I actually have several more in the queue. I just got a 1/48 Monogram C-47 at a very good price, and I have a Monogram F-5E that I want to do. When I was in pilot training in Arizona in the 70s, there was a detachment of F-5Es at the same base. I also have a single seat F-105 that keeps calling my name. I have a couple of other things that may come first while I gather the stuff I need to start on one of the Monograms. Looking forward to seeing more of your builds. I know you build a lot of cars and motorcycles, whose complexity I find scary, as well as the need to have a shiny finish. Cheers.

  2. Very nice result, @gblair. Doing one of the FR Typhoons is really interesting. And for certain, nobody ever wants to be "tail end Charlie."

    • Thanks, Tom (@tcinla). I seem to go down these rabbit holes in my quest for something a little different. Not a lot of info around on these. I am hunting down info now on a two-seat Hurricane that the Russians used. I once had the "tail-end Charlie" thought pass through my mind when I was flying the number 4 (of 4) C-141 doing a low-level route to an airdrop in Red Flag. In the electronic debrief at the end of the day, it turns out we were targeted several times by SAMs. Glad they weren't firing anything. The planners wanted to see if we were survivable in a high threat environment. Turns out we weren't survivable. Looking forward to your upcoming book on the B-25. I have it pre-ordered on Amazon.

  3. Nice work, George. I enjoyed watching this one take shape.

  4. Amazing job, George! You sure know how to pick up less common and extremely interesting subjects and come up with excellent results! The old Monogram Typhoon never looked better and your build thread was a joy to follow.
    Keep them coming!

  5. Very unusual Typhoon ! You did great work on this classic kit from yesteryear.

  6. Excellent result, George @gblair
    Indeed, like you I was not aware of the existance of a photo recon Typhoon.
    Your article is great to learn about it, thanks for getting into that.
    All the extra work you did on this build is superb.
    Well done.

  7. Thanks, John (@j-healy), Spiros (@fiveten), Jay (@ssgt), and John (@johnb). I appreciate your kind words. Some of these old kits still make nice models. Cheers.

  8. Nice work on this nice vintage Kit George. My stash is full of them !
    Never heard of the recce. typhoon but from what I heard about Typhoon rocket attacks on Armour in Normandy, the British needed something proving the near zero or pure luck accuracy of unguided Missiles.

  9. Well done George,, and you are more than welcome for the gift. I knew you would do her justice, an a Recce bird none the less! Who would of thunk it?

  10. That is unusual George and well done too! 😃 Thanks @gblair for posting something we don't often see! 👍

  11. Great job, George!

  12. Thanks, Bernard (@bernardbedeur), Tom (@tom-bebout), Gary (@garybrantley), and Gary (@gwskat). I am always looking for something a little different, so this fit right in. It was a fun build, and for an old History instructor, the research was also fun. Now I am gathering info on a 2-seat Hurricane. Down the rabbit hole again.

  13. great work!

  14. Nice build, George, and unusual one to boot.

  15. George, I love the old Monogram kits, and you did a great job on this Typhoon. Also great job on the cockpit and modifications.

  16. Thanks for the kind words, Bernard (@lis), Robert (@roofrat), and Bob (@v1pro). This was a fun build, even if it was one of the earlier ones from Monogram. Their later kits are a lot more detailed.

  17. A nice tumble with Alice down the rabbit hole, and up pops a unique project! Well done.

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