S04011 1/72nd Handley Page Hampden

Heather Kay

260 posts

I hadn’t intended on building any more kits right now, but when the urge comes it’s hard to resist. I’m stacking up a little pile of planes that need painting, but with the current low temperatures, it’s unlikely to happen for a while. Consequently, a “Flying Suitcase” arrived on the bench, in keeping with my 1940 Air War/Battle of Britain interests. 

 

Incidentally, I’ve spread my metaphorical wings with my ambitions there. I have decided to include the Phoney War and Battle of France in my collection, so a few Belgian, French and Dutch planes are on the horizon!

 

 

I recall building the Airfix Hampden in the late 1970s, when it was already ten years old. I loved the original box art, too. So much so, that as a budding teenaged artist I copied it in watercolours - now, sadly, long lost to time.

 

Ages ago, I acquired a Humbrol era re-issue of the kit. I kept the box in my stash, with the idea that one day I would build it with after-market detailing, perhaps going so far as to remove the raised details and scribe some panel lines. The faint hope a new tooling might emerge kept the box on the shelf, but with the prices of other kit makers’ versions being quite steep, there seemed little point in jumping ship. I am waiting for a better Fairey Battle to arrive, though. The old Airfix one commands high prices, for an allegedly compromised shape, so I’m content to wait for a new tooling to turn up. So, I dug the Hampden box out to survey the contents. After all, if it didn’t seem worth the effort, I could always eventually stump up for an alternative version.

 

Well, considering when I bought this kit the original moulds must have been all of 40 years old or more, it acquits itself well. There are obvious signs of age with the amount of flash around some parts, but overall it doesn’t look too bad. A hard light grey plastic was used for this moulding. Some sink holes will need filling, and some care with fitting parts will be required. I can see areas that might benefit from some careful upgrading and tweaking, too.

 

 

 

I had a scoot round on the internet to see how others have tackled the kit, and it seems evenly split between leaving the rivets well alone and sanding everything off completely. While prominent, the rivets are not exactly overpowering, but I felt the build might look better without them. Having a few reference books about, I dug into them and found a three-position line drawing with indications of the main panelling. I correlated that with the rivets, and carefully scribed lines into the plastic on the wings and fuselage. I then sanded all the rivet detail away. I still need to tackle the tailplane, but I was pleased with my efforts.

 

 

 

I believe I need to modify the shape of the wing tips, so I’m looking into that, but I’ve ordered a photo-etch detail kit (Airwaves) and a sheet of better transfers. The ones in the box are okay, but the printing leaves a fair bit to be desired.

 

 

So, this is where I am with my Hampden. I haven’t settled on a particular aircraft yet. That’ll wait for the transfer set to dictate to me, my only rider being it has to fit into my 1940 interest bubble. Like all my models, it’ll be planted on the deck, and I think I will model it with the bomb bay doors open and the full bomb load fitted. More to come, as they say!

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Paul Brown

771 posts


Community Moderator

I think this one would probably look good with some pounce wheel applied rivet detail, although I don't like to think how long it would take to achieve it. I've seen the Airfix Shackleton given the rivet treatment and it elevates an already very good kit up to another level. I've got the Airwaves PE set for the Airfix Hampden and it does give you quite a few bits to dress up the cockpit and forward nose area so you can busy up the area under the glazing. To be honest I'd probably think in terms of getting the AZ re-release of the Valom tooled kit, assuming the new transparencies are a better fit than the original Valom parts.

Paws4thot

1212 posts

Well, from Wikipedia "The Hampden used a flush-rivetted stressed skin design", which would suggest deleting the "Airfix Rivitter".

Beyond that we both built the kit in the same time period so I'll see you in "Memory Lane" then?

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

T2B

1052 posts

I don't know how you manage doing so many builds at once. I've just fallen into the trap of having 3 projects at once and I'm struggling. 

 

But I will follow your build closely as I also built this kit many years ago and love the Hampden. I also have a couple of Hampdens in my stash and was intending to get 1 onto the model table soon

 

Although a new tool would be most welcome I'll be interested to see what extra detailing you do, to see if I could manage something similar on mine?

T2B

1052 posts

@ Heather

 

You also mentioned you are waiting for a new tool Fairey Battle as the old Airfix kit has it's issues.

 

If your interested I did a recent built post of the Battle as my first effort at spraying and I tackled 1 or 2 of the issues, in particular I lengthened the nose as the kit 1 is too short due to Airfix being given the wrong plans. I used a Hornby release of the kit and with some TLC can be made into a decent kit?

Heather Kay

260 posts

@Paul Brown

I think this one would probably look good with some pounce wheel applied rivet detail ... To be honest I'd probably think in terms of getting the AZ re-release of the Valom tooled kit, assuming the new transparencies are a better fit than the original Valom parts.

I've seen the pounce wheel method used on a YouTube video. It looked quite effective, and was something I was pondering for this build - only I don't have the tool yet! 

 

The Valom kit would be an alternative if I don't make a good job of this kit. I'm happy to see what happens as I've already got this one (did it really first appear in 1968?!). I think I read there were some issues with the transparencies, though that seems to have been resolved. One for the "might do it one day" file.

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Heather Kay

260 posts

@T2B

You also mentioned you are waiting for a new tool Fairey Battle as the old Airfix kit has it's issues.

I did see your Battle build, and it was very impressive when you consider the age of the kit. I also built one back in the day, and I liked it. 

 

I currently have my eye on a future issue from Special Hobby, who are also promising a Lysander. I already have a couple of SH kits on the pending shelf, so should the Battle and Lizzie arrive one day they will be worth the wait.

 

Many builds on the go at once? It's a failing of mine. As you know, I build model railway kits as commissions, and I generally have two or three on the go at once. I spend about a month per build, thereabouts, to get things moving and my interest going. After that, I try and rotate the builds round my schedule to completion. It sometimes works out well. I'm happy to build a series of plane models at the moment because it's something completely different from the "day job", and I will be happy to get painting done on several models at once in due course.

 

This evening I sanded down and scribed the tail plane parts, and gave all the other components a good look over on their sprues. I spent a while gently tidying some of them up to remove flash and poor moulding part lines to save me some time later on. Nothing photogenic, so you'll have to wait for any photos!

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

T2B

1052 posts

@ Heather

 

I'll have a look at those Special Hobby kits as I've recently done a Lysander aswell. Apart from some new tools I seem to be doing all my old favourites from my youth lately?

 

But I need to get these 3 builds finished then I go back to concentrating on 1 build at a time. 

Heather Kay

260 posts

I found an hour or two to spare, so I decided to tackle the detailing set. 

 

 

It went a long way to reminding me why I don't really like photo-etched detail sets. The brass is literally paper thin, very easily deformed, and details that are supposed to be three-dimensional are very flat. Still, short of spending time with styrene strips and so on, which would need decent reference images and/or drawings, it's the best I'll manage. First up, the cockpit floor and seat. I managed to glue everything in, and didn't leave anything out, so that was good!

 

The odd blue colour is, I think, the acid resist material that's not been cleaned off the sheet. It does come away with a scratch brush and the edge of a scalpel, but with such tiny details which are immensely delicate, I decided to leave it well alone for most of the construction.

 

 

Starboard fuselage. Several things here. I had to carefully trim back moulded location blocks to clear the large detail part. Then I found the part didn't really match the fuselage shape. Obviously, it needs carefully rolling to conform to the upper shape, but the clear panel in the top needs cutting out, a strip at the front of the cockpit removing completely as it didn't match the side shape, and a thin strip along the top edge taking off to make it all fit. A good job, I suppose, the brass is so thin as I could cut it away with a sharp blade and nail scissors. Once the main sheet was attached, the smaller details could be glued in place.

 

 

Port side, and much the same story. Like many detail sets, an awful lot of this will be invisible in the end. I repurposed the navigator's seat at the front from the kit part. It's very delicately perched on an etched frame, and fell off a couple of times. Hopefully it'll stay in place while I paint the interior.

 

While there is a place for etched detailing sets, I am very pleased modern kits include so much extra detail at the outset. I think the Airwaves - and others, of course - detail sets add bits that would be hard to scratch build. A caveat to that is Airwaves sets were designed some years ago, before computer aided design was the norm. Hand-drawn artwork is always a little hit and miss. As such, parts don't always fit without modification. I set out fitting out the Hampden interior with the best intentions, but ended up making silly compromises because things were not fitting properly. I hope it'll look the part when it's painted and the fuselage halves are mated. I rather wish, though, that Hannants (who now own the Airwaves artworks) might choose to have them etched in slightly thicker material.

 

There's still a lot of PE parts to fit, covering the cockpit canopy and the other crew compartments. I'll try and get some primer about things and paint what I've done before I think about them.

A professional modeller of railway subjects, and a reborn Airfix fan. Definitely into combat aircraft in service on all sides in the summer of 1940, but known to occasionally veer off into other interesting things!

Ratch

2614 posts


Community Moderator

 I'm glad I;m not the only one who gets the jitters with PE Heather. I picked up a Bilek repop of this kit ten years ago and bought the Airwaves etch to go with it. Research initially delayed my start, then bad experiences put me off starting it, and it remains in my stash. Good luck with yours, I am following it.

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