Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

What's in the box and is it any good?

Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby ajmm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 23:05

I ordered these in the last week to celebrate sitting some exams (as a grown up, you get to materially reward yourself for these sort of things instead of taking a 3 month summer holiday). Again, there is so little information out there about these (despite the fact they were released in 2013-2014 the only contents photo is from the Model Stories website, and just of the T8) that I thought it might perhaps be interesting or useful to post a few photos here.

Overall, and I really mean this, these are some of the nicest kits in my stash. I had read they were good (several people have commented here they are nice) but they really are miniature masterpieces and quite obviously a labour of love for Whirlybirds. Pictures, 1000 words etc.

The box is small but solid…

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I wonder whether this was based on the Revell kit as the surface detail is virtually identical (down to the wiring in the u/c bays). :? The main fuselage halves. Very subtle and restrained panel lines, as per the Revell kit.

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Wings (obviously). Equally well done with very thin trailing edges and no warpage or moulding flaws. Like the Revell/Mark1 kit, the intakes do lack the intake trunking.

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You get two vacform canopies, which look crystal clear, and white metal undercarriage legs. You also get plenty of wing ordnance - 4x 100g tanks and 2x 350g tanks.

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You also get two choices of nose (for the T8C I guess) and the spine is provided as a separate part, which should mean minimal cleanup of seams hopefully. Cockpit has bulkheads and is marginally better than the Mark1 kit; the ejector seats are the same.

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You also get two photo-etch sheets. See the instructions images below to see how these fit in, but these effectively provide you with almost everything the Brengun etch set (costing €6) provides, including three (!) very nicely done ejector seat firing handles and the absent wing intake trunking/splitter plate referred to above.

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Assembly instructions are very detailed and useful, pointing out all sorts of pitfalls, quirks specific to individual aircraft and marks, and all with a wry good humour which I appreciate (note the multiple references to the Carpet Monster sacrificial offerings!).

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More instructions - note that this kit even provides you with a boarding ladder...

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For painting options you get 8 (!) for the T.8/T.8C boxing. Colour callouts are for Xtracolor markings and you can tell that Whirlybirds have done their research...

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For the T.7/T.53 boxing you get four options - two RAF and two Danish…

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In both instances the decals are superb - silk screened and entirely in register. The T8C has the slender white rings surrounding the roundels on some of the schemes and these are perfectly in register - a challenge that Mark1 dodged on its T8 boxing I recall. There are plenty of stencils and also the prominent warning notices that go on the 100g drop tanks (god I'm a 100gal drop tank bore these days :D ).

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I love how a) the dayglo is included as a decal and b) it is actually dayglo, dazzling my camera!

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Conclusion
You know how nice it is to be pleasantly surprised? Well I no reason to doubt these were lovely before ordering them but I was quite honestly not expecting anything like as lovely and refined a kit as this. I honestly can't flaw it out of the box (of course, it may have some terrible and evil vice that only emerges as you build it, but I somehow doubt that). The decals and colour schemes are fantastic. Any detail that might be lacking in the resin moulding is present in etch or white metal (splitter plates, ejector seat handles etc.). Extraordinary. You would have to buy the Brengun etch set to come anywhere near this quality with the Mark1 kit I've just finished, and even then the surface detail is much harder and more refined on this (and about the same as the Retrokit T.7 conversion, I think). When you think about it like that, this is actually relatively good value. Put it this way, I've paid 2/3 of the price I paid for this (£27) for a resin kit less than half as good and that required more than four times the effort to build that this will, I sense.

Anyway - I said it was probably a labour of love for Whirlybirds and I reckon the photos above bear this out. I have every faith that the Hunter T8M box is equally joyous and I am now very tempted by their Phantoms… To order, I just went on the Whirlybirds website - http://www.whirlybirdmodels.com - and downloaded their price list, then sent an email to sales@whirlybirdmodels.com.

One last plus point - I emailed my order through on Friday morning, received an invoice by midmorning Friday, and they were dispatched and arrived at my apartment by Saturday lunchtime. How's that for rapid service?

I hope that was of use or interest to some. Any questions, I will try to answer.
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby kingoalie » Sun Feb 25, 2018 0:33

Solid review! Thanks for sharing. Do you have any desire to part with the Danish decals?
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby ajmm » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:20

Thanks!

You’re very welcome to them. PM sent.
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby McYellowbelly » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:33

Great review of a great kit(have 2 stashed away!)
The phantoms are also lovely models, have the F4J(UK) for a future project.
They list FG1/FGR2 phantoms as future releases....fingers crossed!
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby ph-adk » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:42

It still baffles me whirlybird doest't show these kind of pictures theirselves. It is nothing to be ashamed of if you ask me.

Well, finally somebody did a good review! Happy building!

*and congratulations on the exams of course. It must have been quite the effort considering this beautiful present to yourself.
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby ajmm » Sun Feb 25, 2018 13:22

Thanks guys!

McY - when I ordered I asked Roger from Whirlybirds when they were planning to release the FAA Phantoms but he said 144th sales have been so disappointing that they have put all those on ice for now. It’s a shame but I did suggest that they could possibly do more to promote what are really quite lovely kits... I think they have much more of an established name in 1:72 and it’s a different market for us.

Lex - thanks! The exam was dead simple actually. More of a test than a fully fledged exam. Really just a pretext...! I have been mulling these for several years though...
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby bluedonkey99 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 15:36

Its been said before, but their marketing is shockingly poor

I think I even tried talking to them at IPMS in Telford years back and they where very distant and haughty....

I get that having the same type of conversation with a thousand punters may become tiring - but hey, your their to promote your company and sales of your products, right?
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Re: Whirlybird Hawker Hunter T7/T53 and T8C

Postby erix700 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 18:21

ajmm,

Thanks for the elaborate review.
One word of caution though: it looks like the Whirlybird fuselage comes with a big-bore (Avon 200 series) tail which is okay for a T.8 and for a few T.7, but most T.7 had the small bore (Avon 100 series) tail. You can see the shape of the small bore tail on the drawings for the paint schemes. Note that the chute housing for a small bore tail also has a slightly different shape compared to one for a big bore tail.
Incidentally the Mark 1 Hunter trainer version suffers from the same problem.

HTH,
-- Eric.

Edit: Oops [opens mouth, inserts foot] a T.8 also has a small bore tail, all FAA Hunters used Avon 100 series as the GA.11 were refurbished Mk.4's...
Anyway, I've drawn a bit of crummy line art to show the difference: black lines are big bore, red lines are small bore. Drawing is not to scale and I haven't checked the exact diameter of the small bore exhaust either (actually the difference should be a bit greater).
The entire small bore tail cone tapers a bit more, that's why the chute housing is also different.
For recognition: if the lower end of the tailpipe is straight it is big bore, if it is curved upwards it is small bore.
Now I'm off before becoming a big bore myself :)
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Hawker_Hunter_tail2.gif
Hunter tail contours big bore (black) vs small bore (red)
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