Modeling Notes for the Eduard Hawker Tempest V converted to a Hawker Tempest VI
by Jeremy Petersen
This is a kit review of the Eduard WWII Hawker Tempest V converted to a post war Hawker Tempest VI. Summarized, the Hawker Tempest VI was a faster, more powerful, and harder-hitting post-WWII variant of the RAF Tempest F. Mk.V air supremacy fighter.
What possessed me to build this project were four things. First, the colorful Tempest VI decals from Aeromaster. Second, my admiration for the power, style and ingenuity of British military aircraft. Third, the historical tie-in this Tempest variant had in Iraq 60 years ago to this day (1947-1949). And fourth, the dead nuts photo of the exact aircraft I am modeling in a book I own. This photo is from the book: Hawker Typhoon, Tempest & Sea Fury by Kev Darling Crowood Aviation Series. With all of this going on, how could I not build an Iraqi-based RAF Tempest VI?
Hawker Storm Birds
The precursor to the Tempest was the Typhoon. Among some students of WWII history there is the misconception that the Tempest was just a beefed up Typhoon with a broader tail. This misunderstanding is due to the visual similarity of these two aircraft, but completely false. This stereotype has progressed through time from the misunder-standing of a problem regarding the Typhoon's tail section. This problem was the tendency for the Typhoon's tail to disintegrate in flight due to compressibility and flutter at the elevators. This was extremely disastrous and fatal for any pilot that experienced it. These incidents were in actuality, extremely rare. They were, however, an ever-present anxiety for Typhoon pilots who flew ground attack missions in the British 2nd Tactical Airforce during WWII. At low altitude a structural failure resulting in the destruction of an aircraft airframe is generally 100% fatal. This problem was eventually solved by the addition of reinforcing brackets on the tail section and specific changes made during the manufacturing process. The structural problems with the Typhoon led Hawker Aviation to design the Tempest.
The Tempest had a broader tail compared to the Typhoon and possessed an advanced wing design that was five inches thinner at the root. This structural change resulted in a boost in all-around speed and performance. The wing was an advanced elliptical planform that was a breakthrough similar to the wing of the Supermarine Spitfire, but with blunt tips. It possessed a longer fuselage with larger fuselage fuel tanks than the Typhoon, and this change created a stability problem that was solved by the characteristic broad "Tempest tail" that all Tempest variants possessed. The main armament of the Tempest was its four internal 20mm wing cannons. These 20mm cannons were almost completely recessed inside the leading edge of the wing in the late WWII Tempest V and all subsequent variants. For comparison, the Typhoon had its four 20mm cannons completely extended from the leading edge of the wings throughout its service history. Another trademark of the Tempest V and the Tempest VI was the retainment of the bulky chin scoop radiator directly under the engine. Hawker Aviation technicians perceived that the greater power of the Tempest's Napier Sabre powerplant would overcome the drag from this bulky chin radiator.
Tempest in Combat
The Tempest V was an extremely effective air supremacy fighter, and many Luftwaffe jet pilots clearly stated it was the only Allied aircraft they feared in equal air-to-air combat. Surprisingly, more American P-51D Mustangs achieved jet kills over the Luftwaffe jets than RAF Tempests. These victories were achieved by the more numerous American P-51 Mustangs pilots diving on the Luftwaffe jet aircraft from high altitude, or attacking the German jets during their vulnerable take offs and landings.
Comparatively, while the Tempest had fewer jet kills, it was however, the fastest low-level allied piston-engine aircraft of all WWII. Although the Me-262 had a higher TOP speed, the Tempest's sheer, brute acceleration potential at low altitude enabled it to overtake a cruising Me-262 in straight level flight. Thus, the British pilot had a few seconds of uninterrupted cannon fire in a straight and level pursuit. This was a feat that no other Allied aircraft could match. Naturally, the Me-262 would eventually pull away, but the Tempest's brute acceleration power made it a formidable enemy for any Luftwaffe jet aircraft. When the Tempest was compared to mainstay aircraft of the Luftwaffe fighter corps there was no comparison. The Tempest had greater speed, superior acceleration, better maneuverability, and longer range than both the Me-109G-6 and the Fw-190D-9. The Tempest possessed better firepower with its four rapid firing Hispano Mk V cannons, and it carried more rounds per gun with a better tracking stability. This particular attribute made the Tempest a superior gun platform during ground attack missions as well as in air/air combat. Additionally, the armor protection on vital components was better, and the cockpit instrumentation was superior too. Lastly, the instrument panel layout when compared to these two Luftwaffe fighters gave the Tempest pilot an edge in poor weather navigation during radio silence missions as well. This brief attribute list makes the case for the Tempest when compared to these two mainstay aircraft of the Luftwaffe fighter corps.
The Malignant Robots
The Tempest V was the highest-scoring Allied aircraft type over yet another German jet powered weapon-the V-1 cruise missile. V-1's, also known as buzz bombs or doodlebugs to the British public, flew at high speeds at low altitudes where aerodynamic conditions prevented most aircraft from obtaining their maximum speed, but not the Tempest! The power of the Tempest's Napier Sabre 2,200+ hp engine allowed it to overtake a cruising V-1 like a speeding freight train and enable its pilot to blow the malignant robot out of the sky with its four internal 20mm cannons. If the cannons jammed, the RAF pilot could fly his aircraft under one of the V-1's wings and let aerodynamic pressure flip the flying drone into the ground. Over 600 V-1's were destroyed by Tempests during WWII. This feat becomes more fascinating when it is known that only a fraction of all available Tempests were deployed in defense of the Home Islands compared to other frontline British aircraft. No less than 30 and no greater than 114 Tempests were used by the ADGB Command (Air Defense of Great Britain) at any one time against the V-1 menace. Some other notable high speed RAF aircraft used against the V-1 were the British twin-engine jet fighter Gloster Meteor, the renowned DeHaviland Mosquito day and night fighter, and the superlative Supermarine Spitfire.
The V-1 and V-2 menace the U.K. faced can be related to America's current terrorism crisis. Hitler's "V" weapons were the first examples of "terror weapons" used on a mass scale to kill an enemy civilian population. Neither the V-1 nor the V-2 could be aimed at any specific target, and the primary purpose of these two weapons was to destroy in any way possible and spread terror. Fortunately, the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest helped defeat these powerful threats from the German Luftwaffe. The Typhoon was used in ground attack missions against V-1 launching sites and the Tempest was used in air interdiction missions against airborne V-1's. Both of these aircraft contributed to the inevitable Allied victory steamroller in 15 months from D-Day to V-E Day.
Available 1/48 Tempest Kits
There are only three 1/48th scale kit manufacturers of any type of Tempest variant. The first company, Eduard, offers two injection molded WWII Tempest F.Mk. V kits. One of these Tempest kits is a multi-media hi-tech offering that has both photo-etched and resin detail parts. The other Eduard kit is a standard styrene plastic kit with no "hi-tech" parts. The main difference between these two kits is actually in the decals. Eduard has also released an expanded aftermarket photo-etch set for their Tempest kits that is actually more detail-inclusive than their hi-tech kit.
The outdated 1960's era AMT Tempest F.Mk. V is the second 1/48th Tempest manufacturer. This kit was first molded in the 1960's, and I don't know who currently owns the molds for this model. This kit is sub-par on every level and was reissued in the mid 1990's but with better decals (these decals are very good and on par with Aeromaster). Unfortunately the re-release had the same parts as the original 1960 offering.
Last, there are two expensive resin 1/48th Tempest kits from a small American cottage industry company, PEND Oreille Model Kits. These Tempest kits are the post-war radial engine F.Mk. II, and the WWII-era F.Mk. V. PEND Oreille Model Kits is located in Beaverton, OR, USA. I have included a photo of the first page of the instructions from the PENDO Tempest F.Mk. II resin kit (photo 9). It appears that PENDO has a European influence to their company. Some of the Tempest performance statistics in their kit instructions are metric. The original design and performance stats regarding this aircraft were in English Standard measurements. With regards to the Metric system, I have no clue how fast 708kph is without a conversion graph, nor do I know how long a meter is without a conversion table. Remember PENDO is located in Beaverton, OR, USA, not Europe, Asia, or wherever you like. Quality-wise, if you buy a PENDO kit you could just as easily take a $50.00 bill and light up a cheap cigar with your $. Your result is the same. Without going on a lengthy diatribe, PENDO kits are that bad! I tried building the PENDO radial-engine Tempest F.Mk. II 8½ years ago. I ended up breaking up the blob I was working on and throwing it away! Regarding PENDO's partner in crime, AMT, I also tried crafting the AMT Tempest F.Mk. V into a recognizable aircraft-like blob 15 years ago and that too ended up in the trash as well.
The only choice left is either one of the two excellent Eduard 1/48th Tempest kits. The Eduard Tempest kits were the best 1/48th Tempest kits when released, but considering the current state of the art they are a little dated. In order to make a better Tempest you now need the excellent Hasegawa Typhoon for cockpit parts and a good set of references to boot. The interior similarity between a Typhoon and a Tempest is why the Hasegawa kit will work for this application.
Note: the Eduard Tempest V kit is now currently out of production. (I even went to Eduard's Web site to locate one-no luck!) If you can find an Eduard Tempest kit anywhere, buy it quickly! It is worth $! Don't worry about the AMT or PEND kits; they aren't going anywhere.
The main components necessary for this kit conversion are relatively simple. An Eduard Tempest V kit and an Airwaves 1/48th scale Tempest VI conversion set. The Airwaves conversion set consists of the wing/fuselage Tempest VI modification and the underbelly tropical air filter housing that is characteristic of overseas-based Tempest Mk. VI's. This is all you need to make a Tempest VI. The Airwaves conversion set can be found on the internet at Roll Models.com.
Expect to pay $17.00 to $25.00 for this conversion set wherever you buy it. What you pay in shipping and handling, applicable taxes (if any), and the European "Value-Added Tax rate" for the Airwaves conversion set is up to you. This unique European "Value-Added Tax" only applies to luxury goods and can run up to 17% of the item's value. How model airplane kits got included in this, I dunno. Airwaves happens to be a British company, and if you get stuck with this crappy tax it is totally up to you and your resourcefulness or your un-resourcefulness. I have found that any vendor can possibly stick you with the Value-Added Tax. Roll Models.com didn't do this to me. Why? Namely, I didn't order the Airwaves Tempest VI conversion from them. Frankly, I didn't even order the Airwaves set from anyone for that matter! I didn't even use it at all! That's the Big Secret! How to convert a Tempest V into a Tempest VI without using the only 1/48th conversion set available on the market? You shall see, you shall see... Note, certain late-production Tempest VI's also utilized a different style of undercarriage than what the Eduard Tempest V kit includes. An aftermarket "Fury/Sea Fury" white-metal undercarriage set is a perfect match and works nicely. I just happened to have one in my spare parts box so this was very nice.
The Big Secret
This is the secret! The whole ballgame! The relatively cheap Hobbycraft Sea Fury possesses the correct wing leading edge parts for this conversion, and the undercarriage is a total match too. Additionally, the underbelly tropical air filter housing is basically a simple shape and can be carved from cured "Milliput" epoxy putty modeling clay. Frankly, the AirWaves Tempest VI conversion kit may be the easiest way, but getting free parts from cheap Hobbycraft Sea Fury kit I already own is the best way. I went the Hobbycraft way. The efficient and cost effective way.
Sum of the Parts
I have included a photo showing the parts I upgraded with the Hobbycraft Sea Fury parts taped into the leading edge of the Eduard Tempest V wing (photo left below). I forgot who manufactures the "Fury/Sea Fury" undercarriage set, and I didn't use the Squadron vacuform canopy pictured here either. This was because of the excellent quality of the Eduard Tempest V kit canopy and the included Eduard vinyl canopy masks. The photo to the right shows the Eduard parts I junked. These parts are the landing gear, the cockpit, the exhaust stacks, and the early Hispano Mk. II 20mm cannon barrels. Late models of the WWII Tempest V, and all post war Tempest variants had the Hispano Mk. V 20mm cannons that only extended fractionally past the leading edge of the wing.
The Hispano Mk II 20mm cannon was longer, weighed more, and had a slower rate of fire than the later Hispano Mk. V. The lighter weight of the improved Mk V Hispano meant more ammo could be carried, but the shorter barrel meant less muzzle velocity for the 20mm rounds. Overall, the Mk. V Hispano was a superior weapon that put more lead into the target in less time.
Below is a list of the parts I substituted and/or altered for this build.
- White metal Sea Fury Landing Gear set; unknown company.
- Aeromaster decals: Storms in the Sky, Tempest Part VI
- Moskit hollow Typhoon/Tempest exhausts
- Eduard RAF seatbelts, late edition
- Eduard Hawker Tempest V late
- Hobbycraft Hawker Sea Fury kit
- Hasegawa Hawker Typhoon kit
- Photo-etched radiator screen; unknown
- Miscellaneous details
Typhoon and Tempest cockpits were installed into a welded steel rod "lattice like" frame assembly. This served as the engine and cockpit mount and was an extremely sturdy backbone to bolt the wings and the rest of the airframe onto. Because of this very strong construction, the Typhoon and Tempest aircraft series could take punishment that would disintegrate lighter aircraft types such as Me-109s, Fw-190s, or even Spitfires. [Ha- if that could be.] I utilized the excellent Hasegawa 1/48th Typhoon cockpit for parts for my Tempest VI cockpit. As I stated earlier, the similarities between the Typhoon and the Tempest cockpits make this possible. I scratch built the structural steel rod framework the Tempest cockpit was mounted on from scrap brass tubing. Hawker Hurricane cockpits were also built this way, but that is another story for another day. Although the basic cockpit of the Eduard kit was passable for the 1990's standards when it was released, it is, however, light years ahead of the 1969 hobby kit of the year: the venerable 1/48th Monogram Hawker Typhoon! That's right, the stick, seat, and instrument panel interior of 1970's "hi-tech" kit vintage. If that's not enough, the multi-colored Matchbox 1/72nd Tempest VI was typical for what you could expect in a 1970's model kit at this time. Uhhgh, I can feel a cold chill going down my spine. Note, the interior color of all Hawker aircraft from the WWII Typhoon to present day commercial jets is actually satin black, not interior grey/green. Save the interior grey/green for the illustrious Supermarine Spitfire or wimpy Japanese aircraft.
Tempest VI Construction
Now is where the meat and potatoes of this kit conversion takes place. The Hobbycraft Sea Fury carburetor intakes and the Hobbycraft Sea Fury oil cooler intake are finally used. Use a razor saw to extract these parts from the leading edge of the Hobbycraft Sea Fury wings; then graft these parts into the leading edge of the Eduard Tempest V wings. This surgery is relatively straight forward except the Sea Fury oil cooler which is located on its port wing must be mounted into the starboard wing of the Tempest VI. This will take a liberal amount of glazing putty to blend in smoothly. You are forewarned. As a point of comparison the Tempest V had its engine intakes located inside its chin scoop: the carburetor, oil cooler, and radiator. When looking directly into a Tempest V chin scoop the center hole is the carburetor intake, the segmented ring around the center hole is the oil cooler intake, and the rest of this space is for the radiator.
I have also included a frontal view of the Tempest VI for a comparison. In the Tempest VI the entire chin scoop is for the radiator. This is necessary due to the higher temperatures that the more powerful Napier Sabre engine ran at, which needed greater cooling. Last, a photo-etched screen mesh was installed into the Tempest VI chin scoop. This screen mesh was discovered by chance in my spare parts box and fits perfectly! What a stroke of luck! This last detail adds a "make or break feature" to the front of this model.
RAF Tempest Mk. VI's deployed to hot/ tropical desert climates such as Iraq and other former British Middle East colonies utilized a special air filter for the hot and dusty climatic conditions encountered in these locations of the world. This filter on the Tempest was mounted behind the chin scoop on the underbelly of the aircraft. I scratchbuilt this filter from Milliput epoxy putty and it can be seen behind the chin scoop. This was created by rough-shaping a hardened Milliput epoxy putty form through progressive carving and sanding.
Milliput is a two-part epoxy putty modeling clay that hardens similar to epoxy glue. In its pliable state, both the "A" and "B" parts of Milliput are soft clay. To cure Milliput, an equal amount of "A" is kneaded with an equal amount of "B" and 20 minutes later, presto! It is cured rock hard and can be carved, machined, or sanded. Milliput can be ordered from Micro Mark, and most hobby shops carry it.
The last special piece of Tempest VI equipment is of course the only one I don't have a close up photo for, but it's on the real aircraft. This is the two mystery cylinders behind the pilot's head armor on the rear decking of the cockpit under the canopy. I think these are possibly for a water/methanol injection system that would boost engine horsepower in critical situations. This is ironic because this is potentially the most important piece of equipment on a tropical service aircraft! If a pilot crash lands in the desert there is one commodity he needs more than anything else-H2O! He doesn't need gas, guns, or gold, but if he lacks water he's dead in a week. Why it was located behind the pilot's head armor on the rear deck of the cockpit, I don't know. If the pilot received gunfire the cylinders could rupture and pour H2O into the cockpit! The head armor will protect the pilot, but not the cylinders. The best reference I have states these items were H2O cylinders, but who knows? If someone finds out let me know. I would like to find out what these things are for. The photo I have of the authentic aircraft I am portraying includes these items, so I included them on the model. The last photos in this article show this detail on my model.
Painting a Storm Bird
My research showed that this aircraft was painted in the standard RAF temperate tactical scheme of "Sea Medium Grey" bottom, "Ocean Grey" topside, and "Dark Green" wavy camo over the "Ocean Grey". The Dark Green was airbrushed freehand without masks or stencils. This pattern was tightly sprayed to represent the British 3-inch feathered demarcation line for this color. The leading edges of the wings were painted insignia yellow to follow yet another RAF standardized aircraft marking practice.
Modelers unfamiliar with RAF aircraft sometimes puzzle why this was done. Basically, it is a British recognition aide when in head-on engagements during combat conditions. If you see yellow, don't shoot. In an ironic twist, Japanese fighters also had yellow leading edges like RAF aircraft. The RAF leading edge color in the Pacific was, however, white.
Finally, the spinner for this aircraft was masked and airbrushed half white/half red to represent 249 Squadron at Habbaniya, Iraq, during 1947-49. All stenciling, codes, serial numbers, and insignias were applied as decals, but the model was first gloss coated with "Testors Glosscote lacquer" before decal application. The model was finally gloss-coated a last time to blend in the decals. A flat varnish "Testors Dullcote lacquer" was applied to return the model back to a military finish. Weathering was done with pastel chalks, and the last three photos show the model in all its completed glory. Hurrah, Hurrah God Save the Queen! Whew- I'm done. This is Jeremy. Bye!
Typhoon and Tempest at War by Arthur Reed & Roland Beamont
Hawker Typhoon, Tempest and Sea Fury by Kev Darling
Typhoon/Tempest in Action by Squadron Signal Publications
V-1 flying bomb "Hitlers infamous doodlebug" by Steven J. Zaloga
Hawker Tempest Homepage from the Internet
Britain's Air Defences 1939-1945 by Dr. Alfred Price
Photos and text: Jeremy Petersen