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Paul Brown

AZ Model de Havilland DH 103 Hornet F Mk3 (AZ 7653)

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As promised, some in-box shots of the AZ Hornet kit.

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This is a fairly typical AZ product and they warn you on the box art 'limited run technology'. The frames all exhibit flash to some degree, the plastic is slightly soapy and some of the smaller parts are a little soft in appearance. Panel detail is finely engraved to the extent that I'd think holding a wash will be a problem if that is your thing, but the Hornet was a pretty clean airframe. There are no locating pins or tabs other than on the wings and tailplanes so assembly must be done with great care. The bombs, RPs and tanks are pretty good, although the tank pylons don't accord with the drawings I consulted. The latter are from the Warpaint Hornet monograph by Ian Huntley. My view about scale drawings is that there are lies, damn lies and scale drawings, but these are probably as good as any. The main parts match up pretty well, including the previously discussed nacelles, although if you were to be really picky the nacelle tops on the model are a little flat and the curvature in profile is not quite correct at the rear. The latter could be fixed with a little sanding. What is demonstrably out are the door shapes, the kit parts are rectangular, whereas the drawings show the hingle lines as arch shaped. This could be fixed with slivers of card glued into the door openings and shaving the doors to shape accordingly. The canopy and cockpit opening is noticeably longer than those of the Special Hobby kit, but accord with the Huntley drawing. The canopy shape looks good in profile. Decals are very nicely printed, I like the colour matches and they look sufficiently dense for opacity. One throwback to ancient practice is where the instructions invite you to cut out a printed panel from the instructions themselves and glue to the console. It would have been nice to have a decal instrument panel and console - curious because the harness is decalised. I'm not keen on decal harnesses and will be looking for a generic fabric set to use. Decals provide options for 19, 41 and 64 Squadron. There's very little aftermarket available, so if you want to dress up the 'pit you'll have to go DIY or generic. In the same manner there are very few decal options, although AZ have done multiple boxings and probably have everything covered. There is an Xtradecal sheet for 19 Squadron that does the checkerboard fuselage bars. The instruction sheets are printed on folded A4 and show everything you need, including good detail painting for the weapons and weapons layout options. Colour guide as per the back of the (end opening, grr) box with Humbrol referenced colours. If dealing with flash and coping with the foibles of a limited run kit go against the grain, then this is not for you. If you want a reasonable looking Hornet and don't mind a bit of fettling, then I'd suggest there's not much else to choose from until somebody comes along with a definitive Hornet.  

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Thanks Paul.
When the SH Hornet released there was mention about the lack of a "pen nib" rear canopy which if correct means the AZ canopy is probably better.

I'm not compelled to go dashing after the AZ kit looking at the photos, but it's a Hornet! 
Such a pretty aircraft and wouldn't mind doing that Silver/Yellow Linton on Ouse scheme. 
 

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The AZ canopy is superior in respect of the pen nib effect. I've just noticed the AZ is missing the (lamp?) fairings outboard of the ailerons, although they shouldn't be difficult to make from some sprue. The bonus with the SH kit is PE and resin. The 64 Squadron scheme does look sweet.

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