Thursday 25 September 2014

Royal Yugoslav Air Force Hawker Fury II

Here's my latest effort: a Hawker Fury II in the markings of the Royal Yugoslav Air Force. 

The Fury was, of course, an iconic fighter of the 1930's RAF, but it also enjoyed some limited export success. The RYAF bought a batch of Mk I's (similar to the RAF's version), then a second batch of Mk II's. The first few of these were built by Hawkers, but the lion's share were licence-built in Yugoslavia, shared between two companies.


The Fury II was distinguishable from the Mk I by the improved, streamlined radiator (similar to the Hurricane, with the supercharger inlet too), and the cantilever undercarriage very reminiscent of the Gladiator. The other big difference was the installation of a different model of the Rolls Royce Kestrel engine: this gave much more power and racked the Fury's maximum speed up a respectable 242 mph. The Yugoslavs also experimented with improving the firepower: a pair of extra machine guns could be fitted under the wings in fairings that were again reminiscent of those on the Gladiator.


Despite all these improvements, by 1940 it was clear to all concerned that the Fury was woefully obsolete in the era of Hurricanes, Spitfires and Bf109's. Lacking enough more modern fighters, the RYAF had little choice but to deploy their remaining Furies when the invasion arrived in 1941. The extra machine guns were never used: presumably the effect on the already inadequate performance was too great.


Many of the Furies were shot down in totally unequal fights with Bf 109's and 110's, although the Germans lost five fighters destroyed by brave Yugoslav pilots, all by ramming. The Furies fought on, strafing infantry columns, slowly retreating. Many damaged aircraft were destroyed by ground crews, but when the fighting ceased several were captured intact by the Germans and Italians. The Italians continued to fly at least one for a while, but interestingly none were passed onto the Croatian Air Force.


The build was based on an old Matchbox Hawker Fury, now sold via Revell. I had to totally scratchbuild the interior, drill out guns and exhausts and mould the radiator using a wooden former. The undercarriage was scrounged from a new Airfix Gladiator and was a reasonably easy fix. The decals are spares from various Kora sets, supplemented with home-printed codes and stencils.  I replaced the plastic skid with a bit of brass strip (the other would last about two seconds!) and rigged her with Bayer perlon fishing line courtesy of a colleague. I 'm not totally happy with how the rigging points look on the wings, but I ran out of will power, and a set of brake pipes wouldn't have gone amiss, but I'm happy enough.  Lots of work, but great fun. Finally, here's the token sepia shot.


Enjoy! Merry meet, merry part, merry meet again.