Special Hobby’s 1:32 scale Tempest Mk. V is an injection molded plastic model kit. It contains 249 medium gray parts distributed across eight sprues (approximately 35 parts will go unused) along with an additional 16 clear parts on one sprue. Also included in the box is the color instruction booklet which assembly of the Tempest Mk. V proceeding over 46 steps. Markings are provided for four aircraft:
- Tempest Mk. V NV969, No. 486 Squadron, RAF, Fassberg, Germany, April 1945
- Tempest Mk. V JN862, No. 3 Squadron, RAF, RAF Station Newchurch, Kent, England, August 1944
- Tempest Mk. V EJ705, No. 80 Squadron, RAF, Vokel, The Netherlands, Winter 1944-45
- Tempest Mk. V SN165 No. 222 Squadron, RAF, Kluis (Malden), The Netherlands, April 1945
Strengths: Over the years, Special Hobby has been steadily improving their game in terms of molding quality, detail, and fit. They began some years ago producing limited run injection molded kits known for monstrous pour gates leading to even the smallest of parts, uneven detail, sometimes questionable parts fits, and irregular or “pebbly” airframe surfaces. If it’s been a while since you looked at a Special Hobby offering, this kit of the Tempest Mk. V truly shows how far Special Hobby has come. This kit is on par with any high-quality modern manufacturer, and I would probably draw the closest comparison with Hasegawa and their peers. Overall size and shapes appear to be very accurate. The surface airframe detail is excellent, featuring crisp and restrained panel lines. Recessed screw, rivet, and fastener detail is likewise very well executed, and also captures the details of the different sized and shaped fasteners on the engine cowling and wing roots. The rudder and elevators are separate parts and can be positioned deflected though the instructions only show them to be placed in the neutral position.
The kit also comes with a pair of drop tanks and two air-to-ground bombs, though only limited number of Tempests carried air-to-ground munitions during the war. Should you choose to hang anything off your Tempest, to pay attention to the holes that will need to be drilled from the inside of the lower wing half to mount the pylons. Also, two styles tires – bulged and flattened and non-bulged tires – are also provided. I also like the internal propeller hub plate that helps one align the props correctly. I snipped off the fuselage, wings, and tail parts for a test fit. Everything fits very precisely, and you’ll not likely need much filler here. Also, the full-span wings allow the builder to achieve the proper dihedral angle literally right out of the box.
The cockpit is outstanding. The level of detail and intricacy that is provided translates into the potential for most scale modelers to produce a small masterpiece here. The detail provided just by the kit is excellent, and one can tell the thinking that went into the parts breakdown, from the control column to the throttle, rudder pedals, seat, and surrounding airframe structure was very careful indeed. To be clear and expose my personal bias, I love using aftermarket parts – as a builder, resin and photoetch is a big part of my enjoyment of the hobby. But there’s not much need here for anything else because the kit parts are just that good. Instrument bezels look great, but there no detail on the instrument faces, as they are to be represented by very nicely detailed decals.
I would almost always opt to use a photoetch metal part to represent the face of the big radiator under the nose. Here, the molding is so finely executed that aftermarket parts aren’t necessary to achieve the greatest degree of detail possible. The engine exhaust stacks also amuse me. They are divided into an upper an lower half with a hollowed out end (nice!), and the parts come together exactly where there was a physical weld line on the real thing. For their assembly, I would not use any regular cement or superglue, but Tenax 7R, Ambroid ProWeld, Tamiya liquid cement, or something similar to melt (or weld) these exhaust stacks together.
In a similar fashion to the cockpit, scale modelers will also be very impressed by the fidelity of detail in the main gear and tail wheel wells and gear doors. The structures of the main gear wells appear to be very well represented, only lacking wire bundles or plumbing. The main gear themselves and their retraction cylinders and other struts are very nicely detailed and crisply molded. Further, ejection pin marks are nowhere to be seen. Bravo! Other smaller details are to be commended, too, including the exterior lights and very nicely printed decals that represent the straps on the drop tank pylons. And speaking of the decals, the markings were printed by Eduard. Their colors are accurate, vibrant, and in perfect register. Carrier film is thin and quite well restrained. The print fidelity, including for the finest airframe stencils, is excellent. I also like the choice of schemes represented here, and the two that feature invasion stripes are particularly appealing.
Weaknesses: There’s only a few critiques that I think can be entertained for this kit. The pour gates are still a bit large proportionally speaking, and for almost every part, a few moments of extra clean-up will probably be necessary. While the rudder and elevators are separate pieces and can be positioned, the flaps and ailerons are integrally molded into the trailing edges of the wings. There are no shoulder harnesses and lap belts for the seat, and the tires are basic, lacking sidewall grooves and the Dunlop imprimatur. Of course, these last two omissions were probably purposeful, as CMK (the sister company of Special Hobby) already produce resin sets that include these details.