Special Hobby 1/72 Sea Fury Mk 11 'FAEC'
KIT #: 72282
PRICE: $27.00 SRP 
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with resin and vacuformed parts


In 1959 during the Cuban Revolution, the Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba (FAEC; "Army Air Force of Cuba") purchased a total of 17 refurbished (ex-Fleet Air Arm) Sea Furies from Hawker. The aircraft were briefly flown by FAEC prior to the ousting of President Fulgencio Batista and the assumption of power by Fidel Castro. Following the change in government, the Sea Furies were retained by the Fuerza Aerea Revolutionaria ("Revolutionary Air Force"; FAR); the Sea Fury proved difficult to keep operational, partially because the new military lacked personnel experienced with the type.

In April 1961, during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, air support for the Cuban exiles' Brigade 2506 was provided by ex-FAEC, CIA-operated Douglas B-26B Invaders; US President John F. Kennedy had decided against involving U.S. Navy aircraft. The only FAR fighter aircraft to see combat were three Sea Furies and five Lockheed T-33 armed jet trainers belonging to the Escuadron Persecucion y Combate ("Pursuit & Combat Squadron"), based at the San Antonio de los Banos and Antonio Maceo air bases. In pre-emptive attacks on April 15, two Sea Furies were destroyed on the ground, one at Ciudad Libertad and one in a hangar near Moa. During the ensuing aerial combat, a single airborne Sea Fury was lost during the Invasion.

In the early hours of April 17, Brigade 2506 began to land at Playa Giron. Around 06:30, a FAR formation composed of three Sea Furies, one B-26 and two T-33s started attacking the exiles' ships. At about 06:50, 8.0 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of Playa Larga, the transport ship Houston was damaged by rockets and cannons from FAR aircraft, including Sea Furies piloted by Major Enrique Carreras-Rojas and Captain Gustavo Bourzac; Houston caught fire and was abandoned.

While attempted to land at an airbase, Carrera-Rolas's Sea Fury was attacked and damaged by a CIA B-26; he was able to abort his approach and escape. Carrera-Rolas later shot down another ex-FAEC B-26. While attempting to shoot down a Curtiss C-46 transport aircraft, Nicaraguan-born pilot Carlos Ulloa crashed in the Bay of Pigs around 08:30, either due to an engine stall or having received anti-aircraft fire. Around 09:30, multiple FAR aircraft destroyed an ammunition ship, Rio Escondido. A Sea Fury piloted by Lieutenant Douglas Rudd also destroyed a B-26.


This is not the first boxing of a Sea Fury as at least two or perhaps three others have been done. In fact, this kit simply has a paper covering over the old box, so basically this kit is just another set of decals. One often wonders how long a set of molds for a short run kit will last. Well, I don't know when this one was actually pressed, but the detail is still very nice and aside from the usual issue with some ejector towers on the larger bits as well as a bit of flash, the kit looks great.

For sure it is still a short run so not as crisp as something from the big boys, but it is a ton better than when the MPM folks first started.  While there is no photo etch, the kit does offer five resin parts. One is a cockpit tub, the others are a main wheel well insert, a control stick, a pilot's armor piece, and a prop spinner.

The cockpit tub has the seat molded in place with belts and one pretty well paints it and installs it along with a small shelf to the back and an instrument panel. The tail gear well is not boxed in and consists of a plastic shelf onto which the gear is attached. There is also no engine as one is not needed since all you'll see are the fan blades. It would have been nice to have a separate forward cowling ring, so you'll have seams and the usual issues with split forward cowling lips.

Wings are a full lower section wi6th separate upper halves. A radiator piece fits into the left side. Main gear legs are fairly nicely done and there are retraction struts for the inner gear doors. Main wheels are two pieces. The tail hook simply butt joins on the lower fuselage. A one-piece prop is provided. For things under wings, all that is supplied are two drop tanks. It would have been nice to have rocket rails and rockets as these were the Sea Fury's main ordnance. Two vacuformed canopies are provided. You would think that by this time the folks at CMK would have replaced these with injected versions.

Instructions are nicely drawn with the only build color info supplied being that the cockpit is black and wheel wells silver. Markings are provided for two planes. One is an initial delivery scheme in overall high speed silver with the large rudder markings while the other is a Castro-era scheme of overall 'Cuban olive', which Special Hobby thinks is Gunze H340. This crosses to FS 34097 'Marine Green'. Decals are very nicely printed.


I realize this molding isn't exactly brand new, but it does provide some interesting markings. Prior to this we had little but the Frog kit and its clones from Pioneer, which were not bad kits, but quite basic. There is also the very pricey resin one, which may well no longer be available. For most modelers, this one is the logical choice.



August 2014

Thanks to me for getting this one on sale. 

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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