Revell 1/32 Sea Hurricane

By Tony O'Toole

This model was `converted' from the 1/32nd Revell Hurricane Mk.IIb kit using parts on the sprue which must be intended for future boxings of the kit and with markings from the spares box plus some brush painting. The model was also brush painted, too! It is meant to represent JS355 a Sea Hurricane Mk.IIb of 800 NAS aboard HMS Biter during Op. Torch flown by the CO Lt. Cdr. `Bill' Bruen DSC,DSO, RN.

On the first day of Op. Torch on 8th November 1942 800 NAS led by `Bill' Bruen provided close escort to the first strike of the morning flown by RN Albacore`s against the Vichy French airfield at Oran. In the early morning darkness before dawn they found their charges but other Sea Hurricane`s from HMS Dasher who were to provide top cover could not locate them. This left the way open for a large number of Vichy Dewotine D.520s to dive down and attack the Albacores and 800 NAS as they approached the target. A swirling dogfight ensued and four D.520`s were shot down for no loss to 800 NAS, one of which was claimed by Lt. Cdr. Bruen, which would be his last kill, ending his account at 4 shot down, 4 shared, 2 destroyed and 2 shared.

Sadly, the Sea Hurricane`s from 804 & 891 NAS`s aboard HMS Dasher which in their defense were only partially worked up, became lost after failing to link up with the strike against Oran and many had to force land on the invasion beaches!

Below is a short history of Bruen`s distinguished career:

Irishman Bill Bruen was born in Dublin on the 29th December 1910, the son of an MP, and he joined the Royal Navy in September 1924, serving on a number of Battleships and Cruisers as he rose up through the ranks. He gained his private flying certificate in October 1931 and in June 1936 he became a fighter pilot with 802 NAS aboard HMS Glorious in the Mediterranean until June 1938. Moving back to the UK, he joined 801 NAS in October 1938, serving aboard HMS Courageous until April 1939. In June 1940 Bruen was appointed as CO of 803 NAS flying the new monoplane Skua fighter/dive bomber assigned to the carrier HMS Ark Royal and he later took the unit to fly from HMS Formidable when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during the Battle of Cape Matapan. Shortly afterwards in July 1941 Bruen was sent for a rest tour with 778 NAS at RNAS Arbroath.

Following a short spell at RNAS Lee on Solent `Bill' Bruen became CO of 800 NAS equipped with Sea Hurricane MK.Ib`s during April 1942 and he led them with distinction aboard the fleet carrier HMS Indomitable during the Op. Pedestal Malta convoy, for which he was awarded a DSO. Re-equipping with Sea Hurricane MK.IIb`s & IIc`s the unit was re assigned to the escort carrier HMS Biter for the Operation Torch landings in Vichy French North Africa in November 1942 for which he was awarded a Mention in Dispatches.

Following Op. Torch Bruen was posted to 759 NAS at RNAS Yeovilton as the Chief Flying Instructor of the RN Fighter School and between 1943 and the end of the war he was promoted to became station commander of RNAS Maydown in N. Ireland which housed the vital anti=submarine Swordfish biplanes assigned to MAC Ships escorting Atlantic convoys.

Post War he went on to command RNAS Henstridge and RNAS Gosport until 1953 when he filled various staff appointments until he retired in 1955. Sadly, he died in Birmingham in 1967.

The new Revell Hurricane is a very good kit; I have another to build and intend to buy more. They appear to have a Mk.I, Mk.IIc and a Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib lined up, too, judging by the parts left over on the sprues.

One problem: the parts of the fuselage wing root which project above the wing leading edge are too long and need `fettling' to make them shorter. You will see what I mean by test fitting first. It is easily fixed, the projection can be seen here.

I use both acrylics and enamel paints, whatever is best for the colour. For instance, the Dark Slate Grey and Sky on this one were Polly Scale acrylics. The extra Dark Slate Grey was Humbrol 123 enamel. Other things like the black for the propeller, wheels, etc., were Humbrol acrylic, as was the Trainer Yellow used for the prop tips and the rings for the upper wing stars, seen below with the stars from a Corsair being applied above.

The first coat of Dark Slate Grey applied.

My first star from the spares box was too small so I found a larger star from a 1/32nd Corsair without a yellow outline. I then marked out the outline onto the model in pencil and then brush painted the yellow ring onto the model before adding the new larger roundel.


© Tony O'Toole 2023

Related Content

This article was published on Thursday, April 27 2023; Last modified on Saturday, April 29 2023