Oxford AC013 RAF Hawker Typhoon Mk. Ib Ground Attack Aircraft - Squadron Leader B. G. Stapleton, No. 247 Squadron, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, commenting on the British airmen in the Battle of Britain
The Typhoon was a British single-seat strike fighter, produced by Hawker Aviation starting in 1941. Intended as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane in the interceptor role, it suffered from performance problems, but eventually evolved into one of World War II's most successful ground attack aircraft.
Even before the new Hurricane was rolling off the production lines in March 1937, Sidney Camm had moved on to designing its future replacement as a private project. This was to be a massive plane designed around the equally massive Napier Sabre engine. The work proved useful when Hawker received specification F.18/37 in January 1938 from the Air Ministry, which asked for a fighter based around either the Napier Sabre or the Rolls-Royce Vulture engine. The engines were similar in that they were both 24 cylinder designs that were designed to deliver over 2,000 hp (1.5 MW), and different primarily in the arrangement of the cylinders - an H-block in the Sabre and an X-block in the Vulture.
The two resulting models became known as the 'R' and 'N' (based on the engine manufacturer) and were very similar - the Vulture powered R plane had a rounder nose profile and a ventral radiator, whereas the Sabre powered N had a flatter deck and a chin mounted radiator. The basic design of both continued the Hawker tradition of using 'older' construction techniques; the front fuselage was welded steel just like the Hurricane, and the design used a massive 40 foot (12 m) wing that was much thicker than those on designs like the Spitfire. Camm did give in to the times for much of the rest of the plane though; it was semi-monocoque from the cockpit rearward, flush riveted, and had wide set gear. Instead of sliding or lifting canopy the Typhoon came with a side door.
By this time the Spitfire Vs were meeting Focke-Wulf Fw 190s in combat and getting rather beaten up, so the Typhoon was rushed into squadron service (with 56 & 609 Sqn) to counter the new German plane. Sadly this proved to be a disaster. An apparent structural weakness in the tail meant that it tended to break off when pulling out of dives, the Fw's favorite escape. Once again there was talk of killing the design. The cause of these tail-failures (in which only one of the pilots survived to give any clue to the reason) was found to be fatigue failure of the elevator mass-balance, allowing elevator-flutter to occur which was at its greatest when pulling-out of a dive. As a "temporary" measure, rectangular strengthening "fishplates" were riveted around the fuselage/ empennage joint - the site of the failures. These fishplates remained a feature on all subsequent Typhoons. Problems with leakage of exhaust fumes into the cockpit and subsequent high carbon monoxide levels meant Typhoon pilots had to use oxygen for even low level operations. Due to the efforts of operational pilots like S/L Roland Beamont (of 609 Sqn) the Typhoon continued under development despite these design drawbacks.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Hawker Typhoon Mk. Ib ground attack aircraft that was piloted by Squadron Leader B. G. Stapleton, who was attached to No. 247 Squadron during 1944.
Now in stock!
Release Date: June 2011
Historical Account: "Bombphoons" - During late 1942 and early 1943, the Typhoon Squadrons on the South Coast were finally effective in countering the Luftwaffe's "tip and run" low-level nuisance raids, shooting down a score or more of fighter bomber FW-190's.The first two Messerschmitt Me 210 fighter bombers to be destroyed over the British Isles fell to the guns of Typhoons in late 1942, and during a daylight raid by the Luftwaffe on London on January 20, 1943, five Fw 190s were destroyed by Typhoons.
It wasn't until 1943 that the various problems with the airframe and engine had finally started to be worked out of the system. By this time the need for a pure fighter was no longer important and the design was converted into a fighter-bomber - much like the Hurricane had before it. The powerful engine allowed the plane to carry a massive load of up to two 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs, with which the aircraft were nick-named "Bombphoons". The first "Bombphoon" squadron was 181 Squadron, formed in September 1942.
The Typhoon would however become much more famous armed with four "60 lb" RP-3 rockets under each wing - the so-called "Rocketphoons".