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1/48 Special Hobby Walrus Mk.I “Battleship Eyes”


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Special Hobby (SH48162)

Supermarine Walrus Mk.I

“Battleship Eyes”


Product number: 8594071084523


Available here from Special Hobby for € 45,91





Supermarine wasn’t just famous for it’s Spitfire design. From 1930 right up till the end of world war II it was renowned for building durable and reliable flying boats. In reply of Australia’s request for a reliable flying boat to patrol it’s waters, Supermarine came up with the Seagull. From this Seagull the Walrus was developed in 1933, with the main difference being a more strengthened hull and structure.  These were delivered to the Royal Navy that used them from warships as fleet spotters. Hence the name: Battleship’s eyes. When the war broke out, the Walrus was deployed for a wide range of missions. Ranging from Artillery spotter, Air to sea rescue and even bombing mission.





Although its principal intended use was gunnery spotting in naval actions, this only occurred twice: Walruses from Renown and Manchester were launched in the Battle of Cape Spartivento and a Walrus from Gloucester was used in the Battle of Cape Matapan. The main task of ship-based aircraft was patrolling for Axis submarines and surface-raiders, and by March 1941, Walruses were being deployed with Air to Surface Vessel radars to assist in this. During the Norwegian Campaign and the East African Campaign, they also saw very limited use in bombing and strafing shore targets. In August 1940, a Walrus operating from Hobart bombed and machine-gunned an Italian headquarters at Zeila in Somalia.




The kit

The Walrus is one of those subjects that take me back to my early days of modelling. An dofcourse I’m talking about the Matchbox version in 1/72. You know.. the one in 3 different kinds of plastic. Yellow, white and blue. Since I don’t model in 1/48 anymore, my kit would have tob e the HPH 1/32 Walrus. A daunting and expensive kit, but very complete. From this über detailed kit I will look at the 1/48 Special Hobby kit and see what’s what.


So here’s the Special Hobby Walrus Mk.1. Special 500 pieces limited edition. First of all: This is a re-release of the older Classic Airframes kit. This means it might come with the flaws and benefits of the ol’ Classic Airframes kit. From reviews and build logs I could find on the Classic Airframes kit there are some steps in the construction that will test your skills. The engine’s housing had no locator points, which means it can be difficult to fit the in total 8 spars that connect to the engine. From what I can see they are now present in the Special Hobby offering. As soon as you’ve mounted the engine it’s smooth sailing, right to the point where the rigging starts J

Bear in mind that this is a limited run kit (only 500 pieces made). This means no locating pins through out the model and lots of test fitting before grabbing the glue.


On opening the box you are greated by a good deal of grey resin, grey plastic and photo-etch. This kit is very complete. The plastic is limited to only 3 sprues with a total of about 60 parts. All the other parts are featured in resin and photo-etch. Oh my..




Sprue 1:






The insides of the hull are smooth, so all the detail comes in resin. Side walls that appear to fit snugly go along the length of the fuselage. Extra interior detail are tiny. Even the compass in the instrument panel comes separately. All the resin is crisp and requires minimal clean up. The seats are delicate and adorned with detailed photo-etch seatbelts. All in all a very complete cockpit. Even the throttles are present and separate, made from photo-etch.


Inspection of the plastic surface details reveals fine panel lines and detail.






Next up is the construction of the tail. Again very complete. Even the trim tab and control rods are supplied separately and made from photo-etch.




Propellors and struts: (no sink marks)




Strolling along the instructions, tiny details keep me amazed for a 1/48 kit! The little foot steps on the struts leading to the engine for maintenance. The 3 part photo-etch eye to attach a rope… It’s all there and I can imagine this kit blown up to 1/32 proportions will still make up for a detailed model.



Sprue 2:










One thing I don’t full understand are the wheels. These are offered in plastic, and might as well have been made from resin with some weight flatteing. No worries. I’ve discovered CMK / Quickboost offers these.





Sprue 3:






Resin parts:

Side walls:






Wheel bays:




Pegasus Engine:




Seats, Runners for rigging, guns, floor, etc..





The machine guns are small treats though. Very delicate and detailed. Handle these with care! Should you break them (or need even more detail), Gaspatch offers some really cool ones’: http://www.gaspatchmodels.com/machine-guns-1-48/






The canopy is very clear and crisp. This for one is a major improvement over the older Classic Airframes offering, since that featured a Vac form one. Well two actually, in case you mess one up. Later Classic Airframes kits I believe also included this canopy. If these moulds are exactly the same as the CA kit, you might need some strips to make the canopy fit the fuselage tight. So watch out in this area.




Another thing to watch out for are the runners for the rigging made from resin. There are 16 and watch out… you’ll need all 16, so don’t let the carpet monster snatch one! (4 pics above!)


The biggest improvement over the Classic Airframes’ I could find was the photo-etch. The CA Walrus did not include seatbelts, and with this Special Hobby Walrus… it does!




The decals have been printed by Avioprint.cz. They register just fine and from experience I know they settle down well.







The first scheme to choose from is the L2228, named ‘Spotter’ or ‘Sportivento’ on board of HMS Sheffield cruiser. The name refers to it’s involvement in the battle of Cape Sportivento.

Top side features camo pattern in Light slate grey, Dark slate grey, Extra dark sea grey and Dark sea grey, with a total Sky grey underside.




The second scheme supplied features a unknown serial number/9B, on board of the battleship HMS Warspite during the first period of service in the Mediterranean1940-1941. She took part in the battle of Calabria (known in Italy as the battle of Punta Stilo) and battle of Matapan. 

Top side features camo pattern in Light slate grey, Dark slate grey, Extra dark sea grey and Dark sea grey, with a total Sky grey underside (i.e. same as scheme 1).





Overall I’m very impressed with this kit. Back when I used to model in 48th scale, Classic Airframes was a brand of choice and so I think it’s great to see a company like Special Hobby re-releasing them and spicing things up where needed. The locating pins on the engine housing for instance and the photo-etch fret with seatbelts. As far as I can tell the resin is from the same moulds as the CA kit. A very complete and very detailed little kit of a venerable subject.


Recommended and I’d rate this kit a 7.5.


Our sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample.


Jeroen Peters

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