A review by Nigel C
Well, here we are yet again, reviewing another commercially
available Download, this time from ALPHASIM. It has to said, I have
an omission of guilt, I have not dealt a great deal with ALPHASIM
and their products, but, if the pictures of the Hawker Hunter are
anything to go by, I can’t wait to take a closer look.
I have to admit a bit of a love affair for the Hawker Hunter, I
suppose, it something to do with the incurably rapidly changing face
of military aviation in the late 40’s and beginning of the 1950’s
and into the 1960’s. We can witness some truly awesome offerings. I
must add I was way too young to witness them first hand!
The Hunter had a sports car look about it, sleek and purposeful,
those beautifully swept back wings and sloping tail fin and tail
planes all go together like strawberries and cream, tea and
The Hunter (and what a lovely name!) has had an illustrious and
honourable career in many theatres of war across the world and many
years of service, over 50 in fact. In a number of Air Forces and of
course the Royal Navy for Fleet Air Arm operations.
There are many excellent web sites where you can learn more about
the incredible history, so I will not delve into this rich past now.
But, I am very glad to see the Swiss version included, the underside
graphics are truly a work of art!
If you are a ‘fighter Jock’ I guess you are already heading for your
credit card; if you are not, read on and have a look at the screen
shots; I’ll bet you will be tempted on those alone.
Some technical stuff:-
1. Hunter F.6, 111
Sqn RAF, 'Black Arrows'
2. Hunter FGA.9, 45 Sqn RAF
3. Hunter F.6, 92 Sqn RAF
4. Hunter FGA.9, 20 Sqn RAF
5. Hunter Mk.58A, J-4030, Patrouille Suisse, c.1991
6. Hunter F.6A, 19 Sqn RAF
7. Hunter Mk.58A, '29', Royal Swedish Air Force
8. Hunter F.6, 92 Sqn RAF, 'Blue Diamonds'
- full FSX (SP1/SP2/Acceleration Pack) compatibility.
Bump-mapping, self shadowing, bloom fx.
- v-c self shadowing with FSX SP2
- intake / engine covers, ladder and warning tags appear on tail
- speed brake animation only works with wheels UP as per real
- illustrated cockpit/gauge guide in .pdf format
- v-c gauge night illumination (FSX only)
- wingtip vortices, engine smoke, turbine glow fx
- highly-detailed textures with 'weathering' and subtle
- very high quality Hunter Avon soundset included
- authentic virtual cockpit with animations and mousable
- realistic all-xml 2D panel, custom pop-ups for autopilot,
electrics and radios
- startup smoke effect
- auto-animated pilot, correct squadron insignia on arm patch
for each variant
- togglable pilot
- highly authentic flight model with checklist
- v-c rain effects (FS9 only)
- source textures available for repainters (Adobe .psd format)
As with the previous paid for downloadable offering I recently
reviewed there isn’t any packaging. It is downloaded from the
ALPHASIM website, www.alphasim.co.uk.
Follow the instructions for
purchase and download, which are frankly extremely easy to follow.
You choose the programme from the AlphaSim website make the
purchase and it will then download in a quick and efficient manner.
Again, I found the entire process effortless, this being the forth
commercial aircraft package downloaded. I am getting quite a taste
for this process. Just pay and get instant access. Remember to
back-up your new Zip file, I know from experience how wonderfully
stable our computers are!
Once the installation process has been completed, which in my case
was effortless, you will find the aircraft within the Aircraft file
under ALPHASIM HUNTER.
Select one of the 7 unique model variants
and 8 texture sets and opt for one of the many versions on offer,
and press ‘fly’ wait for the computer to update, hey presto there it
I must say, you will not be disappointed!
EXTERIOR WALK ABOUT
Once installed, let’s take a look at the exterior of this steed. Go
for a ‘walk’ around. After selecting one of the options available, I
selected a traditional grey/green camouflage of No 92 Squadron RAF.
Take time to have a good look around; the detail is absolutely
fabulous and clear to see. There are dynamic shine effects across
the entire fuselage and canopy. Lookout for the stenciling
effects; they really are superb. This attention to detail really
helps towards the feeling of accuracy and authenticity.
Let’s start from the best place - ground up. All points of the
exterior are displayed to the same exemplary standards. It is
obvious that some considerable amount of work has gone into this
model. As above, the detail of the stenciling and weathering, or
wear, on all surfaces is quite frankly, stunning.
The undercarriage detail is excellent (including the lowering and
retract sequence) The tyre and wheel detail is also impressive.
When taxiing, you can see some lovely suspension effects to the
front olio and when landing, to the main undercarriage. It certainly
looks ‘business-like’ I guess that is no surprise when you consider
the ‘punishment’ the Hunter got in landing a fast jet onto the
tarmac! Oh yes, and when on Aircraft Carrier service. The track of
the undercarriage i.e., width of the main olio legs, has a good
distance, thus aiding towards a more stable landing.
All moving parts are extremely convincing and seemingly accurate. I
have to single out the air intakes and outlet, at the sharp - end.
The turbine low pressure fans are clear to see. At the rear, the
detail around the exhaust pipe is highly detailed; again incredible
accuracy has been achieved. I guess a ‘picture tells a thousand
words’. A fantastic job, it really is totally convincing. When you
select power, you can see some colour, simulating the glow of hot
Staying with moving elements, the canopy, (select Shift + E) and you
will note an accurate sliding back of the said canopy. The pilot
figure is there, perhaps not displayed at the same detail (around
the helmet and oxygen mask detail) level but acceptable. The pilots
head moves with the input of the flight controls. Again adequate, I
would have preferred to see a more free animated movement.
For the keen of eye, as you select different squadrons, his badge
also changes… nice. Not that you would normally notice it, but it is
A nice touch here, once you have gone ‘cold’, i.e. switched all
systems off, various tags appear when the tail hook button is pressed. Nice touch ALPHASIM.
To recap, the exterior of the Hunter is one of the best I have seen.
AlphaSim have to be commended for the attention to detail so very evident
on the exterior of the aircraft, I love it.
When you are all strapped in and ready for that sortie you can
start the engine. Be sure you have a look at the ‘puffs’ of
smoke that emanates from the engine as life comes to the Rolls Royce
engine tucked away so beautifully in the fuselage of the Hunter.
The cockpit on offer is again presented in an accurate, well laid out
format. The attention to the individual instruments is to the same
high standards, there are some lovely glass shine effects. Select either the
2D or VC mode to best appreciate the calibre of the ‘office’.
could be argued that some of the detail is a little light, but what
we are given works well. In both the 2D and 3D options, you have a clear
view of all the instruments as well as the primary ones. This is an
important feature, which makes flying in either workable.
Now this is what the program is all about. Select SHIFT - E if
the engine is not running. Make sure you pop out and look at
the start sequence; a very subtle puff of smoke appears as the
engine whines into life.
Ok, engine running; flaps down to 15 degrees, close the canopy, brakes off
start taxing. The Hunter moves on the ground well, responds to the
rudder directional steering well. Application of the toe brakes also
Line up, brakes on. Select full military power, there's a
slight drift so keep her on the line. Build up the speed in a
progressive way. 90 knots, raise the nose, a little more speed
and she ascends into the sky.
Speed building in the climb, select gear up and a very nice whine
is detected as the gear is travelling. Flaps up and the speed
increased; maintain the climb level out at 10,000ft.
I found the instruments clear to read. Hitting the + it provides
you with a larger image which I used on occasion, but in the main,
discernable. In 3D cockpit mode, the movement around the
cockpit did not affect the frame rate, just very smooth scanning.
The control inputs, rudder, aileron and elevator all had an effect.
Oh, yes, you must try the speed brake; not only is it once deployed,
the size of house, the detail of the hydraulic push rod and hidden detail
is excellent and it works.
If you scan towards the right bottom of the panel you will see some
‘quick access buttons’. These will call up various functions,
Electric panel, Auto Pilot, Coms/Nav GPS/Notes.
I found these very clear to see and operate.
I guess all things that go up must come down! With the Garmin GPS
provided I navigated myself back to RAF Coningsby. With long final
established, flaps and gear selected and a gentle throttle to keep
those red and white lights balanced, it's down the glide slope.
over the threshold, throttle back to idle, with a little thump
we're down. Now gentle braking to a point were you can turn off the
active and taxi to the apron.
I would love to say the flight dynamics were accurate based on
personal experience, but alas I cannot. All the inputs, the
performance and on the ground characteristics, well, just felt
A very pleasing addition to my ‘fleet’ in so many ways.
As we all know this single element can make or break an aircraft
offering. I am so glad to say the sounds were again superb and
added a great deal to overall offering.
OBSERVATIONS & CONCLUSION
I just adore this aircraft. I love it, with the detail so evident on
show, it will, I have no doubt, adorn your collection for ages.
Ok, there is one ‘niggle’ a little area that I feel could be improved,
namely the pilot. More detail could have been added and a more
realistic animation could have been introduced. Perhaps I only
mention this because if stunning exterior work so clear to see?
On balance, the offering priced at £ 24.32 $ 47.24 or 32.57 Euros
represents great value, especially if you have FS9 and FSX, you can
fly her in both virtual worlds.
To see the Hunter in the air is great fun, I know you will enjoy it
as much I have!
Oh yes, PLEASE is there a Fleet Air Arm colour scheme being
developed? Just imagine, trying to land this onto a deck of an
aircraft carrier! Heavens, those Navy guys have my utter respect. The
Royal Navy Hunter looks quite superb! Come on ALPHASIM release an
I can assure you, this beauty will be staying in my aircraft hanger
I love it!.
Fun,…Onwards and Upwards..
Nigel C Martin