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Airfix E.E.Lightning F-1/F-1A/F-2/F-3

 

    By Steve Hubbard

  It's finally here, the Airfix Lightning's have arrived at last, after months of waiting (Due I'm informed to the loss of the tooling after it arrived in this country) I eventually got my hands on the F-1 version. The first thing you notice is the box, it's BIG, too big in fact for the kit as there are acres of space around the kit. Mine had some slight damage to the lower wing sections due to the movement in the box during transit. I collected my kit from Beatties (a UK model/toy shop chain) on Tuesday morning and took it home for a closer look, I opened the box and sprue bag and DISAPPOINTMENT ! ALL of the sprues were warped and I don't mean just a little bit, they were all badly out of shape. A quick phone call to Airfix/Humbrol and a very helpful lady there (Louise Wilkinson) assured me that this was not a problem that they were aware of and would I like to take it back and change it and then let her know if I found any others.

So I duly trundled back to Beatties on Wednesday morning to get it changed, they were more than helpful and allowed me to open some of the other boxes to take a look. I found two others warped (but much less so) and the third one I opened was OK. So rearmed with a replacement kit I again returned for a closer look at the beast. After opening the box (again!) and finding a smaller kit inside (still) I took a much closer look at the sprues. The mouldings are quite crisp with delicately recessed panel lines, a couple of sink marks were evident on the outer leading edge of the upper wings, something that will not be easy to rectify without destroying the panel lines unless care is taken. Other than that the mouldings seem pretty good, the lower wing sections have a pronounced "dip" in the leading inboard edge.  From what I have been told (Thanks Peter) the "dip" should in fact be there  so it is not a defect with the kit.
 
   

The Kit.

A look at the instruction sheet, or I should say book as it's nineteen pages long! is in the normal Airfix exploded diagram style, numbers but no names indicating the parts to be used. Sections 1 through 5 deal with the cockpit and this is treated in a slightly unusual manner with a mix of decal and raised parts for the instruments and controls, the detail is adequate for the scale but (for the price) could have and should have been better. An optional pilot is included but I would imagine that most modellers would discard this. The seat is quite reasonable lacking in the main seat belts, fortunately Airfix have not moulded any onto the seat so you're free to install any of your choosing. Section 6 deals with intake splitter and shock cone which also doubles as the nose wheel bay. Sections 7 through 9 deal with the intake trunking, compressor face and the two engines.

Section 10, this is where things start to happen with the installation into the fuselage of the engine/cockpit/intake sub assemblies and the joining of the two fuselage halves. Whilst this little lot is drying attention can be turned to the wings as per 11 to 14, the trailing edge flaps are two separate pieces but no attempt has been made by Airfix to make them positionable, the instructions showing them only in the level position. The leading edges of the wings are also separate pieces (designed I understand to deal with the difference between the F-1 and F-6) and are therefore only  to be fixed in one position. Section 15 and 16 deal with adding all the various bit and pieces to the main fuselage and pointing out the different parts to be used between the various marks. The canopy (packed in it's own bag at last!) is only shown fitted in the closed position although it does appear that it could be fixed open or closed. The air brakes are separate pieces and can be fitted open or closed although there is little detail inside the air brake bays. The wings, tail plane and fin are also fitted at this stage.

Sections 17 to 21 concern the installation of the undercarriage, the parts are quite well detailed but no bulged or flattened tyres are provided. Each main u/c leg has separate torque links and retraction jacks supplied along with the three piece doors. Sections 22 and 23 detail the rest of the various aerials, nose wheel and IFR probe installation. Weapons supplied with the kit are two Redtop and two Firestreak air to air missiles and their associated pylons and the final stage 26 deals with the installation of these items. One other thing to mention is the colour chart, Airfix still insist on supplying reference only to Humbrol colours with no FS equivalent details supplied. Come on Airfix isn't it about time you followed almost every other manufacturer and gave us full paint details?

The Decals

Wow! the decal sheet is a miniature masterpiece featuring six different aircraft, all of them in natural metal. If I'm not mistaken this is the work of Dick Ward from Modeldecal, if it's not then it's extraordinarily similar to his work! All except one are very colourful machines featuring one from each of,  74 (Tiger) Sqd with an all black tail/spine, 56 (Firebirds) Sqd the box top subject and probably the most colourful of the lot with an all red tail/spine/wing-tailplane leading edges. 92 Sqd with a blue spine/tail, 23 Sqd with white spine/tail, the plain jane of the bunch, 29 Sqd without any colour and the CO's a/c from 111 Sqd with black tail/spine and yellow flash. There are plenty of stencils  provided including some for the AAM's as well as a diagram giving the full placement details.  GO HERE TO VIEW THE DECAL SHEET.  For a list of available aftermarket decals see bottom of page.
 

Summary

Well we waited long enough for it, was it worth the wait ? Yes and no, Yes because it's probably the only time the a/c will ever be (injection) kitted in this scale and overall it's a very good kit and no because I think it's over priced and the cockpit isn't good enough for a 22.00 ($35.00 US) kit. Add to that the warped parts and sink marks and you get the picture! So will I build the F-6 as well? you betcha! For all it's faults it's still a model of one of the finest a/c ever built (a real missile with wings on!) and as such I'll be spending more money on the second one. Post war RAF a/c have been very poorly represented in this scale over the years and I applaud Airfix for producing this
kit abet long overdue!.

Available Lightning Decals 1:48th Scale Lightning Decals

Lightning Fl

XM135

Leuchars TFF CED48076  NMF

XM137

AFD   CED48076  NMF

XM143

226 0CU AMD48369 NMF

XM143/A

74Sqn Kit NMF

XM146

226 0CU CED48075 NMF

XM147

Wattisham TFF CED48075 NMF ”Felix”

XM166/G

74Sqn CED48077 NMF

XM177/A

56Sqn  CED48076 NMF Red fin,spine

XM174/D

56Sqn  Kit  NMF

XM178

56Sqn  AMD48369 NMF

XM184

111 Sqn AMD48369 NMF

Lightning F2

XN728/B

92Sqn AMD48369, CED48075 NMF Blue fin,spine

XN732

92Sqn AMD48370  

XN735

92Sqn Kit NMF

XN780/K

92Sqn CED48075 NMF Blue fin,spine

XN781/B

19Sqn CED48075, Kit Dark Green

XN793/A

92Sqn CED48075, Kit Dark Green

Lightning F3

XP740

111Sqn AMD48370  

XP719

56Sqn AMD48370  

XP707/H

29Sqn CED48075 NMF

XP743/G

56Sqn CED48076 NMF Check fin

XP745/M

23Sqn Kit NMF

XP751/B

74Sqn CED48077 NMF Black fin,spine

XP763/H

23Sqn Kit NMF

XR711/A

111 Sqn Team Kit NMF

XR719

56Sqn AMD48370  

XR720/E

56Sqn X03548 NMF Check fin

XR728/JS

LTF  CED48076,Kit Grey

XR749/DA

LTF Anni AMD48371 CED48076 X03548 Grey Blue fin,spine

XR749/BK

211 Sqn CED48077 Grey

XR751/A

LTF CED48076 Grey/Green

Lightning F6

XR713/C

111Sqn Team CED48077 NMF Black fin,spine

XR725/BA

111Sqn AMD48371,CED48077,X03548 Grey Black fin,spine

XR754/AE

5Sqn CED48075 Grey shark mouth

XR763/B

11 Sqn CED48077 NMF

XR769/B

74Sqn CED48077 NMF Black fin
XR769/BE 11 Sqn Kit Grey/Green

XR770/AA

5Sqn AMD48371; CED48075 Grey Red fin,spine wing leading edge

XR771

56Sqn Kit NMF

XS903/AM

5Sqn Kit Grey Shark mouth

XS903/BA

11Sqn AMD48371,CED48077,X03548 Grey Black fin,spine

XS897

5Sqn AMD48371

Lightning F53

53-689/J

2Sqn R Saudi AF CED48077 NMF

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