scale models

English Electric Lightning F.1

No.74 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Coltishall, UK, 1962

The Lightning has been on my do-to list for a long time. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a model in 1/48 as they are all out of production. So, when I saw a kit for sale at the “Air, Terre, Mere 2022 Expo” in Mons last August, I bought it immediately!

Airfix first introduced their 1/48 Lightning on 1997 but the kit is pretty decent even by today’s standards. It has nice engraved panel lines and the parts fit together decently. The cockpit and wheel wells are not very detailed but this is true for a lot of newer kits as well (Revell, I am looking at you). The only real issue with this kit was the yellowing of the decals.

This time around, I decided to go “old-school” and not use any detail sets. After consulting some online pictures of the Martin-Baker Mk.4 ejection seat, I made the cushions, seatbelts and straps myself, using Tamiya masking tape and lead wire. Other than that, I used the kit decals for the cockpit panels (applied over the raised details). I think that, with the added details on the seat, the cockpit looks good enough.

I used two thin stripes of plastic to cover gaps in the front landing gear bay. Then, I made the main landing gear bays look a bit more “interesting” by engraving some rivets inside them.

The painting was done, using AK Xtreme Metal coolers: Aluminium and Dark Aluminium. The spine and vertical stabiliser were painted using Tamiya Nato Black (it is actually a very very deep grey and I think is a better representation of black for the scale). The decals held up fine for their age. Their only issue was that the obvious yellowing. I let them hang by the the window and let the Sun correct them. The problem was, it’s not that sunny in Belgium in autumn, so I had to leave them by the window for more than 2 weeks to get white again!

In the end, a bit weathering was done, by applying some wash on the panel lines and some smudges with pastel colours.

The work in progress

The finished model

Products Used

Airfix English Electric Lightning F-1/F1-A/F-2/F-31/4809179