Airfix 1/48 English Electric Lightning F.6…
The Lightning, one of my all time favorite aircraft, was designed by W. E. “Teddy” Petter, English Electric’s chief designer, after he had created the evergreen Canberra. And it was an absolute home run. In terms of flight performance, other country’s fighters were hard pressed to keep up, over many years, all the way to the F-22. Most US folks would not believe that, but it is true. If you have ever watched a Lightning “going vertical” you will get an idea. Just realize it was doing this back in the 1960’s!
Anyway, when Airfix introduced their 1/48 Lightning kits, I thought this was the end of the search for the Holy Grail, and I still think so. I have the stack of Airfix 1/48 kits to prove it, and a grand plan on how I am going to do each one, with one of the F.1s marked for conversion to a T.4 or T.5.
But so far, all I have done (and a while ago) is this F.6 of 11 Sqn, and an F.1 of 74 Sqn. I guess it is true that “the best laid plans” don’t always work out. My Dad used to say ”the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, but I think a rather less harsh interpretation is what is needed in this case. Other things regarding life have gotten in the way. Isn’t that ever the way it is?
This example depicts F.6 XR 725 of 11 Sqn, based at RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire, England. This is Wg Cdr Bostock’s aircraft, towards the end of the Lightning’s service in the RAF. I generally try to avoid the added expense and complexity of aftermarket cockpits, etc., but on this model I used the Cutting Edge cockpit (not too much fitting problems if I remember), and AeroMaster decals for RAF and squadron markings. All airframe stencils were from kit decals, which are extensive.
I just found these photos, which I took at our previous home, prior to August 2006, and realized they might be good enough to send iModeler, as they were taken with my 1st Nikon digital camera. I will take some new pix of the F.1, as I only have a couple, and they are “pre digital”, so the F.1 in natural metal will profit from a new photo session.
I have a hunch that these now older Airfix 1/48 Lightning kits will still be, for many, all that will ever be needed to produce some of the best models of this amazing aircraft.
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.