KIT: CMR 1/72 Supermarine Attacker
KIT #: ?
PRICE: ?
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Resin kit with vacuformed canopy

HISTORY

 

The Supermarine Attacker was the first operational jet aircraft to enter the Fleet Air Arm in squadron strength some time after the war years. It was developed from the Seafang, from which it inherits the wings and undercarriage. The first of three prototypes flew in July 1946. By that time the tail wheel landing gear was already out dated and it also led to severe airfield erosion during taxying. The second prototype flew in June 1947 and was fitted with a Martin Baker Mk1 ejection seat. During the same year it carried out a series of carrier deck landings trial and in October the British test pilot Eric Brown carried out sea trials and developed the constant power/constant angle approach that is practiced these days in landing jet aircraft in deck of carriers.

 As the international situation started to take the shape of a cold war the Royal Navy ordered sixty Attacker F1 and during 1952 Attackers started to appear on carriers and bases in UK and overseas. Hal-Far was the ideal place where the among other navy aircraft, Attackers could be spotted making endless touch and goes each time RN aircraft carriers visit the Grand Harbour, Malta, and put the combat aircraft ashore. On frequent occasions Attackers could be seen making steep and shallow dives as they fire under-wing rockets on the off shore tiny island of Filfla which is lying some five miles off Hal Far, making it the ideal spot for rocket and strafing attack exercises. Today Filfla is a protected tiny island where twin tail lizards are known to inhabit and are endemic)

 A typical Attacker visitor was the FBMk2 serial Reg. No WP277 [145:J] which was logged during an air display held at Hal-Far on 28th of August 1954 on shore visit from HMS Eagle. On other occasion Attacker FB2s from 803 Squadron came ashore to Hal Far during the carrier’s visit from 14th April until the 13th of August 1954. These were the last of the type to be seen in Malta from where they were flown to Lee-on-Solent for withdrawn from service. Besides RN Attackers there were other visitors of the type. One such land based Attacker belonging to the Pakistan Air Force, staged through Luqa airfield circa 1951. This was in an overall metal finish livery with the green and white national roundels and registration No R4003. 36 Attackers were on order for the Pakistan Air Force. This version was land based type and could carry 1000lb bombs as well as rocket projectiles. Unlike the Navy Attackers, the wings were not folding type and the type was stripped of other Navy equipment as arrestor hook.

 The first squadron of the Fleet Air Arm that equipped with the Attacker was 800Sq. which formed in August 1951; this was followed by 803Sq. in November. Initially 43 Attackers Mk1s were completed and the next were 16 FB Mk1s designed for the fighter-bomber role with ordnance carried under-wing same as that delivered to the Pakistan Air Force. The final version of the Attacker was the FB Kk2, which could be recognized by the metal-framed cockpit. This in fact was an improved cockpit design after the original version went through several mishaps. 84 FB Mk2s were delivered. The No 800 Attacker Squadron was disbanded in May 1954. 803 Sq. also followed after the Hal Far visit aboard the HMS Eagle later in the same year. Attackers remained in service with RNVR squadrons until the end of 1956. It is a pity that such a graceful design had poor performance qualities to render it a somewhat ineffective gun platform. In due course the Attackers were replaced by the Hawker Sea Hawk and the De Havilland Sea Venom carrier borne aircraft. 

THE KIT

 

The 1/72n scale model of the Supermarine Attacker by CMR is by far a superior kit to the Frog kit, which was released in mid 1950s and re-released under the Novo trade name. The CMR kit made in resin represents the ideal Attacker in all the details at this small scale. The kit comes with four A4 size pages in black and white and another page with a side view in colour representing one of the colour schemes on offer. In fact one can do any of the three Fleet Air Arm squadrons: an FB Mk1 of 800 Sq based on HMS Eagle 1952, an FB Mk2 of 1831 Sq. RNVR based at Stretton, Cheshire 1955, and an FB Mk1 also of 800 Sq FAA based on board the HMS Eagle 1954. All of these are in extra dark sea grey top and sky undersurfaces. A totally different colour scheme that is also offered with the kit is the Attacker operated by the Pakistan Art Force, which is in overall metal finish and carries a full set of PAF roundels.

 The CMR kit consists of 46 light tan resin parts for the wings, fuselage halves, wheel well covers, air intake lips, cockpit detail parts, engine parts, rocket and pylons, a belly tank, and spare tail fin, vertical type with no fillet at the root, possibly to produce the early prototype version. and filed to a slight tape prior to sticking in There are also a few dark brown resin components for the undercarriage oleo, and arrestor ‘A’ shaped arrestor hook. Two vacform acetate cockpit canopies are supplied to make either the clean and clear Mk1 type cockpit or a reinforced cockpit as mounted on the Mk2.

CONSTRUCTION

 

The construction of the kit begins with the removal of the thick runners from parts like the undercarriage, ejection seat, cockpit office, jet pipe halves etc. The rough edge of the fuselage halves also needs some smoothening. This is a careful stage not to spoil the otherwise fine surface detail that come on every resin part. While I emphasize on the cleverly done fine impressed surface detail I also noticed that the fuselage were not of the same overall length and width. The left fuselage half in my sample was 1mm shorter than the other half and also1mm wider in section at mid fuselage. This could of course be rectified however the remedial action using putty to build up the difference in stagger will cover also some of the surface detail and it is not a simple task to recover by re-scraping the lost panel lines.

Also the interior engine detail consists of two long half tubes that are to be made into one whole tube and at the middle of which is what it looks like a rear turbine stage which is intended to fit half way down the tube. This component is quite oversize and definitely needs some careful reducing in diameter by filing down to fit inside. Fitting the additional separate nozzle which partly protrudes from the rear may be quite a headache until you centralize this exactly leaving the same clearance all round. Care is taken not to use too much super glue as the tendency would be to have the tiny components stuck to the finger instead. The trailing and leading edges of all wing parts appear to be of correct thickness and these parts only needs some careful cleaning up at the edges.

There are a pair of guns integrally cast at the leading edge of each wing. These happened to be of very odd shape instead of representing the smooth round guns of the Attacker. Reshaping by filing caused me to break the parts and I found it was much easier to make four guns from stretch sprue made to the required diameter and then cut to the correct length and fixed in place of the resin ones. I have found that once the initial stage of construction is complete the rest is more or less straightforward and careful assembly of all the components should make a good representation of the Attacker you desire to build. One also has to decide if one should fit the belly tank or the choice of rockets and bombs. Having fixed the undercarriage in position and the choice of ordinance, in the end I added all the tiny antennae and aerials on and around the fuselage.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

The cockpit interior paint was done during the construction of the kit. This was medium grey with black instrument panel. The type of vacform cockpit to go with the version of Attacker made was cut to conform to the aircraft cockpit area.  This was carefully fixed in place using white glue and a little superglue; the former glue will prevent the superglue from misting the interior of the canopy. Whereas the Pakistan AF version had no arrestor hook fitted and the seam marking the fold of the wings was to be faired with putty and smoothened down to form one solid wing, the RN version was finished in dark sea grey upper and duck egg blue lower and undersurfaces. The decals were of top quality and presented with a nice selection from the Navy versions or a Pakistan AF aircraft. .I preferred to do a RN Attacker that visited our port and airfield, i.e. an 803 Squadron fighter bomber. This was placed next to an early FROG kit that I had to do a lot of extra work long ago to bring to the quality that comes with the CMR kit. The image near the beginning of the article shows the FROG kit in the background of the CMR offering.

CONCLUSIONS

  

This adds another Royal Navy type that made its début to the development of carrier borne Navy jets and therefore much recommended to the modeler keen on post war combat jets.

 Carmel J. Attard

June 2008 

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