Airfix 1/72 GA.11 Hunter

KIT #: ?
PRICE: $
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: GA 11 conversion come from Allmarks

HISTORY

Following two years since the prototype Hunter P1067 first flew, the Avon –powered Hunter F Mk1 made its first flight on May 16th, 1953. The type eventually equipped the first RAF Squadron No 43 in mid 1954. The F Mk1 had only a brief service and there were the Sapphire-powered F Mk2 and 5, which also had a brief service life. The Mk1 was superseded by the F Mk4, which was powered by Avon 115, and carried more internal fuel and provision for underwing weapons or fuel tanks. This mark saw service with Denmark (F Mk51) and (F Mk52).  In due course there were more Hunter marks and export versions. But it was the F Mk4 that the Royal Navy showed interest. The Hunter FGA 11 was a conversion of the Mk4. The Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy acquired a number of ground attack Hunters for use as advanced weapons trainers. These were conversions of early Mk4s having modified leading edge extensions, a field arrestor hook and had the guns deleted. A small number of FGA 11 were out fitted with cameras redesignated as PR 11s.

 The first FGA 11 conversion flew during early 1962 and by the middle of the year the aircraft were delivered to No 739 Squadron at Lossiemouth. No 738 and No 764 squadrons also used the FGA 11 and 40 aircraft were delivered to the FAA. A follow on order was planned but this was cancelled by budget cuts so a number of standard Hunters F Mk4s operated for a short period. The FGA 11 continued to operate from Yeovilton by civilian contract pilots to Airworks Services Limited as part of the FRADU (Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit). The aircraft flew alongside Hunters T Mk8s in support of naval training for both the FAA and surface fleet operating in the role of “enemy” aircraft. On a number of occasions during the mid 60s to 70s these were often spotting visiting Hal-Luqa airfield, Malta to the good advantage of local aircraft spotters. The Hunter FGA 11 also formed the aerobatic team at RNAS Brawdy, known as the f ‘Rough Diamonds’ used for aerobatic displays, the lead aircraft being XF287: 781. The aircraft carried standard camouflage except for the Pegasus badge on the nose. These were transferred from Lossiemouth to Brawdy in 1964 and carried day glow orange band on the nose, spine and wing tips.

THE KIT

This is a retooled Airfix kit into an FGA9 version. Details about the kit issued by Airfix are already known elsewhere and no point repeating it.

CONSTRUCTION

 The two wing halves were first cemented together. Filler is used to block the holes provided for the wing stores after a backing thin plastic card was glued on the inside. Cockpit area was detailed to improve the somewhat basic offering, the Martin Baker ejector seat was reshaped, adding seat straps, ejection seat pull handles, control column and a crew figure painted in the RAF style of costume. A blanking plate in form of a rectangular plastic card piece was added to avoid the see through effect across the intakes. Lead weight added to nose and the two fuselage halves were joined together. Any over scale in thickness at the wing trailing edges was scraped using one’s own judgement after close study to photos. The cockpit canopy was not truly accurate and this I replaced with a clear and thinner one which comes as spare with the Hunter Prototype Pavla set. The kit fuselage tail pipe was also removed and this was replaced with a spare resin one that comes also with the Pavla Hunter set referred to earlier. The ammunition link collectors were removed and the canon ports faired over with filler. An arrestor hook was added at the rear beneath the fuselage. This was centrally positioned while a tail bumper was added adjacent to the hook and to starboard side.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 Interior walls and floor of cockpit were matt black. Model decal sheet No 24 provided decal sheet for the instrument panel. All top surfaces were airbrushed in dark sea grey while the undersides were semi gloss white. The markings come from an Allmarks sheet, which also provides colours details by Richard E Gardner. Fuel tanks added to all four pylons, these were overall white being navy stock but ones visited Malta had fuel tanks borrowed from RAF stock and had upper half of tanks paint in dark sea grey. The Allmarks decal sheet represents an FGA11 XF287: 781 of RNAS Brawdy, lead aircraft of ‘Rough Diamonds’ aerobatic team. A feature with this scheme is that besides the standard FAA camouflage there is Day Glow Orange spine, nose and wingtips clearly indicated on the drawing.

CONCLUSIONS

 The Hunter is an aviation legend with many memories of the original issue of the Airfix kit then bought locally for 2s 6d and were also as common at our airfields with RAF, and Navy ones on frequent stop over here apart from the many Air Forces versions which also made a refuelling stop be it Singapore, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia forces to mention just a few. The model this time was a FAA Hunter, which does not operate from decks of carriers but proved useful to train crew for the Royal Navy. It suites any collection of FAA aircraft as in fact it fitted among my Navy types and therefore is recommended for anyone who wants to have a complete representation of the vast range of Royal Navy operational aircraft.

Carmel J. Attard

March 2012

A brief note: Various references indicate that these aircraft were called GA.11s in service as they had no guns. Ed

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