Aeroclub/Airfix 1/72 E.E. P.1A

KIT #:
PRICE: 3.75 for the conversion
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Vacuformed conversion


After the issue of ER103 for a manned Supersonic jet fighter in 1947, the English Electric company submitters a proposal aircraft design two years later. It was then 1950 when on April 1st English Electric received a Ministry of supply order for two prototypes that became known as P.1 (P standing for Pursuit). The aircraft was designed to explore low supersonic speed up to Mach 1.2.

The project design resulted in a highly sweptback wing configuration (60 degrees), with a low set tail plane. The P.1A had been intended to have two Rolls Royce Avon engines with reheat, but being unavailable due to delays resulting in two Armstrong Siddeley Sa5 Sapphire engines. Initially without reheat, this being fitted in lieu. Engines were mounted one above the other. 

The aircraft was to be developed into a fighter type and it was fortunate for English Electric as it met many of the requirements. The P.1 flew for the first time on 2nd December 1952 and remained in service at the Royal Aircraft Establishment facilities in Bedford until allocated for preservation in 1968 and is currently at the Cosford aircraft museum.

The P.1A WG763 was the second of two prototypes built, the other being WG760 ordered under ER103. The following is a brief history of P.1A WG763.

18.07.55              First flight at Warton. Loaned to firm for 1955 and 1956 SBAC Shows

05.10.56          Accepted off contract for general development work at EECo

03.06.57              To Leuchars for display to HM The Queen            

21.06.57          To RAE Bedford, suitability tests and tail loading measurements.

02.04.06              Ground resonance tests at Bedford.

28.02.62                Parachute streaming tests by Vickers-Armstrong at Bedford

17.08.62                Ground Resonance tests at Bedford Allotted for Ground Instruction as 7816M

21.01.64         Despatched from Bedford to RAF Henlow. From 1982 on display at the Manchester Air & Space Museum (aka Manchester Museum of Science and Industry)


The English Electric P.1A WG763 was a service test aircraft. To make this aircraft model the conversion kit was designed for use with Airfix Lightning F1 or others as the Matchbox F6/T55 or Frog/Hasegawa. The latter two kits will require the wing leading edges to be straightened..

I went for parts acquired from the Airfix kit of the F1. This had straight leading edges. The Aeroclub kit provides a new vac form fuselage halves in white styrene. There are air intake ducts, cockpit bulkhead and floor and undercarriage doors. There is a clear vac-form canopy, and in metal are an ejection seat, full undercarriage legs and wheels as well as rear outlet jet pipes.


 Preparation of parts was easy. This is a simple vac-form conversion and fit of parts went extremely well. Construction starts with scoring around the parts with a sharp pointed Exacto blade. This is followed by filing and sanding of the cut edges and test fit together. Small strips of plastic at intervals are glued along the inside edges of one fuselage half which will form a lip for the other half and in doing so add strength..

 Cockpit area was then trimmed and the canopy had excess styrene removed by scissors. This was checked for correct fit, trimming slightly with a sharp blade till best fit is obtained. Bulkhead was then glued in place in one half fuselage using the slope of the rear of the cockpit and then trim and fit intake duct.

 A three-view drawing is provided but one should note that this is slightly larger scale than the kit. For cockpit interior details I made use of parts from Pavla resin set C72123, utilizing side consoles, column, rudder pedals, and bath tab that fitted nicely over the intake duct. The metal ejector seat was fixed in place, an instrument panel also added and finally a crew figure filled the space of the cockpit.

Extra weight was added behind the crew seat. Nose wheel well sidewall was built up from plastic card. Fuselage halves were then glued together. Donor wing parts from Airfix F1 kit were glued to fuselage ensuring correct level as per front elevation in scale plans. Metal undercarriage parts were glued in place using cyano-glue.


Cockpit interior and seat were black, pilot figure painted in costume of that era and the rest of the model was an overall silver and Modelmaster lacquer gloss mix which was airbrushed with fine needle. No decals came with the kit but registration and roundels all came from Modeldecal sheets.


This conversion is highly suitable as an introduction to vac form modelling particularly as it is used with injected F1 kit parts or F3 kit. Having built earlier its contender, the Fairey Delta 2, I have now both supersonic early jet aircraft of the same era.


Air Britain Aeromilitaria V32 issue 127.

Carmel J. Attard

June 2015

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