Scott Van Aken
Short run with photo etch and resin parts
The English Electric Lighting was Great Britain's last dedicated interceptor. As
an interceptor, it was blindingly fast, but suffered from short range. Various
methods were used to extend the range including a larger ventral fuel tank
and over-wing 'drop' tanks. However, the most widely used method was air to air
Always a rather low production aircraft, 337 were built in six major variants,
none in great numbers. A few were exported to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Many
earlier planes were converted into later variants. Though retired in 1988/89,
some were kept flying in South Africa until 2010 and several are kept for 'high
speed taxi' demonstrations in the UK.
There were two trainer versions. The T.4 was based on the F.1A while the T.5,
another two-seat side-by-side training version, was based on F.3. Two prototype
T.4s and 20 production aircraft built, two aircraft later converted to T.5
prototypes, two aircraft later converted to T.54. These trainers were combat capable, armed with
Firestreak missiles, though
rarely carried them or even the training rounds.
has finally come to the rescue with two Lighting trainers. Prior to this
there was only the Matchbox T.54 and the Aeroclub conversion for use with
the Airfix F.1 kit.
This one is a very nicely done kit that is typical of Sword's more recent
kit offerings. Thankfully, Sword has made no pretense of doing any single
seat versions and has molded each fuselage half as a single piece. The fin,
wings, and tailplanes are separate in order to do the earlier T.4 version.
In fact, the kit is identical to the T.5 kit aside from not offering the T.5
fin. That part was clipped from the sprue. Same deal with the T.5 where they
clipped the T.4 fin.
is used for three items; the two seats, the exhaust section, and while a
resin cockpit tub is shown in the instructions, there is none in the kit. An
extensive photo etch set is part of the kit. This is done by Eduard and is
in color. It includes a lot of parts for the seats, including the harness,
as well as for the interior. Many of the parts are used for the outside of
the fuselage and that includes a plethora of antennas, each with separate
and tiny bases. This will be enough to drive several to drink.
Typical of most every injected Lighting I've built, the nose radome is where
you put all the weight. This plane is a bit of a tail sitter so one is wise
to fill this as much as one can. This assembly also includes the nose gear
well. A compressor face for the front of the lower engine is provided and
while there is no mounting guide in the fuselage for it, the instructions
tell you to place it 30mm behind the back of the intake assembly, so break
out the rulers.
The kit's wings are in upper and lower halves with the ailerons and wing tip
molded into the upper half to give a nice, sharp edge. A separate flap is
also provided, but there were almost never deployed when the plane was at
rest. There are no separate speed brakes, again, because these were never
Landing gear are well done and have separate oleos. There is some gear well
detail as well as two retraction struts. Most kits miss the one closest to
the wing surface, The nose gear has a separate fork. For those who want a
single nose gear fork, SAC does a nice metal replacement set.
For armament, you have a choice of two
Firestreak, which this version carried or Red Top, which were valid with the
F.3/6 versions. These missiles have separate fins and you also can do training rounds, which are made by leaving off the main fins. The
windscreen and canopy are separate so that you can pose the canopy in the
are well done and provide detail drawings to help the builder. Note that the
wings have a 6
anhedral and the main gear legs jut slightly forward. Markings are for two
planes. One is the box art plane from 56 Squadron in unpainted aluminum with
a red fine, spine and wing leading edges. The
other is with 92 Squadron with a dark green upper surface. Note that the
engine inlet ring was generally polished, often to a very bright shine. The decals are very nicely done and
provide a full stencil suite. This includes the very prominent wing walk
stripes in both black and white. Missile markings are also given. Pretty
much every unit plust the OCU and the LTF flew two seat versions, so I'll
bet there will be at least one aftermarket decal sheet for this one.
If you are a Lighting fan, then this one really does have to be included into
your collection. It will take a bit more effort than the usual Tamiya kit, but
the result is well worth the additional work and you know Tamiya would not do
Thanks to me for picking this one up when it was on sale.
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