|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The Supermarine Attacker was a British single-seat naval jet fighter built by Supermarine for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was the FAA's first jet fighter. The Attacker suffered from a number of deficiencies which led to it quickly being superseded; one being that the aircraft retained the Spiteful's tail-wheel undercarriage (due to the extent of the re-tooling that would have been required to alter the Spiteful's wing), rather than a nose-wheel undercarriage, thus making the Attacker more difficult to land on aircraft carriers. This same tail-down attitude meant operating from grass airfields, the jet exhaust would create a long furrow in the ground "three men could lie down in". Also the new wing was apparently aerodynamically inferior to the original Spitfire elliptic one, with lower critical Mach number, leading to someone quipping that "they rather should have left the Spitfire wing on the thing".
The first navalised prototype, Type 398 TS413 flew on 17 June 1947 flown by test pilot Mike Lithgow, three years after the Meteor had made its first flight. Production orders for the FAA were placed in November 1949. The first production aircraft to take to the skies was the F.1 variant in 1950, entering service with the FAA in August 1951 with the first squadron being 800 Naval Air Squadron. The F.1's armament consisted of four 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk. V cannons, with 125 rounds of ammunition per gun. It was powered by a single Rolls-Royce Nene Mk. 101 turbojet engine.
The Attacker had a brief career with the Fleet Air Arm, not seeing any action during its time with the FAA and being taken out of first-line service in 1954. It remained in service with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) for a little while longer, being taken out of service in early 1957. The Attacker was replaced in the front line squadrons by the later and more capable Hawker Sea Hawk and de Havilland Sea Venom. Between 1952 and 1953, 36 Attackers also served in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) until the type was completely retired in the 1960s.
Aside from the Falcon vacuform and short run C.A. kit, this is the first modern injected kit we have had of this interesting aircraft in this scale. As the Attacker was a simple aircraft, there is not all that much to the kit. There are three standard injected sprues and a small clear one for the canopy. The small photo etch fret includes a seat harness and some antennas. Molding is up to Trumpeter's usual high standards with crisply engraved panel lines and nicely done detailing.
The interior contains a six piece ejection seat along with rudder pedals and a control stick. The instrument panel can have a decal placed over it if one so wishes. The wings have separate wheel wells that are inserted in the full lower wing section. Flaps are aso separate and if one does not mind a bit of cutting, the wings can be folded. Optional parts are provided for this feature. The canopy and windscreen are separate items so that can be posed open as well. A large belly tank that was generally carried on these planes to provide some decent range is also included. As this is a tail-sitter, no weight is required.
Instructions have large assembly drawings and are quite devoid of any color information as to the color of things like the cockpit interior, seat, or gear struts/wheels. A nice full color painting guide is provided that shows the external color and color references in several paint types. The decals are well printed, but I am suspicious of the font and size used for the underwing serials and side codes. I would suggest some research and those with a nice stock of Modeldecal sheets should have replacements that will fit this one. I am sure there will be aftermarket sheets for this one, though they will be multi-variant ones as not that many F.1s actually saw service. Anyway, two markings options are included, differing little other than codes. The later fighter-bomber planes did have some color and unit insignia added to them. Both options are in Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky.
It is nice to have this important, though short-lived aircraft as an injected kit in this scale. Since there were also fighter bomber versions, and those sold to Pakistan, I can see at least two more boxing, the later ones including the underwing ordnance that is not required for the pure fighter than is being kitted here. In all a very worthwhile kit and one that will certainly add to your FAA collection.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can find this one at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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