Hasegawa 1/72 Lightning F.6

KIT #: 00245
PRICE: $9.95 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2003 boxing



The last supersonic single seat fighter developed by the British and put into unit service was the BAC/E.E. Lightning. Though not built in large numbers, the type has etched itself into the consciousness of aviation fans all throughout the UK. A maintenance nightmare according to those who worked on it, the aircraft was, nevertheless, quite capable and extremely fast. In fact, its speed was a major plus for an interceptor in the UK when the warning time was minimal. It was also quite fuel thirsty and was often seen with its somewhat unique over-wing fuel tanks. This odd arrangement has been used on a few other aircraft for weapons, but to my knowledge, no other aircraft has routinely carried them in this fashion. Though the type was withdrawn from service in the late 1980s, several still operate in the UK doing fast taxy demonstrations and I believe at least one is airworthy in South Africa. The British aviation authorities will not allow private flying of the Lightning due to the ease at which the control surface hydraulic lines could easily be switched by accident and the lack of manual back-up. Then there is the problem with general maintenance, but the flight control deal that has kept them grounded.

The F.6 is basically an upgrade of earlier variants. The major difference is the enlarged belly tank that   includes the cannon armament, removing that from the nose where it was in earlier versions, and a larger, square-tipped fin. Also added to this version were the ability to carry over-wing fuel tanks. These aircraft operated the Red Top missiles. Along with the F.3 versions, that were modified F.1A/F.2 aircraft with smaller belly tanks, the F.6 was the last of the Lightnings to serve with the RAF and the only ones to be camouflaged in the greys scheme.


The Lightning is in what many of us will call the 'first generation' of Hasegawa kits. These were characterized by nearly non-existent cockpits, very thick plastic and the then-in-vogue raised surface detailing. Dimensionally, these are accurate kits, but suffer by comparison simply by being 30 plus year old technology.

The smaller parts have ejector pin marks that you'll have to remove and there is some flash on these pieces, though not as much as one would have thought. There is no intake or exhaust trunking, no wheel well detail and though a basic cockpit and pilot are given, the accuracy of the cockpit leaves a lot to be desires. Fortunately, for those wishing to build this kit, aftermarket is available. One of the first times I ever used etched brass was with
this kit some 25 years back. The two piece windscreen/canopy is well molded and pretty clear as well.

Instructions date from 1989, though the kit itself has to be from about 1971, and provide the usual Gunze only color references, requiring some mixing of external colors. Fortunately, these shades are all available pre-mixed using other brands of paint. This boxing provides two different grey schemes as used by these planes in their last years of service. One is the box art Boss Bird of 11 SQ with the black tail and lighter of the grey schemes. The other is an 11 SQ/LTF bird in the darker grey scheme with the lower demarcation line. Decals are nicely printed and include the yellow canopy sealant strips and upper wing walk striping as well as other stencils. The pink and light blue are off register so aftermarket may not be a bad idea. Fortunately, there are quite a few aftermarket decal sheets available now that Trumpeter has released a (considerably more expensive) F.6 kit.

Those wanting a modern kit need to look elsewhere. Those who want a nice Lightning model without a lot of fiddling around, might want to consider this old soldier. Beside, at under $10 retail, it is a bargain amongst what you normally find on the shelves.



July 2009

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