Fly Models 1/48 Jet Provost T.3
|NOTES:||Short run kit with resin parts|
Plain and simple, the Jet Provost was an aircraft that represented a new concept when it first flew in February 1955. It was a radically re-engineered version of the propeller-driven Percival Provost that had first flown in February 1950 and was developed as a private venture. Britain’s Royal Air Force was interested in the concept of a relatively cheap jet trainer and undertook four years of trials using around 10 pre-production aircraft, a programme that was so successful it resulted in the Royal Air Force being the first air arm in the World to introduce all-jet training where a student with no previous flying experience could begin with a jet and go through primary and basic training on the same type. The RAF was sufficiently impressed to order 201 of the production variant, the Mk.3, which began widespread service in 1958. Based on the experience of the trials unit, the Mk.3 was equipped with two Martin Baker ejector seats, tip tanks on a strengthened wing and a clear view canopy. To students who would have been exposed to piston engine tail draggers as trainers, the JP3 was a revolution, for the nose wheel arrangement would allow it to take off and land almost horizontally and the pilot’s view was not restricted by the bulk of a piston engine and propeller.
The JP3 was equipped with an Armstrong Siddeley (later Rolls Royce) Viper 102 engine of 1,750lb thrust, which was just enough for the training function, although it was so marginal on power the early Jet Provost was often referred to as “constant thrust, variable noise machine”, highlighting the fact that opening the throttle produced little return over an increase in noise. But the JP was a success and trained generations of British military pilots. Another 300 of the updated Mks. 4 and 5 would join the fleet and continue to serve the RAF until the 1980s. The training syllabus would be modified in later years when it was realised that the aircraft was so easy to fly it was not weeding out unsuitable candidates at an early enough stage in the training programme. Jet Provosts would figure strongly in at least eleven RAF flight demonstration teams over the decades and also serve as trainers for fast jet navigators and air traffic controllers. The JP3 had potential to serve as an armed trainer for export customers, with minimal modifications to fit a pair of under wing stores pylons. The first export version was the T.Mk.51 with 12 sold to the Royal Ceylon Air Force; Sudan (4); and Kuwait (6). This would form the basis of an export programme for the later variants which would see another 190 aircraft delivered to export customers. Truly a remarkable record for what was originally a piston engine aircraft modified for jet propulsion.
in an end opening box with a full colour top painting of a single aircraft. The
back of the box serves as the colour guide with three- views of the four options
Flying Training School, 1961-70. Overall silver with large patches of solid red
the nose and wings.
The contents are neatly bagged and consist of two main parts frames in tan coloured plastic, fairly crisply moulded but as with many short run kits there is some flash to be trimmed away. Surface detail is finely and lightly etched but in some areas fades away to nearly nothing and some minor rescribing was necessary. There are just 31 plastic parts forming the basic airframe. A third frame is moulded in clear, providing the canopy, windscreen and landing light covers.
There is a separate bag of cleanly cast dark grey coloured resin parts providing the wheels, engine inlets, cockpit interior and jet pipe. The resin was protected in plastic bags and the only tiny area of damage was a missing tip to one of the control sticks.
are cleanly printed and in good register and provide a good range of stencils,
wing walks and warning stickers. The instructions consist of an eight page A5
booklet in greyscale, with a parts chart and 17 stages of construction in
exploded views. There are useful separate charts showing the positioning of
external aerials and stencil positioning diagrams.
In choosing a finish I discarded the private warbird and ground based engineering trainer, since I prefer to model operational aircraft. The remaining options each had a different version of dayglo paint, which can be a nightmare of undercoats and masking but I found a possible solution on Hannants website. Model Alliance/Aviation Workshop in the UK had produced a sheet of dayglo decal strips for RAF Canberras in 1:48 scale. Although this manufacturer is no longer around, Hannants still have much of the range in stock and I picked up a sheet No. MAS 489026 for £9-20
Having recently built Fly’s 1:48 Strikemaster, I instinctively looked for something to sit next to it on a display shelf, so what better than an early example of the same family. I wanted a relaxing build, simple and straight from the box, with little enhancement, although I would eventually turn to the aftermarket to make finishing easier.
The first job is to wash all of the parts in a solution of water and mild detergent to remove any mould release residue. As with any short run kit, the parts should be carefully separated from the runners and checked for fit before assembly. There are few locating pins and joining surfaces need to have any small moulding tags removed with a swipe from a sanding stick or file.
The main resin parts were separated from their casting blocks with a razor saw and the joining faces sanded smooth. I use a face mask during these operations to avoid inhaling potentially harmful dust.
Construction begins with the interior, which is primarily painted Black – I used Tamiya XF-1. The plastic parts were first glued together, consisting of the cockpit floor and angled rear bulkhead, then the resin cockpit side walls fixed with cyano. I then added the resin centre console, control sticks and rudder pedals. The instrument panel was detailed with an approximation of dials and needles touched in White using the smallest brush that I could find.
The ejection seats were treated separately, since I wanted to add them later in the build, when I could check to ensure that they would seat comfortably under the canopy. They were well cast with good detail, including the seat belts. I followed the kit’s colour instructions and hand painted each seat using a selection of acrylics from the Citadel range. The seats are essentially Black, with Blue seat cushions, Sand head rests and Cream straps. They certainly make a colourful centre piece under the large canopy.
While the cockpit interior was setting the fuselage halves were fitted with small tabs of plastic card around the edges to aid alignment when joined. The cockpit tub was glued into the right hand fuselage half, together with the resin jet pipe to the rear. At this stage the instructions flag up the need for nose weight, but do not indicate the amount, so I guessed at 8 grams of lead shot, bedded into the nose by pressing it into shallow sheets of Milliput epoxy putty that will set rock hard overnight. The fuselage halves were then joined with tube cement and left to set.
While waiting for the fuselage to set, attention can turn to the wings which are simple structures consisting of upper and lower panels to the left and right wing halves. A small resin frame is provided to serve as the walls of each wheel well and once this is tacked in place with cyano the wing panels go together swiftly. The tip tanks consist of upper lower sections which are butt jointed to the wing tips. The instructions remind you to cut off the nose of the wing tanks to enable the clear nose cones to be added later.
The basic airframe was assembled. The one piece horizontal tail sections are butt jointed to the rear fuselage and the wing panels have a tab and slot fitting to the wing roots. Each of these joints needed some filing and adjustment but closed up satisfactorily using tube cement for strength. The engine intakes are a one piece resin casting and needed some filler to blend into the compound curves of the fuselage/wing area.
When set, the airframe was checked over and I found that filler was needed along the length of the seam between the fuselage halves. This is not unusual with short run kits when mould wear is found at the edge of larger parts.
This was a convenient point to go around the airframe and add some of the small intakes bumps and bulges that are supplied as both plastic and resin components, but the most fragile, such as the aerials, were left until completion of paintwork.
The undercarriage sub-assemblies were tackled next. The stubby legs and support struts were moulded in plastic and wheels in resin. The gear legs and hubs painted in Xtracrylix XA1015 Light Aircraft Grey and the tyres in Tamiya XF- 58 Rubber Black. Gear doors on a Jet Provost are few, consisting of two tiny flaps either side of the nose wheel strut and covers to the main legs. The rest are of a flip-flop type only appearing when the gear is cycled, so the kit has them moulded shut.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The main airframe was then prepared for painting with an undercoat of medium grey auto primer applied from a rattle can. The airframe was checked for scratches and minor imperfections which were corrected with a smear of Revell Plasto filler.
I chose to finish the JP in the early RAF training colours of NO.6 FTS, the spectacular dayglo and silver scheme that, only a few years ago, I would have considered way the beyond my skills, but the availability of aftermarket decals made it worth a shot
airframe colour is a very simple overall High Speed Silver airbrushed in Tamiya
Aluminium Silver applied with my Iwata HP-C. With some localised masking the
nose anti-glare panel and forward canopy frame were painted
The colourful dayglo striping came from the Model Alliance aftermarket decal sheet and proved to be quite a challenge. The sheet provides plenty of striping in varying widths but each stripe had to be cut and trimmed to shape and the wing leading edge colour built up from a series of strips. The decals were relatively thick and reluctant to sit down over the surface detail or to conform to curved surfaces, with some areas needing three or four applications of Micro Sol. The whole process took place over several days with constant reference to the Warpaint book to get the pattern correct, since the layout and distribution of the orange stripes varied in detail between different RAF units over the years.
The kit supplied decals fairly leap off the backing paper. They went on fairly easily, responding to Micro Sol and Micro Set decal setting solutions but they seem thin and quite fragile and not keen to be moved around once on the surface of the paintwork, so need to be handled with care. The paintwork was then sealed with two brushed coats of Future/Klear to give a nice semi-gloss finish. The job finished with fixing the nose and wing tip lights, external aerials and the undercarriage.
Although this is a short run kit, providing that the parts are carefully cleaned up, it is well engineered and the fit of components is good. The resin interior parts ensure that the finished result is satisfyingly detailed and it would be suitable for a first attempt at a short run kit. But it is deceptive, for what seemed an easy-ish build actually required a lot of time in finishing, especially with the number of decals. With patience and determination it got there in the end.
I enjoyed the exercise and I am happy to have the little JP3 in my collection. I thoroughly enjoyed making the Fly Jet Provost. Definitely recommended.
BAC Jet Provost and Strikemaster, by Adrian Balch, Warpaint Series No 82, Warpaint Books Ltd.
Jet Provost, by Bob Clarke, Amberley Publishing 2008
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