|PRICE:||$Currently out of production|
|NOTES:||Only injected Lighting Two seater|
The Lightning F Mk 1 was evolved from the P.1A research aircraft which flew on April 4th, 1957. Further development culminated in the F Mk 6 which flew on April 17, 1964. The initial two seat trainer version was the T Mk 4 which flew in May on 1959. An export version, the T55 was provided to both the Saudi Arabian and Kuwait Air Forces, along with a number of F Mk 53 single seaters. This T55 are the two seat equivalents of the F Mk 6 using the later Conical Camber Wing and the larger square-tipped fin. (Thanks to the kit instruction sheet).
Matchbox’s two-seat Lightning has a total of 63 parts including a clear one-piece canopy. The exterior is a combination of fine raised panel lines, well-done engraved panel and speed brake panel lines and wildly overdone raised round access locations and control hinges on the main wings. One of the details that Matchbox captured quite well is the camber on the wings lower leading edge.
The kit cockpit is better then normal as it has two control columns to go with the two ejection seats (these actually have some harness detail on the upper section) and pilot figures. This kit also has a separate floor, aft bulkhead and an instrument panel with the latter having some raised details.
Moving on to the landing gear, this shows that the nose gear bay is framed in, though a little shallow as is the norm for these kits. Unfortunately, the main gear bays in the thin wing are not, and as these aircraft have a mid-fuselage mounted wings, this will probably be noticeable on a built kit. Matchbox supplies a well detailed nose leg that has the tire molded with the strut. Main gear legs are a combination of a main strut that has separate retraction arms added outboard and main tires with well detailed outer face wheels. The gear doors are well done with the main outer ones having the iconic concave surface to accommodate the main tires. However, all would look better sanded thinner.
Other external stores are the option of the Red Top or Firestreak missiles, large over-wing fuel tanks, arrestor hook and air refueling probe.
Assembly is clearly covered in ten well illustrated steps with detailed colour notes offered at the end. As this is one of Matchbox later kits, the decals placement is fully shown in four-views for the two export customers. There are two decal options and both subjects are in a natural metal finish with standard national markings and aircraft stenciling done in Arabic on white placards.
The Saudi T55 is aircraft ‘D’ of their Lightning Conversion Unit that was based at Dhahran, while the Kuwaiti T55K was based at the Kuwait International Air Port, both circa 1970. Unfortunately, the decal sheet was missing from this kit.
Matchbox is to be congratulated on offering another two-seat version of a mainstream fighter. Clearly, one of the better decisions taken by those that selected the subjects and also wise on economic grounds.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Thanks to and DLV Company for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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