When the Airfix has released in 1998 the kit of the Lightning F Mk. 1 in 1/48 scale, this was good news to the market but no matter that kit was very new tooling, its suffer from many small shortcomings. In general the same model was good base but it need many panels to be re scribed, open small intake for primary heat exchanger, make better holes for cannon in nose, add few details on windscreen… This kit is re-boxed by Eduard in October 2009 as Limited Edition and it come to market under item number 1134. As we expect, kit is fully equipped with pre painted photo etched parts, protective mask as well few parts in the resin.
Many areas in the basic kit was empty and there was good place to apply Eduard photo etched parts. Undercarriage bay was almost based on this etched details and not only airframe details are made there, inside is also most important wires on the undercarriage legs. Interior is consisted in couple of the independent sections which are made as sub assemblies and there is engines, nose wheel bay with nose cone, air intake duct, cockpit interior and the wheel bay in wings. One of the most important part is the ejection seat, which replace original seat from kit and it is resin made part.
During the assembly of the kit I have made several changes in step. First at all I have skip mounting of the intake cone, part 14, to the intake assembly, as well it is better to leave this for the very end of assembly. Cone is finished in green color and this will avoid any need for protection during spraying of the entire model, this is better to complete finish and just put it on its bearing. Inside is enough of space to put lead for weight. I will also recommend you to put fuselage extensions, parts 43- 39- 40- 42, before you place wings of fuselage as well if you put wings first (as the instruction recommend), you will later have problem to sand cement if it leak from the edge of extension. But most of the other steps from the assembly instruction, could be followed with easy.
Four attractive machines were provided to be finished and decal sheet is very large and excellent printed. Proposed machines are from 111 Sq., 56 Sq., 92 Sq. And 19 Sq. I decide to make Mk. 1A from No. 111 Squadron. It is attractive and here you are few info from the operational service of Mk. 1A machines in this unit.
By the September 1961 No. 111 Sq become fully operational with the Lightning F Mk. 1A. In October 1962 units machines were converted to carry in flight refueling probes and one month later unit has take part in the high altitude interceptions and perform successful interception of the hight flying U-2 from USAF/CIA service. From the March 1963 some of unit machines was deployed to the Cyprus. In 1964 unit get well know Black-Yellow unit colors and that was result of the competition and the winning scheme was painted on Airfix plastic kit of Lightning in 1/72 scale (kit released in 1963)!! During the summer 1964 unit was participated on the annual exercise on Cyprus. Lightning F Mk. 1A end its service in 111 Sq. In November 1964, when the machine was replaced with Lightning F Mk. 3.
I would not like to say that it is easy kit to built, no it is not, much of care have to be take during the assembly and painting but the final results are more then satisfactory! Finished kit look really nice and if you decide to left cockpit canopy open, many of the excellent interior detail would be seen. You can buy this kit direct here.
Sample kit is provided by Jan Zdiarsky from Eduard.