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My first WIP.........Trumpeter 1:32 F.1A/F3 Lightning

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Hi All

My first WIP, I'm a little nervous! I have been asked to build this kit by a friend as a present. He has supplied the kit (tho I also have one waiting in my stash). This is a £90.00 kit and since I'm building it for someone else as a present for their friend I'm doubly nervous!


My experience of Trumpeter to date hasn't been great. I've abandoned a 1/48 Skywarrior due to excessively bent and warped fuselage halves (I'm awaiting replacements from the UK importer) and a rather difficult 1/48 Vigilante build (which is on here in Ready for Inspection, tho I loved the end result).

I've done some net research and would especially like to thank AAbshier for his most informative 2009 build here on Britmodeller. It seems this kit has some issues too.....

The kit is to be displayed clean on a stand, wheels up, airbrakes closed, probably in a suitably dynamic attitude (near vertical climb?), I'm thinking perhaps some form of curved plastic rod from a base to the jet tubes. I've had a post on Cold War asking for advice as to how to do this for a couple of days, but so far no response.

I've opened the box and the first thing to say is, this is a BIG kit!


I'm hoping to start at the weekend.

I've ordered a couple of aftermarket items which should be here in a couple of days and I'll detail them when they arrive.

I think that's it for my first post.....

.......wish me luck?


Edited by dhdove
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Looking forward to seeing this come together! I got a 1/35 Trumpeter Mi-4 for about half of what it usually goes for (I think it was probably a mistake, but oh well!) so it'll be nice to see generally what sort of issues crop up with these large scale Trumpeter kits.

This thread goes into some detail about devising mounts for a clear acrylic tube through the jet exhaust as a mount. I'm sure you could PM the OP directly as well. That was only a 1/72 build, but it should scale up.

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Looking forward to seeing this come together! I got a 1/35 Trumpeter Mi-4 for about half of what it usually goes for (I think it was probably a mistake, but oh well!) so it'll be nice to see generally what sort of issues crop up with these large scale Trumpeter kits.

This thread goes into some detail about devising mounts for a clear acrylic tube through the jet exhaust as a mount. I'm sure you could PM the OP directly as well. That was only a 1/72 build, but it should scale up.

Thanks for that, I was thinking of acrylic rod, that's a great tip on bending it into shape.

Hope you enjoy my WIP.


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So I have been giving some thought to the method of displaying on a stand. I'm going to use two lengths of round 15mm acrylic rod (the afterburner cans are just over 15mm ID). The acrylic will pass through the cans up the jet pipes and through holes drilled in the engine face closing plate. But how to hold them there?


I decided to add a bulkhead using the internal moulding of the speed brakes as a stop and cut a cardboard template. From that I made a plasticard bulkhead and sanded to fit. Some more plasticard strips locate the bullhead.


The model will be displayed at an approx 30 degree climb angle (I've picked this as I think it's dramatic but also shows the kit off to it's best) and as long as the rods are parallel it can be slid on and off the base easily.

I'll cover the rear face of the new bullhead with sponge so that there is a degree of cushioning in the mount.

I've also made a start on the seat so more of that next time.

Postman's just been with some goodies from Hannants....


Now onto the seat in earnest


Edited by dhdove
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Masks, pitot, PE, and decals! You're not messing about!

I'm really looking forward to my 1/72 build of this one in Saudi markings but I've got so much in the queue in front of it! :bounce:

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Masks, pitot, PE, and decals! You're not messing about!

I'm really looking forward to my 1/72 build of this one in Saudi markings but I've got so much in the queue in front of it! :bounce:


Masks, I thought I'd treat myself for the first time....... painting canopies is not one of my strong points and in this case they are not expensive.

Pitot, for a display model it's much more in scale and hopefully less likely to be snapped (tho dissapointingly it's not complete and relies on drilling and fixing to the kit pitot bracket, Ho-hum

PE yes. I've used Eduard ZOOM seat PE several times and always liked the result. I decided to go with this and the kit seat rather than a resin option......they never seem to fit! I think it's because they are accurate to scale to the original seat but plastic kit cockpit interiors are smaller because of the non scale thickness of the fuselage walls, bulkheads etc. etc. hence whist the exterior may (or may not) be to scale the interior is not.

Decals. I'm going for a non kit option aircraft.

Thanks for your interest.

More soon.


Edited by dhdove
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  • 2 weeks later...


Quick note

Just spotted typo in earlier post.......

Should be....... 70 degree climb angle.......

Sorry if that had you scratching your heads!

So 20 degrees off the vertical!


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Hey Tony, can't wait to see more progress! My F9F-2 suffered a broken critical part, so it's on hold. Might get started on my 1/72 Lightning this weekend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So here is a little progress....

With regard to the mount I've received the 300X15 mm acrylic rod and have modded the jet pipes


Above here's what would have been the aft end of the engines with holes for the rods showing the tools used to make the holes.......below the whole assembly dry fitted. I've doubled the thickness of this part with plasticard to increase it's strength.



The rods will go into drilled holes in an oak base at 70 degrees from the horizontal (20 degrees off the vertical). The only thing not shown is the sponge face for the rods to rest against.

Due to the torque exerted on the rear fuse by the mount I'm thinking of adding a load of two pac epoxy glue around the jet tubes as reinforcement.

Here's the cockpit tub with basic seat


The kit seat isn't great and the cockpit seems to be a figment of the imagination of a Trumpeter employee!

Here's the basic kit seat painted


Research confirmed that the F.1A cockpit was all black (this makes the Eduard zoom etch for the F.1A in grey/blue totally incorrect) so I chose to use a new technique using "oily" pastel crayons and imagination to highlight raised detail in a similar way to dry brushing then a coat of satin varnish.


The Eduard zoom seat kit improved the seat hugely.....


The tub was a little troublesome to assemble but patience won out in the end and dry fitting in the fuse seems to be good.

Whilst losing patience with the tub I decided to start on the wings which was straightforward. The kit doesn't list a wheels up option but with a very little work to the hinges the doors fitted in the up position very well.


Some sausages of white tack provided a resilient backing to support the doors whilst the glue set in the flush position


I think the end result is fine, tho the white tac is in there forever.....


Now for the biggest challenge, assembling the fuse halves taking account of the fact the intake trunking needs moving forward to meet the nose ring, this then throws the nose wheel bay out of alignment (tho with doors closed this could be an advantage). The cockpit then will have to move rearwards slightly. I need to take account of the additional bulkhead for the acrylic rods to rest against which makes the fuse fit a little more complicated.

NB The attitude of the displayed model means you will be staring down the intake so it needs to be right, I'm not sure how I'm going to get the intake to ring to intakes joint smooth and lovely......?

That's it for now folks, thanks for your interest and comments which are always welcome.



Edited by dhdove
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Thanks POTKC

Yes! Not including radome, pitot head and afterburner pipes......!

She's a big ol' Frightening............

For those who are interested, these are the pastel crayons I used to "dry brush" the cockpit.



Edited by dhdove
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Hi all

Much butchery of late.......

Following AAbshiers lead I have been trying to solve the intake trunking problem. I have moved the trunking forwards approx 5mm and modified the nose ring to take it (some light carnage)


I know, it looks awful!

Since I'm building wheels up I was ruthless with the U/C bay as I couldn't seem to get the fuse halves to fit, but this wasn't the problem.

The fuse narrows to the front and didn't want to close around the trunking.......which is wider now since it moved forwards.....

So then I ground away the outside of the trunking and the inside of the fuse halves, eventually I have reached a point where the fuse halves fit together and the intake trunking meets the nose ring. This was not a job for the feint-hearted and I was worried I had written off the kit at one point.


However, all seems to be well and looking down the intake it seems fine. There may be a need for some judicious filling and touching in.....

Moving the intake trunking forwards has led to the radar cone being too far forward so again, following AA's lead I have swiped 5mm off that to retain the right "penetration" of the radome through the nose


Finally I have been opening up some fuse vents etc. I didn't have a suitable straw available so have employed a flexible pipette for the port rear outlet.


If it works I'll cut it down to size and paint accordingly.

I'm hoping to close the fuse in the next couple of days and praying that things are more straightforward from then on!



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Time for an update....the fuse halves are together! Yay!!!

Anyway, rewind slightly

Here's the APU exhaust outlet with the pipette cut off. Not the best...the soft vinyl(?) didn't lend itself to sanding, this is the second attempt using a very sharp scalpel, still not perfect but I'm not sure I want to meddle with it anymore.


I started second guessing myself on the strength of my new bulkhead which the acrylic rods will rest against when it's on it's stand, so added a reinforcing beam from thick sprue inside the fuse. Result. It's now rock solid.....


After some thought I assembled the intake tube and radome and painted it


The nose ring was painted and then covered with chrome Bare Metal Foil, I like it.


.....the radome is a colour I mixed myself from Tamiya sky and deck tan.

The cockpit tub fitted very well (amazing) tho I had to butcher the top of the intake tube slightly to prevent fuse distortion


Nearly ready to assemble, here's the rear end, jet pipes and the rear of the new bulkhead with sponge to rest the stand rods against,


Then, plenty of glue and try not to rush, this is a big fuse to assemble but I decided to do it in one hit.


I took the white tac out....


Then taped it up for tonight


The Tamiya pot gives an idea of size, I popped the fin on for effect.

That's it!

I hope it all works out OK.

Tomorrow some tidying up, nosegear doors and maybe fit the flying surfaces which I have pre-assembled and primed.

Hope you enjoyed.

V Best


Edited by dhdove
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Well, the fuse went together fine, phew!

Fin glued on


Panel lines roughly marked with Faber Castell shades of grey artist pens, but I don't know how they'll fare under the silver....

Now I'm thinking of starting to get some paint on, but...this is one BIG kit so for the first time ever I'm thinking of painting the fuse, each wing and the elevators separately and then assembling the components post painting.

Not sure if this is a good or bad idea, bound to get glue onto the painted surfaces on assembly requiring touch up :-((

Any suggestions gratefully received.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Looking great thus far. I use a similar approach to you with the crayons - I use an artists silver pencil to add small marks and scratches throughout the cockpit. I hadn't thought of using a pen for pre-shading the panel-lines, I'll have to try that.

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Hi Guys

Thanks for your interest :-)

It's been a while since I posted the reasons for which will become clear.

I painted the fuse spine and wing and elevator leading edges with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Red which I've used on a previous lightning and seems to hit about the right shade....


I then covered the fuse spine with X-22 clear lacquer to protect it.

It was time to think silver. I'd done some research but there seemed to be some conflicting opinions so I thought I'd try trial and error.

Tamiya X-11 Chrome silver first.

I went to fill my airbrush and DISASTER! What did I find? What looked liked solid clear bathroom sealant filled my lovely H&S Evolution. I'd neglected to clean it after last use and days later it was now full of dried clear lacquer.....oh how I cursed myself!

I had to get quite robust to clean out all the offending solidified lacquer but eventually I managed it. So on with the silver.

I knew straight away all was not well, it wouldn't feed the paint properly, still more grunge to clean out. A second attempt was then made and it went from bad to worse, bubbles in the pot, paint up the trigger...OH NO! Had I damaged the seals with such industrial cleaning.

I called my guru on all things airbrush related, Martin at Air-Craft.net who calmed me down and promised to despatch a seal kit immediately. He was as good as his word and I was soon presented with a bag full of little rubber seals.

Now I don't know if you air-brush types have ever completely stripped one, I hadn't and I soon came to appreciate that they're complex little beasties. However I did my best and all seemed to go well so on with the silver.....

DOH! It's still not right, spattering and inconsistent. But the X-11 certainly seems too bright, I persevere with X-32 Titanium Silver but that's too dark and a mix of the two doesn't seem too good either and the airbrush is just getting worse despite some more seal replacement.

It was at this point that I hoisted the white flag, called Martin again and asked if I could send it back to him for diagnosis and repair. He was as calm as ever and I felt better so it was parcelled and despatched.

Meantime with a flash of lateral thinking I bought a can of Tamiya TS-17 Gloss Aluminium (which is probably what I should have done in the first place).

I got my repaired airbrush back after a just a couple of days, arriving this morning Special Delivery..........along with the old body that I had managed to put a thumping scratch in with my ham fisted cleaning efforts. OOOOPS!

So. Not much progress in the last couple of weeks I'm afraid.

Tomorrow we try the TS-17.......


Pre shading panel lines with pens is my lazy way of doing it. It can be very effective but is somewhat dependent on the top coat. The silver that I did manage to apply rapidly obscured it with only a light coat so I may have to rethink.

That's it for now, I hope to be able to make some actual progress over the next few days....

.....wish me luck.


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Hey Tony

Sounds like you've had a right nightmare with your airbrush. I forgot to clean mine out once so I left it to soak overnight in cellulose thinners.

Looking forward to seeing your progress. Even with just the red on its looking nice. I might have to get me a Lightning.


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Hi all

So at last I've managed to make a little progress this weekend, I painted the fuse and wings and elevators separately with the Tamiya TS-17 gloss aluminium and then assembled the major airframe parts using a combination of poly glue and CA.




One thing I have realised, 1/48 is ideally sized for my workbench, this 1/32 Lightning is a real handful!

My next plan is to highlight and "lowlight" selected panels with a brighter and duller silver shade, although contemporary photos show the aircraft as pretty shiny all over, but I guess it will look a bit more realistic.

The airframe hasn't been lacquered yet hence the masking still on the spine and tail which has been lacquered.

I had some problems with the fuse half join showing way too obviously, some sanding has sorted this although at the expense of some detail, especially on the belly tank. Oh well......

Next up

Panel detail





Stand .....

....and finish!

Thanks for looking in!


Edited by dhdove
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Hi all

Well, some time has gone by and progress has been a little slow I'm afraid.

My airbrush returned in perfect condition as promised by Martin at air-craft.net (thanks Martin!). So I've embarked on getting the airframe together.

Studying contemporary colour photos seemed to show that the 56 Squadron aircraft were pretty clean other than local repairs eg top nose cannon covering plates so I've not done too much in terms of colouring panels. I'll take another look after decals with pastels.

I've given the whole airframe a coat of Tamiya Gloss lacquer ready for decals


During this process I've managed to break off the right hand elevator......twice.....I know, lack of care and hamfistedness. Second time around I drilled out the locating holes and put a steel panel pin in, hopefully that'll hold it.


I've replicated the nose cannon blanking plates in 15 thou plastic card (tho I think this is still too thick) and attached the intake ring with it's BareMetal chrome covering, not perfect but looks OK I hope?


Some light smoke effects on the APU exhaust were added.

I had some difficulty exactly locating the Eduard canopy masks but got there in the end, here in primer


Masked and painted the anti dazzle panel in Tamiya Flat Black and then protected with Vallejo Satin Varnish 70.522. I still think this is a little too Matt but I don't intend to do it again. I had to add a little filler between the fuse and the nose ring, also slightly scuffed the Bare metal so the primer and top coat would grip.


Canopies then got the same treatment of paint and lacquer....


Next up, think about some decals....


Is it me or is there only one decal for each type of missile with this kit???

I can't believe it.....the paint and decal page show a Firestreak on one side and a RedTop on the other but the instructions show them as alternates in pairs, surely there can't just be decals for one of each missile?

Then again it's a Trumpeter......I'm not sure I like trumpeter kits....

Best Wishes


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The Weapons pack on Lightning's were one or the other different missile mountings not to mention seeker heads cooled by different media. So its one or the other. Most of the time we had Mk F3's and T5's armed with Firestreak and the Mk6's had Redtops.

The Lightning dosn't have a APU the outlet your referring to its the ATGB (Air Turbine Gearbox) exhaust basicaly the tnlet at the base of the fin takes air in and passes it through a turbine this turbine drives a gearbox. attached to the gearbox are the ac and dc gennys. this system is one of the reason the CAA wont allow a Lightnings to fly in the UK.

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Thanks for that confirmation, I've never seen a Lightning with a differential missile fit.

Also, forgive my ignorance re exhaust...... :-(

Bizarrely the kit only contains one decal set for each type of missile.......beats me!


Edited by dhdove
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I've always been a fan of the ' Frightning ' so I'll be watching this with interest.

FYI, I think I've read somewhere that the flaps were painted silver rather than NM, I'm sure someone reading this will confirm it, or not, as the case may be.



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