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A Cypriot 'Gripper'. 1:144 Trident 2E

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Hawker Siddeley Trident 2E, Airfix 1:144

Cyprus Airways decals from classic-airliners.com




My last RFI of the year, in fact of the decade. It is the venerable old Airfix Trident, dating from around 1966 with some of its faults corrected. Yes Authentic Airliners do a Trident that is almost perfect, and yes Eastern Express are due to release a new range of Tridents next year. But this was in my stash and the sticker on the box tells me It only cost me £3.50 some 25 years ago, and what is a stash for, but building from! I stumbled across this decal sheet at Telford, and thought it made for a different looking Trident. It is actually the second Trident I started, as I also have a -1E on the workbench that will be finished in the BKS scheme.

It was often known as the 'Ground Gripper' , or just 'Gripper' because of its tendency to use a lot of runway on take off, it was also said the it was only due to the curvature earth that it was able to get airborne at all. This was partly due to its swept wing design that enabled it to be one of the fastest airliners in service, once it was in the air.

This particular aircraft 5B-DAC still exists. It had earlier served in BEA as G-AVFB in the red square scheme, and is preserved at Duxford today. After service with Cyprus Airways it returned to British Airways in 1977.















An early 1970's ramp at Heathrow!



The kit has several inaccuracies, and thanks to Dave 'Skodadriver' and Chris 'Stringbag' who both kindly supplied me with valuable information about where corrections are needed, and photos. I did not correct everything, the main thing I left out was reshaping the wing to get the leading edge 'kink' in it. It was a bit of fun, and I enjoy doing a bit of old fashioned modelling to try and make improvements. Airfix never kitted a Trident Two but all you need to do is fill in the windows and extend each wing tip . The rest of the changes are applicable to the Trident One (and the extended wings tips for the 1E).  (Edit - Forgot to point out some reshaping of 'hole' in the center intake. There is a limit to what you can do, it is better but not perfect. Perhaps it needs building up with more plasticard and filler, and some serious reshaping.).

These are the main improvements:



The decals were laser printed and do not contain any white coloured print, which means that you have to mask an accurate demarcation between the grey and the white. I used a photocopy of the blue cheatline taped to the fuselage in order to apply the masking tape accurately, ending up with this:



The decals had a 'Gotcha' which fortunately I noticed before putting them in water.



The 'Antelope' figure in all references I have seen, id always heading to the right, as on the side views in the decal instructions. Strangely the port side decal for the option I chose, had him heading the other way. Simple to fix. I just cut him out and substituted one from the other tail decal that I wasn't going to use. Odd that the 'Trident Sun Jet' option was wrong but the other was was fine.


Thanks for looking,



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An inspiring piece of preparatory work resulting in a superb model.


Being at the other end of the World, I have not seen a Trident but your thoughts on the purpose of a stash do resonate,



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Hi John,

Another great Airfix improvement tutorial! Pity I passed all my Airfix Tridents on when I substituted them for Authentic Airliners ones!

Those improvements really do make a difference especially straightening the tail leading edge and reshaping the centre intake.

You forgot to mention you've offset the nose gear which is another distinctive feature of the Trident that is incorrect on the Airfix kit.

Love the Trident Sun Jet livery but it would've looked better with a more fancy font for the titles don't you think?

Looking forward to the BKS 1E, now that is a beautiful Trident livery!



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Another stunner John, great to see one of the more unusual schemes too. I didn’t know EE were releasing a Trident, they are filling the gap nicely.


happy new year, I look forwards to seeing what you give us in 2020 :)


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Hi John


That's a great end to 2019. I love the Trident in that scheme and I'm glad you found the information helpful. Like Ian I'm looking forward to seeing the BKS 1E. You are definitely tempting me to dig an Airfix Trident out of my own stash!


I don't know if you've seen it but this is a very interesting piece about the last landing of a Cyprus Airways Trident at Nicosia in 1974. Sadly Alpha Echo got blown to bits but at least nobody was hurt.


Happy New Year from Scotland


Dave G

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What a lovely Trident,great job with all the prep work, certainly turned into a really nice model, agree with you about using your stash rather than having a collection of boxes.                                                                                                                                                                   Cheers Michael.

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