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English Electric Lightning in 1/48?


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I figued where better to ask questions about the English Electric Lightning than here in Britmodeller.  I did a bit of research on the net, and it appears that perhaps the ONLY available option for a 1/48 English Electric Lightning kit is rebox of a not very recent kit, done by Airfix.  Does anyone know of a more current English Electric Lightning model kit?  If there is nothing more recent/better, what are the thoughts of anyone who has RECENTLY built the AIrfix kit?  Is the Airfix a decent build in terms of accuracy, fit?  Any rumblings of anything forthcoming in a ne tooling for this plane?  Thanks for any thoughts.

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The Airfix series of 1/48 Lightnings may not be new, but IMHO they're still very nice kits, and they have the virtue, AFAIK, of being the only options in that scale. They originated in the mid-late 1990s, about the same time as the Airfix 1/48 Spitfire 22/24 and Seafire 47. It was a good era for Airfix, and I'd say the two series are comparable in quality and engineering. From what I read the Airfix Lightning is the most accurate in any scale, but there isn't much competition. I built an F.6 in the late 90s, which obviously doesn't qualify for you as a RECENT (sic) build, but I remember it well. It was challenging, but rewarding, and the result was a striking model that took a first place in a local contest two years ago. In terms of fit, it can't be compared to recent Tamiya, but it's not bad especially considering it provides complete intake trunking back to the engine. I used a Cutting Edge resin cockpit that I imagine would be about impossible to find these days, but CMK and Aires both do resin sets.

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For the sake of completeness: Aeroclub did a couple of multi-media 1:48 Lightning kits (vacformed fuselages and wing panels, injected leading and trailing edges for the wings, injected tails, white metal accessories). Very nice for their day, and still up there with the best, but they're long OOP. You may still find one occasionally on one of the online auction or second-hand sites.

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I've built both early and later mark Lightnings from the Airfix kit.  Quality of moulding is on a par with more recent kits.  Good clean panel detail but no rivets. I have seen several examples built with full riveting added, but look at photos of real Lighnings, to be honest I struggle to see rivits. Fit is good with care as the fuselage joints are very long and prone to movement when glueing.  The cockpit is basic but Neomega produce a lovely resin cockpit that is a drop fit.  I used the CMK wheel wells upgrade on mine but that's very hard work as even thinning top and bottom wings to almost paper thickness, the resin wheel wells will not fit without reduction in depth.  Lots of build reviews here and elsewhere, but I would say it doesn't really need a replacement, especially with the plethora of aftermarket upgrades.

Here was my most recent

http://ipmsavon.org.uk/meetings-gallery.php?year=19#20190918-5

 

 

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Another vote for the Airfix 1/48 Lightning, possibly the best aircraft kit Airfix have ever produced.

 

Duncan B

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I'd endorse what all has been said above by the guys.  Its one of the rare kits that you dont have to be worried that it was not moulded yesterday.  It was a great kit by the standards of its time and remains a very good basis for a build with some aftermarket added for the cockpit

 

(If only we could say the same for the efforts in 1/32 :( - the rare Echelon vac form excepted which is a another masterpiece of its time) 

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The Airfix Lightnings are superb kits (I would say Aifix's best ever), I've built four in the past the first in 1998, I've literally just completed their F.2A and I'm still blown away with how easily and well it builds, and the finesse of the surface finish and detail.

The decals in the later boxings are definitely better quality than the originals.

 

Probably the one down side for some is that the cockpit is a bit sparse by modern standards, it doesn't bother me as little is seen, but there are various upgrade kits for the cockpit.

They are enjoyable to build from the box, and they really suit upgrades.

 

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At the time of release. IIRC. the only thing attracting criticism was that the cockpits were a bit simple. As said above, there are still aftermarket replacements or additions that you can use if you want to upgrade this area easily without a bit of (simple) scratchbuilding. The only thing to worry about is that you get the appropriate type of instrument panel. But given the visibility of a closed cockpit, personally I think the only wothwhile addition is an aftermarket ejector seat, and they are legion. Maybe add a bit of ducting on the sloping cockpit rear behind the seat. If you want to put the thing on a stick, then just use the pilot and IMHO it looks fine.

 

The Flightpath set is handy for an open cockpit on the ground version, and includes better missiles, and handling trolleys, but as with all their sets it can be a pig to use due to the stiff nature of the PE used. That could easily be down to deficiencies in my ability rather than the sets themselves, of course.

 

I've built 5 of them, 2 with trainer conversions and they were a joy. Wings in early issues could have a bit of warp at the tip, easily corrected by finger pressure, and if doing a version using inserts to blank the nose guns you need to dry run to be sure they don't sit too deep - they should be flush, and 2 of mine needed a bit of 5 thou card fitting first to raise them to the surface. I don't recall any other problems that weren't self-induced.

 

Paul.

 

 

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Airfix’s 1/48th Lightnings are fine kits, even 20 years plus after their first release.  They’re generally easy to build, albeit with some checking and adjustment of fit in places, and look the part once completed.  

 

One “gotcha” in the Mk. 1/1a/2/3 boxing is that the cable ducts along the lower fuselage sides for the 1a and 2 can wind up too far forward, they should run from about the trailing edge of the missile pylons to the leading edge of the airbrakes.

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Wot they all said. Superb kits for their time, still hold up well, no need for updating by Airfix. I still have several in the stash and an F2a part built right no, A pleasure to build, and the Aeroclub two seat conversion works well - as to be fair do the Sword kits.

 

Some day soon i shall pluck up my courage and tackle the superb looking 1/32nd Lightning from Echelon. If it works out as well as their Hunter, 'twill be good.

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The Airfix Lightning is lovely, in its F1/F3 guise and F2A/F6. This is how my early boxing F1 turned out:

 

IMG-6975.jpg

 

 

The kits have really nice decal sheets too. 

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Yes she very nice indeed. I like it a lot. You captured the look of such an iconic aircraft. Even the lack of much flattening of the tyres which at 380 PSI would not allow much deflection. 
Well done.

Sammy 

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4 hours ago, sammy da fish said:

Yes she very nice indeed. I like it a lot. You captured the look of such an iconic aircraft. Even the lack of much flattening of the tyres which at 380 PSI would not allow much deflection. 
Well done.

Sammy 

260 psi from memory 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m building the Echelon Lightning F6 right now, just got her on her wheels, a really fun and splendid “kit”. At pretty much the same stage is an Airfix 1/48 F2A, very simple but effective. 

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6 hours ago, galgos said:

I’m building the Echelon Lightning F6 right now, just got her on her wheels, a really fun and splendid “kit”. At pretty much the same stage is an Airfix 1/48 F2A, very simple but effective. 

 

How is your canopy? Mine is yellowed. Thinking of filling it with Milliput and trying to mould a new one, but it's a bit large for that. Indeed, an excellent kit otherwise, although the main plastic parts on mine have gone slightly brittle with age. Building is slow because I got the Daco book, the photo coverage being so good that I'm going back over what I've already done and doing my best to improve it. Wings are done, but the book clearly shows every perforation in the fuselage, so I'm having a go at that.

 

The late Ted Taylor's 3-part build is very helpful, and the original poster might want to have a look because much of the detail he adds can be added to the Airfix kit using old-schooly methods with bits of scrap and plastic card, if you'd rather not shell out for aftermarket stuff. His article is still online, starting at http://tedtaylor.hobbyvista.com/82-echelon-lightning/page-82.html .

 

The aircraft part of the site is organised a bit chaotically but very much worth a look. http://tedtaylor.hobbyvista.com/02-airbase/page-02.html

 

Paul.

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Yes Paul, my canopy is yellowed too.  I've been given a spare Trumpeter one which I may use if I have to, opened up the difference in width shouldn't be too obvious, though I'm hoping a friend may mould a new one for me, watch this space - I'll keep you informed if he's open to doing a couple.

 

CC0wKI.jpg


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I've used the Aires wheel wells (they don't fit without lots of work), cockpit (ok but needs lots of fiddling) and exhausts (easy fit).

Max

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5 minutes ago, galgos said:

Yes Paul, my canopy is yellowed too.  I've been given a spare Trumpeter one which I may use if I have to, opened up the difference in width shouldn't be too obvious, though I'm hoping a friend may mould a new one for me, watch this space - I'll keep you informed if he's open to doing a couple.

 

 


 


 

I've used the Aires wheel wells (they don't fit without lots of work), cockpit (ok but needs lots of fiddling) and exhausts (easy fit).

Max

Thanks for the offer. I'll bear it in mind. Another route I've considered is to only try to do the opening section - the windshield section is composed of mostly flat planes so I could use the supplied moulding for the framing and glaze it. 

 

I've been using the Flightpath set but am not totally sold on it. Some bits fit well, others I can't get my head around, and I've never liked the really thick, springy metal used. You can anneal it, but that isn't too easy either. I mention it because I did use the wheel well inserts - completely different shape to the kit appertures, so I wish I'd just used styrene. And I've built the cockpit but think I'll just use bits of it with the kit parts. Anyway, enough thread divergence.............

 

Paul.

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I agree the Airfix 1/48th Lightning's were excellent kits on release in the 1990's, but that was the only time I built them. I cannot say what current releases are like (the moulds are getting on for 25-30 years old now), so my advice is to look for an original boxing-  should be no flash or major worries with them.

On the whole, a joy to build, even OOB, which is easy to make a stunner, but if you dont fancy the kit decals, the after market ones are pretty good. 

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7 minutes ago, Radpoe Spitfire said:

I agree the Airfix 1/48th Lightning's were excellent kits on release in the 1990's, but that was the only time I built them. I cannot say what current releases are like (the moulds are getting on for 25-30 years old now), so my advice is to look for an original boxing-  should be no flash or major worries with them.

On the whole, a joy to build, even OOB, which is easy to make a stunner, but if you dont fancy the kit decals, the after market ones are pretty good. 

That might not be the case - they've had quite a few gaps in production so the moulds may be okay. What I'd be more concerned about is how well they work with the plastic used these days. Another thing, and perhaps I'm remembering wrong, but I thought that the curled mismoulding of the wing wnds that used to occur was sorted with later production runs. So you really need to either know someone who's bought a recent one, or get hold of a kit from the 2nd production run............

 

 

Paul.

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