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Gloster Javelin FAW9/9R (A12007) 1:48


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Gloster Javelin FAW9/9R (A12007)

1:48 Airfix

 

 

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The Gloster Javelin was an all-weather interceptor that started as an advanced concept just after WWII, but due to protracted design difficulties didn't see service until much later. It took until the FAW7 and the later FAW9 before it was capable of doing its intended job, and even then it was challenging to fly by all accounts. It was an important type for the RAF however, bridging the gap between the first generation and more recent designs by carrying external missiles, having afterburners for extra speed and in the R designated machines, the ability to refuel in the air using a long probe fitted over the starboard wing root.

 

Its distinctive Delta wing with large T-tail made it easy to recognise, and it usually wore the familiar green/grey disruptive camouflage that typified Cold War era aircraft. Although it never fired a shot in anger, it had a reasonably long term of service for the period from 1956 to 1968, despite the rapid changes in aviation technology during the period. It was well liked by the crews, a solid performer at airshows, and was used by RAE as a test aircraft after some modifications, which included a rather colourful red and white paint job. The last aircraft flew in 1978, and there are thankfully a relatively large number preserved, with the majority being in the UK. Over 400 were made including all marks, and although there was some interest from some NATO countries, the Javelin was never an export success, with the RAF being its sole operator.

 

The Kit

This was and still is the first injection moulded styrene kit of this type in 1:48, although 1:72 has seen a couple over the years. Previously if you wanted one in this scale, you'd have to build a Dynavector vacform, which although an excellent kit is very hard to come by these days due to there being no possibility of a new supply.  Having pored over the sprues for a while, the detail is a great example of the reinvigorated Airfix, and some additional parts have been included to display the model after construction and the whole package smacks of a company doing their best to raise their standards in every department.  The kit arrives in a large top-opening box with a digital painting on the front, and inside are eight sprues of light grey styrene, a clear sprue, a large decal sheet, instruction booklet with colour painting guide at the rear and a separate A3 stencil guide.

 

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Construction begins with the nose gear bay, having separate detailed side walls and a satisfyingly deep depression in the roof for the wheel. This keys into the underside of the cockpit, which has a corresponding hump in the floor, showing how tight the spacing in that sleek nose was. The cockpit floor has built in side-consoles with raised instrument detailing on their topsides. The sides are blank however, but given the claustrophobia inspiring nature of the cockpit, it's doubtful anyone will ever notice once it is closed up. The rear bulkhead is a separate part, and one of the front console tops is too, with rudder and control column up front. The Martin-Baker Type 3J seats are built up from two halves that make up the frame, plus separate seat and back cushion parts, with a head box incorporating the prominent pull-handles attached to the top. They are well detailed, and the cushions have a slightly wavy material look to them, which makes them appear more naturalistic. There are no belts provided however, so you'll need to make your own from tape or foil, unless use an update set from Eduard. The instrument panels separate the pilot from the rear seater, and again there is good detail moulded in. It's perhaps not the most sophisticated instrument panel, having slightly simplified dials, but once painted and with the instrument dial decals installed it should suit most modellers, and with the lack of light in there, no-one will see. The cockpit sidewalls are supplied as inserts that cover the whole upper of the assembly, as well as providing the first sections of sill detail, and once the front bulkhead and the rear instrument coaming are installed, the outer skin of the nose is added, locating on a large lug low down on the front of the cockpit sidewall parts. The nosecone is added later in the build, and needs 25g of weight to keep all the wheels on the ground, but there's plenty of room in there for some dark matter.

 

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Next come the full-length intake trunks, which are supplied as horizontally split halves and terminate in the bullet-fairing and stator blades, with a reasonable representation of the front face of the engine behind them. Given the length of the intake trunking, it might be as well to paint it before assembly and try to get the best joint possible, particularly near the intake lip where it might be seen. Surprisingly, these attach to the sides of the nose assembly, and a double-yoke/wing spar part glues to the rear, keeping the engines at the correct orientation to the fuselage. The exhaust tubes are built in a similar fashion, but with the early afterburner nozzle at the forward end and an additional skin around the exhaust end, coupled with a one-piece set of "petals". These are secured in the lower fuselage with another double-yoke/wing spar part at the forward edge, with a resulting gap between the front and rear of the engine where the working parts would go on the real thing. With the insertion of the cockpit and engine trunking, the horizontally split fuselage is closed up, with a couple of optional holes drilled in the top before doing so. The texture of the fuselage is slightly different to the rest of the parts, and the guides for the wing spars have caused a few very light sink marks where the styrene has shrunk during cooling. It's neither massive nor deep, so you can fix them quickly with some Mr Surfacer or other filler, so don't tear your hair out. The intake lips are separate from the fuselage, and again there are a couple of sink marks around one side where the locating tab has resulted in extra volume of styrene, and subsequent shrinkage. Again, break out the filler, apply it sparingly and try not to fill any panel lines, preferably before gluing them to the fuselage.

 

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The large triangular main gear bays are moulded as a single part for each bay, but some ribbing detail has been added to the side walls, to prevent them looking too bland. A chordwise strengthening member is added to split the bay, and part of the retraction mechanism is glued to the roof before they are inserted into the upper wing. At this point you need to choose whether you are portraying the dive brakes/spoilers as open or closed, because there are different inserts for each option, and they sit toward the rear of the wing top and bottom parts. The ailerons are each two parts, and they are trapped between the wing halves to remain mobile if you feel the urge, but without sacrificing realism. The big T-tail can have its rudder and elevators movable too, and the massive fin glues into a deep slot on the back of the fuselage that should ensure it never comes off. The horizontal tail also rotates around a point roughly in the centre of its chord, which is achieved by the centre portion of the tail being modelled as a separate two-part section, the closing of which traps the stub axles of each side, with a large cylindrical nub holding them fast within the tail. The wings slide onto the fuselage along the two widely set spars, so if you've put the spars in the correct place (it's very hard not to), you should get good alignment.

 

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With main construction completed, it's onto the smaller parts, all of which would be broken off during painting if I was involved. It's a testament to Airfix trying to help the modeller by giving us a build process that matches real modelling, rather than something more convenient to the instruction designer. You have the option to close the gear bays and show your Javelin in flight, or you can use the stout gear legs to park her up in the cabinet. The main legs with their separate oleo-scissors fit firmly into a cupped slot in the gear bays, and the main retraction jack is fed through a strengthening beam and rotated into position, when it is joined by the remainder to link the bay roof to the leg. A pair of retraction jacks for the main door are moulded as a single C-shaped part, and they attach to the bay and the door, which should give you the correct angle without any effort. The outer bay doors both attach to the gear leg, with the only difference between port and starboard (apart from their handing) being a landing light on the port leg that isn't present on the starboard. The nose gear leg is a two-part affair, with a yoke and mudguard split so that the nose wheel is trapped between them. A Y-shaped retraction jack extends to the rear of the bay, and the two bay doors hang vertically (as shown in a scrap diagram) on three hinge tabs. Various intakes and exhausts are dotted around the underside and topside of the aircraft, most of which could be fitted before painting, as is the rear fairing behind the cockpit.

 

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The flaps, sited in front of the spoilers can be posed deployed or stowed at your whim, but the detail within the flap bay is too nice to hide away, so I'd be tempted to leave them open. A pair of jacks are included for each flap to set them at the correct angle and lend a little more realism, and this also follows through to the spoilers if you are leaving them open. If you've opted to display them closed, the insert mentioned earlier is all you have to add. If you have chosen to model them hanging out, the insert has the shape of the spoiler engraved deep into the surface, and the spoiler is a separate part with its two actuators glued to the inner face. There are four in total with one under and over each wing, so they should keep you busy for a few minutes.

 

Another modeller friendly break in the build has you making up the four Firestreak missiles, four fuel tanks, or some combination, which is a task that so often gets forgotten until the last minute and consequentially sometimes gets abandoned due to burn-out. The Firestreaks each have two fins moulded into one half, and the other two as separate parts, plus a launch rail adapter and a faceted nose cone to finish them off. The fuel tanks are simple tubes with aerodynamically curved ends, and are made of two halves. There are four hard points under the wings, and you have a choice of three types of pylon on the inner stations, one each for Firestreaks, fuel tanks and unladen. On the outer station, only two choices are needed, with the missiles and tanks sharing one, and the other having no location pips for the empty option. Due to its prodigious thirst for fuel, the Javelin often carried two semi-conformal fuel tanks on the underside of the fuselage that were oval in plan, stowed side-by-side in the large flatter area under the engines. These are provided in the kit, and are single piece mouldings that hug the fuselage, with three locating pins to ensure they end up in the right place.

 

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The canopy, which is both thin and clear, is supplied in three parts, and can be posed open or closed, with separate side-rails that are attached to the edges of the cockpit, and pegs to link the glazing to the rails. It's clever, but it lends itself best to a closed canopy. If you're leaving the canopies open there's no benefit, as you still have to mask the front and rear rails, so you might as well glue the bottom rails to the canopy anyway. A pair of scrap diagrams show the correct positioning for the two sliding sections, and of course your windscreen will need fairing in with a bit of putty to replicate the real thing. Running alongside the cockpit and out over the wing beyond the tip of the nosecone, the refuelling probe is a large piece of kit, and is made from just two parts, which slots into one of the holes you made earlier in the top of the fuselage. A spigot pipe leads to the other hole (you did drill those holes, didn't you?), presumably to balance out the incoming fuel load. A pair of long pitot probes mount one on each wingtip, and that's the main build finished.

 

Airfix have thoughtfully included some goodies to dress up your finished model to give it a little extra interest and realism.  You get a pair of single part front intake FOD covers as well as another smaller pair for the rear, and a nicely detailed crew access ladder that curves gracefully over the large intakes to allow crew ingress and egress without resorting to contortionism. The steps, side supports, a platform and stabilising link to the bottom of the intake all build into a lovely little piece, which you can probably weather quite heavily to suit yourself.

 

Markings

The Javelin was usually found sporting green/grey uppers over a silver underside, but Airfix have also given the option of an all-over silver Squadron Leader's personal machine, which makes a nice change. You'll have to break out the masking tape and scratch-building skills if you want to do the red and white test airframe though, and who can blame them for not including it. You'll be pleased to know that the roundels have slots in them for the vortex generators on the upper wings, and they've even managed to include holes in the carrier film, so you'll be able to get them lined up in exactly the right place, and not have to flood the area with too much setting solution, which is always a little fraught.  The big fin-flash for the tail is supplied as a single decal that folds over the leading edge, which leads to perfect alignment of both sides, but might be tricky for the less experienced decal user to wrangle.

 

From the box you can build one of the following choices:

 

  • FAW.9R No.64 Squadron, RAF Tengah, Singapore, 1960s
  • FAW.9 Flown by Sq. Leader George H Beaton, CO of 228 OCU RAF Leuchars & Binbrook, 1966
  • FAW.9/9R 33 Squadron RAF Middleton St George, County Durham, England 1962

 

 

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The third choice is now preserved at the Jet Age Museum at Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton, UK, so if you're nearby, you can go and see it anytime.  The decal instructions are printed in colour on the back pages of the instruction booklet, and there is a separate A3 page showing the location of the stencils, to avoid cluttering of the main drawings.  Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

Conclusion

I was really excited by the announcement of the initial boxing of this kit, and it’s great to see it back in the catalogue again.  Airfix have been raising the quality bar with almost every release, and this kit’s moulding is excellent, the detail is good, and the part count is commensurately high without delving into the realms of "over engineering".

 

The inclusion of a set of FOD guards and a crew ladder just adds to the value, as well as the overall appeal of the kit, and including a non-camo decal choice is a good plan. If you avail yourself of a set of Xtradecal serials (X48044) that have been reprinted so should be readily available, you should be able to portray almost all of the fleet, with the exception of the "funnies" like the aforementioned red/white machine.

 

Very highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of

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Spot on review Mike. 
 

Mine arrived a couple of weeks ago and it won’t be sitting around in the stash for long. 
 

James

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Mike

How dare you be so rude about the red/white Javelin at Duxford, not only did I spend a very pleasant morning cleaning her just before the museum reopened but I say "hello" every time I do my volunteering.

 

Oh- there's a knock on the door and a white van and 2 big lads in white coats outside.

 

Seriously though the Javelin at Duxford is still in its test scheme and  is great for original reference.

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10 minutes ago, iainpeden said:

Seriously though the Javelin at Duxford is still in its test scheme and  is great for original reference.

Good to know for those brave enough ;)

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4 hours ago, Navy Bird said:

One of Airfix's finest, an absolute gem of a kit. But seeing as it's me posting - 1:72 please!!!     :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

 

+1

 

I love the Javelin.  It might not have been the greatest aircraft, and was quickly superseded, but it looks great.  The only options in 1/72 are the very old Airfix/Heller kits with low detail and raised panel lines, which are like hens teeth, even rarer if you don't want the T3 variant, or the Frog/Novo/ kit and their clones, again raised panel lines and poor details, or the ZTS Plastyk/Mistercraft engraved panel lines clone of the Frog/Novo kit - I've got one, it's not inspiring me to build it...

Edited by RobL
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I built the kit back in 2014 and it was (and still is) in my opinion the nicest kit I ever glued together. Sadly imageshack.us has killed every pictures in my original RFI-thread here... shame. However, am I wrong or is this reissue an identical twin to the first one? It seems to me that Airfix didn't even bother changing the decals. So no reason for me to buy one - I still have two more unbuilt kits from 2013 in the stash...

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1 hour ago, XF442 said:

I built the kit back in 2014 and it was (and still is) in my opinion the nicest kit I ever glued together. Sadly imageshack.us has killed every pictures in my original RFI-thread here... shame. However, am I wrong or is this reissue an identical twin to the first one? It seems to me that Airfix didn't even bother changing the decals. So no reason for me to buy one - I still have two more unbuilt kits from 2013 in the stash...

They haven't changed the decals in the kit; however Hannants have reissued two sets of their 1/48 Javelin decals

 

1) https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/X48125?result-token=QkbsF

 

2) https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/X48126?result-token=QkbsF

 

So there's another 10 reasons!

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  • 2 months later...

I built the Dynavector one back in the day - it should still be either in  Norwich Air Museum or the RAF Coltishall one. Memories of fitting each vortex generator individually into a small hole I'd drilled

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On 1/14/2021 at 9:54 AM, chrisov said:

Found this group on Facebook, worth a look as lots of photos and memories of the Javelin.

Also includes some recent posts / photos from the son of Sqn Ldr  /Wg Cdr George Beaton including the silver machine. Happily Geroge Beaton is still with us.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/886725604719419/permalink/3757890814269536/

Great link Chris. Thanks for sharing.  
 

Is the aircraft in nmf or high speed silver? It looks like nmf to me but I’m happy to be proved wrong. 
 

James

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When the model first came out there was lots of discussion on that very point but cant find it now.

From memory, and hope, think it would be painted silver that would also make it easier for me to try and replicate!

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Hss would certainly fit in with the practice of the day. It’s on my to build list to. 
 

James

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