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Hawker Hunter XE 552.

 

This is the 1/32 scale Revell FGA 9, finished as XE 552 "M" of 54 Squadron at RAF West Raynham sometime between 1966 and 1969 when the squadron received Phantoms. 

 

I chose that aircraft because I wanted an aircraft in grey/green uppers and silver under and the history of 54 Squadron is interesting. Founded in 1915 in Castle Bromwich it now is part of 1 Group, based at RAF Waddington providing OCU services for the Poseidon and Reaper aircraft used for 
Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) 

 

The kit was purchased in 1999 when I was “between jobs” and has been waiting in the wings since then. I dug it out earlier this year, you can read the build story here…..

 

I had wanted to fit Matra 155 pods but after an exchange with other members it seems probable that such pods would not have been fitted until after a repaint when the aluminium was replaced by Light Aircraft Grey and the uppers painted in very shiny polyurethane paint with a wrap round on the leading edge. There are photos of a 54 Squadron Hunter taken in 1968 with rocket pods and LAG undersides. In the absence of photographic evidence the outer wing pylons are empty.  From this thread I was able to discover the full story of XE552's life. Thanks to all... 

This is the thread....

 

XE552 was first delivered to 5MU, Kemble, as an F6, on 26/3/1956, and subsequently issued to 65 Sqn at Duxford, where it was coded "U".  It later went to 263 Sqn, then back to Hawker Siddeley Aviation in 1960 for conversion to FGA9.

Converted, it went to 208 Sqn as "D" 31/10/61 - 23/2/64, then to 19MU at St Athan (storage or what?) before going back to 208 Sqn briefly, before from mid 1965 to late 1966 serving with 8/43 Tactical Wing at Khormaksar in Aden before being issued to 54 Sqn as "M" in late 1966 or early 1967. 

Later it went to 1TWU (234 Sqn) at Brawdy, then finally as R to 2TWU / 79 Squadron at Lossiemouth, until it crashed, these are the details...

 

Date:    23-FEB-1981
Time:    afternoon
Owner/operator:    2 TWU (79 Squadron) 
Registration:    XE552
MSN:    41H/679926
Fatalities:    Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:    0
Aircraft damage:    Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:    20 miles NE of RAF stn Lossiemouth, Grampian, Scotland -    United Kingdom
Departure airport:    RAF Lossiemouth (LMO/EGQS)
 

Some photos for your enjoyment: I'm pleased with this model, the kit is generally considered to be reasonably accurate and captures the look of the Hunter.

I'm lucky, I can get close up to XF375 at Old Sarum Airport whenever I want and close inspection shows a few small errors by Revell. 

 

Hunters sit low, this is close to a ground eye view....

 

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Close up to the nose....

Yes, I know the blast tubes are equivocal, they were used to prevent a nose up trim change when firing the cannons, but ofter removed after gunnery exercises. 

 

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And the back end....

 

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And from a cherry picker basket, looking down....

 

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I definitely like the finish. The Hunter is such a beautiful airplane.

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Excellent work!

Inspires me to dig mine out of the stash, where it has been languishing for around 10 years!

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