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Hawker Hunter T7A WV318 "My Hunter"


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WV318  started life as an F4 but after an accident was rebuilt as a T7 and in October 1964 was upgraded to a T7A. She was used to train Lightning and Bucaneer crews. One of the last 4 to serve with the RAF she was painted black to commemorate 40 years of the type. Purchased in 1996 by Delta Jets at Kemble she was a regular on the airshow circuit until 2012 when Delta Jets ceased operations. She passed through a couple of owners then ended up at the International Test Pilots School in Ontario and is currently in service there.

I had the good fortune to fly her on my 60th birthday, a surprise present arranged by my wife, and 24 years later my heart is still in the skies of Gloucestershire. The model represents her as she was when I flew her with a satin black finish. She was repainted in gloss black shortly afterwards for the Hunter Jubilee.

The model was built from the Revell kit with the PJ Productions resin T7/T8 conversion kit. The only significant problem was that the place where you saw the front end off the Revell fuselage appears to be about 2mm too far back which creates a problem as the recess for the front of the wing has to be extended forward to compensate. Unfortunately the PJ forward fuselage had already been mated to the Revell rear section before I found this out.

I thought that I had a picture showing the problem but it seems to have gone AWOL.

Fitting the vacform canopy was something of a struggle which required some building up of the cockpit sides.

The paint finish is Xtrakit 'Night Black' with a satin finish after the decals had been applied.

Decals came from an old Xtrakit Hunter set which included a set for the Black Arrows. They are not quite correct for this T7 but were the only set available as far as I know. I had some trouble applying them as they had a tendency to break up. As luck would have it the worst case was the upper surface decals on the wing where part of the outer white ring went adrift. I reckoned that it was better to leave it that way than try to paint in the missing bit.

There was a bit of last minute panic when I discovered that contrary to the instructions in the coversion kit this T7A was fitted with a tailhook and I had to make one. One is actually supplied with the kit for the T8 version but in my case the hook had been broken off before I received it (It was secondhand from Ebay)

John

 

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Nice one. I was also fortunate to get a trip in a black Hunter - T8b XF967 - when I was a University Air Squadron student; flying across the Tain range at 420 KIAS at what the Range Control Officer later told me was about 30ft was a particular highlight!

Jon

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Were you allowed to handle the controls ? (but not at 30ft, I think). I was and was struck by how easy it was to fly. I remarked on this to the pilot and received the slightly terse reply that it was a fighting a/c and had to be like that as you would spend most of your time looking out.

John

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1 hour ago, John R said:

Were you allowed to handle the controls ?

Yes, although as the most powerful and manoeuvrable aircraft I'd flown up to that point had been a Bulldog it took me a while to stop overcontrolling in roll. The pilot had enough faith to let me fly it at low level through the Highlands, where I quickly discovered (helped by some very loud prompts from the left seat) that you need to pull much harder to go round a corner in a fast jet than you do in a light aircraft. 😧

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great job, she looks awesome

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Nice model! I also have a personal connection to 318.  It was one of the Hunters on 237OCU when I was an airframe technician there.

Trevor

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Nice.

 

One day I'll ressurect and finish my Echelon 1:32 T7. I'd done a bit of work on XL595, then it went in - kind of lost the will after that, but now maybe it'd be more a tribute.

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