Earlier in 2012, I remember reading about a Eurofighter Typhoon that was to be painted up in anniversary colors to celebrate 3 Squadron’s 100th. This would be the first of its type in the RAF to get a special scheme. What it lacked in artistic splendor it made up for in sheer uniqueness, and I wondered when one of the decal makers would be issuing a set for it. Xtradecal turned out to be the one – especially given Model Alliance’s rather spectacular flameout – and it was rumored to be coming sometime near the IPMS-UK Nationals in November.
When Hannants listed them as having arrived, I got my order in and received the decals a couple of weeks later. Concurrently I had started work on a Revell single-seat kit. I’m pretty familiar with this version by now; I believe I’ve built two single and two twin seaters. I have been working my way through all the active RAF squadrons with squadron bars, the sort of mini-project that I rather enjoy putting together. Even once the 3 Squadron anniversary model is finished, I’ll still need to build one in 11 Squadron and the newest one, 1 Squadron (which, coincidentally, is on the same Xtradecal sheet as the special scheme). And then I’ll just sit back and wait to see if any other squadrons are activated.
The Revell kit is decent, and certainly a cut above the previous Italeri kit in terms of buildability and detail. It would be improved if they had supplied some internal trunking on the ventral intakes. There is just a big space there. If that bothers you, your best bet is to find aftermarket intake covers. Otherwise the biggest areas of caution are the seams between wing and fuselage. I have not yet seen the new Hasegawa kit in the flesh, but given the reasonable price of the Revell version and the history of highly unreasonable prices of recent Hasegawa kits, I suspect that whatever advantage you might see in fit will be wiped out by a simplified cockpit and hideous MSRP. But we’ll see. I’ll likely buy at least one to see how it builds.
There was some discussion about the mixed green that 3 Squadron used on the spine and fin of their special scheme. Hannants had a hard time getting a paint sample at first, and at the time the sheet was released they were leaning toward Willow Green (Xtracolour X151) as the recommended choice. Of course, after I had ordered the sheet, they were able to get a decent sample and released a matched paint sample in their Xtracolour range. The timing just didn’t work, so I took their advice and used the USN green, which I already had in my paint stock. I think it looks fine.
Probably the biggest challenge in the decaling job, unless you feel compelled to put literally every tiny stencil that the Revell kit supplies, in the red/yellow stripe that surrounds the green fin and spine. It comes in multiple pieces and the thinner sections are extremely delicate. It is without doubt the place to take your time.
The result is certainly unique at the present time, though we will no doubt see additional special schemes in the years ahead. It does look distinctive in a lineup of Eurofighters.
This is completed model #416 (#41 for the year), finished in December of 2012.