Now for the third in the flurry of April completions. This is the new-tool Airfix Lightning F2A. What I wouldn’t have given for a Lightning of this quality in the 80s and 90s. I was still struggling with the old-tool Airfix versions. It wasn’t so much that it was a bad kit, just elderly. Raised panel lines, always a problem, and not much detail. The biggest issue in these new releases is the choice of variant. I personally would much rather have had an F1 and F3, if only because of the great wealth of attractive markings (for many of which I already have decals). There are a few colorful F2s and the rare F6, though nowhere near as many as for the earlier marks. I suppose I could just wait for Airfix to release the F1/F3, but given how long it has taken them to do what many perceive as a slam-dunk for sales (a metal wing Hurricane 1) there may be no profit in the wait. I do have a couple of Sword early marks, as well as their trainers, so that may have to suffice for now. But Sword kits can be difficult builds.
As with many of the new tool Airfix kits I have built, the construction phase was calm and steady. About the only kit I have had a hideous time with was the Blenheim, an experience, like childbirth, best left to the dewy mists of memory. The new Lightnings are so much more detailed than their older counterparts. If I can continue to search out decent markings, there are probably more of the F2s and F6s in my future.
I did have some painting drama. As noted on the blog a week or so back, the Alclad Dark Aluminum I first used was from a messed-up batch that I had not yet disposed of. Luckily I had a second, newer, bottle to rescue the paint job.
I thought I had aftermarket decals for a 92 Squadron example, but it turned out I did not. Or at least I was unable to find the sheet at the crucial moment. I ended up using the kit decals, which exhibited a distressing tendency to physically pull up from the model when they dried. The wing walk-lines and the lines under the belly both pulled up. Not sure if this is a one-off problem or not. To be honest, I usually use aftermarket decals in order to have something a little less common, so I haven’t used actual Airfix decals very often.
Generally, I’m happy with the model, though there still are signs of the paint problems. It will soon be joining its compatriots on the Lightning shelf out in the garage.
This is completed aircraft #470 (3 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year), finished in April of 2017.