Another day, another aircraft type crossed off the list.
To be fair, before I started this I thought there was one mark of the Supermarine Attacker. The one where they put it into service at sea, saw how it performed, thought “Hmm, maybe not…” then ordered a load of Sea Hawks. Well, part of that might have been true, but there were three versions of the Attacker: the F.1 fighter, the FB.1 fighter-bomber that had a strengthened wing with pylons for bombs or rockets, and the FB.2 with a different canopy, uprated engine and better stores carriage. I had completed the Attacker FB.2 already, now I have all three!
So, I got two copies of the same kit, the AZ Model Attacker ‘prototype’ which also covers the F.1 and FB.1 versions. They call it ‘new tool’, well that makes their designers look bad because the model has the same problems as the FB.2 did – lots of bad moulding, flash, inaccuracies and so on. The PUR parts were, in fact, one part – the cockpit tub with ejection seat.
The decals are for the prototype and for a pre-production F.1, so I got a set of after-market decals that had two aircraft from 800NAS. For the FB.1 I also got a wing fold set from Airwaves. Only the very outer section of the wing folded on the Attacker, but it must have made a difference. Essentially I think it was so they would fit on the lifts that carry them from hangar deck to flight deck.
Still, 800NAS were the first in the UK to operate jets at sea. Assembly was much as experienced with the FB.2. I salvaged a bomb pylon from a Sea Hawk, used two 1000lb General purpose bombs from a Pavla resin set I got a while back (same set as the 500lb SAP bomb as used in the Blackburn Skua build).
Something else I got recently was a reel of 2mm masking tape from Tamiya. This is made of something like ptfe tape, so it is really easy to tease into very tight curves. The normal masking tape, made of paper, just won’t do it. Live and learn.
And with some painting, decal setting and weathering, the Attacker F.1 and FB.1 are complete. The F.1 is in the colours of 800NAS during their working up period with the Attacker at RNAS Ford, the FB.1 in the squadron colours when embarked aboard HMS Eagle (hence the ‘J’ on the tail – the identifier for Eagle. E, A, G and L were already taken!). Dad was on that first cruise, they sailed up to the Arctic Circle along the coast of Norway.
Just for fun, I also gave the FB.2 I made earlier some rockets. You will notice how far spread apart they are under the wing, odd in contrast to other attack aircraft such as the Hellcat II and the Sea Hawk. This is because the latter were designed with structural support from rockets close packed, whereas with the Attacker it was a retrofit and they had to follow the structure of the original wing that was never intended to carry stores.
So, what next? we are getting perilously close to the outrageously difficult kits – and the outrageously expansive. I might try to get both versions of the Seafire XV to fill in a gap.