So I have finally got round to building a Supermarine Attacker in 1/72 scale. You may recall I did one in 1/48 for my Dad previously.
The Attacker was the first jet to equip the Fleet Air Arm. Unusually, it had a tail wheel (well, two of them). Later models such as the FB.2 had an extra fuel tank on the belly – a perfect place if, for example, you are flying a volatile jet onto an aircraft carrier deck and your undercarriage collapses. It also used the laminar flow wing from the abandoned Supermarine Spiteful piston engined fighter that was to have replaced the Spitfire in the RAF before the jets such as the Gloster Meteor came along. Many pilots suggested the Spitfire wing would have been better. Attackers equipped 800NAS aboard HMS Eagle, and ashore at RNAS Ford (now an open prison – no comment). Thus, another of 800 Squadron’s claims to glory is that they were the first UK squadron to operate jet aircraft at sea.
So, this is a kit of the Attacker FB.2 made by AZ Models. AZ make the only 1/72 injection kits at this scale outside of the truly dreadful old Frog kit. While certainly cheap, the amount of work needed to make the Frog kit into something reasonable is too much – as is the cost of the conversion kit. So, I was happy to see the AZ kit online. Slightly interesting that they call it a “British special” when it was simply a front line FAA fighter, but there we go. That is the least of the issues with it.
At first glance it is a nice enough kit. Two sprue plus canopy, polyurethane moulded cockpit with ejection seat and a sheet of decals. Note the Pakistani roundels – the Government sold a load of Attackers to the Pakistan Air Force when they were taken out of front line service at sea. The moulds for the kit are really tired. Plenty of flash and injection posts, bits of some components warped, old and knackered. Which is a pity because the panel detail on the surfaces is actually quite good.
As with so many kits, there are no alignment posts so it is a bit of a struggle to get everything lined up. The wings don’t have tabs to support them into the fuselage, neither do the horizontal stabilisers, but the tail fin did. Most odd. Then there are gaps all over, so plenty of filling and sanding needed. But, eventually, it was all sorted out. Painting went fine, although there was a second round of filling done after the first paint coat as more gaps became apparent.
The stencil decals are comical. Pretty sure the FAA didn’t advise deck handlers to “Keep wheel all from intake while engine is brnning” – maybe ‘Keep well away from intake while engine is running.’ Likewise, I can’t imagine that in an ennergency the crew would be struggling to find the annod release. Otherwise, the decals are OK, but I substituted the roundels and squadron ‘104’ serials from other sets. I also used an 800NAS crest from the Sea Hawk. As for serial numbers, the kit comes with WP302 and WZ294, neither of which went to 800NAS. However, WP294 did, so a quick mix and match and the job is done.
So, Attacker FB.2 done. I will make an F.1 and an FB.1 as well at some point (from another AZ Model kit probably), the latter with wing fold, but for the moment I have two other aircraft on order – one a thing of beauty and the other a rash abomination…