BAC Lightning trainer
1/32 conversion
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yt  View this trainer modelling report on YouTube here....

Whirlybits / Whirlybird conversion set in 1/32 scale

At the Telford 2010 Scale Model World event, Whirlybird of Roger Evans issued a 1/32 conversion set to make a two seater BAC Lightning T.5 using the single seater Trumpeter F1/3 kit. The set is now referred to as Whirlykits Accessoires set WBA #32001. 

It costed 50,= pound and you get a lot for it. Let's look what you get....
The conversion set has two big forward fuselage nose halves, various resin parts for the cockpit, some white metal parts for the cockpit and various small airframe intakes and scoops, etched brass and even some extra decals. The big wide canopy and windshield are vacuformed. I only hope that the vacuform clear parts won't become "yellow" over the years...

In addition, you are provided with colour instructions and cockpit photos. 


.... not seen here is the canopy framing, this is to be provided later on.
An idea of the instructions.... 

The set looks great and although not yet crafted onto any Lightning model yet here, it seems that it will not be difficult to use. Probably it can also be used to make a T.4 trainer.  


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In 2009 Trumpeter of China started to release a few injection moulded 1/32 kits of the Lightning. Kits released were:
#02280 for Lightning F1A/ F3 
#02281 for Lightning F2A/ F6 with the larger wing with leading edge kink and larger belly;
Between the kits, there are many common parts but also a few dedicated sprues.

I had purchased kit #02280 for a Lightning F1A / F3. 


The kit has about 160 parts and it includes metal parts for the main gear legs. Soft rubber vinyl tyres are provided which I do not like. 



 F1A/ F3 wing





    F1A, F3, F6 vertical tails  


  decals 1   


Markings and decals are for 2 schemes:

[A] Lightning F1A of Royal Air Force no.56 squadron based at Wattisham, 1963.

[B] Lightning F3, of RAF no.111 squadron flown from Wattisham, 1965.   



The blue decal colours for the RAF markings look inaccurate.  

Trumpeter kit instructions are fine with a colour print for the schemes with Mr.Hobby Gunze Sangyo, Vallejo, Modelmaster, Tamiya and Humbrol colour paint suggestions. However, the detail colours are not shown in the assembly drawings. 


This Trumpeter kit was analysed and compared with the Echelon kit. I also used a few drawings I had. The large 1/32 "blue printed" drawing shows no name of the draftsman unfortunately to credit. Some general comparisons were done: 


The Trumpeter fuselage outline looks to be about 3 millimeter  too short "somewhere in the mid fuselage". The F1A / F3 belly is a bit "too fat" but acceptable. Some sanding may improve this. 

A bigger problem is the cockpit opening that looks way to big with inaccurate sill....  


The difference is also obvious when looking at real Lightning photos. This results also in significant inaccuracies in the Trumpeter canopy and wind screen parts... 


Seen here as compared to the Echelon kit vacuform part. The Trumpeter parts are MUCH too wide, about 4mm .... 


The vertical tail for the F1A had a slightly different 3 degree sweep but this can be improved by making a tri-angular base shape from card to set the tail on....

The rudder has a good outline. 

The shape of the horizontal stabilizers is slighty off but some sanding (black marked) will correct this....


The external shape at the rear fuselage at the exhaust pipes , so the "8" shaped cross section is to deep/ curved. This can be improved with some filler. I have no indication that the total width of the fuselage is inaccurate in top view.

The air brake shape, size and station look OK. The stabilizer vertical position is may be 1/2mm set too high. 


The wing planform looks OK but maybe a bit more camber would have been nicer, but not a big issue. The main gear bay openings look OK too. The wing station position at the fuselage looks good. 


For the nose intake ring front edge diameter I have no indication that it is incorrect; it is 34,4mm in diameter and that is similar to the Echelon kit part. 


The nose gear bay looks to be about 5mm too long though, at the rear end. This will have to be checked further as this affects the gear base e.g. distance between main gear and the nose gear.

The Trumpeter main vinyl "rubber" tyres have a 1 1/2mm too large diameter and anyway are better replaced e.g. with an Armory resin wheels set #32402. 

The main casted metal gear legs of the Trumpeter kit are about 2mm too long.

The smaller details have not been checked yet. 

In summary, the biggest inaccuracies of the Trumpeter kit are at the cockpit opening and canopy+wind shield.

But as noted the kit will be converted into a 1/32 Lightning trainer two seater model with the Whirlybird set. So the biggest kit inaccuracies are not an issue as the whole front section will be replaced.    

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Created this page
Nov 19, 2010