Hunting Percival (BAC)  Jet Provost / Strikemaster
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1/72 scale kits of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) Jet Provost and Strikemaster family
kit review / modelling report

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The British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) developed a light trainer with side by side cockpit and ground attack aircraft for both the Royal Air Foirce and for export in the nineteen-sixties. The initial version was the jet Provost which first flew in 1954. The mk. T.1 had a fixed long landing gear but soon, the T.2 arrived wihich was significantly modified with a shorter landing gear and a Viper 8 engine. The T.3 got another canopy shape as well and Martin Baker ejection seats and wing tip tanks could be fitted. It served for over 30 years with the Royal Air Force. The T.4 got a Viper 11 engine and still the type was used for pilot training. The Jet Provost also flew in some aerobatic display teams like the Red Pelicans and the T.4 was also exported to countries like Iraq, Venezuela, Yemen and Sudan. 

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Airfix had issued many year ago a 1/72 model of the the BAC Strikemaster / Jet Provost mk. T.5 (kit 02044 and later kit A03049).  But before that, there was another kit of the Jet Provost T.3 kit #01029 seen here.

The kit was released in 1973 and is pretty rudimentary. I had the kit in a blister package. 

I had this old kit still on the stack, it was decided to build it with some small refinements. 

NOTE: In September 2016 Airfix released a brand new T.3 kit with kit #A02103 ... see page 3....

The Jet Provost has seen so many interesting paint schemes and had been exported as well, the kit would be nice in the model collection. For example...

The Kuwait air force used the Jet Provost 52 in the 1960s and it had a very nice paint scheme with painted aluminium, very dark blue-grey nose and tiptanks and a bright blue tail section. It would great in my "World Air Force model collection". 

It was decided to do a rather straight out of the box model, but I found out that the clear canopy during the years had broken in my kit!  Fortunately my IPMS friend Cees had made a couple of home made clear thin canopies for his kits. 
The technique he used was: 
(1) make a wooden master shaped similarly to the jet Provost canopy shape 
(2) get clear acetate plastic; 
(3) heat the softer acetate plastic and when hot pull over the wooden mould resulting in a nicely shaped and thin canopy; 
(4) trim to fit at the edges. 
It sounds simple but takes several tries to get a good canopy, with the risk of burning your fingers! Wear thick gloves against the heat.

UPDATE: September 2016 Airfix issued a brand new Jet Provost T.3 kit. It has a "spare canopy" and could be used if you still have an old Airfix kit at home to make...

The model could thus be built as Kuwait as I had after market decals (the old Airfix kit decals were old and unusable). 

Construction was as per kit instructions. But I inserted a jet pipe made from a straw. Wheel bay walls were "closed" with some card and white glue and painted silvers when dried. Some putty and sanding is needed at the wing fuselage joints, intakes and spines. The intakes are rather thick on their edges so red covers will be set in place later on.

When assembled and sanded the model gt a base light grey coat. When it looked good, it was time for the colour scheme. 

Colours used were for the Kuwait scheme:
Aluminium:  Revell Aqua 90 "Silver" (so NOT bare metal) to start with for the overall airframe;
Blue-grey:   Gunze Sangyo H56   for the nose section and tip tanks;
Bright blue:  Gunze Sangyo H25  for the tail sections;

These colour were applied with the airbrush and masking with tape was obviously needed.

The smaller areas like the cockpit tub were hand painted. 

Decals came next and I had to collect various ones from the decals spares box and sets like the excellent XTRADECAL X72238 that has numerous decals for Jet Provosts and Strikemasters of various air forces.

Looking at photos of the Kuwait air force aircraft of the 1960s, I found that the roundel had no Arabic texts in the lower green edge as in later style Kuwait roundels. So each "old" roundel was made of two halves of the "newer" roundel decal #44. The black Arabic fuselage texts were handpainted in black.

The intakes are rather crude with unconvincing edges. I added a couple of red covers to hide these. Some black walkway areas were added as well made from black decal. 
The new clear canopy was to be set closed. The cockpit interior was first painted black using the kit parts that supposed to be the seats. The parts are crude but otherwise a good new resin seat would not fit in the tub because the cockpit gap is moulded "too small" by Airfix. As the tub is black, adding some belts and straps camouflages the simple parts for the seats works quite well. I added an instrument panel as well from card and a decal for the instruments.

The new obtained thin acetate canopy was cut in shape and added. Gaps were closed with white glue and painted "silver" when dry.  The early T.3 had a peculiar canopy with smaller rear windows. There is also a central canopy frame running from nose windshield all to the rear. This frame was made from a cut strip of Bare Metal Foil. 

Final modelling was adding the details. I could not see clearly were the pitot tube(s) was located. Photos suggested that it varied a bit between marks and I think the Kuwait T mk.52 had a single small pitot tube below the right wing. Also, a long antenna and two wire antennas under the nose were seen. These were made of thin fishing line, attached with super glue.

On the fuselage spine some smaller intake scoops were added from scrap plastic and painted silver. The anti-collision lights were painted as well with a clear red bit of plastic on top of the fuselage. (I could not find wing tip collision lights). In the blue-grey nose small holes were drilled for the landing lights as seen on the real Jet Provost and a small pipe. 

The landing gear and so on is quite simple in the kit, I kept it as it was simple on the real jet Provost as well. I did not bother to open up the nose gear bay but made new nose doors. (Often the forward doors are also seen closed). The small gaps on the closed main gear doors and the holes for the rockets and pylons were filled with white glue and painted silver when dry. 

The model is a genuine tail sitter.. ooops...., so I put not enough weight in the nose and now had to put a metal wire below the aft fuselage to keep the model sitting on its nose wheel. 

The model got a final coat of Johnson Future/ Pledge using the usual technique. Simple hold a piece of paper in front of the canopy area when airbrushing the clear coat. That completed the model.

The small Kuwait Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya) was formed in 1961. Using the British doctrine, it got British aircraft like the Jet Provost T. mk 52, and later Strikemaster and BAC Lightning supersonic fighters. Later, French Mirage F-1 aircraft were used as well as A-4 Skyhawks and Hawker Hawk jet trainers.
Unfortunately, the Gulf War came in the early 1990s and when liberated, the Kuwait Air Force quickly modernized. Current modern aircraft in the inventory are the F-18 Hornet and Shorts Tucano for training. 

The Kuwait Jet Provost T. mk 52 was used in the 1960s.

NOTE: I later on added 3 tiny trim tab control rods at the horizontal stabilizer to the model, seen below...

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July 31, 2016