Sunday, March 8, 2009

Airfix 1/72 F-111A by Paul Bradley

Airfix released this kit in 1968, when the real thing was just entering service; hence the non-standard camouflage scheme featured on the dramatic box art and in the instructions. This shows the USAF fighter camouflage of the day, Light Grey over White, which was in the process of being phased out in favour of the SEA four-colour scheme.

This example is still in its original poly bag, and I didn’t wish to remove it at this time. The very pale blue parts feature fine raised lines for the majority of the detail, with neatly recessed lines for the control surfaces. Being an Airfix kit of the sixties, it is gimmicky, with pivoting wings of course, but also a separate crew escape module, “Just Like The Real Thing!”

Detail is sparse, with clunky undercarriage and a very basic interior, which includes two crew figures in the standard Airfix pose.

Decals are limited to a single option, 39766, presumably a pre-production aircraft with dramatic lightning flash markings on the fin. As mentioned earlier, this features a non-standard camo scheme for an F-111.

“Accuracy?” I hear you ask. I have no idea; I know nothing about the F-111. But I understand that the later, revised boxing wasn’t too bad, so I imagine this would make a fair early F-111. You could even paint and mark it as an F-111K, the abortive RAF replacement for the abortive TSR.2. That was official British Government policy in the sixties – develop an expensive weapons system, spend lots of money on it, cancel it, order a replacement that turns out to be equally expensive, spend a lot of money on that, then cancel that too. Then actually buy another system that’s half as capable as the original you were developing years before, at almost the same cost.

Here’s a kit that you don’t see built very often at all, but I think it would be quite an easy build and an interesting one in the colours and markings from the box. And what’s not to like about that box art?!