60 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Singapore 1966
Only the second Vac-form in my collection, and it’s the brilliant Dynavector Javelin FAW.9. I’ve always loved the appearance of this ‘plane — that huge wing and no-nonsense appearance. The markings for these jets have been some of the most interesting worn by RAF aircraft, typified by the enormous fin flashes and big roundels. The kit is good. I cut the pieces out and prepared them over a long period of time between other kits. Once they were ready I started in earnest. The panel lines were rescribed to facilitate the oil wash I’d use after painting, and the moulding pips were removed. My kit was marred by various panel lines between moving surfaces being poorly defined and difficult to restore. Cockpit detail is good and I added some ejection handles for the seats from Hasegawa F-4 seats.
I built this aircraft in an unusual sequence. I built up each fuselage half (split horizontally) and then attached the two halves and added the wings last. So the fin was built first and then added to the upper fuselage half along with the canopy. Fit was good, but I made some mistakes and used Milliput on all the joins. The air intakes and pitot tubes were added next along with the fuel tanks, and then the halves were brought together. I used plenty of interlocking plastic strips along the join and glued the fuselage together in stages. Superglue and Mr Surfacer 1000 were used to remove the gaps, which were significant in size but removed easily as the plastic is very soft. The intakes were added at this time and faired in with superglue and Milliput. The intake trunking is very short — I covered the gaps by using a roll of paper superglued to the plastic. I painted it black, which I think is incorrect, but you really can’t tell that there’s no engine face at the end of the trunking because it’s so dark in there! The final part of major construction was the addition of the wings. At this point I appreciated just how massive that wing is — much bigger than an F-4 Phantom for example. The wings fitted well, but because I didn’t chamfer the mating faces I needed Milliput to make the joins disappear. The hard bit was getting the wings level. I gave all joints the once over with Mr Surfacer and sanded it with fine-grade sanding pads to remove the remaining visible seams. The wing pylons were added before the wing halves were joined together.
Painting followed: Humbrol was used exclusively with aluminium (56) used on the undersides and dark green (163) and dark grey (164) on the upper surfaces. The kit decals were applied over a coat of Johnson’s Klear and they responded beautifully to Microsol. The kit decals were thin and had very good opacity and a very complete selection of stencils is provided. The only problem is that the carrier film is quite visible. Fitting the fin flash was difficult and I got it wrong on the starboard side — if I were to do it again I’d cut it into two pieces. At least some aircraft from 60 Squadron had wonky tail markings, but not as much as mine! Once the decals were on, the wing photo-etch vortex generators (which had been pre-painted) were added and they look great! Application of the Pollyscale satin/flat coat revealed some minor silvering of the decals, and then the undercarriage was added (it’s massive — look at the size of those wheels!). I’ve not yet added the pitot tubes (they keep snapping off) and, when I’ve painted them, I’ll add some Airfix Firestreak missiles under the wings. This is a very well-designed kit that went together much more easily than I thought it would. It takes care and there are lots of gaps to fill, but nothing that doesn’t disappear with a small amount of work. The main problem is that the seats seem to be far too low in the cockpit — unfortunately I’ve no idea why.
Year bought: 2001 (The Aviation Hobby Shop, London)
Year built: 2005 (Chesterton, Cambridge)