Ursus (ex-Airfix) 1/72 SR.53 (1958):- SARO Peregrine F3

Started by MerlinJones, September 03, 2022, 07:12:08 AM

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This is a Polish re-pop of the old Airfix Classic and apparently, building it will cause apoplexy in some Collectors!

As this is from the 1980s, it is before the fall of the Wall and is, therefore, very typical of the Soviet era trash that was produced back then.

(We in the West perhaps never really appreciated just how lucky we were).

As I'm not into collecting for collecting's sake and since AZ Models have produced their own SR.53, back in 2017, as well as the absolutely gorgeous Freightdog kit from 2011, I'm going to play whif with this one.

The original was powered by a rocket, for the initial interception and was then supposed to return home, using its Viper turbojet, or similar.
I think I'll be looking again at those intakes for the jet* and a must-have will be a belly tank, to extend range and flight duration.

Obviously, some aerials will be required, perhaps including an ECM suite, as well as a tad more armament than a brace of Red Top.

I do like the pointy nose, but I might have to consider something with a radar in it, instead.

To save hassle with the awful undercarriage, this kit will be built as an in-flight model.

*The SR.177 was a direct descendent of the '53, with the intake, for a bigger and better engine, situated at the front, under a nose radome.

So, my thoughts for this build...
My favourite sorts of Whif are those that have had some thought applied behind them and so have a degree of credibility. I like more than simply throwing spare bits together, in a manic kitbash.

The original intent for the SR.53 was to be a point defence aircraft, launching at a rate of knots to take out incoming Soviet bombers and then to return back to base, powered by its small jet. It was superseded by the development of more effective SAMs, such as the Bloodhound and then by the EE Lightning, when it was realised that a human interceptor had more flexibility than a programmed missile.
I'm thinking that the RAF, having invested in the SR.53, decided that more value for money could be gleaned if their exotic interceptor could be modified to do more.
(Part of this thinking was the need to create a cadre of rocket-capable pilots, for the upcoming secretive space program).

The original had only a small jet engine to get it home. I'm thinking a larger, more powerful jet and, to imply this without grossly altering the fuselage shape, I'm thinking of much bigger intakes. The larger jet would add more flexibility to the performance envelope.
The SR.53 has a simple pipe at the rear, I'm thinking of something slightly more complex for mine, even if it's only a bigger pipe, similar to that of the Lightning. Obviously, a brake chute housing and a runway arrestor hook is a must. ;)

Speaking of the Lightning, one of the limitations of that aircraft was its range. Again, intended as a point defence interceptor, it didn't take too long for it to acquire a series of bigger and bigger bellies, to expand its range and or endurance. My modified SR.53 will also have a belly fuel tank added and I might even consider a pair of guns in the front of this, just like the later Lightnings. Some indication of a refuelling probe would also be a must, though this would likely be of the retractable variety...

Besides guns and the obvious brace of AAMs of the Lightning, I always thought that only a pair of missiles was a little underwhelming and so I'd like my up-powered SR.53 to be able to carry at least four.

The one thing I'm struggling with is radar. Y'see, I do rather like the pointy shape of the SR.53 and the thought of spoiling that nose profile disturbs me. That said, the Lightning has a nice intake cone in which to stash its substantial kit and I might have to give in and add a more rotund snout to my bird.
Other bits to add will be various aerials and, although the SR.53 was sometime before the Jaguar, this is a whif and a tail bar RWR might be appropriate.

Much as I dislike the old NMF, I do have some spare 74 Squadron decals and so might go for a black-finned bird of that illustrious squadron...


So I got excited and, before I remembered to take pictures, I'd squeezed the last of a rattlecan of silver onto the fuselage halves and wings.

I'm thinking I'll call this an undercoat.

One sprue of soft black plastic.
This is almost rubbery in texture...not quite bendy, but almost.
NOTE the stand.

I've cut plastic, so now I'm committed!

(*He should be", I hear you mutter under your breath! :P )

Let's enlarge the intakes, for the bigger engine.

This was done just like the Trumpton Clock...

...Ever so slowly, ever so carefully.

NOTE that the rattlecan paint is wanting to part company with the plastic. :rolleyes:


I then cracked open the Milliput and, after half an hour to ensure it was properly mixed, I begand to fill those intakes.

Some careful smoothing later...

I took this shot to show you the plastic I'm having to work with!

Fuselage halves joined together.
I did add an i/p in the 'pit, but it's barely visible.

Half a fuel tank becomes the basis for a Lightning-esque belly tank...necessary to quench the thirst of that bigger jet engine.

I think this came from a new Airfix 1/72 Harrier kit.


Thinking about the Lightning's development, I decided to enlarge the tail of my model a tad, using thin plasticard.

A 'Hindenberg' tank, from a long deceased Airfix 1/72 Tonka I had, in Saudi colours.
I'll be using the pointy end at the rear.

Having cut the pointy end off, I then bit the proverbial bullet and cut that nice pointy nose of the SR.53, exactly where the diameters matched.

Using Perfect Plastic Putty, to fill the gap around the belly tank.


Whilst adding the new radome, I realised I was losing the undercarriage door for the nose gear.
This now needs to be replaced...

Now then...where did I put that putty?

Having added a wide strip of plasticard, to represent doors for the nose gear, I faired it all in with some Perfect Plastic Putty.

Now for the business end...bigger jet and bigger rocket, means bigger exit holes.

So the jet gets a variable exhaust, courtesy of a long-forgotten 1/144 kit, that offered optional pipes.
The bigger rocket pipe is a length of plastic drinking straw. ;)


Time to look at the flying surfaces...
The kit's wings needed some encouragement to unite.

Fit was pretty awful!

So we have a much more powerful rocket. Whilst I've already enlarged the tail surfaces, I felt that I'd follow in the Lightning's footsteps and add a pair of ventral fins as well...

...And a pair of canards would assist the pilot in pointing the beastie to where he wanted it to go.

I squared off the tailplane, simply to make it look more 'modern'. :D


Now then...weaponry...

I thought about adding two guns, as per the Lightning, but decided that would just be greedy, with weight and all, so just one will do.

I won't be using the kit Firestreaks, (top), and will use a pair of ex-Matchbox ones, from my Lightning F6 kit.
I'll also be adding another pair from another Matchbox F6 I have to hand.

I discarded the kit's wingtip pylons and substituted them with a pair from a Matchbox F-5, I believe. The underwing pylons came from an Airfix Tonka.

A length of tubing for the gun.

And n emergency runway arrestor hook.


The phrase "Makeing a Silk Purse out of a Sow's ear" comes to mind. I also have that kit in the stash, it may just go into the bin, not passing Go and definatly not collecting £200!!

My Ability to Imagine is only exceeded by my Imagined Abilities

Gondor's Modelling Rule Number Three: Everything will fit perfectly untill you apply glue...

I know it's in a book I have around here somewhere....


Looking great so far!  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:

I have one of those in my SSR, so you're giving me ideas, as well as things to change so we're not building identical aircraft.  :)  I think mine will probably end up in the Royal Scots Air Force - they seem to 'collect' uncommon aircraft.  ;)

Gondor, if you're really going to bin that model, may I have it?  I'll pay a reasonable price for it.  :)  After all, you don't send up aircraft alone - they need a wingman.  :)
Thistle dew, Pig - thistle dew!

Where am I going?  And why am I in a handbasket?

It's dark in the dark when it's dark. Ancient Ogre Proverb

"All right, boyz - the plan iz 'Win.'  And if ya lose, it's yer own fault 'coz ya didn't follow the plan."


Quote from: Scotaidh on September 03, 2022, 07:45:00 AMGondor, if you're really going to bin that model, may I have it?  I'll pay a reasonable price for it.  :)  After all, you don't send up aircraft alone - they need a wingman.  :)

Sure, may be a while befor I can send it though as I have to dig it out of the loft.  :rolleyes:

My Ability to Imagine is only exceeded by my Imagined Abilities

Gondor's Modelling Rule Number Three: Everything will fit perfectly untill you apply glue...

I know it's in a book I have around here somewhere....


I've got a MPC boxing of the kit which I won't be needing. It comes with some dizzily glitzy red coloured decals.
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike


Nice! is the plastic like soap?  I have has a few eastern block models that were very soft.  One swipe of the sanding stick would cut in about 6 scale inches!
Dave "Sandiego89"
Chesapeake, Virginia, USA


Quote from: sandiego89 on September 03, 2022, 11:43:37 AMNice! is the plastic like soap?  I have has a few eastern block models that were very soft.  One swipe of the sanding stick would cut in about 6 scale inches!

It's variable. A lot of it is almost rubbery, but then there are some quite hard bits.


I disliked the mess of the kit's tail arrangement, so added another fillet of plasticard, to tidy things up.

Time to slap the grey primer on.
This brings it all together and, perhaps way more importantly, shows me the odd gaps and other defects that will need addressing.
NOTE that the fit of the supplied undercarriage doors was truly abysmal and, if I didn't have the filler to hand, I would've scratched my own replacements.


I was tempted to use an aftermarket 1960s resin pilot, but as that's not really in the spirit of the build, I had a rummage through the scrap boxes and found an old Airfix pilot, looking for an office to sit in.
(I just hope he has strong bladder control!)
The kit canopy wasn't a particularly good fit, but at least it's very clear.
Time to fill all the gaps and address any other build issues...and then it's painting time.

Final details were some scratched intakes, dotted around the fuselage.
NOTE that these follow an asymmetric arrangemnt, which I feel reflects a more realistic aircraft, rather than have absolutely everything in perfect symmetry.

I confess, I did think about avoiding a metal finish, but for the sake of some credibility, I decided to stick with the scheme used by the 74 Squadron Lightnings in 1970.

I really do not enjoy metal finishes, but here we are.