Author Topic: Dizzyfugu's Singapore Lightning - finished  (Read 9377 times)

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: Dizzyfugu's Singapore Lightning - finished, lots of pics
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2013, 01:57:55 am »
So, here we go - it's done!  :lol:


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Some background (revised):
The English Electric Lightning was a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, noted for its great speed. It was the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft and the first aircraft in the world capable of supercruise. The Lightning was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; pilots commonly described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". Following English Electric's integration into the unified British Aircraft Corporation, the aircraft was marketed as the BAC Lightning.

The Lightning was prominently used by the Royal Air Force, but also by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore. The first aircraft to enter service with the RAF, three pre-production P.1Bs, arrived at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk on 23 December 1959, and from there the aircraft was permanently developed further.

The F.6 was the ultimate Lightning version to see British service. Originally, it was nearly identical to the former F.3A (which introduced a large ventral tank and new cambered wings), with the exception that it had provisions to carry 260 gal (1,180 l) ferry tanks on pylons over the wings. These tanks were jettisonable in an emergency, and gave the F.6 a substantially improved deployment capability. The Ferranti A.I.23B radar supported autonomous search, automatic target tracking, and ranging for all weapons, while the pilot attack sight provided gyroscopically derived lead angle and backup stadiametric ranging for gun firing. The radar and gunsight were collectively designated the AIRPASS: Airborne Interception Radar and Pilot Attack Sight System. Combined with the Red Top missile, the system offered a limited forward hemisphere attack capability.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


There remained one glaring shortcoming of the late Lightning versions, though: the lack of cannon. This was finally rectified in the form of a modified ventral tank with two ADEN cannon mounted in the front. The addition of the cannon and their ammunition decreased the tank's fuel capacity from 610 gal to 535 gal (2,430 l), but the cannon made the F.6 a 'real fighter' again.

Singapore's Lightnings came as a bargain, as they had been taken over directly from RAF stocks. In 1967 No. 74 'Tiger' Squadron was moved to RAF Tengah in Singapore to take over the air defense role from the Gloster Javelin equipped 64 Squadron. When 74 Squadron was disbanded in September 1971, following the withdrawal of British forces from Singapore (in the course of the "East of Suez" campaign, which already started in 1968), Tengah Air Base and many other RAF sites like Seletar, Sembawang and Changi as well as the RAF air defense radar station and Bloodhound II surface-to-air missiles were handed over to the SADC, Singapore’s Air Defense Command, which was suddenly entrusted with a huge responsibility and resources.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Anyway, in order to fulfill its aerial defense role, Singapore's air force lacked a potent interceptor, and so it was agreed with the RAF that 74 Squadron would leave fourteen Lightnings (twelve F.6 fighters and two T.5 trainers behind, while the rest was transferred to Akrotiri, Cyprus, where the RAF aircraft were integrated into 56 Squadron.

The ex-RAF Lightnings, however, immediately formed the small country's quick alert interceptor backbone and were grouped into the newly established 139th Squadron, “Swifts”. The small squadron kept its base at Tengah, as a sister unit to 140th Squadron which operated the Hawker Hunter FGA.74 in the fighter role since 1971.

Singapore's Lightnings differed slightly from the RAF F.6: In order to minimize the maintenance costs of this specialized aircraft, the SADC decided to drop the Red Top missile armament. The Red Top gave all-weather capability, but operating this standalone system for just a dozen of aircraft was deemed cost-inefficient. Keeping the high-performance Lightnings airworthy was already costly and demanding enough.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


As a cost-effective measure, all SADC Lightnings were modified to carry four AIM-9B and later E Sidewinder AAMs on special, Y-shaped pylons, not unlike those used on the US Navy's F-8 Crusader. In order to enhance all-weather capability, an AAS-15 IRST sensor was added, located in a fairing in front of the wind shield. Its electronics used the space of the omitted, fuselage-mounted cannons of the F.6 variant.

Long range and loitering time were only of secondary relevance, so that the Singaporean Lightnings typically carried two 30 mm ADEN cannons with 120 RPG in the lower fuselage, which reduced the internal fuel capacity slightly but made the Lightning a true close combat fighter with high agility, speed and rate of climb. Since the RSAF interceptors would only engage in combat after direct visual contact and target identification, the Sidewinders' short range was no operational problem - and because that missile type was also in use with RSAF's Hawker Hunters, this solution was very cost-efficient.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The F.6's ability to carry the overwing ferry tanks (the so-called 'Overburgers') was retained, though, as well as the refueling probe and, and with its modified/updated avionics the RSAF Lightnings received the local designations of F.6S and T.5S. They were exclusively used in the interceptor role and retained their natural metal finish all though their service career.

In 1975, the SADC was eventually renamed into ‘Republic of Singapore Air Force’ (RSAF), and the aircraft received appropriate markings.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The RSAF Lightnings saw an uneventful career. One aircraft was lost due to hydraulic failure in August 1979 (the pilot ejected safely), and when in 1983 RSAF's F-5S fighters took over the duties of airborne interception from the Royal Australian Air Force's Mirage IIIOs detachment stationed at Tengah, all remaining RSAF Lightnings were retired and phased out of service in March 1984 and scrapped. The type's global career did not last much longer: the last RAF Lightnings were retired in 1988 and replaced by the Panavia Tornado ADV.



BAE Lightning F.6S general characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 55 ft 3 in (16.8 m)
Wingspan: 34 ft 10 in (10.6 m)
Height: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
Wing area: 474.5 ft² (44.08 m²)
Empty weight: 31,068 lb (14.092 kg)
Max. take-off weight: 45,750 lb (20.752 kg)

Powerplant:
2× Rolls-Royce Avon 301R afterburning turbojets with 12,530 lbf (55.74 kN) dry thrust each and 16,000 lbf (71.17 kN) with afterburner

Performance:
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (1.300 mph/2.100 km/h) at 36.000 ft.
Range: 850 mi (1.370 km) Supersonic intercept radius: 155 mi (250 km)
Ferry range: 920 mi (800 NM/ 1.660 km) 1,270 mi (1.100 NM/ 2.040 km) with ferry tanks
Service ceiling: 54.000 ft (16.000 m); zoom ceiling >70.000 ft
Rate of climb: 20.000 ft/min (100 m/s)
Wing loading: 76 lb/ft² (370 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: 0.78

Armament:
2× under-fuselage hardpoints for mounting air-to-air missiles (2 or 4 AIM-9 Sidewinder)
Optional, but typically fitted: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) ADEN cannons with 120 RPG in the lower fuselage, reducing the ventral tank's fuel capacity from 610 gal to 535 gal (2,430 l)
2× overwing pylon stations for 260 gal ferry tanks




The kit and its assembly
The inspiration to this whiffy Lightning came through fellow user Nick here at whatifmodelers.com (credits go to him), who brought up the idea of EE/BAC Lightnings in Singapore use: such a small country would be the ideal user of this fast interceptor with its limited range. I found the idea very convincing and plausible, and since I like the Lightning and its unique design very much, I (too) had to make one for the 2013 group build "Asiarama" - even if a respective model would potentially be built twice. But it's always fun to see how the same theme is interpreted by different modelers, I am looking forward to my creation's sister ship.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The kit is the Matchbox Lightning F.2A/F.6 (PK-114) from 1976, and only little was changed. Fit is O.K., building the model poses no real problems. But the kit needs some putty work at the fuselage seams, and the many raised panel lines (esp. at the belly tank) and other relatively fine and many details for a Matchbox kit make sanding rather hazardous. Nevertheless, it's a solid kit. A bit toy-like, yes, but good value for the relatively little money. What's saved might be well invested into an extra decal sheet (see below).

Internal mods include some added details inside of the cockpit and the landing gear wells, but these were just enhancements to the original parts. The Avons' afterburners were simulated with implanted sprocket wheels from a 1:72 Panzer IV - not intended to be realistic at all, but IMO better than the kit's original, plain end caps!


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Externally…
· the flaps were lowered
· some antennae and a finer pitot added
· about a dozen small air intakes/outlets were added (cut from styrene) or drilled open
· the IRST sensor fairing added, sculpted from a simple piece of sprue
· a pair of 30mm barrels mounted in the lower fuselage (hollow steel needles)
· the scratch-built quadruple Sidewinder rails are worth mentioning


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The AIM-9E missiles come from the scrap heap, I was lucky to find a matching set of four. The optional overwing fuel tanks were not fitted, as this was supposed to become a "standard RSAF aircraft". I also did not opt for (popular) weapons mounted above the wings, since this would have called for modifications of the F.6 which did not appear worthwhile to me in context with the envisaged RSAF use. Switching to four Sidewinders on the fuselage hardpoints was IMHO enough.


Painting and markings
More effort went into this project part. The end of RAF's 74 Squadron at Tengah and the return of the Lightnings to Europe opened a nice historical window for my whif. Since the Tiger Squadron's aircraft sported a natural metal finish, partly with black fins (accidentally, the Matchbox kit offers just the correct decal/painting option), I decided that the RSAF would keep their aircraft this way: without camouflage, just RSAF markings, with some bold and highly visible colors added.

A SEA scheme (as on the RSAF Hunters, Strikemasters of Skyhawks) would have been another serious option and certainly look weird on a Lightning, as well as a three-tone gray wraparound low-viz scheme as used on the F-5E/S fighters, plausible in the 80ies onwards.

Testors Aluminum Metallizer was used as basic color, but several other shades including Steel and Titanium Metallizer, Testors normal Aluminum enamel paint, Humbrol 11 and 56 as well as Revell Aqua Color Aluminum were used for selected surface portions or panels all around the hull.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The spine including the cockpit frame was painted black. Using RSAF's 140 Squadron's colors as a benchmark, the fin received a checkered decoration in black and red, reminiscent of RAF 56 Squadron Lightnings. This was created through a black, painted base, onto which decals - every red field was cut from a red surface sheet from TL Modellbau - were transferred. Sounds horrible, but it was easier and more exact than expected. A very convenient solution with sharp edges and good contrast. A red trim line, 1mm wide, was added as a decal along the spine in a similar fashion.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The squadron emblem on the Lightning's nose was created through the same scratch method: from colored 1.5mm wide stripes, 3mm pieces were cut and applied one by one to form the checkered bar. The swift emblem comes from a 1:48 sheet for French WWI aircraft, made by Peddinghaus Decals from Germany. The overall look was supposed to be similar to the (real) 140 Squadron badge.

As a consequence, this created a logical problem: where to put the national roundel? Lightnings usually wore them on the nose, but unlike RAF style (where a bar was added around the roundel), I used RSAF Hunters as benchmark.
The RSAF roundels were a challenge. In order not to cramp the nose section too much I decided to place the roundels behind the wings. Not the must prominent position, but plausible. I originally wanted to use decals from the current 1:72 Airfix BAC Strikemaster kit, but they turned out to be too small.
After long search I was happy to find a 1:48 aftermarket decal sheet from Morgan Decals for an A-4S, with full color yin-yang roundels - in Canada! It took three weeks to wait for these parts, though, even though work had to wait for this final but vital detail !

As a side not, AFAIK any RSAF aircraft only carried and carries these roundels on the fuselage sides, not on the wings' upper or lower surfaces? It leaves the model a bit naked, so I decided to add 'RSAF' letters and the tactical code '237' to the wings' upper and lower sides. But the fin is surely bold enough to compensate ;)

The cockpit interior was painted in Medium Sea Gray (Humbrol 27), the landing gear and the wells in a mix of Humbrol 56 and 34, for a light gray with a metallic shimmer.

Other details include the white area behind the cockpit, which contained an AVPIN/isopropyl nitrate tank for the Lightning's start engine. Hazardous stuff - the light color was to prevent excessive heating in the sun, a common detail for Lightnings used in Cyprus. Another piece that took some effort was the shaggy nose cone, which was painted in a mix of Humbrol 56 and 86 and received some serious dry painting in light gray and ochre.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif) - Wip by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Stencils etc. were taken from an extensive aftermarket sheet for Lightnings from Xtradecal (X72096). The Matchbox decal sheet of PK-114 just offers the ejection seat warning triangles - that's all! The later T.55 kit is much better in this regard, but still far from being complete.

After decal application and to enhance the metallic look, the kit received a careful rubbing with finely grinded graphite, which, as a side effect, also emphasized the raised panel lines. A little dry painting was done around some exhaust openings, but nothing to make the aircraft look really old. This is supposed to be a bright and well-maintained interceptor!

Finally, the kit received a thin coat with glossy acrylic varnish, the spine and fin received a semi-matt coat and the black glare shield in front of the cockpit became matt.


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 EE/BAC Lightning F.6S, aircraft '237/G' (ex RAF XR773) of 139 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force/RSAF; Tengah Air Base, 1976 (Whif/Matchbox kit) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr




A pretty straightforward build for the Asiarama group build, and with best regards and credits to Nick who came up with the original idea. Most work went into the decals and the NMF finish. I like the bold colors, and despite being flamboyant, they do not make the Lightning look too far out of place?

As a final note: XR773 never ended up in Singapore service, just like any BAC Lightning. In real life, the aircraft (first flight was in February 1966 with Roly Beamont at the controls) was transferred from 74 Squadron at RAF Tengah to Akrotiri in late 1971 and had a pretty long life, further serving with 56, 5 and 11 Squadrons as well as the Lightning Training Flight. And even then it’s life was far from over: XR773 is one of the Lightning survivors; in South Africa it flew in private hands as ZU-BEW until 2010, when it was grounded and the airframe put up to sale.

Offline NARSES2

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Re: Dizzyfugu's Singapore Lightning - finished
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2013, 03:25:14 am »
Gorgeous
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Supertom

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Re: Dizzyfugu's Singapore Lightning - finished
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2013, 07:59:41 am »
Damn.  That's awesome.
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Re: Dizzyfugu's Singapore Lightning - finished
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2013, 07:11:46 pm »
That's a beauty, very credible and the photographs are superb - nice one.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: Dizzyfugu's Singapore Lightning - finished
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2013, 04:30:01 am »
Thank you all!  :cheers:

More for the Asiarama GB in progress, though...  ;)