The earliest Lightning mark F1 entered RAF squadron service in 1960 and represented a quantum leap in capability and performance over its predecessors offering an integrated weapons system, Mach 2+ performance and a phenomenal rate of climb. The F2 introduced in 1962 was heavily modified in 1968 producing the F2A with square cut fin, kinked leading edges and enlarged ventral tank which gave an enhanced combat air patrol time of around two hours.
The F2A adapted superbly from its original high altitude role to patrolling the Berlin Corridor at low level. Replaced by Phantoms in RAF Germany 1977, the Lightning had few rivals for speed and rate of climb.
Ever heard the phrase that 1/72 scale or ”braille” builders are the luckiest modelers? I have, and lost track of how many times I’ve heard it. While visiting my local hobby shop I came across this beautiful English Electric Lightning F.2A from Airfix Models. I asked the manager if he could open the box so I could take a peek inside the box and see what $17.99 would get me. Without opening the clear plastic bag I was able to spot very nice detail. My sight went afterwards to the main fuselage halves. Having the 1/48 Airfix E.E Lightning in my office it was a non-hesitant I’ll take it!
$17.99 got me a beautifully clean molded model kit with nicely rendered receded panel lines. Some modeler kit builders could find this panel lines a little bit on the thick side. We all have a different taste and for mine, these lines are perfect for this scale. They are probably thick for some yes, but they add some structural definition. Just look at those thick panel lines on less detailed 1/72 diecast aircraft and you’ll probably see what I mean. Plus in case you haven’t noticed, 1/72 is the scale of choice by many model kit builders on the other side of the pond. Many of these subjects get to be painted with regular brush rather than airbrushing so there will be some room for these panel lines not getting filled with paint.
The Martin Barker Mk.4 ejection seat is made out of 4 different parts and the cockpit is quite fair for this scale. I took the time to snap a few pictures of the main fuselage next its bigger 1/48th scale F2.A/F.6 also from Airfix. This aircraft is big. The 1/72 fuselage is almost as big as some 1/48th subjects and the 1/48 scale Electric Lightning is slightly larger than the fuselage of a Kinetic 1/32 F-86 I have on display. The clear parts are nicely molded with good definition of the canopy frame. As mentioned above, the markings provided are for 2 different versions of this aircraft plus they have been printed by none other than Cartograf. The instructions are very straightforward and nicely printed from 3D renderings.
The 1/72 Airfix English Electric Lightning F.2A is a very nice kit. As I mentioned countless times, I’m not a big fan of this scale but this is a nice kit and a steal for the price. It could be a relief build and a nice canvas for a Natural Metal Finish first timer. I highly doubt you won’t like this model kit. Highly Recommended!