1/100 Scale Mini-Jet Series (1/100 Combat Plane Series)
Tamiya, during my early modeling days of the early 1970's, had a substantial line of 1/100 modern jets and helicopters, the 1/100 Scale Mini-Jet Series. As the standard for scales sorted itself out, 1/100 yielded to the onslaught of 1/72. However, Tamiya's line was quite impressive for the time, featuring predominately recessed panel lines and the good fit Tamiya would be known for. The scale is about 30% smaller than 1/72, compact yet generally able to retain as much detail as 1/72 offerings. The scale goes well with ship modelers' 1/96 and railroading TT (1/100 through 1/120) scales. It converts easily in both metric and Imperial system. But this scale never really took off to the extent that it was envisaged, probably more due to the fact that 1/72 had by that time taken a stranglehold on the hobby. Subject availability is not very high, though Accurate Miniatures, Revell, Takara, Faller, et al., have some excellent 1/100 kits.
At the end of the Second World War, English Electric Aviation Company built Britain's first jet bomber, the B3/45, later to become the Canberra. The Canberra's performance was extraordinary, invulnerable to known and projected fighters. Extraordinary to the degree that the thought of a Soviet equivalent scared the Ministry of Defense to call for an interceptor to defeat all known and projected bombers. That fighter became England's only domestic mach 2 fighter, the iconic English Electric Lightning -- the Cold War's Spitfire.
English Electric was later incorporated into the British Aircraft Corporation, later marks being developed and produced as the BAC Lightning. An incredible design, the aircraft was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; RAF pilots described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". This performance came about through novel design. A twin-engine jet, the propulsion system configuration was top and bottom, instead of the conventional side-by-side layout. The Lightning was the first aircraft capable of what is now known as supercruise--sustained supersonic flight without the use of afterburners. These engines were Rolls-Royce Avon 301R turbojets each producing 16,000 lbs (71.17 kN) of thrust with afterburner.
A Lightning strike could fry its target with a pair of 30 mm ADEN cannons and two infra-red missiles, either the DeHavilland Firestreak, or the Hawker Siddeley Red Top. The remarkable Red Top had limited all-aspect capability. The 30 mm were deleted with the F.3, and reintroduced with the F.6. The F.6 retained the fat belly fuel tank of the F.3, and had provisions to carry 260 gal (1,180 l) ferry tanks on pylons over the wings.
Entering service in December 1959, the RAF phased out their Lightnings in 1988. Lightnings served with the Royal Air Force, Kuwait Air Force, and Royal Saudi Air Force.
A few years ago Tamiya reissued their 1/100 series, including the Lightning. This was the fourth in the 1/100 MINI JET AIRCRAFT SERIES, kit number PA 1004. My sample is an original model bought at a show. The Tamiya BAC Lightning kit contains 36 plastic parts:
* a clear canopy
* two-part display stand
* six black parts for the drop tanks and missiles
* 27 silver parts
Parts are provided to build it gear-up or down. These parts are packed in plastic bags in a two-piece box.
The surface detail is mainly recessed panel lines.
No detail enhances the wheel wells. A crude ejection seat is the only cockpit embellishment. The gear doors are thick and without detail.
Except for the landing gear doors, the parts are thin, and the sprue attachments are very sturdy. The detailed parts are crisp but several suffer from ejector pin marks and flash. There are no sinkholes and only minor seam lines are found along some parts.
The single-piece canopy is slightly distorted, and features light relief framing.
This is not today’s Tamiya fall-together fit but the fit is good. Your reviewer has built several of Tamiya's 1/100 models (see link below). The fit of this series has varied from trouble free, to troublesome. The fuselage test-fit well, but the intake will require filling. As Lightnings were known for their early glistening unpainted finish, filling gaps smoothly will be essential. Otherwise, you have an impressive model molded 30 years ago!
Lightnings were not used for attack so the only external stores are the two Red Top air-to-air missiles, and the two 260 gal (1,180 l) over-wing tanks.
The model scales out to 56.25 feet in length (including pitot tube), and 34.5 inches wingspan. Very close to the prototype.
decals and painting
I apologize that my model arrived without the decals. My experience with two other original Tamiya 30-year-old decals has been outstanding. The decals are thicker than most of today’s, but are almost perfectly registered.
Two Lightnings can be built:
1. XR760, No.5 Squadron, RAF
2. No. 232, Royal Saudi Air Force
Both are in natural metal finish. No.5 Squadron, RAF became the first RAF squadron to operate the F.6 mark of the Lightning. No.5 markings were solid red rectangles on each side of the nose roundel. The tail markings sported a small white disc with a green and black maple leaf superimposed, and a single tail code letter.
Up to the 1970s, Lightnings almost always flew in natural metal finish, though with a fair variety of markings and trim colors. Lightnings deployed to Germany received a dark green topside and no belly paint. Later, Lightnings received the green and gray upper camouflage, with light gray undersides. Ultimately, they received low visibility gray camouflage. For these liveries, you will have to improvise the markings.
Tamiya still carries this model in their catalog as the 1/100 Combat Plane Series. These are delightful little kits. I have yet to build a new 1/144 aeroplane so I cannot compare them, but these are as nice as many pre-CAD 1/72 kits. For relatively large jets, this scale allows you to have and display many in a small area.
Those I have built have predominately been satisfying models.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR) FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES
I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art.
My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling!
My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...