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Airfix 1/72 scale Supermarine Swift FR.5

Kit:A04003 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$18.99
Great engraved detail; optional parts; outstanding decals
Problems fitting cockpit into fuselage
Injection-molded, 63 parts, decals
The Supermarine Swift was a fallback option for the Royal Air Force in the event Hawker’s Hunter didn’t pan out. Problems with the Swift’s development led to one setback after another, but — like the Vigilante and Voodoo — the aircraft became a highly successful reconnaissance platform.

Airfix’s new kit replicates this Swift variant, the FR.5, arguably the most attractive. Its inboard wing extensions and saw-tooth outboard wing sections give the aircraft a wicked-looking scimitar-shaped planform.
Comprehensive three-color instructions include diagrams showing angles for attaching the beautifully engraved and detailed parts.

The seat and cockpit walls are nice, though not highly detailed.
Options include a belly tank, posable flaps, control surfaces, and canopy, and two seat inserts, one with molded-in belt detail and one without.

Decals are provided for the instrument panel and side consoles. Clear camera windows or optional blanking plates are included, plus closed gear doors for displaying the aircraft in flight. There is no stand in the kit.  
I had real issues trying to fit the combination nose wheel well/cockpit tub assembly into the fuselage. Finally, I sawed the well and tub apart and installed them separately. But the cockpit still sits too low.

The instructions specify 2 grams of nose weight, but there’s little room for it. So, I snipped off the lugs atop the nose-wheel well to make room. I installed additional weight beneath the cockpit as well.

Most of the fuselage seam and the forward wing-to-belly joint needed filler.

Once I was over the fuselage hurdles, the remaining parts fit nicely and the build went smoothly.

The landing gear, wheels, and wheel wells show excellent detail. The gear struts have trunnion mounts at their upper ends, like the real aircraft.

The main wheels mount to the struts with an elongated pin-and-slot arrangement; the slots aren’t in the center of the wheel hubs, so the model’s stance can be altered a little, depending on how the wheels are attached.  

The flaps’ attachment points on the wings are small. That makes them more fragile than most of the rest of the model, second only to the pitot boom, which I broke twice. (I finally discarded it and replaced it with hypodermic tubing.)

The clear parts are a little thick. The painting instructions don’t show the reinforcing edges of the canopy’s Plexiglas (“Perspex” to Britophiles) sliding section. However, the box art does. So, using that as a guide, I painted those edges light gray.

I added shims beneath the clear gun/camera sight to raise it to its proper height and compensate for the low position of the cockpit tub.

Painting instructions reference Humbrol colors, but I used Tamiya acrylics, mixing my own PRU blue for the undersides. Two markings options with full stenciling are provided. The decals were practically flawless.

The cockpit fit problems necessitated spending slightly more than my usual building time for a model this size — about 20 hours. However, the finished product looks … well … pretty swift — I think, anyhow.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2015 FineScale Modeler.
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