If you enjoy building trials aircraft, Freightdog Models’ new 1/72 British Testing Colours decal sheet – and associated Hunter T.12 upgrade – is essential, as CHRIS CLIFFORD reports.
Test aircraft make for wonderful subjects if colour is a big driver in your modelling. The airframes usually need to have high-visibility schemes, depending on the trials being conducted. The UK’s test aircraft have been some of the most vivid, and excellent examples are offered on Freightdog Models’ new 1/72 decal sheet FSD72020, British Testing Colours. Six different liveries are represented and, for one of these machines (a Hunter) Freightdog has released a bespoke conversion set… but more on that later.
Variety abounds here, with a fighter, trainers and a maritime patrol aircraft to ring the changes. The choices are:
• Hawker Siddeley Gnat T.1, XP505, Aero Flight, Royal Aircraft Establishment, RAE Bedford, Bedfordshire, early 1970s
• English Electric Lightning P.11 (T.4), XL629, Empire Test Pilots’ School, Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, 1972
• Avro Shackleton MR.3, WR972, Royal Aircraft Establishment, RAE Farnborough, Hampshire, 1961
• Hawker Hunter F.6 (P.1109A), WW598, RAE Bedford, early 1960s
• Hawker Hunter T.12, XE531, RAE Farnborough, 1976
• Folland Gnat T.1, XM693, third prototype, Dunsfold, Surrey, 1963
Notable inclusions are the Hunters…the T.12 with its Emerald Green and white livery, associated with TSR.2 trials work, and the pointy-nosed P.1109A. Freightdog also produces a conversion for the latter airframe. The Folland Gnat third prototype is interesting too, as it poses the challenge of how to portray wind-tunnel yarn tufting on its black-painted areas. It also had a non-standard, shorter nose without the usual light. Usefully, Airfix has just reissued its 1/72 Gnat.
The decals are printed by Fantasy Printshop, on relatively thin, gloss carrier film and the white segments appear to have excellent opacity… doubly important when the markings are being overlaid on strong colours. This sheet costs £16.
Above: The seats in Freightdog's Hunter T.12 conversion look especially good and just need firing handles.
If you wish to model the RAE Hunter T.12, Freightdog’s bespoke resin conversion is useful indeed. It’s designed to fit the Xtrakit Hunter T.7 which, although is challenging due to its limited-run nature, is the only real option in styrene worth considering. Freightdog’s set offers a new nose with downward-facing camera, a correctly sized nose leg and mainwheels, outboard wing pylons and more accurate Martin-Baker Mk.4 ejection seats... all for £9.50. Both the decals and T.12 resin set are available direct from Freightdog Models.