Kit Reviews

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Trumpeter 1/48 scale Supermarine Attacker F.1

By Matthew Walker
Published: March 5, 2013
Click the photo for a larger view
Kit:  02866
Scale:  1/48
Price:  $38.99
Pros:  Good fits, easy construction
Cons:  Inaccurate landing gear, undersized serial numbers
Manufacturer:  Trumpeter, from from Stevens International, 856-435-1555, and from Squadron Products, 877-414-0434
Injection-molded, 92 parts (8 photoetched metal), decals

We modelers are lucky. For the last few years, Trumpeter has seemed determined to bring us some rather obscure yet important subjects.

The Supermarine Attacker certainly fits that agenda. The actual aircraft was produced in small numbers, with only 185 built. It is significant, however, because it was the first jet-powered interceptor flown by the British Fleet Air Arm. Pakistan was the only other user of the aircraft, flying 36 of them until 1964. The Attacker also represents the last vestige of the Spitfire design, following on from the Spitfire 22/24, Spiteful/Seafang, and, finally, the Attacker. 

Trumpeter has developed a recognizable style. The box top has nice art showing one of the two aircraft included on the decal sheet. Surface detail is delicate, precise, and well-done.

The instructions are concise and well-drawn, but they do not offer any color callouts except for the overall paint scheme. I searched the Internet for references to the correct colors for the interior of my model, which ended up predominantly dark gray. 

Overall construction is a fairly painless exercise with well-fitting parts. There were only a few small areas (mainly around the engine air inlets) where a bit of gentle persuasion was all it took to achieve a neat, tight fit. Even the large conformal fuel tank on the belly fit well, with minimal gaps around the front of the assembly. The cockpit is adequate for the scale but would certainly allow some extra work if that’s your thing. The only other noteworthy construction aspect is that you may mount the wingtips in the folded position by cutting off the outer wingtip panels from the upper and lower wings and installing the ribs and hinges provided. A nice touch! 

Another option would be to mount the flaps in a deflected position. Even though they are molded as separate assemblies, some work would be involved in shaping them to fit in a lowered position. Neither the rudder nor elevators are separate; they would need to be cut and reworked to pose them deflected. 

The model scales out well to published dimensions and really catches the unique, slightly pugnacious lines of the Attacker. However, there are a couple of accuracy issues, the biggest being the undercarriage legs. The leg should be virtually straight, with no offset “fork” as depicted by the kit parts. As it is, the leg would bisect the midline of the wheel if it were to continue to the ground. In fact, the leg should pass next to the outside of the wheel if it were to continue to the ground. Trumpeter’s kits of the Supermarine Spiteful and Seafang also share this inaccuracy, as they share the same moldings. Maybe an aftermarket company will provide us with suitably correct undercarriage legs for these three kits. 

The other accuracy issue involves the decals. The underside serial numbers are undersized: They should extend inward onto the main undercarriage doors, whereas the supplied decals terminate well short of the doors. The instrument panel decal is a little on the clunky side, too, being rather overstated in detail (in my opinion). The decals do perform well, though, hugging all the little details underneath them with no setting solutions required. 

I painted my model with Testors Model Master 36118 gunship gray topside and Humbrol 90 beige green for the “sky Type S” on the undersides. I weathered with a sharpened 2H pencil for the panel lines and restrained paint chipping (applied with silver paint) around panels that may have been accessed frequently. Pledge Future floor polish provided a gloss surface for the decals; Krylon acrylic matte varnish supplied the final flat finish.

Trumpeter’s Attacker is not the first 1/48 scale model of this important aircraft, but it is the first “mainstream” (you may interpret that as “easy-to-build”) kit to date. Mine took approximately 25 hours, and it was an enjoyable, no-fuss build.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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There was also an excellent Falcon vacuform kit of the Attacker. Falcon's research was generally very good, as a comparison between the Trumpeter & Falcon Sea Fury kits would illustrate. RE: the gear, I expect Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) white metal landing gear will be out shortly.
Seems minor (and sometimes not-so-minor) inaccuracies resulting from niggardly research are a feature of Trumpie kits in general. I recommend they 1) Take their drafting "crew" for a field trip to look at some actual aircraft & 2) Avail themselves of the "enthusiast" community as a cheap research resource. Sort of a "Good Housekeeping" seal *before* they 'step in it'.
In reply to Wayne Brownell, thanks for the comment. The link with the Spitfire is there, but by the time of the Attacker, it may be rather tenuous! It is a design that grew on me as the build progressed.
4 stars
Thanks for pointing out the Attacker's direct lineage to the Spitfire. It was piquing my interest why this aircraft looked like something I was already familiar with. A nice build and a beautiful aircraft.
4 stars
It would be interesting to see the model compared with the Classic Airframes version.
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