I have always liked the looks of the SEPECAT (Société Européenne de Production de l’avion Ecole de Combat et d’Appui Tactique) Jaguar. I was hoping a manufacturer would someday release a new tool of the Jaguar in 1/48 scale — and now Kitty Hawk Models has done just that, releasing the Jaguar A.
The kit is packed into a deceptively small box. I thought there was no way a 1/48 scale Jaguar could come in such a small box. But Kitty Hawk proved me wrong; inside, there are 313 injection-molded pieces on nine sprues. There is also a small fret of photoetched metal with afterburner liners, seat belts, instrument panel and side consoles, and various small antennas.
Surface detail is fine, with consistently engraved panel lines, and the clear parts are crystal clear and quite thin. Kitty Hawk has included a few options in an impressive array of underwing stores, with various bombs, rockets, an ATLIS pod, and a single fuel tank. There is also a detailed electronics compartment that can be left open on the port side of the nose. Both cannons can be displayed and the canopy can be opened, too.
Before starting, I studied the 24-step instructions carefully. I deviated from them several times. After completing the cockpit, I joined the front and rear fuselage sections before gluing the halves together. I assembled the nose and main landing gear before installing them in their respective bays, according to the instructions, then installed the completed assemblies in the fuselage halves. There really is no way to install the nose gear after the fuselage is glued together, and I think if I had tried to install the main gear after the fact I would have run into problems.
The kit provides two complete engines which can be displayed if you choose. I decided to keep mine buttoned up.
With all the internal bays assembled and glued, it was time to glue the fuselage halves; they fit fine on the top, and a light sanding made the seam vanish. The bottom was a different story; there was some misalignment that required filling and sanding for an acceptable join.
The intakes comprise two pieces which need careful sanding and test-fitting; I still had to use filler to make them fit properly. I was disappointed that there was no ducting; looking at the model from the front, you can see into the hollow fuselage.
The main wings have the flaps and leading edge slats down. These parts were very thin and scale-like, and they fit perfectly.
I chose the gray/green over natural-metal scheme. Instructions show only the top and port-side view; no bottom or starboard views. So it was off to the Internet to see if I could find any color profiles.
I used Tamiya acrylic colors straight from the bottle for the two colors, thinning them with Tamiya’s yellow capped thinner. (I highly recommend it.) I masked off the bottom and painted the silver with Tamiya gloss aluminum spray-can paint decanted into my airbrush.
Tamiya clear gloss, straight from the spray can, prepared my “Jag” for decaling. The decals were fussy; very thin, they would not budge once on the surface. There were no instructions for the bottom or starboard-side decals. Once I got them situated, the decals did settle without applying solutions. After they had dried, I over-coated with Testors Model Master flat clear and had no silvering.
The front windscreen fit perfectly. I was going to display the rear canopy open, but I inadvertently trimmed off the mounting tab needed to hold the canopy up. Executing Plan B, I found the ejection seat kept the canopy from closing. I ended up using a motor tool to grind off the bottom of the seat and lower it in the cockpit tub.
There were some missing parts: The instructions show three pitot tubes right behind the radome (parts I61), but I could only find one. The kit seems over-engineered and complicated. I couldn’t figure out how the nose-gear door attachment rods fitted, so I left them off.
The Jaguar does have some complex shapes, and Kitty Hawk has captured them perfectly. The two-piece fuselage and unused parts in the box hint at an English version — maybe even the two-seater. Now, where did I put that bottle of Desert Storm pink?
Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2013 FineScale Modeler.