Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Supermarine Swift

by Mike Grant


Supermarine Swift


 HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron




Have I taken leave of my senses? I've taken a 1954-vintage, wildly inaccurate kit of an obscure RAF aircraft, built it, painted it AND put a pilot in it? And then mounted it on the kit's display stand, for goodness' sake...

The motivation for this model came from a conversation with a friend of mine in the U.S. about recapturing the raw enthusiasm for model building that we had as kids, when 'accuracy', 'detail' and 'photo-etch' weren't part of our vocabulary. I'd also just finished a particularly tedious and fiddly model/conversion and needed a change of pace. The 1/72 Hawk kit had been on my shelf for years though it had never seriously been a contender for being built, but with just 7 usable parts I figured it would be an ideal subject for my foray into nostalgia.





I had a set of plans for the Swift in an older issue of 'Scale Aircraft Modelling International', and these showed all that I needed to know- the kit was hopelessly wrong in length, shape and cross-section. There was no opening for the cockpit, the wing had 2 sets of spurious and grossly thick wing fences, panel lines were raised and, in typical 50s fashion, the markings were engraved neatly into the plastic. Perfect. Despite all this, when I did a dry-run it actually looked a bit like a Swift. I battled with my conscience over whether to do it as a literal, 'out-of-box' project or to make a token effort at looking like a serious modeller.


In the end I compromised and made improvements where I thought they'd be most obvious. I hollowed out the cockpit and added a pilot, seat and instrument panel. I sanded off all the panel lines and filled the engraved markings. I removed the wing-fences (scaled up they'd be better referred to as wing-walls) and replaced them with a thinner set. For the most part the pieces fitted OK except for the starboard wing-to-fuselage. I filled and sanded that joint so much that I could literally see daylight through the fuselage side, but eventually all was ready to paint.



Painting and Markings


The Hawk kit's profile is closer to the F. Mk. 1/2 with its shorter tail fin so I opted for the all-over aluminium finish, for which I used SNJ. I made the markings on my ALPS (before its demise) depicting an aircraft of 56 squadron. Everything was sealed with a coat of Future, then I added a few panel lines using a pencil. It wasn't entirely succesful, I had to use a soft 4B pencil to make any impression at all on the glossy surface and as a result some of the lines are a bit fuzzy. In retrospect I should have lightly misted a satin or matt varnish over the gloss which would have enabled me to use a harder grade of pencil. It looked OK though.





Was I able to recapture those carefree modelling days of my youth? Well, I did get a bit bogged down at the filling/sanding stage which wouldn't have happened back then, but I had to retain SOME of my self-respect. And I probably wouldn't have painstakingly created a set of replacement decals.



But I thoroughly enjoyed the project as some welcome light relief. And I have at last removed that Hawk kit from the unbuilt pile.

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2002 by Mike Grant
Page Created 26 July, 2002
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Features Index