Sword 1/72 Lighting T.4
KIT #: SW 72079
PRICE: $38.99 SRP
DECALS: Twoee options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch and resin parts


The English Electric Lighting was Great Britain's last dedicated interceptor. As an interceptor, it was blindingly fast, but suffered from short range. Various methods were used to extend  the range including a larger ventral fuel tank and over-wing 'drop' tanks. However, the most widely used method was air to air refueling.

Always a rather low production aircraft, 337 were built in six major variants, none in great numbers. A few were exported to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Many earlier planes were converted into later variants. Though retired in 1988/89, some were kept flying in South Africa until 2010 and several are kept for 'high speed taxi' demonstrations in the UK.

There were two trainer versions. The T.4 was based on the F.1A while the T.5, another two-seat side-by-side training version, was based on F.3. Two prototype T.4s and 20 production aircraft built, two aircraft later converted to T.5 prototypes, two aircraft later converted to T.54. These trainers were combat capable, armed with Firestreak missiles, though rarely carried them or even the training rounds.


Sword has finally come to the rescue with two Lighting trainers. Prior to this there was only the Matchbox T.54 and the Aeroclub conversion for use with the Airfix F.1 kit.

This one is a very nicely done kit that is typical of Sword's more recent kit offerings. Thankfully, Sword has made no pretense of doing any single seat versions and has molded each fuselage half as a single piece. The fin, wings, and tailplanes are separate in order to do the earlier T.4 version. In fact, the kit is identical to the T.5 kit aside from not offering the T.5 fin. That part was clipped from the sprue. Same deal with the T.5 where they clipped the T.4 fin.

Resin is used for three items; the two seats, the exhaust section, and while a resin cockpit tub is shown in the instructions, there is none in the kit. An extensive photo etch set is part of the kit. This is done by Eduard and is in color. It includes a lot of parts for the seats, including the harness, as well as for the interior. Many of the parts are used for the outside of the fuselage and that includes a plethora of antennas, each with separate and tiny bases. This will be enough to drive several to drink.

Typical of most every injected Lighting I've built, the nose radome is where you put all the weight. This plane is a bit of a tail sitter so one is wise to fill this as much as one can. This assembly also includes the nose gear well. A compressor face for the front of the lower engine is provided and while there is no mounting guide in the fuselage for it, the instructions tell you to place it 30mm behind the back of the intake assembly, so break out the rulers.

The kit's wings are in upper and lower halves with the ailerons and wing tip molded into the upper half to give a nice, sharp edge. A separate flap is also provided, but there were almost never deployed when the plane was at rest. There are no separate speed brakes, again, because these were never left up.

Landing gear are well done and have separate oleos. There is some gear well detail as well as two retraction struts. Most kits miss the one closest to the wing surface, The nose gear has a separate fork. For those who want a single nose gear fork, SAC does a nice metal replacement set.

For armament, you have a choice of two Firestreak, which this version carried or Red Top, which were valid with the F.3/6 versions. These missiles have separate fins and you also can do training rounds, which are made by leaving off the main fins. The windscreen and canopy are separate so that you can pose the canopy in the open position.

Instructions are well done and provide detail drawings to help the builder. Note that the wings have a 6 degree anhedral and the main gear legs jut slightly forward. Markings are for two planes. One is the box art plane from 56 Squadron in unpainted aluminum with a red fine, spine and wing leading edges. The other is with 92 Squadron with a dark green upper surface. Note that the engine inlet ring was generally polished, often to a very bright shine. The decals are very nicely done and provide a full stencil suite. This includes the very prominent wing walk stripes in both black and white. Missile markings are also given. Pretty much every unit plust the OCU and the LTF flew two seat versions, so I'll bet there will be at least one aftermarket decal sheet for this one.

If you are a Lighting fan, then this one really does have to be included into your collection. It will take a bit more effort than the usual Tamiya kit, but the result is well worth the additional work and you know Tamiya would not do it!



October 2014

Thanks to me for picking this one up when it was on sale.

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