Sword 1/72 Lighting T.5
KIT #: SW 72080
PRICE: $38.99 SRP
DECALS: Three 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; 22 production aircraft built. One former RAF aircraft later converted to T.55 for Saudi Arabia. These trainers were combat capable, armed with Red Top missiles, though rarely carried them or even the training rounds.


Hard to believe that this is only the second injected kit of the two seat Lightning. Prior to that, Matchbox did a Saudi T.55, but this one was based on the F.6 so the modeler would have to do some surgery to back-date it to a T.5. There was also a very nice Aeroclub vacuform and metal conversion that used the Airfix F.1A as the donor kit for the wings, tailplanes and landing gear.

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.

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 Red Top with separate fins or a pair of 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 cover the major camouflage schemes used by the T.5. One is all metal with 226 OCU in 1970, another in the Dark Green/Dark Sea Grey over metal scheme with the LTF (Lighting Training Flight) in 1988, and another LTF plane in the Medium Sea Grey over Barley Grey scheme in 1987. 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.

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!



July 2014

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

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