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Jet Provost T.3/3A

Airfix 1/72 Jet Provost T.3/3A Build Review

By Michael J. Gething

Date of Review March 2019 Manufacturer Airfix
Subject Jet Provost T.3/3A Scale 1/72
Kit Number A02103 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent details Cons Some delicate parts
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (BP) £9.99

Build Review

Long ago and far away, in May 1973, as a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR(T) with 2211 (Bracknell) Sqn., ATC, I attended a Principles of Flight Instructor's course at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, during which I was taken for a flight in a Jet Provost T.3 – XM412 / 17 of No.1 Flying Training School (1 FTS) at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire. The Airfix re-tooled JP3 kit was, therefore, 'a must' to build, finished – of course – as 'my' aircraft. By a stroke of serendipity, one of the two options was XM413, so I only needed to dig out from my Modeldecal collection the correctly-sized numerals '2' and '17' to turn the serial number and 'buzz' number of the kit decal sheet into my aircraft, plus painting it in the red/white/light grey colours used in 1973.

Later upgraded to T.3A configuration (with improved avionics – no external changes), I was surprised to discover (when interrogating the interweb) that XM412 has survived, albeit looking somewhat forlorn at Balado Bridge, Perth & Kinross, in Bonnie Scotland.

I refer the reader to my 'First Look' at this kit for details of the JP's development history and a basic run-through of the components. This is how it went together.

Construction of the cockpit was straightforward (Stages 1 to 7), omitting the ejection seat harness parts (A01 & A02), as I intended it to be manned. This was painted a semi-gloss black, with detail picked out with a light grey dry-brushing. Once dry I applied the instrument panel decal. Of note is that, for the first time in my experience, Airfix have moulded the ejection activation handle, which should be painted with yellow and black stripes, and top of the parachute cover (light tan). The rest of the seat was painted semi-gloss black. The two crew figures were painted NATO dark green and the 'bone domes' gloss white, with the visor covers matt black, and the seat restraint straps dark blue. A wash of black brought out the highlights. The fuselage interior sides (A06 & A07) feature raised detail covered in the semi-gloss black and dry-brushed silver. Once all dry, the cockpit was cemented to the fuselage side and nose weight added so the model does not become a tail-sitter! I used fishing weights held in place with PVA glue to in both fuselage sides ahead of the instrument panel. Joint lines were cleaned up with Micromesh wet-and-dry sanding cloth.

Jet Provost T.3/3AJet Provost T.3/3AJet Provost T.3/3A

The single-moulding lower wing set (including wingtip fuel tanks) was then attached to the fuselage, followed by the upper wings. The leading and trailing edge joints were then sanded smooth. At this stage, I masked off the cockpit area and sprayed the whole aircraft acrylic matt white (using a rattle can as I don't have an air brush!). It took about four runs to completely cover the aircraft. The single-moulding tailplane set, which slots neatly into the fuselage, was kept separate (to ease decal application later) but also received the matt white undercoat.

Jet Provost T.3/3A

Once firmly dry and any surface hiccups smoothed over, a final coat was applied. Once thoroughly dry, the fuselage and tail were oversprayed gloss white in two runs. After overnight drying, the upper fuselage was masked off and the lower fuselage painted post office red. Once dry and the masking tape peeled away, some little imperfections in the line were carefully touched-up with a brush.

The wings were then (brush) painted medium aircraft grey and the tip tanks post office red; while the tailplane also received its medium aircraft grey and post office red colours.  The jet pipe fairing was then painted polished steel using Humbrol Metalcote, which when dry and buffed up with a tissue or cotton bud, depicted the metal finish nicely.

With the basic paint job complete, the model was coated in Johnson's Klear, left overnight and the application of decals begun. This was a time-consuming process over several evenings, allowing the many small icons time to set. For the serial numbers, I carefully scalped away the '3' and applied them. Again, once dry overnight I used the Modeldecal numerals to complete the change of identity. As a note to some less experienced modellers, the current standards of Airfix decals include ALL the minor stencil instructions over various panels. I admit that I omitted many of the very small ones as they were too fiddly to locate exactly. If you didn't know exactly where to look, you'd not miss them and, as I was not entering any competitions with the model, I was happy. Once decaling was completed to my satisfaction, a final coat Johnsons Klear was applied as a gloss varnish.

The canopy option allows closed or open versions. However, if memory serves (it was 1973, after all) the main canopy bracing strut was an interior one and not, as moulded, on the outside. Providing you are equipped with fine files and abrasive cloths/liquid, this can be corrected; if not, it is not the end of the world. I made a practice run on the 'open' canopy, before tackling the closed canopy for my model.

Jet Provost T.3/3A

When fitting the main undercarriage, make sure the weighted wheels are attached the right way up! Once dry, the moment of truth as to whether I'd sufficient weight to the nose revealed the model was not a tail-sitter. I then added the various little antennae and pitot sensors, which were then carefully painted and varnished. All that was left to do was to carefully use a black wash to highlight various engraved panel lines ... a process that is actually still incomplete, domestic and other activities demanding my attention, to say nothing of other models!

Jet Provost T.3/3A