Supermarine Scimitar - Model Kits
A brief rundown of the various model kits available of the Scimitar. Sadly, the Scimitar has not been well served in scale form.
Welsh Models PJW12 Scimitar F.1
Vacuum formed plastic
Price £12.08 (RRP)
Fairly well detailed for the scale, overall shape looks a bit off with nose too slim and pointy and a slightly curved line to the top of the fuselage where it should be straight.
Skybirds '86 Scimitar
Price £30+ (second hand)
This kit was a limited run mixed media kit, mostly short run injection moulded plastic but with a good amount of white metal parts and a vacform canopy and some etched brass details. It was widely touted as the best representation of the Scimitar available in this scale, and certainly the built-up examples I have seen appear to look the part (the nose and canopy look much better than the CMR kit below, and the area ruled fuselage is spot-on). Sadly, being limited run, it is very rare and tends to attract quite a price premium. With the release of the Xtrakit model, the second hand prices on this kit seem to have reduced - thankfully!
The parts parts breakdown is rather unusual, a product of the limited size of the moulding equipment and a wish to accurately mould the contours of the real thing. The plastic parts are fairly cleanly moulded with adequate recessed detail (not as crisp or as extensive as on the Xtrakit model though). A large number of metal parts cover the undercarriage, cockpit, nose radome, intakes and exhaust areas and are unusually clean for metal castings. The canopy, wing fences and exhaust blanking plates are in vacform plastic; the instrument panel and airbrakes are etched brass. The latter is definitely one of the kit's weak points - it doesn't offer an easy way to show the brakes open (as no bay interiors are provided - just a rough solid wall), and careful work is needed to bend the airbrake section into place so it sits in the fuselage recesses - the rear end of the brakes are curved but the front end is flat! It would appear they were only provided in etched brass as otherwise the recessed detailing for them would have been impossible to reproduce, being on the vertical sides of the fuselage. There is also no wing fold detail, though cut lines are marked on the interior of the wing parts if you want to model the wings folded. None of the control surfaces are separate. Decals are provided for no fewer than 7 different aircraft with a good variety of schemes, though the beer mug markings of 800(B) NAS are bizarrely lacking their orange element, which you are expected to paint onto a decal which you apply before the main beer mug outline decal. Areas of white are provided to apply over the demarcations between grey and white, which may save masking up the boundaries if they work. The decals sadly do not include any stencils, and even the ejector seat markings are just plain red triangles. The Xtrakit model is certainly better in this regard. In terms of fit this is absolutely not a 'shake and bake' kit and needs some careful work, but extensive instructions are provided so as long as you follow them you should be okay.
In terms of scale accuracy, unfortunately the kit does not really bear up to its reputation. The wingspan is more than a foot wider than it should be at 38ft 4in instead of 37ft 2in. The length, by contrast, is too short at 52ft 10in instead of 55ft 3in. The tailplane span is just a little too narrow at 15ft 4in instead of 15ft 6.5in, but the tailplane does appear to be the closest match to the real thing in any kit of this scale.
Xtrakit XK72011 Scimitar F.1
Injection moulded plastic
Price £18.50 (RRP)
At long last a relatively mainstream injection moulded kit of the Scimitar! Alas, while it appears to be an improvement on the Xtrakit/MPM Sea Vixen, poor research, poor quality control and the whiff of profiteering mar this product. Many examples of the kit exhibit a scar running down the intake and nose side of one of the fuselage halves, which appear to indicate the mould had cracked but no effort was made to repair it and instead they just pushed out a load of flawed kits. The price is, as usual, over the top for what you get.
As for the kit itself, well you get basically nothing in the way of cockpit detail (just a poorly done instrument panel and some random bumps on the side consoles); no undercarriage bay detail (indeed, no bays at all for the main gear); an inaccurate ejector seat (clearly modelled on a partially-equipped museum piece, and probably the wrong model of seat entirely), no wing fold option, no open airbrake option (they're moulded solid - and with no perforations either), no poseable control surfaces, basic undercarriage, four of the later style pylons plus four drop tanks - no weapons or other stores of any kind. The nose shape appears to be somewhere between the early more rounded nose and the definitive more pointy one and is too short - in fact the fuselage halves match up very nicely when held against those of the early CMR resin kit, with just panel lines and nose gear/arrestor hook bay positions differing slightly. The more cynical reader may draw their own conclusions! A basic IFR probe is supplied. The vertical fin is too large, extending too high at the tip and too far back at the trailing edge. The tailplane is even more oversized, and needs to be cut down by several mm at the tip and trailing edges. The rear end of the fuselage slopes up and backwards when it should be a vertical line upwards - this appears to be an attempt to make the oversized fin look less obvious. At least most of the changes to fix the errors at the back end of the jet involve cutting plastic away instead of adding it!
Moving on, the fairings behind the exhausts are too shallow, though should be straightforward enough to build up with filler. The arrestor hook and tail bumper are crudely done. The area ruling of the fuselage sides is only just depicted, but should be more pronounced - hopefully easy enough to fix with some additional sanding or filing down. Only two of the gun ports are moulded open (and are far too shallow), the other two are faired over (presumably based on a preserved example). Several small intakes/vents/panel lines are wrong. In general the parts exhibit the same sort of surface flaws and flash evident in other MPM/Xtrakit products, and injection pins on mating surfaces that will need to be thoroughly removed if you want the parts to actually fit together.
Two decal options are provided - however the instructions title both of them incorrectly - first is XD321 coded '112/E' (which would be XD268) when the decals are for '116/E' (which is indeed XD321, during summer 1966). For the second one it says XD332 is coded '192/R' and from 'HMS Ark Royal, at RNAS Hal Far, Malta, 1960-61', when the decals show '194/C'. The former would make it XD319; the latter would not have been at Hal Far in 1960, nor did it wear these markings at that time (possibly it visited in 1961 - but at that time it had no IFR probe). The 194 code on the nose should be black with a white outline, not blue, same for the '4' on the nose wheel door (which is also the wrong style) - these decals actually represent the aircraft as it is now, having been incorrectly painted for display at RIAT a few years back. Interestingly the old CMR kit has options for XD268/112/E and XD319/192/R... please tell me the research consisted of more than copying their kit! On the plus side the decals are nicely printed, thin, and include a decent amount of stencil detail.
On the plus side the overall shape of the wings - on the sprues at least - looks to be good, there's a fair stab at the intakes with better looking engine faces than in the Sea Vixen kit; as usual, finely done panel line detail - and of course, finally, we have a Scimitar kit that won't cost an absolute arm and a leg (just an arm). If it were around the ten quid mark I wouldn't have any hesitation in recommending it despite the work needed to bring it up to scratch - however, at this price, we should expect a better product. I'm not sure Hannants/Xtrakit care or if they are listening to feedback, though, based on the chain of inaccurate and poor quality mouldings stretching from their Canberra PR.9 through to their Sea Vixen, Sea Harrier and now this kit. Just a little more effort and they'd have happy customers instead of moaning ones!
In terms of scale accuracy, the wingspan is slightly narrow at 37ft instead of 37ft 2in. The length is too long at 56ft 5in instead of 55ft 3in (a product of the enlarged tailplane and fin, as the extra length certainly isn't in the nose!). The tailplane span, as already mentioned, is hugely off at 19ft instead of 15ft 6.5in.
Czech Model Resins CMR-221/222/224 Scimitar
Price £79.99 (RRP, yes, that's right)
The short version of the review is that this is about the best attempt at a Scimitar as you'll find in this scale, but it is flawed and massively overpriced. CMR's second bite at the Scimitar cherry is a vast improvement over their first attempt, but it's hugely expensive for a fairly small 1/72 jet. CMR have addressed many of the failings of their original model; this one now has seperate wing flaps, airbrakes that can be displayed open (and they really are beautifully done), a much better cockpit, intakes, arrestor hook and bay, gear bays etc. The panel lines are more accurate and really are superbly done (though several minor errors are still evident from a brief comparison with photos of the real thing). The decals are much improved too, with full stencil detail (albeit a little heavily printed) and a wider selection of options. The box certainly looks like a little treasure trove what with the collection of finely cast resin bits, etched brass, gorgeous decals and sheet upon sheet of paper covering assembly, colour schemes and detail photos.
The new kit is available in three different boxings; 'Scimitar F.1' (CMR-221), 'Photo Reconnaissance' (CMR-222) and 'Early Production (CMR-224)'. The box contents differ mostly in the decal sheets and stores provision. The standard F.1 version includes 4 x 1,000lb bombs, 1 x Red Beard atomic bomb, 4 x drop tanks (two different sizes), 2 Sidewinders, loads of rockets and practice bombs. The photo recon version misses out on all of the bombs (bar the practice ones) and rockets but adds another pair of drop tanks in another size, a HDU, 2 x Bullpup missiles and 2 x Sidewinder practice rounds; it also includes a camera pod as used by one particular trials aircraft. The PR nosecone is catered for by having the modeller drill out the camera ports (sides, tip and below) and pushing in clear resin inserts. There is also a Harley light option where you cut the tip of the nose off completely and replace it - unfortunately it's the wrong shape (domed rather than flat - that would be with the eyelids closed, so no need for a transparent part). The early production version misses out on the Sidewinders, bombs (except practice ones), rockets and HDU but has adds another type of practice bomb and a portable air starter pod.
However, I fear CMR have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again. While we now have seperate wing trailing edge flaps, what about the fuselage and wing leading edge flaps? Scimitars would use all three sets on approach, so you can't model them in that configuration. So can you model them in take-off configuration? Again, no. That would normally be both sets of wing flaps, with fuselage flaps retracted. Also there is, once again, no wing fold option. A wing fold set can be bought seperately, but it costs another £22.50 or so - bringing the cost up to over £100! And it still does not offer seperate leading edge flaps. Then there is the question of the nose shape. The old kit was obviously wrong, being too short; the new kit seems to have got that right for the F.1 and F.1(PR) versions, but the early production version should have a noticeably more bulbous nose, and CMR's new kit doesn't appear to have got that right at all; while the 'early' boxing does have a subtly different nose on the fuselage, it is nowhere near pronounced enough. Also, the canopy has an issue; the windscreen quarter panels don't extend far enough forward, and I think the entire windscreen area is a little foreshortened too. The difference in level between the bottom of the windscreen structure and bottom of the sliding canopy is also inadequately represented. So, worth more than a hundred notes? Not a chance - and loses one star for the price alone.
In terms of scale accuracy, the wingspan is slightly narrow at 37ft instead of 37ft 2in. The length is slightly too long at 55ft 5in instead of 55ft 3in. These measurements make it the best overall match for the real thing in this scale - however, the tailplane span is noticeably off at 16ft 9.5in instead of 15ft 6.5in.
Czech Model Resins CMR-126 Scimitar F.1 (original issue)
Price £20+ (second hand)
The subject of several gushing reviews when it came out, this resin kit was an expensive disappointment. No longer in production it is readily available second hand. The illustration on the box/bag shows a built up kit with folded wings and cockpit access ladder, with practice bomb carriers on the pylons - however neither the ladder, nor a folded wing option, nor practice bomb carriers are provided for in the kit. The canopy shape is incorrect, and the entire nose shape is off too (the underside curve and a shortage in length being the main culprit). The area ruled waisting of the fuselage is barely represented. Gear bays are shallow and featureless. The supplied Sidewinders are inaccurate and in my copy at least are poorly moulded and thus unuseable anyway. Flaps, slats, main gear doors and airbrakes are all moulded closed and would be extremely difficult to model open as a result. Airbrake perforations are incorrect in number (3 rows of 5 instead of a top row of 6, 2 rows of 4 and a bottom row of 6). The decal sheet looks good but they are thin and brittle so require care to use, and white backing decals would be a good idea for the roundels in particular. There are some errors e.g. style of lettering in small serials and blade colour on the 804 NAS badges.
Magna Models 7238 Scimitar F.1
Price ~£20 (second hand)
My general experience with Magna products are that they are a bit basic and the casting quality can be poor. No decals are provided. While I have not seen this kit myself, the canopy and fuselage shape is apparently more accurate than the old CMR kit though the general level of detail is much cruder. It appears to be out of production and does not show up very often second hand.
Frog N113 Scimitar
Injection moulded plastic
Price £30+ (second hand)
A real rarity these days, and very much a collectors' item, fetching extremely high prices when it does pop up from time to time on eBay. I have yet to find one at a reasonable price and comments are based on a built-up example. The kit represents the first Type 544/N113D of around September 1956 rather than a production F.1, with short spine fairing (but a rounded nose rather than the original nose with long pitot fairing). It is a very basic kit in terms of detail - there is no cockpit for instance, just a pilot's head and seat top sticking up out of a blank deck. No undercarriage bays, the crude undercarriage parts just go into slots on the underside. There is no intake interior so you can see right through to the jetpipes - and to the intake on the other side! The overall shape is actually pretty good, though the area ruling is completely missing from the fuselage. The canopy is a little squashed looking with overly thick frames. The fillet aft of the exhausts is rather short - more like that on the Supermarine 508. Decals cover one aircraft - WT854 (which is correct), but are pretty poor quality.
Low pressure injection moulded plastic
Price £5 (second hand)
Ancient, crude, lacking in any detail whatsoever and inaccurate in shape (fuselage cross section too rounded and misses the area ruling, port and starboard wings different sizes from each other). No decals. Much scratch building required. Fit only for the bin really, these days.
Merlin Models Scimitar
Low pressure injection moulded plastic
Price £5 (second hand)
Like other Merlin kits, basically pretty awful - misshapen parts, no detail at all, and a challenge to even get the supplied bits together to look like any aircraft, let alone a Scimitar.
Dynavector DYN004 Scimitar F.1
Price ~£85 (imported from Japan) or ~£20 to 40 (second hand)
This used to be pretty good value direct from Dynavector in Japan, until the exchange rates went bonkers. Fairly well detailed, it requires a certain amount of modelling skill to get the best out of it. The painting instructions and decals for the powder blue and white RAE example are wrong in colour and layout. Accuracy of the model itself looks to be good. However, this is one of Dynavector's simpler kits and offers little in the way of additional detail; you are on your own when it comes to deploying the flaps, folding the wings, and so on. Panel lines are all finely recessed - a little too finely, many will disappear with any sanding work at all, and the various intakes, vents and grilles are inadequately represented by such shallow lines. Gear doors are very simplistic, as is the undercarriage. This one is more of a fine blank canvas than a really complete package, and the errors in the decals/paint schemes are unfortunate.
Contrail / Sanger / Nimbus CON405 Scimitar F.1
Vacuum formed plastic
Price £20 (RRP)
Somewhat crude, though the basic shape is pretty good and it includes the area ruled fuselage. The intakes are a bit too small and the canopy shape, particularly around the windscreen is very odd. Undercarriage in white metal and also rather basic. Decals are just roundels and codes, no stencils. Clearly inferior to the Dynavector product although it is at least much cheaper! Originally issued by Contrail it has also been boxed by Sanger and Nimbus.
1/32 and larger
None available that I know of.