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In-Box Review
Trident 3B
Hs-121 Trident 3B
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by: Richard Tonge [ TINBANGER ]

Designed by de Havilland to meet a 1956 requirement from British European Airways (BEA) for a 11O-seat medium-haul jet liner, the Trident emerged as the world's first rear-mounted-engine tri-jet aircraft. Its wing was 'clean' and allowed high cruising speeds. It used Rolls-Royce Medway engines.

In 1958,following a downturn in the airline industry, BEA downsized the Trident to a 95-seat machine in a one-class configuration. Less powerful Rolls-Royce Spey 505 engines were chosen and BEA ordered an initial batch of 24 Trident 1C aircraft, as they were called, and put them into service in 1964.

The Trident combined a high-speed wing with engines that would turn out to be slightly underpowered as a result of BEA's revised requirements. However reliable it was, its take-off performance left something to be desired and it soon was nicknamed the Gripper after its reluctance to actually take off! Some people joked that it only took off thanks to the earth's curvature. An enhanced derivative on the 1C,the 1E with more engine power, high lift slats, increased wingspan and 115 seats,was sold in small numbers to minor operators. Interestingly, the higher capacity was achieved by rearranging the doors and adopting a six-abreast configuration in the same fuselage.

Further upgrades led to the Trident 2,with the more powerful Spey 512 and more range. It entered service in 1968. While BEA ordered 15 of them, 33 were sold to CAAC in China.

BEA then realized it needed a larger aircraft that. ironically, would match its initial requirement! This was the Trident 3B that this kit reproduces. The 3B featured a stretched fuselage and modified wings and could accommodate up to 180 passengers. Extra power was needed but the engines had to stay the same to avoid major structural modifications. This is how a fourth unit was buried into the tail to be used as a booster engine for takeoff. 26 of them were delivered to BEA and a further 2 to CAAC.

The Trident was famous for being the first aircraft able to land automatically in foggy weather - a decisive advantage when operating from Heathrow.ln order to accommodate the 'autoland’ system, the nose landing gear was offset to the left, giving the aircraft a strange asymmetrical look. Other Trident oddities included the irregular window spacing and size and an amazing main
landing gear consisting of four wheels on a single axle that would swivel during retraction to fit into its well.
(courtesy of F-RISN)

The Kit
The kit arrived in a BEA boxing; F-RSIN had run out of British Airways boxes.
This is a short run kit so large ejector pin lugs on the insides of parts will have to be sanded off.
Exterior surfaces are free of sinkholes but the surface will need a fine sanding to make it smooth before priming.

38 parts on one light grey sprue,
1 Sheet of Decals,
1 double sided history/instruction sheet.

Fuselage is moulded in two halves without cabin or cockpit windows molded. The windows are provided for on the decal sheet. There are no panel lines molded on fuselage, only seven door outlines. The vertical stabilizer and rudder are molded into fuselage halves. The fuselage halves match well and should require only a small amount of filler.

Wings and empennage
The wings are moulded in four halves with fine panel lines. The flaps and ailerons are molded into the wing halves. Separate wing fences are to be glued to the upper wing surfaces. They are fairly thin, but could use some more sanding down or replacement with plastic card or brass. The horizontal stabilizer and elevators are molded in two pieces. The elevators are incorporated into the upper half, leaving any gap to the underside of the model. Some ejector pin marks need to be cleaned out of the stabilizer parts before they can be glued together.

The tires will need to have some flash removed. The landing gear legs look solid enough to take the 20g recommended nose weight.

The engines are fairly traditional for a rear-engined airliner model. Each is made up of an upper and lower half with an intake fan and exhaust section. The #2 engine is provided with a short representation of the intake trunk and an exhaust section for the tip of the fuselage.

With this kit I received extra window decals,it looks like someone chopped the sheet at the wrong point. The decals have very little film around them and the colour match is good.

The instructions are printed on one sheet, with a short history of the Trident on one side and assembly/decoration diagrams on the other. The assembly diagram is in the form of one exploded drawing.
No paint colour call outs are given.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Good subject matter.
Lows: Due to model being a short run kit no location pins on any parts. No paint colours given.
Verdict: Due to the short run nature, care will be required to assemble this model but would make a good introduction to short run models. With some minor surface prep and paint colour matching a good looking Trident 3B will appear.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: FRP4-34
  Suggested Retail: €26.00
  PUBLISHED: Feb 28, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Richard Tonge (tinbanger)

I started building model aircraft with my brother and dad at about 7 years old(Yellow single engine float plane). Born in England so mostly built Airfix and Frog Kits! Moved over the pond in 1979. Main interest any type/era aircraft. Tinbanger call sign comes from my sheetmetal days. I am also ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Richard Tonge [ TINBANGER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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