Whirlykits 1/72 Fairey F.D. 1

KIT #: WPX72007
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Martin Pohl
NOTES: Vacuformed kit with metal parts


Originally the Fairey F.D.1 was thought to be a vertical takeoff fighter, but the proposed plane was then intended to be launched from an inclined ramp. Already in the early design stage the Ministry of Supply changed their minds to have this aircraft being built as a more conventional jet-powered research vehicle. The design was a mid-wing tail-less delta monoplane, with a circular cross-section fuselage and engine air-inlet at the extreme front. The engine was a Rolls-Royce Derwent 8.

The first F.D.1 (VX350) made its maiden flight on 10 March 1951. Because of serious pitching when gathering speed the F.D.1 got a small horizontal delta wing on the top of the tail-fin which was intended to stop this. This additional tail surface limited the top speed to 345 mph (555 km/h).

After a landing accident in September 1951, the F.D.1 was modified with the removal of the leading-edge wing slats as well as the removal of the streamlined housings for the anti-spin parachutes that were mounted at the wingtips. With limited flying after the test program was re-launched in May 1953, and no sign of the resolution of considerable design deficiencies, the F.D.1 was soon relegated to non-flying status. Only one F.D.1 was built also three were planned (VX357 & VX364). The F.D.1 never achieved its design goals and it ended up as a target in the Shoeburyness, Essex weapons range in 1953.


The kit comes in two VAC formed plastic cards which will separate into 10 parts, the fuselage halves, the wings, the small delta wing on top of the tail-fin and the tail-fin itself. You get also 2 VAC formed canopies and 11 metal parts. Those metal parts represent the landing gear (7 pieces), 2 for rocket motor fairings, the ejector seat and the air intake divider. It looks like the molds of the metal parts are a bit old so the ejector seat looks a little spongy, but as you will not see that much of the cockpit with a closed canopy it is fair enough. The landing gear does look good.

The VAC forming of the plastic parts is done quite well, so the main panel lines are given. All the smaller panel lines have to be scribed. This meets the expectations of a VAC formed kit, at least mine.


Building VAC formed kits always intends to do a little scratch build of some parts. For this particular plane you’ll have to build the cockpit floor and of course all cockpit details, beside the given ejector seat. You also will have to find a way to ‘close’ the air intake and the engine hole at the end; otherwise you could look through. For the landing gear doors there is not that much to do, as those are closed on the ground. Only some small rectangular openings have to be done and the inner detail has to be built up, otherwise you will not be able to fit the landing gear.

So this all was what I expected and it went on without major problems. My disaster zone was the fitting of the canopy. I tried different methods, but it always pops off after some time. A big amount of white glue and a fixing time of more than 2 weeks helped in the end. One can see the problem zone as this all happened after the painting, but now it is as it is.

The completed plane is very small as the fuselage length is less than 3.5 inches (9 cm).


After a complete sanding the bird got a base of Createx Black Base. This was then polished and a coat of Model Master Aluminum was then sprayed on top. This color drove me crazy, cause it just does not want to dry, even after again 2 weeks. So I stripped it off and put a layer of Alclad Aluminum on. After this was dry, some panels was masked an get a coat of a different Alclad tone, White Aluminium and Flat Aluminium. In the end the anti glare black area was masked off and painted with a flat black, Humbrol.

And now the decals, those are made by Whirlybird decals and you will find a long description on how to handle them. In the beginning they write: ‘…Our decals have no carrier film. …’  - well this then means you have to give them a coat – WRONG! – those decals seem to be dry transfers, so I tested a piece and tried to rub it onto some sheet of plastic – nothing happened, really nothing. So may be I’m too silly to rub on those dry transfers but I ended up scanning those decals. I repainted them in a graphics program – GIMP – and printed them on a decal sheet compatible with my ink jet printer. But this then meant that I had to mask off the white areas, cause I used an transparent decals sheet to print the remade decals on.

To say something positive on the decals;  all decals you will need to build up a VX350, the one and only prototype, are there.


This example of a VAC formed kit does not differ from others. The parts are formed OK and together with the metal parts one can make a quite nice examples of the Fairey FD.1.

If you want to go for a VAC formed kit and you are searching for one, then this could be a starter. For all X-Planes or British aviation enthusiast out there this representation of the Fairey F.D.1 is probably one choice you have, if you are able to purchase one. So for those enthusiasts I give it a ‘go and get it’. For all the others it is just a very small kit they most probably will not miss.



Flugzeuge von A bis Z, Band 2 (Bernard & Graefe Verlag)

Martin Pohl

October 2008

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