Whirlykits Fairey FD.1

KIT: Whirlykits Fairey FD.1
KIT #: WPX 72007
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. So this meets the expectations of a VAC formed kit.

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

The decals 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. But all decals you will need to build up a VX350, the one and only prototype, are there. As you can see on the picture I have not removed the interleave sheet – to be honest I was not able to.


This example of a VAC formed kit does not differ from others. The parts do look good and together with the metal parts this example will for sure assemble into a nice representation of the F.D. 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.

The only other representation of the Fairey F.D.1 I’m aware of is also VAC formed by a company called Project-X.


Martin Pohl

November 2007


There are not that many references about this particular Fairey one. I only found some information on:

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



prototypes.com (French)

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page