Revell/Frog 1/72 Sea Vixen FAW.2
|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Pavla upgrade sets used|
Largest and heaviest fighter of British design to serve on board Royal Navy aircraft carriers, the Sea Vixen was developed from two prototypes of the De Havilland D.H.110 night fighter that was built for the RAF for evaluation. Naval applications began to be studied with the second prototype in 1953, and a production order was placed in January 1955 for a fully navalised version.
The first production aircraft –from the De Havilland ‘s Christchurch factory – flew on March 20, 1957 and No.700Y Flight was formed flying intensive trials in November 1958.The Sea Vixen FAW Mk1 was the first British fighter in service with no fixed gun armament, carrying instead two packs of air-to-air rockets in addition to a wide variety of stores, including Firestreak air-to-air missiles.
The Sea Vixen FAW Mk2 differed from the Mk1 in carrying the Red Top missile, as an alternative to Firestreak, and in having a deepened and extended booms carrying extra fuel. The first Mk2 converted from a Mk1 airframe, flew in June 1, 1962 and the first production example on March 8, 1963. Production of the Mk1 totalled 119, followed by 29 Mk2s., in addition, 67 Mk1s were converted into Mk 2s. Units flying the Sea Vixen included No890 squadron at Yeovilton; No 893 squadron and 899 squadron in service on board aircraft carriers, and No 766 squadron for all weather training at Yeovilton. Other squadrons formed flying from Royal Navy carriers.
The Sea Vixen is usually associated with Hawker Siddeley as the aircraft was entering production about the same time as the De Havilland Company was merged with Hawker Siddeley Group. The Sea Vixen was replaced by the Rolls Royce Spey powered F-4 Phantom II.
There were many occasions when Sea Vixens visited airfields on the island of Malta.
19.9.64: Sea Vixens WW145 ‘591’, WG721 ‘592’. XG697 ‘593’ were spotted at Hal Far airfield parked among Hal Far based Meteor TT20s and T7 and 4 Gannets all from their Culdrose base.
17.5.64: there were 4 Sea Vixens FAW1 of 892 squadron on board the HMS Centaur at the grand Harbour. These were XN706 ‘210’, XN702 ‘212, XN693 ‘213’ and XJ494 ‘214’.
At the same time also at the Grand Harbour was HMS Eagle with 4 more Sea Vixens: XS676 ‘490’, XP921, XP958, XP959. These were parked on deck alongside Scimitars and Buccaneers.
11.9.65:Among Buccaneers on the deck of HMS Eagle there were Sea Vixens XS577, XP958 and XN959.
13.7.66: This time three Sea Vixens of 893 squadron from HMS Victorious landed at Luqa airfield. These were XN863 ‘210’, XS580 ‘253’ and XS587. Alongside were Gannets of 3849 ‘A’ squadron.
17.7.66: Two Sea Vixens FAW2s XJ576 and XN649 along with two Wessexes HAS Mk1s from HMS Victorious landed at Luqa airfield.
There were several other occasions that Sea Vixens visited both airfields or came on board R Navy carriers when visiting the Grand Harbour.
The kit is molded in gray plastic, having detailed wheel well interior but lacked details inside the two cockpits, that of the pilot, and navigator. Fortunately Pavla Models has lately released cockpit detail resin sets in a variety of issues. Set S72072 contains a detailed pilot ejection seat MB Mk4-DSA (this is for the FAW1) and one may assume that same seat was used for the FAW2 since several FAW1s were converted to FAW2s. The seat for the Navigator is set 72073 MB Mk4-DSA. Both ejection seats are highly detailed complete with the lower release handle and the ejection loop handle at the headrest.
Pavla models also has a resin
replacement nose cone with set U72-133 and also is a separate set which contains
both ejection seats, and cockpits interior detail that include, coaming, side
consoles, instruments for the pilot and radar operator/navigator, column and
central console. Navigator hatch also comes separate as well as other fine
details to make an exceptionally complete cockpit interior. The sets are
initially intended for the Cyber-Hobby kit but I found that the parts also suite
the Frog/Revell kit with only minor adjustments for the perfect fit. Some 18
line sketches indicate in a certain amount of detail the exact placements of the
parts inside the forward part of the kit, the different paint colors applicable,
and areas that the kit needs to be removed by filing etc.. Instructions with
Pavla sets come in both Czech and English languages.
These sets have been reviewed here in Modeling Madness so check the detail set
archives for them.
These sets have been reviewed here in Modeling Madness so check the detail set archives for them.
The kit itself has the facility to make the model with wings folded, where additional parts are provided to blank off the inner wing panels, allowing location stubs for wing to be fixed in the stowed position, giving this aircraft that added authenticity for the navy minded modeller. The kit has a thick section plastic and weight needs to add to the nose in order to make it balance on the nose wheel. There are areas where the kit falls a bit short of current offerings and this particularly concerns the raised panel lines and thick canopy section.
Having managed the compact fit of all the Pavla resin detail parts; the rest of construction is not difficult. The main kit parts are split horizontally at forward parts. Unlike the very early DH110 prototype Frog kit where the booms are slotted into the rear section of wing trailing edges which made better fit, the FAW2 had the alternative method of a clean vertical break aft of the wings requiring careful attention to produce a good fit.
When it comes to the nose cone, this is 1mm all round too proud when compared to the Pavla accurate resin nose cone. It is also 1/8” too short at the joining end. I only had one resin nose cone. So on one of the Frog FAW2s I had to reshape the kit nose cone by filing. Luckily it had thick section and could file away enough plastic to bring it identical to the resin nose cone. A 1/8” plastic round piece was also added to the Frog nose cone to bring to the correct dimension. Another area where the kit falls short is the lack of detail to the interior of the air intake. Nothing could be done to improve the appearance, as it is a delicate spot. The jet intakes and orifices were therefore blanked and were painted black.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Color scheme for all FAW2s is gloss white undersides and gloss extra dark sea grey on the upper surfaces that extend over the leading edge of the wing. Careful masking after applying the white proved to be a little tedious due to the wing pylons and fences. I used Humbrol No 123 for the extra dark sea grey, and Revell 04 for the gloss white areas.
Both Sea Vixen FAW2s were enjoyable build and the availability of the Pavla models resin parts made both kits all the more authentic when complete..
Military aircraft of the world by John WR Taylor and Gordon Swanborough.
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