Airfix 1/72 Vampire T.11

KIT #: A02058
PRICE: $8.99  SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit

HISTORY

The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served with front line RAF squadrons until 1953 and continued in use as a trainer until 1966, although generally the RAF relegated the Vampire to advanced training roles in the mid-1950s and the type was generally out of RAF service by the end of the decade. The Vampire also served with many air forces worldwide, setting aviation firsts and records.

Almost 3,300 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence in other countries. The Vampire design was also developed into the de Havilland Venom fighter-bomber as well as naval Sea Vampire variants.

T.11: two-seat training version for the RAF. Powered by a Goblin 35 turbojet engine; 731 were built by DH and Fairey Aviation. As an added note, it seems like Australia and Switzerland were two countries who built most of the license versions. They were also built in Italy and France.

THE KIT

To my knowledge, this is the first injected 1/72 plastic kit of this variant of the famous Vampire jet and is most welcome. I did a conversion using the Heller kit many, many years ago and while it turned out well, I had always hoped for a proper injected kit. Now we have one.

Molded in India, the surface detailing is nicely done, though it may be a bit 'coarse' for those who want Hasegawa-like panel lines. Still, I have no objections to it, especially as we are not paying Hasegawa-like prices for the kit. The cockpit tub consists of a pair of basic seats and control sticks. The instrument panel uses a decal and has the twin gun sights. A nicely done rear cockpit section is included and there are pilot figures for you to put in to cover up the lack of seat detail. There is some sidewall detail, but since the cockpit is black, no need to put much effort into it.

A nice part of the kit is a set of full intake trunking, culminating at a compressor face. There is room in the nose for the required 7 grams of nose weight. The fuselage halves do not include the upper section. Airfix has molded the upper wings and the upper fuselage as a single piece so you do not have to worry about dihedral issues. The tail booms are so designed that they are complete and fit into notches in the rear of the wing sections. This should eliminate the issues many have with alignment and having a seam to fill right behind the wings. Landing gear are well done with the outer gear doors incorporating the extention/retraction brace. You have the opportunity to install tanks under the wings as these fuel-thirsty jets often carried them. Holes will need to be opened to use them. This is topped by a two piece cockpit covering. You can display the canopy section open if you so wish.

Instructions are well done with color information provided by Humbrol paint numbers so have your conversion chart ready if not using these paints. Markings are for two aircraft, both in a base color of High Speed Silver lacquer. The box art plane is a warbird flown by the Vampire Preservation Group. I can only assume these markings were chosen in return for crawling around the plane to get data for this kit. This has the scheme with the yellow training bands around the wings and booms. I have no idea if the markings are accurate or not as a search has turned up images of this plane with different unit markings. The other is one for the da-glo fans with a ton of the stuff on the airframe. This one was assigned to the 5 FTS in 1962. Decals are nicely printed and include a full stencil suite.

CONCLUSIONS

So if you like Vampires and have been hoping for a two seater in this scale, you now have a very nice one. I am sure there will be aftermarket decals for this one as the kit markings are, well, a bit uninspiring.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Vampire

April 2013

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