KIT: Classic Airframes 1/48 Vampire T.11/22
KIT #: 493
PRICE: $44.95
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Multi-media kit with resin parts.


The Vampire was the first British single-engined turbojet to enter full scale production. This unique design was an example of creating the smallest possible airframe to do the job with the engines available. At that time, it was the Halford H.1A that was developed into the Goblin turbojet. The original fighter version flew skyward in Sept 1943 with production ordered in May of 1944. The Vampire was just too late to see service in WWII, but was a mainstay of RAF interceptor units and developed into improved as well as different variants in later years.

It was soon realized that a trainer version was needed for as the pilots flying the plane became less experienced, so went up the accident rate. A result was that a twin seat trainer was built, using side by side seating that was not exactly the norm with most training aircraft. This was as much due to the development of this plane into a night fighter as anything else. It proved to be easy to fly and the perfect initiation to pilots into the jet age. So successful was this design that it was exported to a staggering number of countries, many of whom held onto their Vampires for a very long time. Switzerland was probably the last air force to use the Vampire, retiring theirs in 1990.


I've made no secret that I like these Vampire kits. Yes, they aren't perfect and they do take more than the usual amount of work to get right, but CA kits really are not slammers. They have improved a great deal over the years and that makes each new one that much more of a delight to build. Truth is, the more kits like this you do, the easier each one becomes. You'll look forward to fixing the little things as it is this as much as anything else that makes for a sense of accomplishment.

Well, with that little bit of editorializing out of the way, on to the kit. This is very much like the previous Vampire kits in the way it is laid out. The basic airframe is injected plastic while all the detail stuff and interior bits are in resin. Very nicely done, I might add with a great load of detail. A nice cockpit with side walls and proper seats are included. The detail in the instrument panel is superb and begs to be seen. Seats have harnesses molded in place. You may have to grind down a bit of the fuselage sidewalls to get the resin bits to fit as my last Vamp seemed to be a bit of a tight squeeze. A separate nose section makes it easy to put in sufficient weight to keep this one from tail sitting. Thanks to the injected landing gear, deformation over time won't be a problem. This kit also includes the updated resin intakes from the last boxing of the single seat Vampire.

All twin seat Vampires have somewhat pointed rudders and this is no different. There are resin stubs for the outside of the tail planes. A pair of drop tanks are included and while not the norm for the two seat version, it wasn't that uncommon. There is a thick but clear one-piece canopy to top things off.

Instructions are quite good and provide generic color information. If there is specifics to a step, those are included where appropriate. Markings are provided for three aircraft. One is the box art T.11 from the Central Air Traffic School in overall aluminum paint (Vampires were most wood, you know) with some Medium Sea Grey (though where is beyond me) and Dark Grey fin tips. Then there is a T.11 of 5 Flight Training Squadron with gobs of day-glo red sections. This color will surely tax the white of the decals so you may want to paint the areas under the roundels and fin flashes with white. Finally, a T.22 Sea Vampire of Flag Officer Flying Training. These aircraft are Sea Blue upper (or perhaps Dark Sea Grey) over white. They are gloss and kept in immaculate condition. Decals are superbly done by Microscale. I have to say that to my eye, the stripes provided for the first option are a bit too red. I've always thought of them as being more dayglo as shown on the box art. Shouldn't be too difficult to paint if required.


Vampire fans will really appreciate this kit. It looks to be a very nice build if I can judge from previous efforts. What's more, the two-seater was used by a plethora of air forces so there are tons of possible markings and schemes. It is one that will definitely make its way to my work bench.


Kit instructions and years of reading about aircraft.

September 2005

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