Special Hobby 1/72 Vampire FB.52
KIT #: SH 72281
PRICE: $18.00
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Torben Plesberg
NOTES: Short run


See here for a general history and the Vampire in Swedish service. The Royal Norwegian AF (Luftforsvaret) ordered its first jet fighters in 1948: 20 Vampire Mk III day fighters. In 1949 a further 36 fighter bombers FB 52 were ordered, and finally, 6 two seat T 55 trainers entered service in 1952.

When Norway entered NATO, large numbers of ex USAF F-84 fighters were transferred to the Norwegian Air Force as MDAP equipment, and rendered the Vampire obsolete. The Vampires were retired from January 1 1955. The T 55s went back to De Havilland, and most of the single seaters were scrapped in 1957. The Norwegian Vampire Mk III kept a natural metal finish, the fighter bombers FB 52 were painted dark green on the upper sides and blue grey on the undersides.

A few ex. Swiss Vampires found their way to Norway as veteran jets and flew in the markings of Luftforsvaret. One of these was marked as P-2K, and had a Pinocchio cartoon on the port side beneath the canopy. This aircraft is painted dark green/ blue grey and is now on static display at Jarlsberg.

Like the Swedes, the Norwegians also have a historical squadron of Luftforsvaret. This squadron includes two ex. Swiss Vampires: a T 55 two seater and a FB Mk 6 single seater. They are both in natural metal finish and coded M-PX and K-PX. The two seat M-PX has a Mickey Mouse cartoon on the port side of the fuselage beneath the windscreen. Both aircraft are civil registered: LN-DHZ and SE-DXS.

At the open house airshow in 2018 at Aalborg AFB, two Norwegian Vampires were shown in the air: a two seater LN-DHZ painted as WZ447 from no 4 sqdn, RAF, and a single seater LN-DHY painted as VZ305 from no 72 sqdn, RAF. Seemingly, these two aircraft get a new color scheme every year! This is a good thing in my opinion, because this gesture of the historical squadron of Luftforsvaret offers a unique opportunity to see Vampires from different air forces - even to- day.


The kit comes in a small box with a Vampire on the lid. The instructions is an A5 leaflet with 8 pages. Page one is a brief history of the Vampire in Czech and English. Page two shows the 3 sprues, A, B and C with numbers of the parts, besides symbols used for the construction. Pages 3 to 5 show in 13 steps how to put the model together. On page 5, there is a commercial from Eduard with colored photo etched parts and resin wheels, available options, if you want to improve your model. Pages 6 to 8 show colored 4 view drawings of the 3 Nordic Vampires: Norway (Luftforsvaret), Finland (Ilmavoimat) and Sweden (Flygvapnet). There is also color references for Gunze colors.

The sprues are in a light grey styrene and with no flash or sink marks. The clear sprue is also nice, and with two parts not needed for this model: a prototype canopy and a clear nose. The decal sheet is comprehensive and of good quality with national markings and stencils for the three Nordic Vampires. Actually, it was because of this decal sheet, I bought the kit. I needed the Swedish markings for a Vampire Mk 1 kit, which had decals for British Vampires only. As an extra, I got the opportunity to add a Vampire to my Norwegian C-119 G and Safir!


If you follow the instructions, you will end up with a nice model of a Vampire FB 52. There are only a few problems during the construction to deal with:

Step 4: Nose weight: A caliber 30 bullet weighs 3 gram, and if you flatten it with a hammer, there is sufficient room for it in the nose, part 37. No further weight is necessary to avoid tail sitting.

Another item: The details of the underside of the fuselage were too thick in my opinion. I sanded the details to less than half thickness and now the details looked more realistic. I did not want the optional four rockets for the under sides of the inner wings. I prefer a clean aircraft – in this small scale. A twin boom aircraft always need some care to make the fins perpendicular and the tail plane horizontal.


A Norwegian Vampire fighter bomber is Dark Green (HB 30) on the upper surfaces, and medium blue on the under surfaces, HB 48 Mediterranean Blue + 15 % HB 22 White. The wing tips are white and so are the ends of the tail plane. The latter was the most difficult part of the painting job, because it was almost impossible to mask this elongated teardrop shape. The temptation to make a Finnish Vampire was great, when I realized this problem! The exhaust is Gun Metal, HB 53. Before the decaling, the matt dark green got two layers of clear gloss varnish. The Medium Blue color is a gloss color.

The decals were first class, in register and easy to apply. I did not apply all of the stencils, especially the large number of very small ones on the underside of the wing. The red no step markings on the upper side of the wing are important for a Vampire. Funny enough, these markings are white on Swedish Vampires.


Conclusions: The Special Hobby Vampire FB 52 in northern skies is a nice little kit and recommendable for all modelers, who fancy early jets, twin boom aircraft or Scandinavian military aircraft. I bought the kit just to get the decal sheet, however, I got Norwegian Vampire as a most welcome extra!


 Nordic Airpower # 3 Luftforsvaret, scenes from Norwegian military Aviation history pages 22 to 27, the De Havilland Vampire. By Jan Jørgensen and friends. Published 2012. ISBN 978-87-993688-2-2

This book is a must for modelers doing Norwegian military aircraft. It contains hundreds of high quality color photos of all Norwegian types of aircraft from Fairchild Cornell (1945) to NH-90 (2011). This book is highly recommendable.

Torben Plesberg

17 July 2020

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