Trumpeter 1/48 Vampire FB Mk 9

KIT #: 02875
PRICE: $37.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Torben Plesberg
NOTES: Built as a Swedish J-28B


 See here for a general history.

Sweden ordered 70 Vampire FB 1 in 1949 and the aircraft got the designation J-28 A. In 1952 a further 310 Vampire FB 5 were ordered and the Swedish designation was J-28 B. Nine Swedish flottiljer (wings) were equipped with the J-28 B. A wing has three squadrons: röd, blå and gul (red, blue and yellow). A squadron is called a “division” in Swedish and has 12 aircraft. Hence a wing has 36 aircraft, some wings had a fourth squadron (vit or svart, white or black) = 48 aircraft.

Individual aircraft were marked with a letter in the color of the squadron. The letters were pronounced in the Swedish phonetic alphabet, which is not the same as the international edition: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc.

The Swedish phonetic alphabet is exclusively male personal names: Adam, Bertil, Cäsar, David etc. The wings had a radio call name, and that would be a phonetic male name, too. F 1 = Adam, F 2 = Bertil, F 3 = Cäsar, F 4 David ---- F 20 Tore and F 21 Urban.

The Swedish Vampires were actually stop-gap aircraft, until the SAAB J 29 and J 32 became available to the squadrons. They were in service until the late fifties. The pilots were very content flying the Vampire, the greatest number of Swedish military pilots has flown this type of aircraft. Several civil registered Vampires are flying in Sweden to- day, mostly ex. Swiss aircraft. The Vampire is a very popular warbird!


The kit comes in a suitable box with a picture of a RAF Vampire on the lid. This particular kit, which was bought in Sweden, has a small sticker in Swedish colors and with the word “dekaler” = decals. The price included a sheet of Swedish decals from RB Decals with three options. The decal sheet with the kit has two options for RAF aircraft. The kit is supposed to be a Vampire FB Mk 9. However, the Swedish Vampires were either Mk 1 or Mk 5. Since there is no external difference between Mk 5 and a Mk 9, the kit will do for a Swedish Vamp, the J 28 B.

The instructions is a booklet size A4 with eight pages. Page one has a side view of the WR 128 and some advice before the assembly and on decal application, and a guide of the symbols used with the steps of assembly, all in Chinese and English. Page two shows the three sprues in a medium grey styrene, a clear one with the canopy, and the decal sheet. Pages three to eight show how to assemble the model with eleven exploded sketches. Besides, there is an extra loose sheet printed in color, showing, how to paint and decal the two options of the kit. A paint reference shows the exact colors for the model from Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol.

All parts are nicely moulded, with no flash or sink marks. The canopy is very nice, indeed, probably the best I have seen yet. The kit would have been perfect, if the shape of the fuselage was right. The cross section is circular, which is not correct, and the air inlets for the Goblin engine are too small. 


It is a very easy kit to put together if you follow the instructions. I tried to do something about the too small air inlets. By cutting and sanding a lot, it was possible to make the inlets about 1.5 mm bigger at the wing roots, part # B 3 and B 6. Nose weight is necessary, and I put 16 gram of lead into the nose and into the nose wheel well. The cross section of the nose is circular. It should be more oval and narrower. I sanded as much as possible away from the sides – without sanding through the styrene! However, this was by far not enough. If I had filled the nose section of the fuselage halves with plastic padding, it would have been possible to obtain the right shape. In return, there would be no room for the nose weight, and the model would have been a tail sitter. The combined solution of the nose weight and shape problems would imply the casting of a new nose tip of solid lead!


The Swedish Vampires are light gray-blue on the underside (RLM 65) and dark green on the upper side (RLM 71). The jet pipe is gun metal HB 53 or polished steel HB 27003. The tires are rubber black Tamiya XF 85 acrylic. The Swedish decal sheet with this kit was an extra. The hobby shop in Helsingborg, sadly now closed, had specialized in kits of aircraft of Flygvapnet, and often a special decal sheet is with the kits as an extra. With this kit: RB Decals 48028 – J 28 B Vampire 1/48. I chose the yellow Filip of the F 10 Wing based at Ängelholm, some 20 kilometer north of Helsingborg. The decals were first class and were easy to apply. The whole aircraft got a layer of Satin Cote to protect the decals and give the aircraft a nice finish.


The Trumpeter kit is not for the modeler, who wants a correct shape of the model. However, if you enjoy putting a model together with a perfect fit of all the parts, this kit is definitely for you, and the kit is as such highly recommendable, also to beginners. 


Jan Jørgensen and Anders Nylén: Nordic Airpower # 2 – Flygvapnet. Publisher: Nordic Airpower 2011. ISBN 978-87-993688-1-5. Internet shop: . This book is a must for modelers doing Flygvapnet aircraft. The book contains a lot of first class color photos of most of the Swedish military aircraft from WW II to 2011.

Bo Widfeldt and Åke Hall: Svenskt militärflyg – Stridsflygplan, Helikoptrar, Robotar, and Flygmotorer.  This book is a very useful encyclopedia covering Swedish military aircraft, missiles, and engines from 1911 to 2005. The illustrations are all black/white photos. The text is only in Swedish, which is readable all over Scandinavia.

Torben Plesberg

16 November 2018


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