Special Hobby 1/72 Vampire FB.9
|KIT #:||SH 72455|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The de Havilland Vampire is a British jet fighter which was developed and manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was the second jet fighter to be operated by the RAF, after the Gloster Meteor, and the first RAF aircraft to be powered by one jet engine. (The Me-262 and He-162 were the first operational jet and single engine jet respectively).
The FB.9 was the last single seat variant and was basically an FB.5 (the most widely produced variant) with an air conditioning package for tropical and desert climes. It was powered by the Goblin 3 engine. Over 340 were built.
Previously, Frog, Heller, and Dragon (along with a few other short run/resin companies) developed single engine Vampire kits. AModel also produced the type in its short run production series. All make into nice models though are products of their time. This one comes in an end-opening box with the sprues put in at an angle so they will fit in the box. There are a few pieces that won't be used in building this variant and you can leave off several others if you don't want to use the drop tanks or rockets. I dare say that you can build any single seat variant except the F.1 using the parts on the sprues as there are different wing tips and canopy pieces provided as well that are not used.
Detailing is excellent and you get a convincing cockpit with decals for instrument panels and seat harness. The fuselage is split horizontally and there is an engine face piece that goes behind the cockpit. Before closing the halves, the cockpit, exhaust and intake trunking pieces are fit. It will need nose weight though no info on how much is provided. I'd suggest putting a nice section in the small space under the cockpit floor and then leaving off the nose until the model is done so you can judge how much more is needed.
One then starts building the wings and horizontal stabilizers. The wing tips are in clear plastic so you can dab some color on the inside of the tip lights before gluing in place. You do get the proper FB.9 intake for the right side. Then the tail booms are built up and installed along with the stab. Since you now build up and install the landing gear, you could leave this step until after painting. Inner gear doors have the braces included.
Cockpit canopy and separate windscreen are next. You could pose this open though it is shown in the closed position. The last two steps are the addition of drop tanks and rockets. These are both butt joins. Instructions state that period photos do not show these being installed, so your choice.
Instructions are well done and in color. There are five markings options. Four are in overall high speed silver. These are the planes of Lebanon, Jordan, New Zealand and 213 Squadron RAF. The latter plane has a black nose and black tail section with yellow 'bullets'. This will need to be painted. The other is in standard camouflage from 607 Squadron RAF as shown on the box art. The large decal sheet includes a full stencil suite and the decals are very nicely done.
This is the nicest looking 1/72 Vampire yet. It still has short run characteristics (such as no alignment pins/sockets), but otherwise is very nicely done. It also looks like a fairly quick build with a nice selection of markings options.
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