Fleet Air Arm 
DeHavilland Sea Vixen
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FAA  models in 1/72 scale
 
The DeHavilland Sea Vixen shipboard FAA fighter was typically of the period. The first Sea Vixen service variant flew in 1957. It was the so called FAW.20 (later the FAW.1).

In 1963 the improved FAW.2 variant came with bigger tail booms that extended forward of the wing leading edge (more room for ECM and fuel). Also, the frame in the middle of the pilot's canopy was removed. For the navigator, a fairing was added with a bulge and tinted window. On FAW.1s and early FAW.2s the hatch was flat with a small window .

The Sea Vixen was used in several conflicts by the FAA/ Royal Navy.
In 1972, the last Sea Vixen was put out of operational service, with some aircraft remaining being used for test purposes. 

The Model
The model has been issued in 1/72 scale by Frog, later the same mold by NOVO and also Revell re-issued the kit after cleaning up the mold. Whatever manufacturer you select, being the same molds, the kit is basic but can be made into a nice replica. Work is needed however not being a TamiGawa shake in box = ready kit. This kit is old with Frog characteristics with a rudimentary interior and some thick parts. But is aside from the expensive 1/72 High Planes kit and Magna Models resin kit , the best known and available Sea Vixen kit available.

I got the REVELL issue #04132 of this kit and it comes with very nice set of decals also. Otherwise, the Frog/Novo/Revell model has a number of options like 2 sets of outher wing sections (folded or non-folded) and the later retro fitted navigator fairing for the FAW.2 (not shown in the Revell instructions). The FAW.2 version was in fact the only real option of this kit so this was to be made as model (the High Planes kit has the option to make a FAW.1). 
I also got some Aeroclub replacement parts for the interior and canopy. 

Improvements the basic kit needs

A/  The basic kit dimensions are unfortunately NOT OK, as there is a problem with the main fuselage. Looking at real pictures of the Sea Vixen and looking at the Warpaint book reference drawing, it seems indeed the main error is in the fuselage. It is in fact about 1 - 1,5 mm (1/14 inch) to deep and wide. As the span with wings is OK, correcting this is very difficult. I found a suggestion to improve the look of the kit by inserting a plug of 2 mm card between the nose cone and front fuselage. 

The nose without correction is seen above, and with the 2 mm plug below, improving the look of the model

With some sanding into a more tapered nose shape and reducing the lower forward fuselage fairings next to the nose wheel bay, the shape is vastly improved.

In other areas, the dimensions match with the Warpaint Reference drawing and their looks are OK to me.

B/ thin down the trailing edges of wings and stabilizers. Sand inside the surfaces of parts # 9 and # 11 to get the lower wings sections to meet the flaps. 

C/ also sand down the integrally moulded  rudders on parts #13 and 15
you need to make an interior with some card and strip. The floor of the pilot should be at where the upper and lower fuselage meets; the navigotor floor and seat is on the right side of the pilot and lower! The interior is typically of the period: crowded, small and dark!

D/  the intakes were cut open; they need an interior. I made from thin plastic card an intake ducting, a bulkhead with 2 engine "compressor faces" from the scrap box and will add the intake guiding vanes later on

E/  decide if you want to open the "navigator coal hole". I think the later FAW.2 had a transparant hood cover, so carefully open up the hood in fairing part # 35.

F/  the fairing part #35 needs to be positioned 2 mm more fat than than suggested by the kits instructions. 

G/ the right side fuselage window should be a bit longer ( 1,5 mm more longer).(part #5 not usable any more); 

H/  add nose weight! Start with adding weight in the radar nose. 

I/  the kit has raised panel lines; re-scribe the main ones and smoothen the overall surfaces of the kit. Especially at the top of the fuselage where the walkway markings are "raised lines", be carfeull to remove all of them; otherwise the decals will give troubles later on. 

J/  the main undercarriage doors are often closed when on the ground, so there is no real need to deepen the wheel bays. The gear legs can be given some small extra detail with some sprue an rod.

K/  the main nose wheeldoor is also mainly closed so this needs no dept. So = OK

L/  make saw cuts of flaps, ailerons etc after glueing the flying surfaces to improve the look of the model. 

M/  the horizontal stabilizer part 17 is OK, but reduce the left glue lip in size to fit.

N/  the underwing pylons are very close next to each other. Missiles and tanks don't fit...
 

kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
kit review building report 
I also used replacement parts for the canopy by Aeroclub C056  and the metal parts set of Aeroclub with 2 new ejection Martin Baker seats, undercarriage and some smaller parts like pylons.

At the cockpit section with card some detailling was added. The Aeroclub canopy has the base moulded on, so the rather thick kit part # 35 is not needed. 
First sand the forward fuselage parts, add tailboom later on to enable better sanding.

Tail booms fit requires lot of putty and sanding... Be patient here!


Next some panel lines were scribed in using an Olfa p-cutter 

On to next Page [2].....
 

References:
- Warpaint no 11 - Sea Vixen, Alan Hall

- Scale aircraft modelling vol 14/1 Oct 1991 ; Vol 16/8 June 1994 ; Vol 18/8 Oct 1996
- Air International April 1991 (with cut away and history)

- http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/seavixen/index.html

 

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Created this page 
March 5, 2005