Sea Venom model in 1/32 scale made by Meindert de Vreeze
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Modelling report on...
The Revell 1/32 Sea Venom kit #4709 is the same as the originally released Matchbox Lesney PK-506 kit issued 1980.
The 1/32 scale Matchbox Lesney kits were known as being very good, with good accuracy and shape. I was told that the dimensions of the kit (length and span) were pretty well ( within a margin of a couple of millimeters) and I am not surprised as Matchbox did make simple but accurate kits at the time. They had access to the real thing.
Their detail level was limited however
to keep costs down, but they are an excellent starting point to make a
very good and detailed model. The same applies to the Sea Venom kit.
OK, what is in the kit?
The instructions look like the original
Matchbox ones, but Revell has improved them in some areas.
The Revell kit has about 150 parts in white plastic. (The Matchbox kit's plastic has as some modelers may remember several colours, to help the younger modeler to get some colour on an unpainted model).
So, exactly the same parts and sprues
are found in the Revell kit, although Revell has cleaned up the mould of
the transparent parts to remove tiny scratches. Well done!
You get some variations on parts like the different wheelbay shapes, a flat or bulged double canopy and different stores and decals. You also get parts for a miniature Ghost engine for which you can leave the top access panels open. The rear fuselage has two options as well.
The decals are of the usual very high
quality with versions for three planes:
For the other kit, making a RAN Australian FAW 53 would be nice. I saw one at a museum in South Australia and this looked a nice scheme.
For this kit you are on your one regarding detailling as I could not find any add-on commercial sets from resin what so ever on the market. This modelling report will show you how I tackled these kits.
But, let's look first at some history of the real Sea Venoms
The Royal Navy was interested in the NF.2 after carrier prototype trials went well enough. It lead to the development of the “navalized” NF.2. The first flew April 1951, designated "Sea Venom NF.20. It was generally similar to the NF.2, but with a strengthened construction and also an arresting hook fitted in an “upper lip” at the aft fuselage.
The first of 50 production "Sea Venom FAW (Fighter All Weather) 20" flew March 1953. It had the Ghost 103 engine, an AI.10 radar, and a clear-view canopy similar to that of the NF.2A. The FAW.20 entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1954
are always needed and the next version, the FAW 21, first flew April 1954.
The tailplane extensions outboard of the tailfins were deleted and it got
a Ghost 104 engine, Westinghouse AI-21 radar, a modified canopy with a
bulged top to improve headroom, power boosted rudders and ailerons, nonskid
brakes, and inflatable seat packs to assist in underwater escapes.
Next came in 1957 and 1958 the final Sea Venom variant, the “FAW 22". It was fitted with a Ghost 105 engine and an improved AI.22 radar. Also, many FAW 22s were adapted after delivery to carry DH Blue Jay (later Firestreak). Of the FAW 22, 39 planes were built.
The Royal Navy FAA obtained a total of 256 Sea Venoms of all types.
After the Second
World War, the French Navy also worked on their naval power, modelling aircraft
carriers like the Foch and Clemenceau. So a shipboard jet fighter was needed
and in January 1951 the Aeronavale selected the Sea Venom FAW.20 as this
British ship board jet fighter in development seemed promising. With De
Haviland, arrangements were made for license manufacture by SNCASE (later
Sud-Aviation). The French Sea Venom was given the name of "Aquilon , French
for “Sea Eagle".
Introducing the Aquilon started with four "kitted" Sea Venom FAW 20 planes shipped from De Havilland. It was first flown in 1952 and about twenty "Aquilon 20" machines were built.
Improvements on the Aquilon were desired however, and a single prototype "Aquilon 201" made by Sud-Est. It was based on the Sea Venom NF Mk.52 but with a Fiat Ghost 48 mk.1 engine and a new rear-sliding canopy. It also got ejection seats built by Sud-Est; (some sources claim they were a Martin-Baker design built under license).
The first “new
all Sud built” production machine was the "Aquilon 202", flying March 1954
with a total of 25 planes built. It had an American radar and a Derveaux
DRAX-4A radar rangefinder. It featured the ejection seats for both crew
members and an adapted rear-sliding canopy with changed canopy frames.
Also it got antiskid brakes and was powered by a Fiat-built Ghost 48 mk.1
engine. The armament consisted of the usual four Hispano 20 mm cannons
in the lower fuselage nose.
The "Aquilon 203" came next, with 40 planes made. Based on 202, it was further modified. It got an American AN/APQ-94 radar and the radar equipment was so large that it demanded removal of the right seat, with now only the left seat for the flying pilot. The Aquilon 203 could also launch the Nord 5103 / AA.20 radio-guided AAM, with one carried under each wing. Later it was capable of firing R.511 semi-active radar homing AAM missiles and AS-20 air-to-surface missiles.
Some Aquilons were later modified as "Aquilon 204" radar trainers and stripped of armament and fitted with the AN/APQ-65 radar. Removal of the armament permitted again the fit of the second seat for the trainee. They had probably also short stroke legs, so were only usable on land based fields.
French Aquilons operated aircraft from their aircraft carriers and land bases. The French Aquilons were generally out of service by 1960, but some remained in training roles for a few more years.
So some sources
suggest that the Aquilon 503 was 0.06 m less long than the type 202, but
it could not be determined if and how this was done.
Back to 1/32 model kits now.
For model 1, it was decided to create an “overall blue” Aquilon 203 as it seemed quite common to the kit's FAW 22. And in addition, adding more detail would be nice. So it would get folded wings (option of the kit), an opened engine bay (option of the kit) and a scratch build opened up nose avionics bay and radar nose.
For model 2, the “standard dark sea grey and white” Australian Sea Venom FAW 53 was picked, a hatch would be opened in the nose to show some details inside. Otherwise, the model would be made with level unfolded wings but added details in the two seat cockpit.
So, before starting assembly, the opened up hatches were cut open in the main fuselage halves with a razor saw. Next, the major parts were separated from the sprues and re-scribed in some areas with an Olfa P-cutter. Please note that (Sea) Venoms had wooden fuselages that were covered with fabric.
The building report will indicate the step numbers as shown in the instructions; the order will be changed however to ease assembly.
Steps 3 - 8
I searched on the Internet through
Google for pictures of the cockpit. Instrument panels were made from thin
card with the dials and clocks drilled open. (later on I would put there
decals for the clocks).
Also added were an extended floor (not yet seen above), seat floor rails and foot controls for the pilot in the lefts seat. The right seat on the Sea Venom was set a bit aft and lower and what was the area crampted!
For the Aquilon
203, the right seat was not to be installed as room was needed for
avionics boxes and equipment. I did not have Aquilon cockpit pictures but
“guessed” and added plastic from card and the spares box. I assumed a radar
scope on the right but a similar cockpit instrument lay-out on the left.
The basic interior colours on these early jets were “typically black” so
not a lot will be seen in detail anyway.
In addition, this Aquilon 203 has a different rear sliding canopy with a larger front transparent section. I would have to make a new canopy, more on that later on.
The RAN Sea Venom model had a right hand hatch opened up in the nose, to add some life to the model. The bay was detailed and a bulkhead added from card using the drawing from Air International. The nose radome was fitted.
Additional forward nose area hatches were opened up on the Aquilon model to show some extra detail later on.
Now, the entire fuselage and wing (root) sections were filled and sanded smooth. Do this BEFORE going further as you can now well handle the fuselage.
The area next to the jet pipe also
needs some filler and card. I made the gap around the tail pipe smaller
by making a small ceiling from thin card.
As noted, for the Aquilon model, the
engine would be displayed. If you want to do this on yoir Sea Venom, a
similar approach can be followed. Not many pictures were searched on the
details as Matchbox did research very well at the time.
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References recommended by Meindert de Vreeze
- De Havilland DH112 Venom and Sea
Venom, Warpaint serie, no 44
- Aquilon French photo website: http://aviapassionmaquette.free.fr/Aviapassion%20Maquette%20photoscope%20aquilon.html
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(c) Copyright "designer"/ All rights reserved/ Amsterdam The Netherlands.
|Created this page January 21, 2008|