1/72 scale model kits of De Havilland Vampire
review / Building report
The De Havilland company in the United Kingdom designed during the Second World War a jet fighter and it was the time that development with this new type of propulsion began. The design incorporated a twin boom tail with a small thick fuselage that contained the jet engine. The wing was unswept and some structure was made of wood. Known as Vampire DH.100, it was a single seat aircraft with a Halford H.1 turbojet engine (that later evolved into the Goblin engine). First flight was in September 1943. The Royal Air Force ordered the type but the first squadron with aircraft really became operational not earlier than 1946 with the mk.1.
Maximum speed was about 550 mph (885 km/hr) and it could carry 4 x 20mm cannons and a variety of (unguided) rockets.
The last versions built of the Mk.l were equipped with the more powerful Goblin 2 engine. After the Mk.l came the Mk.lll, with increased tank capacity, the possibility to carry additional tanks and modified tail planes. The FB Mk.5 was a fighter-bomber version for ground attack had reinforced wings and smaller span with square tips. It also had a modified undercarriage and possibility to drop about 1000 kilograms of bombs and rockets.
Versions developed included two seaters such as the DH.115 or T.11. Also night fighters were developed and the type was evolved to be used from aircraft carriers under the Sea Vampire designation. (The Vampire evolved also to the advanced DH.112 Venom ground-attack and night fighter also for use from aircraft carriers). Sud-Est made a slightly different version SE.535 under the name Mistral.
The RAF operated the Vampire in the Cold War as a front-line fighter until 1953. Later on many aircraft got secondary roles such as training and ground attack.
The Vampire was exported to dozens of countries all over the World and almost 3,300 Vampires were manufactured, a quarter of them built under licence by Macchi-FIAT in Italy and the "Mistral" by Sud-Est in France. Vampires flew in various conflicts like the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Malayan Campaign and the Rhodesian Bush War.
A whole series of Vampire models will be made and presented on these webpages.
The Vampire as a 1/72 model was released by several kit manfucaturers. One of the first 1/72 models was from FROG from 1971 and a better kit of a Vampire FB.5 was made by HELLER in 1979 (also released in a Revell package from 1991 and by many other brands but often more or less copies of the Heller kit).
Now some more detailed kits are available by AZUR and Amodel though short run and CMR in resin. But the Heller kit is quite nice and cheap.
Of a two seater Vampire T.11 Airfix
released a very nice 1/72 kit in 2012 (also to be made).
The Vampire FB.5 kit (no.283 but also released in various boxes with different decals) has about 40 parts.
The built is quite straight forward! Only some putty was needed as the tail boom joints and the lower nose canon section. Some white glue was used on the windscreen to close the gap.
The kit 03993 released in 2011 has
nice decals for
|Many of the Vampire decals came from
a very old dated 1975 ESCI decal set #93.
I had to apply several layers of Microscale Liquid Decal Film as the decals
after so many years would otherwise "dis-integrate". But there are a lot
of different air force insignia on this otherwise nice sheet.
The first Vampire model released by Heller was made as a Rhodesian Air Force aircraft as used during the "bush war".
The model got a high speed silver
paint finish. Note that the Vampires were NOT natural metal coloured, many
sections were wood and primed. It got a silverdope.
Overall a gloss transparant coat was airbrushed onto the model of Johnson Future/Pledge varnish. Anti-collision lights also on the wing tips were painted and canopy installed, fixed in place with tiny drops of white glue. That completed the tiny model.
part of the British Commonwealth and an air unit was established in 1935.
The British war effort was supported during the Second World War and local
aircraft were types like the Hawker Hart. After the war, the Southern Rhodesia
Air Force used a variety of aircraft like the Spitfire. In 1953 an order
was placed for the first jets: sixteen Vampire FB.9 (no. SR100 to SR115
and later on RRAF 100 to RRAF 115) and sixteen Vampire T11 trainers (no.SR116-SR131
and later RRAF 116 to RRAF 131). The main base was New Sarum near Salisbury.
Royal Rhodesian Air Force / no.2 Fighter Squadron / Vampire FB.9 with no. RRAF 114
Another Revell released Vampire 1/72 kit was made.
This model was finished again in the silverdope scheme as described for a Rhodesian used Vampire, but now a FB.mk 52 of the Lebanese Air Force. As before, decals came from the ESCI set.
I did not manage to put enough weight in the nose... so a small rod below the aft fuselage was needed to keep it nose down...
[ Lebanese single
seat Vampire registration numbers were L152, L153, L155- L158, L161-L167
For this model a more "dull" well used aircraft was represented. This was achieved by airbrushing a semi-gloss varnish top coat by mixing into the Johnson Future/ Pledge 5% of Tamiya X-21 Flat base matting agent.
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Back to 1/72 Models.......
- DH Vampire, The complete history, David Watkins, Budding books, 1996
- Profile publications no.48, Francis Mason, U.K , 1965
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Created this page
January 11, 2017