Venom FB.4: conversion in 1/32 scale
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It was opted to make the Venom FB.4 in a scheme of the Venezuela Air Force (FAV). These flew from the mid 1950s based at Maiquetia north west of the capital Caracas. These had an overall high speed silver finish.
Photos are rare of these so a lot of time was spend on finding FAV Venom photos on internet and YouTube.
In 1/32 scale, the FAV roundel-with-stripes length is about 22 mm at the tail booms and at the lower and upper wing about 52 mm. (Note that the FAV Venom roundels positions are different as on FAV Vampires and the Venom has a different wing). Some jets had a nose squadron badge.
FAV Venom decals in 1/32 were not available when I made this kit. I designed the specific markings with a graphics program looking at rare photos.
The decals were custom printed for personal use by a Third Party on an OKI laser printer.
Some decals for the stencils and the various KEEP
OFF panels can be used from the Sea Venom decal sheet which I had from the Revell release:
NOTE: if you have old Matchbox Sea Venom sheets, these after so many years tend to break up. They can be rescued with a varnish coat or liquid decal film from MicroScale.
Now that decals had been applied, the remainder of the model details are to follow...
The main landing gear parts came from the Sea Venom kit and would fit obviously in the used Venom used wing parts. I could not verify if the gears arethe same e.g. main wheel diameter etc. The Venom FB.4 is less heavier that the big two seater Sea Venom. Photos suggest that to have a better "sit" of the model kit gear legs parts #71 and #72 of the Matchbox Sea Venom are better shortened by 4 mm. This was done with a Tiger saw. I also removed some 4 mm from each side leg door #35 and #36.
The adapted main gear was installed. A brake line from scrap was added and some black wash as well.
The single seat Venom nose gear was used as per Infinity Vampire single seater though I was not sure it was the same gear. It has a "shimmy" tyre. The front door was set as was the side door with a retraction rod added.
The Venom model is as the Vampire model a "tail sitter". Setting much weight in the nose may cause the plastic gear to collapse; so a stick was made from stretched transparant sprue, a small hole was drilled below the jet tail pipe and the stick installed.
The Venom FB.4 was one of the first jets with an ejector seat. The seat was a Martin Baker mk.1F and it appears later also the mk.2F was used. Note that seats were manufactured by the Martin Baker company in several sub-variants with modifications for a particular aircraft type and customer. (for example Mk.1E or 2E in Gloster Meteor, 1B or 2B Wyvern, 1A or 2A in Supermarine Attacker). The mk.1 had an adjustable seat pan to fit a pilot.
< photo Martin Baker Mk.1 seat (MB link)
The ejector seat for the model had to be made from scrap. As I had the Iconicair 1/32 Attacker resin kit, I used that seat as "pattern"/ example with also a few photos. From the Matchbox Sea Venom kit seat a slice of 3 mm height was removed amidst. The big deeper seat probably needed a rectangular recess at the rear cockpit bulkhead in order to fit in the cockpit; this was suggested in the model by removing the lower part of the seat. (Sorry... I forgot to make seat photos).
A harness was made from tan brown painted tape and etched metal buckles added from the spares box. A red curtain pull and firing handle was also set on the head rest and the gun sight as per Infinity kit though it may be not the same type.
|The Venom is seen with canon shutes so the 4 lower gaps aft of
the nose wheel bay were closed with some silver decal paper. (better is to close them with card much earlier). The 4
small parts #52 of the Matchbox/Revell Sea Venom were tidied up a bit and installed. |
A metal pitot tube made from a thick needle was superglued on the port tail fin. On the port tail boom a tiny wire antenna was set made from black stretched sprue. At each wing tip fuel tank tip, port a red dot was painted and starboard a blue dot; probably these are anti-collision lights.
The gaps and edges of control surfaces got a wash for added realism. I used a mix of varnish and black paint applied with a fine paint brush.
All bits had been installed. The last thing to do was airbrushing another few gloss varnish coats with IPA thinned Johnson Future/ Pledge. Shield off the wind shield while airbrushing. The canopy fixed in a slided open position with a few drops of white glue and a unique Venom FB.4 model in 1/32 scale was ready!
[ area: 916,400 sq.km | population <24 million | capital: Caracas | GDP per capita nominal < 1,000 USD crisis ]
The Fuerza Aerea Venezolana received in 1949 some 24 Vampires FB.5 and from a few years later 6 T.55 trainers. In 1956 some 22 Venoms FB.4 designated FB.54 were delivered as well. They sometimes got another registration and were flown until the early 1970s. They flew from Maracay and with various Escuadrons de Casa such as no.12 and no.34.
See more Venezuela FAV info on the T-2 page here....
... at La Carlota, Caracas
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Created this page November 6, 2022