De Havilland DH.100 Vampire
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1/72 scale model kits of De Havilland Vampire 
kit review / modelling 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 un swept 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.

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The Vampire as a 1/72 model was released by several kit manufacturers. 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 Vampire FB.5 kit is the same as the Heller kit but reboxed.

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 
(1) FB.5 of RAF no.112 squadron as based during the Cold War at Bruggen in Germany in 1953. It has a camouflage scheme.
(2) FB.5 of RAF no.112 based at Fassberg Germany in 1951 with a silver dope scheme.
The red roundel dots are separate decals to avoid mis-alignment.

Parts layout is seen here:

In both kits using the same basic moulds, panel lines are raised but fine. I retained these for these small models.
The transparant parts with separate windscreen look good. The interior has a seat and stick and is rather small off course. The head rest part #36 was made smaller and a few side boxes added on the cockpit sides for instruments.

A lot of weight (more than 10 grams) is needed in the nose to avoid a tail sitter. (*I did not put enough weight in the nose.... as I found out later). The two tail booms need careful alignment to have a good symmetrical result. Nice is a separate pair of inboard flaps. 

The separate part #15 for the canons needs a thin sliver of plastic card to get a better fit without a gap. The nose wheel is quite nice with a separate wheel. The outher main gear doors are shown I believe swapped in the instructions (so #26 should be on left and #27 at right side). 


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 silver dope. 
Any gloss silver can be used here. I airbrushed Revell Aqua Silber acrylic no 90. 

Ensure that the model has absolutely no scratches as these are well seen and will spoil model appearance. I used a nail polish sanding block. 

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.

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later flash  later flash

Rhodesia was 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. 
In 1954 the air force became the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. The Vampires were oprated by no.1 and later no. 2 Fighter Squadrons and the aircraft had a metal high speed silver scheme. Meanwhile in the late 1950s, Canberra aircraft as well as Provost trainers and C-47 Dakota transports were delivered. The fighter role of the Vampire was followed up by Hawker Hunters FGA.9 delivered in 1963. For the attack role the Vampires remained in service and they got a camouflage scheme and the first local guerilla fights were fought at the borders. In 1969 additional support was obtained from South Africa with spares and dozens of second hand Vampires. 
Rhodesia became and independent republic in 1970 and the air force renamed Rhodesian Air Force. During many years a "bush war" was fought. 
After drastic political changes in 1980 Rhodesia became Zimbabwe with the air force called the "Air Force of Zimbabwe". 

  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 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...

The Lebanese air force ("Al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Lubnaniya") was founded in 1949 assisted by RAF advisors and got British aircraft. The main base was at Khaldeh/Beirut and Rayak. A first Vampire T55 trainer was received August 1953 followed by six Vampire FB.52 aircraft and another two T55 trainers used by Pursuit Bomber Squadron, later no.1 squadron. In 1956 tensions increased because of the Suez crisis and Lebanese leadership rejected to join the proposed "United Arab Republic" of Nasser. The Vampires were used to fights small opposition groups. The UK delivered six Hunter F.mk6 fighters in November 1958 and probably another seven refurbished Vampire FB.5 and FB.9. 
In 1968 French Mirage III aircraft were obtained but these were sold in 1970 to Pakistan. Current aircraft in the Lebanese armed forces are mainly helicopters. 

[ Lebanese single seat Vampire registration numbers were L152, L153, L155- L158, L161-L167 ]

    Vampire FB.mk52 Lebanon air force "L155"


Another Revell released kit was made as Vampire FB.Mk.52  of the "Ejercito de Venezuela". Basic color airbrushed was Revell Aqua Silber acrylic no 90. Again, decals came from the ESCI set. 

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. 

.... venezuela roundel insignia .... ..........

In Venezuela military aviation started with the Air Academy in 1920 with some French Caudron aircraft and Breguet aircraft. In the 1930's a first base was established at Boca del Rio and aircraft purchased from France, England and the United States. Venezuela had large oil fields and its oil was important in the Second World War. 
The Fuerza Aerea Venezuelana (FAV) was formally established in October 1947. Several aircraft like the P-47 and transport aircraft were used. The first Vampires FB-Mk52 arrived in Venezuela in late 1949. They replaced aircraft like the surplus P-47 Thunderbolt. The Vampire was the first jet used by the FAV. A total of 24 FB.Mk52 were obtained. In 1955 DH Vampires T.Mk.55 two-seat trainers were delivered. Later in 1961 all Vampires became part of Fighter Group No. 12, together with the Venom and F-86F Sabres. The Canberra was another attack aircraft and from 1968 the Vampires were replaced by the American F-86K Sabredog. 

(for later aircraft, look here such as the T-2 Buckeye...

   Vampire FB.Mk 52  Venezuela 

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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