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Paul A H

De Havilland Vampire T.11 - 1:72 Airfix

182 posts in this topic

De Havilland Vampire T.11
1:72 Airfix

vampiret11boxtop.jpg

The distinctive De Havilland DH.100 Vampire was designed to fulfil a wartime requirement for a small, lightweight jet fighter for the Royal Air Force. Although the prototype aircraft first flew in September 1943, the production aircraft arrived too late to see service in the Second World War. Nevertheless, well over 3,000 were eventually produced and it enjoyed a relatively long service life by the standards of the day.

Powered by a single De Havilland Goblin turbojet, the Vampire was capable of a maximum speed of 548 mph and had a service ceiling of over 40,000 ft. In common with many RAF fighters of the day, armament was comprised of four 20mm cannon. Due to the pace of aeronautical development in the post-war period, the fighter variants of the Vampire were superseded in service by other types by the mid-1950s. The design was well suited to other roles though, and thanks in
part to its forgiving handling characteristics it made an idea jet trainer.

The T.11 was the principal trainer variant, over 700 of which were built. It remained in RAF service until 1967, by which time it was replaced by the Folland Gnat. It was widely exported to other countries, and a great many examples survive to this day. The Vampire Preservation Company keep one example, WZ507, in flying condition and it regularly displays at air shows around the UK.

I have to admit that I got quite excited with Airfix announced a Vampire T.11 as part of their now-famous advent calendar teaser. Judging by the reaction on the Britmodeller forums though, I’m not alone in this respect! Less than two months later, the kit is on the shelves of the model shop and hopefully is being enthusiastically assembled in living rooms and modelling sheds up and down the country. The kit is part of Airfix’s series 2 range, and comes packed into a smart red box adorned with a high-quality Adam Tooby illustration of WZ507 soaring above the British countryside.

The kit is comprised of 55 parts spread across three sprues of grey plastic and one of clear plastic. Although Airfix’s recent kits have been met with a great deal of enthusiasm, they have attracted criticism from time to time for overly prominent panel lines and clunky sprue attachment points. Happily, none of these traits are present on this, their first 1:72 kit of 2013. The panel lines are generally very restrained and are complemented by engraved fastener details around the removable panels on the wings and tail booms. The only fly in the ointment is a couple of sink marks which are visible on the ailerons.
These should be simple to fill though.

vampiret11sprue1.jpg

vampiret11close1.jpg


The overall shape of the model looks good and it compares very well to the plans that I have. The cockpit is very good for the scale, with plenty of detail. It is comprised of a floor with rear bulkhead moulded in place, the rear cockpit decking, the front bulkhead with rudder pedals moulded on, the instrument panel, control columns and ejector seats. Sidewall detail is moulded in place on the insides of the fuselage halves, and it looks very good indeed. There is even a tiny trim wheel for the port side of the cockpit. If I had to level a criticism at this part of the kit, the seats are quite plain (although the shape of them is fine), but the overall effect is very convincing. This is handy, as the cockpit canopy can be posed in the open position if desired.

vampiret11sprue2.jpg

vampiret11close2.jpg


The engine intake is a full-length assembly with what looks like a compressor face at one end (not sure how accurate this is for a De Havilland Goblin, but it will barely be seen). The mouths of the intakes are moulded as separate parts, which will make construction so much easier. The upper wing is moulded in a single span. It fits beautifully into the upper fuselage (yes, I have started mine!) and once in place will help with the alignment of the tail booms. The fits of the tail booms themselves is very positive and I haven’t had any trouble lining mine up. The landing gear legs fit into small slots on the sides of the booms, which should make the join nice and strong as well as helping with the alignment of the main gear legs.

The landing gear legs are nicely moulded. Alternative main gear doors are provided in case you want to build your model with the wheels up. The main gear wheels are moulded with very subtle flats moulded in place. As mentioned above, the canopy is moulded in three parts, which means it can be posed in the open position. A couple of drop tanks are provided to add some under-wing interest.

vampiret11sprue3.jpg

vampiret11close3.jpg

vampiret11sprue4.jpg


A choice of two schemes is provided on the decal sheet:

  • WZ507 of the Vampire Preservation Group, North Weald, Essex, 2012. This is the aircraft depicted on the box artwork, and is finished in High Speed Silver with yellow bands; and
  • WZ590 of No. 5 Flying Training School, Royal Air Force Oakington, Cambridgeshire, March 1962. This aircraft is finished in High Speed Silver with Dayglo Orange parts.

The decal sheet is nicely printed and includes an amazingly comprehensive selection of stencils. The improvement over the sheets Airfix used to include in their kits a few years ago is absolutely astonishing.

vampiret11decals.jpg


Conclusion

If you’ve been looking forward to the release of this kit, I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Airfix have delivered an excellent kit that manages to combine excellent detail with intelligent engineering which should help to make the kit easy to build. Overall this is a great little kit which doesn’t seem to have any major drawbacks. This truly is
a subject from the golden age of aviation fit for the golden age of modelling. Unreservedly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of
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Hats off to Airfix, that really does look to be top quality mouldings and the decals look very nice too. All at a price that won't break the bank, can't wait to get hold of one or two.

Hopefully the decal manufactures will have lots of different options for us to choose from soon enough as almost ever squadron and station had one or two on charge at some time.

Duncan B

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the panel lines look a little too deep, or is that just the pictures?

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Paul,

Excellent review. I have two kits on their way via mail order and just cannot wait to prize mine open. You are spot on about Airfix's latest decals and quality. I suspect, like most modellers out there I rarely consider building the kit manufacturer's chosen subject(s), however this Vampire is that good that I just might build my two exactly as Airfix have offered.

Can I just say - long live Airfix and most importantly its excellent backing by Hornby. This years Airfix range is going to be very hard to resist.

Cheers... Dave.

Edited by Rabbit Leader

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the panel lines look a little too deep, or is that just the pictures?

The flash will always highlight them.

Julien

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If it's half as good as the Harrier GR 7/9 kit I'll be very happy. It's got very good decals sheet plus the intake ducting, what more could you want? Thanks for the review Paul.

Colin

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Had a flight in WZ507 with Mark Hooton two years ago.... So for me it's a MUST have!!!!

Now I'm impatiently waiting for the Alley Cat 1/48, or the scaled up Airfix, whichever comes first.... or both!

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Don't like the look of the trough in the flap area.

If you mean the sink mark, it's hardly a trough but it will need dealing with using your favoured medium to do these things. I think, like the panel lines, the camera flash makes it look worse than it is.

Wez

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Just a quick one to start a row about seats what type were fitted to the T11 and are there any after market items around?

Dek.

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once again a great new kit. whilst i can understand people moaning about the panel lines being deep on their newer models i must say i actually dont mind as once they are painted they soften a little and are easier to take a wash.

to make them softer is so easy though. just wet the area of the kit and get a blob of milliput and move with a gentle pressure in a circular motion and wipe off the excess with a damp cloth and you have just filled in the panel lines enough to sotfen them.

i actually find lighter panel lines more of a burden on time as they generally disapear easily during construction and time has to be take rescribing etc.

so hats of to airfix ill definatly be buying a few of these and hope to see more 1950s british jets vulcan bmk1 please..

and a swift would be nice too

thanks for taking the time to review this for us cheers rob

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Thanks for the review, looks promising. Did I spot some sink areas on the top wing flap area, just outside of the boom? (shouldn't be a problem, though)

Alex

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Thanks for the review, looks promising. Did I spot some sink areas on the top wing flap area, just outside of the boom? (shouldn't be a problem, though)

Alex

Alex,

You did, see post 11 of this thread. They really shouldn't present too much of a problem.

Wez

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once again a great new kit. whilst i can understand people moaning about the panel lines being deep on their newer models i must say i actually dont mind as once they are painted they soften a little and are easier to take a wash.

to make them softer is so easy though. just wet the area of the kit and get a blob of milliput and move with a gentle pressure in a circular motion and wipe off the excess with a damp cloth and you have just filled in the panel lines enough to sotfen them.

i actually find lighter panel lines more of a burden on time as they generally disapear easily during construction and time has to be take rescribing etc.

so hats of to airfix ill definatly be buying a few of these and hope to see more 1950s british jets vulcan bmk1 please..

and a swift would be nice too

thanks for taking the time to review this for us cheers rob

Having just recently (last month) finished the new Gnat kit, under three coats of airbrush applied paint and with no panel line wash, they look just fine. But then I'm not into this Capo de Monte style of panel line washes.

Colin

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Sink marks are smaller.

Horses will come from far and wide to drink from these flaps.

It's sloppy production.

If this was Trumpeter or any other manufacturer, you guys would be all over this like a bad smell.

Its like, the new Vauxhall comes with a big dent in the left front wing, but you can fix it with some P38 and some paint.

Sloppy , shoddy, shouldnt be happening these days.

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Sink marks are smaller.

Horses will come from far and wide to drink from these flaps.

It's sloppy production.

If this was Trumpeter or any other manufacturer, you guys would be all over this like a bad smell.

Its like, the new Vauxhall comes with a big dent in the left front wing, but you can fix it with some P38 and some paint.

Sloppy , shoddy, shouldnt be happening these days.

I've got the kit, they don't look anywhere as near bad as that in the flesh. Sink marks are common on all manufacturers kits.

If you don't like what you see, don't buy it!

Wez - Who wouldn't buy a new Vauxhall anyway!

Edited by Wez

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Sink marks are smaller.

Horses will come from far and wide to drink from these flaps.

It's sloppy production.

If this was Trumpeter or any other manufacturer, you guys would be all over this like a bad smell.

Its like, the new Vauxhall comes with a big dent in the left front wing, but you can fix it with some P38 and some paint.

Sloppy , shoddy, shouldnt be happening these days.

If it was a Trumpeter kit it would be 4 or 5 times the price!,

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oggy, this is brand loyalty in action. You support your team whether they're bad or not. "On them it looks good". I doubt whether most of those who claim that recent Airfix tooling is "top quality moulding" have ever bought a Trumpeter (or whatever) kit. A fairly safe bet in terms of the numbers sold in the UK. However, the recent moulding standard is certainly raised compared to earlier Airfix kits. Those who care enough to notice faults will see them in Trumpeter or in Airfix. Different batches of "you guys".

Fortunately, on a wooden aircraft there's not too many joins to hide. But smoothing a panel line doesn't hide it: it is the width that appears excessive and replacing a ditch with a holloway doesn't really work. To get it looking realistic it needs fully filling and then rescribing, so choose a filler that doesn't shrink or crumble and takes scribing. Or don't bother and put up with something that the manufacturer should have done better in the first place. In the meantime hope that the camera has indeed magnified the problem, as Wez says.

Large sinks were quite common but have got much less so, and they really shouldn't be present on a 21st century kit. There are none on the much older Heller Vampire, though I suspect they were on the Frog.

Where Airfix do deserve praise is for their approach to the boom design (assuming reasonably enough that it works), which reflects their more general approach of thinking up newer methods of assembly to get around old problems. I also like the presence of the operating mechanism for the doors, on this kit as on the Spitfire Mk.22. An important advance on those large blank spaces. The ducts have already been mentioned. Given all this, we still need a company to find a good way of representing brake lines to the wheels. Utopia is always a step further on.

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this sink mark is a absolute no-brainer. It's confined to an area without rivets or panel lines, so add some filler, sand it, that's it. They now have a thicker part (which can cause some sink marks), but they avoided to have the trailing edge with an upper and lower part, so the trade was a minor sink mark, but giving a much thinner and more realistic trailing edge. Airfix did it absolutely right. It's much more time consuming to thin a double-part trailing edge. Those who built the Xtrakit-Meteor know what's about...

Alex

Edited by alex

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Question : ............................

Does this Vampire pass the acid test ????

Or to put it another way.......

Will Dannielle (Venomvixen) be a happy bunny with it ??

If she's happy with it, Airfix can sleep sound in their beds tonight.

End of story.

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Some interesting comments here :) I did mention the sink marks in my review. It is a disappointment as they really shouldn't be there. On the other hand they won't be that difficult to fix.

The tail boom arrangement does work well - I've glued mine together and they look fine, with no alignment problems or gaps.

I've compared the panel lines to other kits in my collection and there really isn't anything between this kit and recent kits from the likes of Revell. They're much nicer than those onvthe Italeri Sunderland for a start! I should also state that I never use flash when photographing kits for review. These sprues were photographed in natural light, although at this time of year the angle of incidence is quite pronounced.

I will be building the kit, so if you don't have your own copy, you can take a look at the build and make your own mind up.

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oggy, this is brand loyalty in action. You support your team whether

That's better. We can get back to talking about the kit rather than another tirade against other modellers etc etc...

Regarding the sink marks on the Vampire flaps, I only noticed them after a coat of primer showed them up. The fix took me less time than it did to read this thread and write this - superglue, baking powder over the top, wet sand with a medium grit stick and reprime.

Job done.

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Hi Graham. Having recently built the Trumpeter Gannet and then the Airfix Harrier GR7/9 kits and now the Airfix Gnat I have to say I do prefer the Airfix kits The Trumpeter kit let itself down in a number of areas most noticably their research or lack of it, something Airfix are doing there very best at. Just look at the decal sheet for the Venom cut decals for the under wing serials, remember when you used to have to insert the bay doors and cut the decals to suit! A couple of sink marks are very small price to pay for what Airfix are currently giving us. I'll support then where I can.

Colin

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