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  1. De Havilland Venom NF.2 1:72 Czech Master Resin The Vampire was infamously characterised by its unorthodox twin boom layout. Being the second jet fighter to enter into RAF service after the Meteor, it set several records early in its existence and went on to serve in no less than 31 air forces. The Venom was a natural evolution utilising a thinner wing and more powerful engine to increase performance. There were two basic configurations, the single seater being a fighter bomber, where as the two seat machines had a cockpit layout based on that of the proven Mosquito providing all weather intercept capability. The radar operator sat slightly rear wards and to the right of the pilot with the radar set in front of him. The side-by-side arrangement was popular with crews as it offered good team spirit and the ability to still communicate in the event of an intercom failure. The first two seat variant to enter service was the NF.2 in 1953, however structural weaknesses in the wings near the tail booms led to several crashes in 1954. After a temporary grounding, service resumed with restrictions until the issues could be resolved. The NF.2a followed and featured several refinements including a clamshell canopy offering improved visibility and redesigned tail section to reduce buffeting at high speed. The final two seat variant was the NF.3 which entered service with 141 and 23 Sqn based at RAF Coltishall in the summer of 1955. Because at this stage the RAF had chosen the Javelin as the replacement all weather fighter, improvements to the NF.3 were limited, the main benefits being an improved Ghost 104 engine, APS-57 Airborne Intercept radar and radar-ranged gunnery. The performance of the later Venoms was superb, practice intercepts on Canberra’s flying at 550mph and over 40,000ft were achieved. Armament was a four pack of 20mm cannon in the belly. By the end of 1957, Javelins had replaced Venoms as front line aircraft. Incredibly, Venoms continued in military service until 1983 with the Swiss Air Force, one of 6 foreign operators of the aircraft. The Kit The latest in the Vampire / Venom series from CMR is the NF.3. The lit comes in the usual sturdy white box with simple but striking side profile image of the aircraft on the front. Inside, you find a full resin kit of 55 parts supplemented by two sheets of etch, two vac formed canopies and a paint mask for the canopy. The instruction pack has 6 pages of b&w photographs of the aircraft both in full and close up to aid your build. The polythene bags housing the delicate resin parts are sealed into small compartments to reduce the risk of damage. If you’ve built any of these before, CMR have recently started to supply the wings with the intakes already formed in place. Assembly starts with the cockpit interior. Having built the NF.2 a few months ago, this goes together fairly easily and uses a good mix of coloured etch and fine resin components to create a superbly detailed interior. The detail really stands out when using a wash. The nose wheel bay requires a thin flash of resin removing and the bay fits to the inside of the fuselage under the cockpit. A small amount of filler may be required after fitting this to seal any gaps. The assembled cockpit is glued between the two fuselage halves, not before you’ve added a weight. The only real challenge that I’ve come across with these kits is dealing with the seam line down the centre after joining the fuselage up. There is some flash along the seam mating edges that requires sanding off. I’ve had to use filler on both of my previous builds to eliminate the seam, however that might say more about my skill than the kit ! Obviously, being a resin kit, you don’t have location pins, nor can you use Liquid Poly type glue. I tend to hold the two halves together with thin strips of masking tape then run Super Glue along the seam. Surface detail is beautifully formed with very reserved recessed panel lines. Using a modelling knife works well to restore the lines across the filled seams, which I usually do at the priming stage later on. With the fuselage assembled, the wings are fitted next. There is some flash around the wing tip tanks and leading edges, however this sands off with ease. There is some thick resin mould residue that needs to be cut away from the wing roots to allow the wings to mate to the fuselage. I previously used a modelling knife to do this by repetitively scoring the material until it easily snapped off. As with the fuselage, surface detail is superb, but the detail in the main wheel bays and flaps is where you really see the benefit of using resin. They are incredibly detailed and well formed without adding any extra parts. The leading edge intakes each have two etch splitters vertically positioned giving excellent scale thickness. Etch is also used to replicate the wing fences. Tail booms next. On the previous two builds, fitting these was very straight forwards, getting them aligned didn’t present any issues. There's some small amounts of flashflash that will need removing from the mould seams which it's better to do before fitting. With the basic airframe complete, attention turned to the detail, primarily the flaps, undercarriage and various sticky out bits. The undercarriage legs are supplied in a different type of resin that is stronger to prevent them from warping under the weight. I’d recommend fitting the flaps after painting if you are intending to have them lowered because they are quite fragile. Handling the u/c and flaps is quite a fiddly job due to the small size of the parts so don’t try to rush these steps and patience will reward ! The canopy is beautifully thin and surprisingly strong. The moulding captures the slightly blown profile either side of the centre frame which I presume was to increase head height. If you’ve never used a vac canopy before, a great tip is to fill it with blue-tac before cutting from the sheet to retain its rigidity as it comes away. Rather than trying to cut in one go, score the cutting line lightly and repeatedly with a new blade until you break through for best results. Whilst the canopy and wind screen come moulded as one, using the new blade is easy enough to separate them if you want the canopy open. A second canopy is included in case you make any mistakes cutting your first one....as I usually do! When it comes to painting, masks are already supplied pre-cut in the pack. The decals For such a small kit, you get two full sheets of decals, the first with the 4 marking options, the second with over 80 stencils. The print on both sheets is in superb register and very fine. If they are like the ones on the NF.2, they are quite thin so should be handled carefully on application. The schemes included, all wearing the dark green, dark sea grey over medium sea grey are: WX853 of 23 Sqn RAF Coltishall, 1955 WX914 of 89 Sqn RAF Stradishall, 1956 WX849 of 151 Sqn RAF Leuchars, 1955 WX796 of 141 Sqn RAF Coltishall 1955 Conclusion This is a welcome addition to the range of Vampires and Venoms already offered by CMR. They aren’t for beginners nor do they aim to compete on price with main stream options. What you get is a premium kit with everything included to produce a stunningly detailed model without compromise. CMR kits can be purchased through distributors listed on their website linked on the logo below including Hannants in the UK. Review sample courtesy of
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