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Jon Kunac-Tabinor

Alleycat vs Trumpeter DH Vampire FB9 build-off, calling bloodsucker fans! Now with added Trumpeter-ness!

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Morning sports fans. It a cold icy day here at the Jonnerstad, but there'll be partying on the streets of Oxford this evening if all goes to plan...

Anyway in prep for the arrival of the much discussed Trumpeter vampire FB9, as I suggested I'm going to do a double build with Alleycat's resin kit of said Nosferatic di-boomer. It will be a compare and contrast job, and with luck we'll see how the Trumpy kit shapes up.

First up though, the current 1/48th "Champeen" ( cue Rocky music....)

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The kit comes in a sturdy pizza box type carton, and with excellent well printed decals, some canopy masks, and very nice instructions including a stencil placement guide. My FB9 boxing has markings for 213 sqn ( both camo & High Speed Silver), plus another HSS one from 60 Sqn.

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Parts all come bagged, with clear cast bits, and white metal parts in separate packets. The main body of the Vamp is cast as one piece with separate front fuselage, booms and tailplane

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The main body has a little casting flash on the very fine & thin wing trailing edges, and the other main components have fairly large casting stubs, BUT they are easy to remove as the connecting edges are well defined and pretty thin. I used a heavy scriber tool to score these or a razor saw.

The main body has a plug on the engine exhaust area, which needs removing, and the hole for the separate jet exhaust needs enlarging for this to fit. I used a new scalpel blade to shave it wider, then a piece of coarse foam backed sanding pad rolled into a cone shape to do this. Easy.

The stubs on the booms run along the botton edge, and this needs a bit of a sand down after to smooth out the area ( Note- if you have never worked with resin, ALWAYS sand with a mask or outside, or wet sand. While the dust isn't toxic per se, its very fine and you DONT want to inhale it)

On my castings there was an area on the tailplane underside where a small area of resin had delaminated - this needed filling with Mr Dissolved Putty and sanding smooth; as did a small blemish on the starboard upper rear inner wing. Nothing too arduous, and do bear in mind that these kits are hand made, so occasionally you will get the odd glitch. Theres a complete lack of any bubbles in the resin surface, and the detail is finely recessed much like a modern IM plastic kit, if not better. As far as I can see all the parts seem to not suffer from any warpage at all- which is testimony to the caster's art indeed.

The perfectly cast clear parts are also formed from a transparent resin, and need careful removal from their stubs. I cut them with some stub spare and then sanded this back to the frames. Be warned the clear resin is pretty tough, so take your time. If I were to do this again I'd mask the parts with tape and use a very fine saw to cut much closer. However, as long as you are careful some nice parts emerge, though I think they'll benefit from a dip in Klear/Quick Shine to bring out their clarity.

White metal UC legs and elevator balances are finely cast, with the nose wheel fork supplied as a separate part. 3 white metal weights which fit inside the forward fuselage are also included - a thoughtful and much appreciated touch

Finally a PE fret provides seat belts, rudder pedals, UC door retraction links, Intake strakes and cockpit levers.

Suffice to say that Alleycat's resin model is an excellent kit. If you've used resin conversions parts before, or just fancy a resin kit- then this would be a great introduction. At £45 it isnt cheap, but I would say that this price seems to be about par for resin kits nowadays, so I don't think we can accuse Alleycat of wanton profiteering either! :)

As you can see I need to remove a few more parts form their stubs and clean them up. Then we'll hold for the Trumpy kit to arrive, so we can start to examine the parts against each other, and some plans from a source that I think we can all trust.

TBC.....

Jonners

Edited by Jon Kunac-Tabinor

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Hi Jon, looking forward to this one. I have built my A/C Vampire and found that I needed a 2mm shim behind the cockpit on the top seam and a wedge shaped shim of a similar size on the bottom seam of the front pod to get the sides of the pod to meet the intakes and the rear fuselage. I first thought I may had cut off too much of the casting blocks, but examination of the panel lines showed all to be complete. I also used some heat to "round" out the pod to better match the rear half. Nothing too drastic and fairly common for resin as I'm sure you well know from experience! Another club member at Avon has a similar gap to solution so I wonder if those photo's that seem to show the Trumpeter nose as too wide compared to the A/C kit are a bit unfair until the A/C nose is shimmed. My kit also had that little flaw on the rear left wing but my tailplane was fine. Once I sorted the fit of the front pod, the kit went together really well, with virtually no filler on the rear part, just a smidge of miliput to fair in the boom on one side. U/C particularly nice with finely moulded brake lines. One other tip- pretty obvious but the weights need a lot of trimming to fit. Better there than not though.

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Hi Jon, looking forward to this one. I have built my A/C Vampire and found that I needed a 2mm shim behind the cockpit on the top seam and a wedge shaped shim of a similar size on the bottom seam of the front pod to get the sides of the pod to meet the intakes and the rear fuselage. I first thought I may had cut off too much of the casting blocks, but examination of the panel lines showed all to be complete. I also used some heat to "round" out the pod to better match the rear half. Nothing too drastic and fairly common for resin as I'm sure you well know from experience! Another club member at Avon has a similar gap to solution so I wonder if those photo's that seem to show the Trumpeter nose as too wide compared to the A/C kit are a bit unfair until the A/C nose is shimmed. My kit also had that little flaw on the rear left wing but my tailplane was fine. Once I sorted the fit of the front pod, the kit went together really well, with virtually no filler on the rear part, just a smidge of miliput to fair in the boom on one side. U/C particularly nice with finely moulded brake lines. One other tip- pretty obvious but the weights need a lot of trimming to fit. Better there than not though.

Thanks Neil - the tip on the weights is appreciated.

A test fit of my front fuselage to the rest of the fuselage seems to shows some filling will be required, but if anything my nose seems quite a tight fit in between the intakes, so much so that I've scraped out the inside of the intakes to give a bit of wiggle room!

But I dont think I'll need the hairdryer to match the roundness as this seems OK - though I guess this can differ from cast to cast.

Interesting you have the same little flaw on the the wing though.

Trumpy Vamp should arrive tomorrow, so....

Cheers

Jonners

P.S. I think I've decided that the Trumpy one will be finished as a French Aeronavale machine as I have decals, and its an easy finish, I wont need to extend the starboard intake fairing, and you don't see too many Vamps in overall dark sea blue

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I'm looking forward to this.

The Alleycat kit looks very tempting even at £45 as it appears to be very comprehensive, how much would white metal undercarriage legs be to purchase separately? I like the decal options there are for this series of kits too, there should be something there to tempt most people without having to resort to after market decals.

Roll on the contender.....

Duncan B

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Well the contender has arrived, courtesy of Hannants. An initial inspection shows a well moulded kit with nicely recessed panel lines, and sharp details, though the main wheel legs look a little basic.

The underwing drop tanks ( not the Mossie style slipper ones) do seem to have too blunt a nose, but i think these just enough plastic there to sand to a better shape.

The main issue , which is immediately apparent with this kit, is the fuselage. As others have said it just seems bloated, but until I get the model on some plans it shard to say how or why. I also have a niggly-naggly feeling there's something awry with the thickness of the inner wing, where the intakes are are. Its seems "thin"- again until plans are compared its only a hunch.

Stay tuned!!

Jonners

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The main issue , which is immediately apparent with this kit, is the fuselage. As others have said it just seems bloated...

Perhaps it has recently fed :tooth:

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Right - initial thoughts part deux.

You'l have to forgive lack of photos, they will come.

The attachment points for the runners to main parts are annoyingly moulded proud of and on the mating edges off most parts - not great for a clean cut off. Minor point I know, but this would seriously put me off if I were an excited casual buyer. The plastic is just soft enough that cleaning these up can cause nicks into the surrounding areas.( yep)

And now for the big news. The canopy is different from the pics we have seen!!!! The rear canopy area is now solid, but still has a weird flare out at its back. Better though, I suppose.

As I still await plans, the following must be taken at face value. Comparing the wings to the Alley Cat model, they seem narrower in chord along the entire length, by about 1 to 1.5mm ( doesn't seem a lot I know but its very noticeable). The lack of chord seems to be at the rear of the wings, in that the trailing edge seems too far away from the jet exhaust hole.

Overall the wingspan of the Trump kit seems longer than that of the Alleycat model, which may not be a bad thing ( wait and see), however the actual wing lengths of the wings match that of the AC kit pretty well. The discrepancy is of course that the fuselage is wider on the Trumpy kit, and longer too. Again no plans to check against - so this is all opinion, but the entire fuselage seems like its just oversize ( like someone on a CAD system overscaled this area...)

Now the boom width on the two kits matches, so what you have on the Trumpy kit is a narrower area between the fuselage and booms, which again serves to make the fuselage look bloated. Its all very strange.

The nose profile in truth don't look too bad( but still not great); a tad too symmetrical, but some heavy sanding might just sort that out. The wing tips are, as thought, too rounded, but here the overlong wingspan might just help - because by sanding them back you can square them out a little, and this will help improve the look, if nothing else. It will also make the apparent chord at the tips seem wider - which again might help disguise the overall seemingly narrow chord.

So that's initial part deux done. Without plans I can't back any of this up, but it does all seem "out". The narrow chord and overwide fuselage only serve to enhance each others traits, and I think thats partially why in the photos we've seen it looks so strange, but even in the flesh, well, lets be kind and say its doesnt look right, shall we.

TBC

Jonners

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Perhaps it has recently fed :tooth:

More like a case of trapped wind... :)

Jonners, now with something Paul Hardcastle-esque waiting to mail to you

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I`m sure that you`ll sort it out. Are you going to build the Trumpy kit out of the box or try and sort things out?

Cheers

Tony O

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Today I sent Jon the Vampire plans I have been researching and I can say they are accurate. The little Airfix T.11 has already passed the test with my drawings so lets see how these go.

Just for info, The Vampire tip chord measurement often quoted in documents is not measured at the tip but at Rib One which is 18' from the centreline.

This is often confusing and is the reason Matchbox got their PR.9 tail too broad as the Canberra tail Root chord as quoted is measured at the Fuselage centreline and not at the tail to fuselage join.

John "Let combat begin".

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I`m sure that you`ll sort it out. Are you going to build the Trumpy kit out of the box or try and sort things out?

Cheers

Tony O

Hi Tony, well I think it will be a bit of both - some easy to do things, and perhaps some " if you really fancy it" things. I need to see what John Adams drawings suggest.

Cheers

Jonners

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Hi Jon

Mine arrived today but not yet out of box. Expect I will wait to see what you find and suggest as the way forward. Excellent news that Johns plans have arrived should be a great help - thanks John.

Any idea if they can be for more general circulation please?

Good luck

Cheers

Chris

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Right - initial thoughts part deux.

You'l have to forgive lack of photos, they will come.

The attachment points for the runners to main parts are annoyingly moulded proud of and on the mating edges off most parts - not great for a clean cut off. Minor point I know, but this would seriously put me off if I were an excited casual buyer. The plastic is just soft enough that cleaning these up can cause nicks into the surrounding areas.( yep)

This is an annoying feature of many trumpeter kits, although it has its good points: if the runners are cut in the right way, there's no "scar" on what would be visible surfaces. The difficult thing is to cut them the right way...

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Having got mine this far I can agree with what Jonners states above.

The intakes are shocking and blanked over with no depth to them at all.

Good fit though on most parts so far,

RG

dpp061.jpg

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To my un-trained eye my first impression is "yeah that's a Vampire"...what's the problem? It's all about scale and compare...

I have a Matchbox/ESCI hybrid A-5E that I cannot place next to my Tamiya kits because it 'looks' wrong (under-sized cowling etc) and, until I binned it, an Academy F4U-4 which looked great on its own, but so 'fat' next to a Tamiya or Hasegawa offering...

Look forward to the results when you do your comparisons Jonners!

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Right - heres the first pics of the comparison and plans. Alleycat top, Trumpy bottom

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Fuselages against Johns plans, trumpy first

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Then Alley Cat

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Booms Trumpy first

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Alley cat

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Nose shapes - Trumpy

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Alley cat

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Trumpy with Johns profile

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And Alley cat

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Opinions?

Jonners

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1/42 Scale Trumpeter kit does look over sized from the photos whereas the Alleycat kit looks very good for shape and scale. A casual builder probably would be happy enough with the Trumpton thing in isolation but I'm guessing the Alleycat kit will continue to sell well with the enthusiasts. I know the arrival of the Trumpton kit hasn't changed my mind, I still want the Alleycat anyway.

Duncan B

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That's quite helpful, Jon. As someone who would probably only buy one Vampire kit and for whom price would be Important I would say that I would still get the Trumpeter kit. As someone with limited knowledge of the Vampire I would say the main issue is the bloated fuselage. If I had just one model on my shelf at home then I think I could put up with it. However, I would be wary of putting it on a club table at a show as someone would be bound to say "Ah, that's the Trumpeter Vampire." And there is no way I would want to put it next to the Alley Cat version. It would be like the fatter twin at a party. Still attractive, but everyone is talking to the other one.

Edited by davidelvy

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My thoughts are this:

The trumpy fuselage is too large in girth and definitely too bloated around the engine section, thought lengthwise its not too far off - I think the rear end where the jet pipe goes is a little too long. The trumpy nose is too symmetrical in profile and a tad long too. The wing shape is actually not too bad, perhaps just a tiny bit thin chord wise - though the fuselage bloat makes it too wide span-wise ( its actually the right wing span, just widened by the fuselage if you see what I mean). The wing tips are too rounded - but thats an easy fix. The rear inner wing to fuselage transition is missing the gentle curved fairing shape, and the wing between fuselage and booms is too narrow - again to compensate for the overly wide fuselage. The fuselage width also means the intakes are not wide enough too.

The cannon troughs are too far apart on trumpys kit, and the the rear ports are too far back, though they are moulded nicely with a proper clear view through from head on.

Trumpy tail booms are the right length though the rudder shape is off - too curved on its trailing edge. The canopy is just weird in shape with that flared out rear fairing - though it might be sandable. The windscreen is probably OK ish.

Alley cat has a better fuselage shape, and nose profile - though its not perfect and could slope down just a little more to my eye on the top. The wing is actually a tad wide in chord, but again that can be fixed with a sand down on the leading edge. Tail booms seem pretty good to my eyes - certainly a load better than Trumpy's. Canopy shape is better by far, though I think the windscreen is a tad too long.

Trumpy's UC well shape is out by a mile - but thats fixable with some inserts, Alleycats seems spot on. FYI both Alleycat & Trumpys wheel diameters match the drawings.

Alleycats tailplane is perfect:

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Trumpy's is too wide in chord by a mile:

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Hmmm, what to do....

Jonners

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Good work Jonners and fellow modellers on the above

Comment below is my own from a personal viewpoint and not directed to try to upset anyone

I have both kits, both could be built out of the box and will look like Vampires TO ME after some work maybe not to some of you but to me at least and well not to be rude i build for ME !

I agree with most of what has been said above in constructive criticism and will add the following brief comments if i may i hope i am not boring people repeating points

As i say i have the Trumpeter ( or whatever the short version of their name some people choose to use) and the Alley Cat jobs, both will make nice models built with care and BOTH have their challenges and will need modelling skill to correct, i accept and will work on the shortcuts they both have ( and will leave it to the experts to list them all) but what stands out to me is the Trumpeter intakes but it will be simple to open them up and then paint the insides behind them black, i also think they have over done the extreme rear of the canopy but that is a simple fix with sandpaper etc and i think may be a little different depending on open or closed ( just my humble opinion) the larger of the fuel tanks are weird at the nose ends and will need sanding not difficult to me,as will the wingtips to square them up, i am also looking at the windscreen on the Alley Cat kit, looks a bit big to me but as i say TO ME, also i reckon the main canopy is too narrow there are a few other things but it will repay care and some modelling skill as will the tail area of the Trumpeter Vampire but i reckon i could shorten the cord relatively easily

I fully intend to build both and will most likely build more Trumpeter ones due to availability and price and ''I'' can live with the fuselage (SHOCK / HORROR !!) i am also amused that after running for 18 or so pages the discussion on accuracy before the kit hit our hands has been with the exception of Jonners and a couple of others well,,,,lame ? i expected people to come out with all sorts of fixes and comment but no it has been relatively quiet maybe everyone is tired of it ?? or suddenly have nothing to say on how to fix the issues, it wouldn't be that people just like to be negative like the media as it gets more attention would it ??? AM JOKING FOLKES !!! oh dear i may get banned or flamed for that innuendo it IS tongue in cheek

I would like to add that although i enjoy this site immensely i was surprised by some of 18 or so pages of comment on the kit before its actual release but as Jonners says i don't have to read it if it offends me, well i ,,with respect i disagree with that statement ''i'' feel a forum is to be read and commented on as it is a community so to speak, (now this is my view ok) if a politician offends us for example like Hitler did with mein kampf i really don't think the answer was ''well don't read it just ignore it !!! i know a weird example o.k then but i do get Jonners point !!! i just don't agree with it as is my right but really the internet does bring up some interesting views and it is easy at times to forget their are people of all types reading what one writes but new rules are being made all the time as the social media changes the goalposts and for an old codger its hard to keep up so i really hope i have not offended anyone here, that was not my intention i just love modelling,

Anyway if a Vampire gets this much attention it can only be good for the Hobby as i remember a few years ago British subjects were very thin on the ground and i for one want more, more, more !!!!!

Will be starting my Vampires after i return from a work trip in a fortnight and will post pics, but by then Jonners and company may have solved the challenges if not i will gladly offer my input if the opportunity exists

Cheers

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Jonners what are the drawings that you are using? Are they available somewhere?

Sorry forgot to give credit: These drawings are from John Adams at Aeroclub, based on his own measurements of the real thing. As far as I know they are not available. My thanks go to John for allowing me to use them in this build. Given what he has told me , I would trust the shapes in these drawings implicitly.

Jonners

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