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Paul A H

DH 100 Vampire FB Mk.5 'Armée de l'Air & Aéronavale' - 1:72 Azur

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DH 100 Vampire FB Mk.5 'Armée de l'Air & Aéronavale'

1:72 Azur


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

Powered by a single De Havilland Goblin turbojet, the diminutive Vampire was capable of 548 mph and had a service ceiling of over 40,000 ft. In common with most other RAF fighters of the day, it was armed with four 20mm cannon. The FB.5 was a dedicated fighter-bomber version, 930 of which were built for the RAF, with a further 88 built for export. It was fitted with the more powerful Goblin 2 turbojet. The aircraft was used by both the 'Armée de l'Air and the Aéronavale, but is not to be confused with the Mistral, which was a modified, licence built aircraft.

The Vampire seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment. For a long while, the old FROG and Heller kits were pretty much it as far as 1:72 Vampires were concerned. Czech Master released a range of well-regarded but pricey resin kits some time ago, but it is not until fairly recently that we have had some new plastic kits of the type courtesy of A Model, Airfix, Cyberhobby and Special Hobby. This particular kit has been released across a range of labels, including Xtrakit, Special Hobby and Azur.



Inside the top opening box are almost 70 parts moulded in grey and clear styrene, as well as two sheets of decals and a full-colour instruction booklet. There are no resin or photo etched parts in the box in fact the contents of this kit is identical to the FB.52 'In Northern Skies' edition that we reviewed earlier this month, with the exception of decals and instructions. The kit looks excellent on the sprue, with lots of crisp, moulded detail and surface structures made up of fine, recessed lines and fasteners. The overall impression is closer to a modern, high pressure injection moulded kit than the older MPM/Special Hobby kits in my collection.

Construction starts with the well-detailed cockpit. This area is made up of the floor, rear bulkhead and head rest, the pilot's seat, the control column and the instrument panel. The instrument panel features recessed detail and a decal is provided for the instrument dials themselves, while the gun sight is moulded from clear plastic. The inside of the fuselage halves benefit from some separately moulded sidewall details. Taken together, the overall impression is of a well detailed and suitably busy cockpit. The only improvement I could suggest would be the addition of a set of photo etched harnesses, if you happen to have some available.



Other internal detail includes the front and rear faces of the De Havilland Ghost turbojet engine. Special Hobby have elected for a bit of a smoke and mirrors effect here, splitting the front face of the engine into two parts so each can be seen through the intake trunking (part of which is cleverly moulded to the lower half of the fuselage pod. There is no separate tail pipe for the jet exhaust, with the pipe and protruding lip being moulded as part of the upper and lower fuselage halves. The nose cone is moulded separately to the rest of the fuselage, and it follows a panel line which should reduce the need to clean up the joint when finished. It will also enable you to fit the nose weight after the main structure of the model has been completed.

Once the two halves of the fuselage pod have been joined together, attention turns to the wings and the horizontal stabiliser. The wings are simply moulded in upper and lower halves, with control surfaces moulded in place. Surface details are very nicely represented, although the trailing edges are a little on the thick side (nothing that can't be sorted relatively easily though). The shallow main landing gear bays are moulded as part of the lower wing but are pretty well detailed. The engine air intakes are separately moulded, complete with vanes. Nice as they are, they look quite inaccurate as the openings are too small. The plastic looks too thin to correct the flaw, so hopefully one of the aftermarket manufacturers will have a go an producing some resin replacements.


The tail booms look pretty good and, as with the wings and horizontal stabiliser, the control surfaces are moulded in place. There are a couple of nice balance weights for the underside of the horizontal stabiliser though. With the airframe together, attention turns to the undercarriage. The undercarriage itself is quite nicely moulded without being overly complex. A choice of hubs are provided for the main landing gear wheels, so you'll need to choose the right pair for the version you want to build. Ordnance is catered for by the inclusion of a pair of drop tanks and a pair of rockets. The canopy is nicely moulded and is split into two parts, so it can be finished in the open position if desired.


Four decal options are provided, which is pretty generous for a kit of this size.

  • DH. 100 Vampire FB.5, 57.S.10, No. 10090, Aéronavale, Escadrille 57.S, Base Aéronavale Khouribga, Morroco, Late 1950s. This aircraft is finished in overall midnight blue;
  • DH. 100 Vampire FB.5, TU, No. 10094, Armée de l'Air, Ecole de Chasse "Christian Martell", Base Ecole de Chasse 708, Meknes, Morocco, 1954-59. This aircraft is finished in dark green over light blue-grey;
  • DH. 100 Vampire FB.5, DU-A, VV726 (ex RAF), Armée de l'Air, EC. 3/2 Côte-d'Or (SPA 65), Base Aérienne 102 Dijon-Longvic, France, December 1950. This aircraft is finished in overall silver with some nice 'scrubbed out' RAF roundels; and
  • DH. 100 Vampire FB.5, 4-LF, VZ221 (ex RAF), Armée de l'Air, EC. 2/4 Lafayette (N. 124/SPA 167), Friedrichschafen, Germany 1953. This aircraft is finished in overall silver.

The decals themselves look great on the sheet and a full set of stencils is provided too.


Despite one of two flaws, this looks like a really appealing kit. The level of detail is very good indeed, and provided there are no surprises in terms of fit and finish, it should build up into a nice model, My only real gripe is the undersized engine air intakes, but hopefully these can be sorted with aftermarket parts. Overall though, this is a nice kit which I am looking forward to building. Recommended.


Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg

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