Jump to content

As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

KRK4m

Four 72nd scale DH Vampire injected (styrene) kits compared

Recommended Posts

The de Havilland Vampire has always been my favourite early jet. First flown in September 1943 (5 months before the Soviet La-7, half a year before the Japanese Ki-102 and 15 months before the He 162) she should be called a wartime design. And if she wasn’t British she would be a true WW2 fighter – unfortunately the RAF had huge numbers of already proven „430+ mph” fighters to list just the Mustang, Tempest and Griffon-Spitfires, while development of another British jet – the Meteor – was six months ahead of the „crab”. Thus the plywood-clad twin-boom marvel became the Cold War era fighter.

For many years the only 72nd scale kit of this most successful British - and West European - jet (some 4.500 built, or nearly 6.000 including the Venom, whose prototype was called Vampire FB.8) was the FROG F217F, that appeared in 1971 and since 1978 (after the FROG sad demise) was available under the Soviet NOVO label. Although in my youth I have built dozens of FROG/NOVO kits their F217F (later F431) is still unknown for my eyes and hands, so I can only believe it at least looked like the Vampire. Several pictures available do prove it does.

Next Vampire kit in the gentleman’s scale was Heller 80283 that appeared in 1979. Although still featuring raised (and few engraved) panel lines it had ribbed undercarriage bays. The box contained 41 parts (FROG had 36) and for next 30 years this was „the kit” used by the modellers all over the world to represent the Vampire. In this period it has been also reboxed by several other manufacturers, including Revell (since 1991) and Airfix (since 1998) as the most important ones.

In 2006 there appeared super-detailed resin-cast Vampires from Czech Master Resin. IIRC more than a dozen of boxes are available, including the Mk I, the Sea Vampire, the NF, the Trainer and the Venoms. Every one contains some 50-60 resin parts, a vac-formed canopy, a coloured PE fret of 30+ details and an Eduard pre-cut mask. Unfortunately their prices (some £ 27 in my country) make such high-tech kits unavailable for my wallet. And perhaps for most of us…


And then the horn of plenty gave us three brand new Vampire kits in just five years. They were the Ukrainian Amodel (in 2010), the Chinese (Dragon) Cyber Hobby in 2013 and – finally – the Czech CMK (labelled as Azur, Xtrakit and Special Hobby) in 2014. All of them feature engraved detailing, plenty of parts (almost 50 in Dragon, 60 in Amodel and 70 in CMK box) and various inbox reviews call each of them beautiful (if not splendid). Really each of them look like a Vampire… until you place two of them side by side. So the problem appears: which Vampire kit in 72nd scale is the best dimensionally- and shape-wise, as the details of all “new tool” trio are at least acceptable and their prices (£9 for CMK and £10 for Amodel) are not very high when compared to £6 for the Airfix (£8 for Revell) boxing of the ancient Heller kit. At some £19 the Cyber Hobby kit is far more expensive, while not far better.

Fortunately I have the opportunity to measure the real bird (a Swiss-built FB.6) at the Polish Aviation Museum where I’ve been working between 1987 and 2014. So I took 21 various dimensions of the original, scaled them down and then measured the kits. The results are very interesting, although one can even call them horrible. It’s incomprehensible – for me at least – why can’t the 21st century kit manufacturer replicate faithfully the real plane, using instead various drawings that are far from reality. Measuring the real craft and making new drawings is far cheaper than NCM-cutting the moulds. And then we – thousands of modellers worldwide – have to use our skills to make a Vampire look like the Vampire…

Full size dimensions are given in centimeters, the rest - in milimeters. Abbreviations stand for: R - real FB.5, S - scaled to 1:72, A - Amodel, C - CMK, D - Dragon Cyber Hobby, H - Heller/Revell/Airfix (FB.5)

Fuselage length overall (FB.5) R610 S84.7 A81.8 C83.8 D80.8 H81.4

Sliding canopy length R122 S16.9 A18.3 C18.5 D17.8 H17.0
End of canopy to the top of nose bulkhead R192 S26.7 A26.9 C27.6 D26.3 H25.2
End of canopy to the bottom of nose bulkhead R203 S28.2 A28.5 C29.0 D28.1 H27.0
End of canopy to the tip of nose R278 S38.6 A37.2 C38.5 D37.2 H35.0
End of canopy to fuselage joint frame R105 S14.6 A13.4 C12.3 D12.4 H14.1
End of canopy to tailpipe R332 S46.1 A44.6 C45.3 D43.6 H46.4

Half of wing span R579 S80.4 A79.0 C79.9 D77.8 H79.5

Fuselage centreline to aileron inner edge R324 S45.0 A42.8 C43.4 D41.9 H43.8
Fuselage centreline to main u/c bay outer edge R262 S36.4 A34.5 C35.6 D34.7 H36.7
Fuselage centreline to flap outer edge R250 S34.7 A33.0 C33.7 D32.9 H33.0
Fuselage centreline to tailboom centreline R149 S20.7 A20.0 C20.2 D19.6 H19.3

Wing chord at aileron outer edge R99 S13.7 A13.9 C14.0 D13.0 H13.5
Wing chord at aileron inner edge R194 S26.9 A29.0 C29.1 D26.8 H25.9
Wing chord at main u/c bay outer edge R231 S32.1 A33.0 C32.3 D30.6 H30.4
Wing chord at tailboom centreline R265 S36.8 A40.5 C39.6 D38.2 H37.0

Tailboom insert into wing R190 S26.4 A26.0 C26.8 D24.4 H24.8
Tailboom length aft of joint R412 S57.2 A55.0 C56.0 D54.5 H57.4

Tailplane span (between fairings) R282 S39.1 A38.6 C38.8 D37.8 H36.8
Horizontal stabilizer chord R77 S10.7 A10.5 C12.0 D10.0 H10.6
Elevator chord R41 S5.7 A5.5 C5.8 D5.4 H5.8


So the results are: every fuselage is too short (I know that Swiss FB.6 pointed nose is longer) with CMK being the only close. Every canopy is too long with Heller being the only close – but this is easy to correct. Fuselage panel lines are wrong in each case with differences reaching 3.5 mm in scale (10” on real bird).

All the wings are too short with CMK being AGAIN the only close. Same applies to the gap between the tailbooms. Chordwise Heller and Dragon wings are too narrow, while Amodel and CMK are too wide (which is easier to correct). Shape-wise only the Heller wing outline is close to real thing with aspect ratio (span to mid-span chord ratio) of 5.97:1 (a bit too slim ) compared to 5.72 in Dragon, 5.56 in CMK and 5.44 in Amodel – the original features 5.88:1.

wingtop_zpsde737a2d.jpg

wingund_zpsc553c188.jpg

The difference in tailplane chord “by Dragon” and “by CMK” is 15% - funny, isn’t it? Using just the main dimensions (wing span and overall length) all kits are undersized with CMK being the only close (1:72.7), followed by Heller (1:73.2), Amodel (1:73.9) and Dragon (1:74.9).

tailplane_zps63e7e349.jpg

boom_zps9446ee74.jpg

I made several pictures of wings, tailplanes, tailbooms and fuselage nacelles scanned from the real moulds. However it's impossible to compare the fuselage nacelle, as the CMK and Dragon kits feature horizontal split, while in Amodel and Heller there are port and starboard halves. Being unable to measure the real bird fuselage maximum diameter I can only add, that in the kits featured it varies from 16.5 mm in Cyber Hobby through some 18 mm in Heller and CMK to 19.0 mm in Amodel. Though being very difficult to correct it remains an oddity here…

amohel_zps50639844.jpg

dracmk_zps05c65989.jpg

cmkdra_zpse6d291ab.jpg

Happy modelling!

Edited by KRK4m

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to John Adams, the max fuselage diameter is 54 inches.

Re photobucket, there's a tutorial in one of the "support" areas, but what I do is copy the last choice of four or so, then delete all the stuff before square-brackets 'IMG' (it begins with URL=) and the last square-bracket URL code, which comes right after the closing "IMG" square-bracket code. Probably unnecessary to manually tweak as I do, but it worked so I've stuck to it! I paste that direct into the text box, by the way, not using the little icon above. (So, when you're done, you've got an address with square-bracketed IMG first and /IMG last.)

Without having yet really studied your results, one obvious question that you didn't really address is HOW you took these measurements (please don't take offense). Without knowing your method, I must treat them with some skepticism. The next step, of course, is to compare them to ones taken by John, and see if they agree.

bob

Edited by gingerbob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to John Adams, the max fuselage diameter is 54 inches.

Re photobucket, there's a tutorial in one of the "support" areas, but what I do is copy the last choice of four or so, then delete all the stuff before square-brackets 'IMG' (it begins with URL=) and the last square-bracket URL code, which comes right after the closing "IMG" square-bracket code. Probably unnecessary to manually tweak as I do, but it worked so I've stuck to it! I paste that direct into the text box, by the way, not using the little icon above. (So, when you're done, you've got an address with square-bracketed IMG first and /IMG last.)

Without having yet really studied your results, one obvious question that you didn't really address is HOW you took these measurements (please don't take offense). Without knowing your method, I must treat them with some skepticism. The next step, of course, is to compare them to ones taken by John, and see if they agree.

bob

54 inches make 0.75" in 72nd scale (19.05 mm), so Amodel looks the only close with CMK just behind. The anorectic Dragon Cyber Hobby is out of scale (some 1:83 this time) once again.

At the moment I'm at my job, so I'll try to insert the photos from my PB later in the evening (it takes some time while job is a job after all).

The kits were measured with a beam compass and the real plane with plumb bob, a spirit level and a 10m tape measure - serviced by three people :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will need to find time to analyze all your data. but it is easy to have errors creeping in to measurements if a constant datum is not used. For instance I note that you refer to the outer edge of the kit wheel wells. Are these the same distance from the centre line of the aircraft in each kit? My datums were... a level hangar floor,. Engineered concrete flooring is pretty flat and any slight variations are only going to be 72 (or 48) parts of that variation so I consider for modelling purposes this suffices.

I then laid down a centre line/longitudinal datum, with plumb lines and in the case of the Vampire this meant bisecting the distance between the tail boom tips and the nose tip. At each point the plumb bob tip touches the floor a small coin or washer is Blu-tacked to the floor (called a ground spot) or GS, and at the string end a small sliver of Post-it note is put in place both for later correlation..

For a lateral datum and again in the case of the Vampire I dropped plumbs from the leading edges of each wing at the point were there is a faint panel line where the wingtip is joined and from the GS I stretched florescent Pink cord between cast iron weights with the cord touching the floor. I did the same from the back and centre of the nose wheel to the tail GS. and from the front nose wheel centre to the nose GS all measurements were taken then between these lines and any new GS's created as I moved around the airframe. I also have several lightweight folding beams with thin rubber tips and tri-squares to aid alignment I also use self leveling lasers to take spot heights above floor level and a right angle one to project up under a fuselage or wing. All this data was transferred onto a photocopied scale drawing. This drawing was then traced in Corel Draw and the traced outline was then modified to the data obtained from the real one.

Please note that I am not out to find fault with your findings but to question points of reference. I must dig out my drawings. I worked from a T.ll but except for the nose Pod all other dimensions are the same. I later had access to a fighter nose pod. Generally I find the Heller Vampire is pretty good shape wise.

Cheers

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re photobucket, there's a tutorial in one of the "support" areas, but what I do is copy the last choice of four or so, then delete all the stuff before square-brackets 'IMG' (it begins with URL=) and the last square-bracket URL code, which comes right after the closing "IMG" square-bracket code. Probably unnecessary to manually tweak as I do, but it worked so I've stuck to it! I paste that direct into the text box, by the way, not using the little icon above. (So, when you're done, you've got an address with square-bracketed IMG first and /IMG last.)

Thank you very much indeed - it works :) I managed to put the pictures of wings, tailbooms, tailplanes and fuselages into the original text above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will need to find time to analyze all your data. but it is easy to have errors creeping in to measurements if a constant datum is not used. For instance I note that you refer to the outer edge of the kit wheel wells. Are these the same distance from the centre line of the aircraft in each kit? My datums were... a level hangar floor,. Engineered concrete flooring is pretty flat and any slight variations are only going to be 72 (or 48) parts of that variation so I consider for modelling purposes this suffices.

I then laid down a centre line/longitudinal datum, with plumb lines and in the case of the Vampire this meant bisecting the distance between the tail boom tips and the nose tip. At each point the plumb bob tip touches the floor a small coin or washer is Blu-tacked to the floor (called a ground spot) or GS, and at the string end a small sliver of Post-it note is put in place both for later correlation..

For a lateral datum and again in the case of the Vampire I dropped plumbs from the leading edges of each wing at the point were there is a faint panel line where the wingtip is joined and from the GS I stretched florescent Pink cord between cast iron weights with the cord touching the floor. I did the same from the back and centre of the nose wheel to the tail GS. and from the front nose wheel centre to the nose GS all measurements were taken then between these lines and any new GS's created as I moved around the airframe. I also have several lightweight folding beams with thin rubber tips and tri-squares to aid alignment I also use self leveling lasers to take spot heights above floor level and a right angle one to project up under a fuselage or wing. All this data was transferred onto a photocopied scale drawing. This drawing was then traced in Corel Draw and the traced outline was then modified to the data obtained from the real one.

Please note that I am not out to find fault with your findings but to question points of reference. I must dig out my drawings. I worked from a T.ll but except for the nose Pod all other dimensions are the same. I later had access to a fighter nose pod. Generally I find the Heller Vampire is pretty good shape wise.

Cheers

John

Although I'm an architect and at 58 I do have some experience in taking measurements of large items I have to agree with you, that it's easy to have errors creeping into the measurements. I have also used a level hangar floor and a centreline longitudinal datum. No lasers were used though and no drawings were traced in Corel Draw. It wasn't my target to make decent drawings of DH Vampire - I just wanted to find out, which kit should I buy to obtain the best model without much effort. Thus main part of my job was comparing the kits...

BTW I haven't seen your drawings of the Vampire. Perhaps having them in hand would make my undertaking easier.

Back to the undercarriage bays: of course their location varies from kit to kit (6.5" in real scale to be exact). The outer edge in Amodel kit is located at 27% of distance between the boom centreline and aileron outer end, while in CMK kit it's 26%, 24% in Dragon and 30% in Heller. Same applies to the size of ailerons, air brakes, a.s.o. Just have a look at wing chord measures at listed datum places - if the chord at tailboom centreline is 100%, the chord at u/c bay outer edge, at aileron inner edge and at aileron outer edge should be 87%, 73% and 37%. However it's 81-72-34% for Amodel, 82-73-35% for CMK, 80-70-34% for Dragon and 82-70-36% for Heller. Unfortunately same applies to all the dimensions I took...

Edited by KRK4m

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much indeed - it works :)

Glad, and a little bit surprised, that you were able to decipher my confusing explanation! I was carefully avoiding actually typing the square brackets, etc, because I was afraid it would think I meant to do it, not describe it.

John had a very good point, I think, about measuring from things that might not be "fixed", and I see that you understand, but I wanted to comment for the benefit of others who are silly enough to want to do this sort of thing too! It is, after all, why there are always datums. (I'm presently comparing F-80 and T-33 bits in 1/48, and it ties my brain in knots trying to judge one kit against the other- I've already begun to make my own reference drawing (which is plotting points, not the sort of elegant drawing that John creates) just so that I have something concrete to compare against. I've also done a fair bit of Vamp comparison in 1/48, but need to pick it up again at some point.

bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to see comparable numbers for Airfix t.11. Wing, rear nacelle are the same.

If someone in possession of a kit could measure it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only got time for a quick comment. The Airfix kit is a pretty good fit on my drawings. I also know the source of the Airfix info which should be the best. However the panel line depicting the main spar on the top surface of the wings is too far back. The underside is spot on. The Airfix kit IMO is a very good in outline. I'm trying to find my Heller kits to do a comparison. At first glance my findings broadly agree with those in the above post.

I said my lateral datum was the tip join, no I actually used DH layout Rib Number one which isn't the tip rib but it's where the tip chord is actually measured for the Aircraft Particulars Data. More anon.

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To clarify the last statement re the Wing Rib No 1 (One). This is one of those areas where there are pitfalls for the unwary. DH data for the Vampire Mk.1 gives the Wing chord at the fuselage side as that measured at 4.68' (56.16") from the fuselage centre line (102.17") and the Wing Tip chord as 42.79", but this is given as measured 18' (216") from the fuselage centre line. So it isn't the end rib which carries the actual tip joint. If you had the bare tip chord measurement and applied it to the wing tip rib then you would end up with a wing with too broad a tip and the wrong taper.. This is as misleading as Canberra tailplanes where the root chord is given as the taper projection to the centre of the fuselage and the reason why Matchbox got their tailplane wrong on the PR.9.

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for clarity, isn't the "CMK" kit in your comparison actually the Special Hobby kit?

CMK is a resin kit manufacturer and you say this is a comparison of styrene kits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for clarity, isn't the "CMK" kit in your comparison actually the Special Hobby kit?

CMK is a resin kit manufacturer and you say this is a comparison of styrene kits.

There is "www.cmkkits.com" moulded on the sprues, as CMK is the name of group that offers styrene kits (MPM, Azur, Special Hobby, Condor, Xtrakit, Elf, Special Armour, Special Navy, Best Choice, Flying Machines), resin kits (Planet, HML, HPH, Czech Mater Resin - thus CMR), metal details and even the modellers magazines. Actually the Vampire sprues are identical for the kits labelled as Azur, Special Hobby, MPM and Xtrakit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An excellent thread. Just for the sake of completeness, there was another injection moulded kit, a Vampire F Mk.1 from Marivox.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had hoped to come back on this earlier but I still haven't found where I've put all my Vampire kits. I find that the corrected drawing makes life easier to compare other drawings on a Lightboard and then lay kit components directly onto them.

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An excellent thread. Just for the sake of completeness, there was another injection moulded kit, a Vampire F Mk.1 from Marivox.

I do believe the Marivox Vampire was the Heller kit but with some added Marivox sprues for the wings.

Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is "www.cmkkits.com" moulded on the sprues, as CMK is the name of group that offers styrene kits (MPM, Azur, Special Hobby, Condor, Xtrakit, Elf, Special Armour, Special Navy, Best Choice, Flying Machines), resin kits (Planet, HML, HPH, Czech Mater Resin - thus CMR), metal details and even the modellers magazines. Actually the Vampire sprues are identical for the kits labelled as Azur, Special Hobby, MPM and Xtrakit.

This is a great thread! :):)

I don't think CMR is part of the CMK (MPM) Group, though. CMR is owned by Mark I Ltd., the folks who make the "4+" publications.

Cheers,

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think CMR is part of the CMK (MPM) Group, though. CMR is owned by Mark I Ltd., the folks who make the "4+" publications.

OK - I'm also not sure about the CMR :) I don't know Czech regulations concerning trade marques.

CMR is Czech Master Resin, while CMK stands for Czech Master Kits.

As "Czech" and "Master" are words outlandish for Czech language, they form a trade mark easily (maybe mistakenly) recognised as single-sourced.

I know that it's common in other countries (e.g. Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Rolls-Royce Plc), but for example in Poland such combinations are rare. Thus my presumption is that (at least somewhere in the past) they had a common origin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It goes back to the days before the end of the Cold War when Czech Masters was a loose grouping of modellers who sold and swapped some cracking home produced resin kits. I beleive that CMK and CMR came about as a result of a split and commercialisation of that grouping.

In fact, CMR tell the story quite well!

http://www.cmrmodels.co.uk/page/aboutus.html

and the CMK side

http://www.cmkkits.com/en/page/about-us/

Edited by Dave Fleming

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You learn something every day - thanks Dave !

BTW, Dave Hannant may take issue with the claim Xtrakit is an MPM brand - AFAIK MPM "only" produces the kits for Hannants, whose brand it is. I wanted to show a trademark office entry, but Xtrakit may not be registered.

Can anyone shed more light on the Marivox kit ? I don't remember ever seeing it in a shop or in a review. A I would also need new tailbooms and a new canopy, at least for early subjects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You learn something every day - thanks Dave !

BTW, Dave Hannant may take issue with the claim Xtrakit is an MPM brand - AFAIK MPM "only" produces the kits for Hannants, whose brand it is. I wanted to show a trademark office entry, but Xtrakit may not be registered.

Can anyone shed more light on the Marivox kit ? I don't remember ever seeing it in a shop or in a review. A I would also need new tailbooms and a new canopy, at least for early subjects.

I couldn't find a review as such, but I googled "Marivox Vampire". This is one of the links...

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/134915-marivox-le-1-vampire-mk-1-j-28-a

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...