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DH.100 Vampire Mk.3 - 1:72 Special Hobby


Julien
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DH.100 Vampire Mk.3

1:72 Special Hobby

 

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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. In spite of this, well over 3,000 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 Vampire was capable of a maximum speed of 548 mph and had a service ceiling of over 40,000 ft. In common with many other RAF fighters of the day, armament was comprised of four 20mm cannon. 1,202 Mk 3 were produced for the RAF and 20 for Norway.

 

 

 

The Kit
the top opening box are two sprues of grey plastic and a clear one. There are no resin or photo etched parts in the box though Special Hobby do offer s a PE set through their CMK line. It should be noted that not all of the parts need to be used to build the variants catered for in this edition. The kit looks excellent on the sprue, with lots of crisp, moulded detail and surface structures made up of fine, recessed lines and fasteners (although some of the detail on the underside of the fuselage looks a little heavy). The overall impression is closer to a modern, high pressure injection moulded kit than the older MPM/Special Hobby kits in my collection.

 

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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. 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.
 

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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.

 

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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.The canopy is nicely moulded and is split into two parts, so it can be finished in the open position if desired.

 

 

Decals

The sheet brings 5 options all in High Speed Silver finish though the instructions call this Aluminium dope & NMF? Options are;

 

  • VT793 from No.601 (City Of London) Sqn, Royal Aux Air Force, Malta 1952
  • VV196 from No.32 Sqn RAF Middle East Air Force, Cyprus 1950
  • VV194 from No.604 (County Of Middlesex) Sqn, Royal Aux Air Force, Malta 1951
  • VT809 from No.73 Sqn RAF Middle East Air Force, Malta 1949
  • VG703 from RAF Vampre Trials Unit 1948/49 Tropial Trials & Demo tour

 

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Conclusion
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.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

 

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