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Good evening everyone.

 

The de Havilland Sea Vixen is an aircraft of singular appearance is it not?

You notice it.

The sweep and curve of its geometry.

Formed not only from the requirements of naval aviation but (covertly, one suspects) from those1950s fantasies about how fast and silver a technological future would look.

It was the kind of aircraft Captain Scarlet would have trained on and was capable, if required, of protecting the Earth from UFO invasion.

At least I think so.

 

I'm going to build two of them partly for the aforementioned reasons, and partly as a way of celebrating the friendship and generosity to be found on this forum.

(More on that in a bit.)

For now though, posting this in full view means there's no bottling out.

 

Choice of Subject

 

Having wanted to build one these for a long while, I'd been collecting various bits and pieces and images without (as often happens) a definite subject in mind. Always liking a build to be rooted in a meaningful narrative of some kind, I was leafing through some of the entries in the Dorset Crashes site and noted that a FAW.1 (XN708, from 890 Sqn) had gone down in Lyme Bay on the night of 25th November, 1964, killing both crew: Lt Michael J.W. Durrant RN. & Lt Basil A.Last RN. We can sometimes be guilty of building things only to celebrate the notable or the heroic in conflict; in this case it seemed fitting to build something to note those who end uncelebrated in the footnotes of history as peacetime or training casualties.

 

This is the only clearly identifiable shot I've found so far of XN708/R244, original date of photo unknown:

Sea Vixen

Image credit: Imgaylard

Brian Patterson has an excellent colour gallery of a sister aircraft here though that will doubtless prove highly useful as references.

 

For the second choice, I'm (as frequently the case in matters of naval aviation) indebted to @Ex-FAAWAFU for drawing to my attention the powerful, nay provocative, black & white diagonal scheme of  XJ481 when undertaking Martel trials:

724817.jpg

Image credit: Roger Winser

This has not only the challenge of building a replacement nose to incorporate that camera housing and a Martel to scratch up (I knows there's a 1/72 resin one out there but think the fins are too thick) but a snazzy 'dazzle paint' work to do also, for which @Terry1954 has also kindly supplied some colour references.

 

The Kits

 

I'm going to modify both the venerable 1/72 Frog offering and use the High Planes kit, which has a FAW.1 option. I'd mentioned above that this build was in part a celebration of the generosity no be found on this forum.

 

Let me start by detailing such matters here:

 

The High Planes kit was sent to me some time ago by @Procopius.  How gracious is that? Thank-you Edward for this kindness.

 

As a young shaver on the forum, not long after joining I'd mused aloud in a thread about the absence of FAW.1s in 1/72 and been overwhelmed by a (characteristically) generous influx of references and diagrams from both @71chally and @canberra kid regarding the feasibility of modifying the Frog kit. The fruits of these discussions are posted here and I must reread them myself prior to commencing any work in this direction!

 

If you've had a look at Brian Patterson's colour shots above you'll notice prominent in one of them is a Palouste starter. I never used to know about these until seeing @perdu resinate superb examples in his Buccaneer build.  Not only that but again without saying anything he'd tucked some of his output away in a package he sent and so I'll be proud to use one of his Paloustes in this project. Thanks Bill!

 

The High Planes kit first:

IMG_1079

As it says on the box:

IMG_1083

In fairness I see 'adjustment of parts required' on every kit I buy.... :laugh:

I haven't looked closely-enough at the canopy yet to make any decisions regarding suitablility:

IMG_1082

Some replacement Aries wheels (I'd forgotten I'd bought them) to replace the originals:

IMG_1080

 

The Frog File:

IMG_1084

Check out the crazy patterning all over the plastic. Weird....

IMG_1086

That nose:

IMG_1085

Subject of much discussion with John and James on the original thread, as might be imagined....

How to '1 a '2:

IMG_1088

Picked this up dirt cheap of 5thletter bay many moons ago. Think that resin is the 'Final Touch' set (?) but no idea about the white metal provenance.

Wheels and legs don't impress:

IMG_1089

 

IMG_1090

The Airwaves stuff was in the Frog box when I bought it, honest guv:

IMG_1087

Vaguely possible one or two of those bits may prove of use but certainly not the grotty wingfold.

Here's what's really going to offset a diorama - a beautifully perduced Palouste:

IMG_1091

 

The markings on both aircraft will be painted rather than decals, but thankfully I've the Model Alliance decal set for the Ark's air wing that I can snaffle the moonlit witches from for the 890 Sqn Vixen:

IMG_1093

 

I'm aware of multiple issues with correcting the Frog to a FAW.1, but the High Planes I believe is to be generally trusted in shape terms? (Please correct me if wrong on the latter point).

 

There will of course need to be a wingfold involved somewhere but this has given me a pause for thought: the colour scheme of the Martel-tester is so good that the wings on that one will have to be fully extended to display this handsome plumage, so XN708 will be the one to get the folding treatment, though which kit do do which with (if you see what I mean)?

 

The Frog is moulded with the break in the wings where the fold is so a natural candidate, yet one with such problems in its nose area that this really makes it a better candidate for (the unfolded) XJ481 viz. a totally new and angular schnozz.

I'm sure that the High Planes kit can be 'persuaded' to fold so:

High Planes = XN708/Palouste (wingfolded)

Frog = XJ481/Martel (non-folded)

 

Nearly forgot. XN708 will have the RR Avons visible. So I'll be building 1/72 Avons as well....

 

References

As standard for me, along with contemporary photographs, will be working from original technical documentation, namely several thousand pages of these:

2019-06-28_12-26-00

I've all 4 volumes of the above, plus:

2019-06-28_12-19-44

- for the engine build.

 

As the technical manuals are obviously for the FAW.2, help with that handful of specific differences such as canopy etc comes in the form of relevant sections from the FAW.1 manuals generously provided previously by John (@canberra kid). Who else? 😄

 

I'm hoping to have the current Anson build finished by the Autumn  so if you've nothing planned for those long winter evenings you'd be very welcome to pull up a Palouste and keep me company here.

 

Thanks for reading, as always.

:bye:

Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eager to see this one take shape, Tony! 

 

My understanding is that the High Planes kit is the best of a sorry lot, but I have a vague and unsubstantiated recollection that the booms may be too fat.

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I feel for you Tony and will be excitedly hanging on every inch of this superbuild

 

I hope the Palouste bits are more help than hindrance too, fingers crossed

 

From experience I can advise that the tail booms on the Froglet could use the attention of the Green Goddess, I get the feeling the other may need similar approach to health and nose weighted-ness

 

I was sent some useful references which are yours if you would like them, in the way of thini-mising the tail booms (and emphasising the nose cone)

 

Copious sihrscing did it for mine

 

I'm over by the bar and handy for the lavvy  (stamina is poor these days so I need access to the facilities, I like what you did to the lavvy door. Nice colour)

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Well, in at the start (close enough anyway) that's a first for me on one of your builds Tony! This certainly promises to be an epic. Not just one Sea Vixen but two, all from your very capable hands. I can barely contain my excitement..............🤪

 

And I can help you with a Martel I believe ................ if I am not at all mistaken, the first build of yours that I "came to" in earnest, was for one Fairchild C-119 Packet, of the subtype that did all kinds "catching pictures in the air" I recall....... and I just know I saw a picture of a Martel sticking out of the astro dome on the cockpit roof ............

 

There!

42312405312_e27000501f_c.jpg

 

My wife tells me my memory is scary............

 

Terry

 

 

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Two Sea Vixens in one thread, what's not to like? Following.

 

Martian 👽

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I can offer a plenitude of Martell type whizzy devices if you need such Tony

 

Ah the big silver thing, an utter delight to have started Tonying on Terry

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Gosh this will be a bit of fun Tony! Looking forward to these 2 (2!!)

 

Rob

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Posted (edited)

Let me get this straight Tony, you are building two Sea vixens, and neither one of them is an FAW.2?!!   Are you mad (no question mark, rhetorical question!)

 

There are some other images of XN708 about including some colour ones taken not long before it was lost, I will have to dig out my books to confirm but reckon they are in the Air Britain Sea Vixen book. 

Be wary with photos of 244 & R-244 as XJ556 also wore these codes, I can't help thinking that is XJ556 in the shot you've posted, but could be wrong.

There are quite a few nice shots of 890 Sqn Vixens aboard Ark Royal (inc some nice close ups), and there are at least two short film clips, on the 'net.  They will all come in handy as Vixens were pretty standard in their finish.

 

Unfortunately most of my files and material are still boxed from the move, but I have got Mk1 manuals to hand as I've recently started working on the canopy drive mechanism on my nose section.

 

You're starting with the best two kits, certainly for your 'blank canvass' modelling style, I seem to remember the high Planes booms were fairly easy to reduce in their planform thickness.

Done the right thing with getting the original mold version of the Frog kit.

 

There used to be some great web source for Bruntys Sea Vixen resto (another Martel trials frame) which were especially useful for the open access doors and installed engine references, haven't seen them lately. 

They might have gone down the Facebook route which is also a good source for similar shots of XP924.  Facebook is an increasingly good source for aircraft project work now.

 

You probably have seen this, Palouste info within, 

 

Edited by 71chally

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13 hours ago, Procopius said:

Eager to see this one take shape, Tony! 

Consider yourself a prime sponsor of the event PC. :thanks:

13 hours ago, Procopius said:

My understanding is that the High Planes kit is the best of a sorry lot,

That would be my understanding too (from the limited knowledge I have of the matter!). I'll be sure to check the HP booms now.

13 hours ago, perdu said:

I hope the Palouste bits are more help than hindrance too, fingers crossed

Quite frankly Bill I'm only building the the Sea Vixen as an excuse to feature the Palouste. :winkgrin:

13 hours ago, perdu said:

From experience I can advise that the tail booms on the Froglet could use the attention of the Green Goddess, I get the feeling the other may need similar approach to health and nose weighted-ness

Duly noted and:

13 hours ago, perdu said:

I was sent some useful references which are yours if you would like them, in the way of thini-mising the tail booms (and emphasising the nose cone)

 

1 hour ago, perdu said:

I can offer a plenitude of Martell type whizzy devices if you need such Tony

Yes please to both Bill, certainly if you've anything in the  Martel stable that would bear having some brass finnage added to!

Just a small bottle mind.

ci-martell-cognac-vsop-medaillon-dfb7c8ff634bae92.jpeg?auto=format,compress&fm=jpeg&q=20

13 hours ago, perdu said:

I like what you did to the lavvy door. Nice colour

The limerick you wrote on it  in purple marker pen was much commented upon by subsequent patrons.

Who knew there were so many rhymes for 'Buckingham'...

13 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

picture of a Martel sticking out of the astro dome on the cockpit roof

I'm not proud of that photo. It hints at a deeply disturbed mind.

 

Frankly I'm no expert on sublimated phalli weaponry but I believe that may be a Sea Eagle, a later development from the Martel (?).

 

This image popped up in a search earlier but sadly only as a thumbnail left over from a long-defunct Ebay sale:

s-l225.jpg

Pity. I'd have probably bought it.

13 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

My wife tells me my memory is scary............

You're a freakin' computer is what Terry. :rofl:

12 hours ago, Martian Hale said:

Following.

I thought I heard footsteps.

Eight at a time.

Welcome Daddy M. 😄

1 hour ago, perdu said:

an utter delight to have started Tonying on Terry

Help! One's been verbed! :rofl2:

1 hour ago, rob85 said:

Gosh this will be a bit of fun Tony!

Two years later: Hurray! The second seat's done! Now for the cockpit floor...

9 minutes ago, 71chally said:

Let me get this straight Tony, you are building two Sea vixens, and neither one of them is an FAW.2?!!   Are you mad

No. Just very aesthetically demanding. :laugh:

When they put those Joan Collins' shoulder pads on the FAW.2 I could not countenance a philistinism that would so readily sacrifice unyielding beauty uoon the altar of national defence.

12 minutes ago, 71chally said:

There are some other images of XN708 about including some colour ones taken not long before it was lost, I will have to dig out my books to confirm but reckon they are in the Air Britain Sea Vixen book. 

Be wary with photos of 244 & R-244 as XJ556 also wore these codes, I can't help thinking that is XJ556 in the shot you've posted, but could be wrong.

There are quite a few nice shots of 890 Sqn Vixens aboard Ark Royal (inc some nice close ups), and there are at least two short film clips, on the 'net.  They will all come in handy as Vixens were pretty standard in their finish.

As ever James, a valuable note of caution with regard to sources. I certainly wasn't aware of the 244 issue. :thanks:

Not sure if the 890 Sqn shots you mention are the same ones that I posted in the 'Patterson' link above but they are excellent examples for colour and wear.

21 minutes ago, 71chally said:

You probably have seen this, Palouste info within, 

But of course dear boy. Bookmarked long since for this occasion! 😁

Also a few weeks back found a load of links to superb colour photography of XJ481 in more recent guise at Yeovilton: guess who's Flickr page they led me to! :facepalm:

24 minutes ago, 71chally said:

I have got Mk1 manuals to hand as I've recently started working on the canopy drive mechanism on my nose section.

1. Now I want one too.

2. Shout out if you see me mistaking '2 for '1 errors won't you?

 

(Hope house, work, family all prosper for you too.) :thumbsup2:

 

 

 

 

 

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Definitely following along. All I can tell you about Sea Vixens is that I climbed in and out of one a few times at Halton - and that's about it. Alway was a cool looking aircraft

 

 

Looks like a rather severe case of 'splay' on the plastic - usually caused by the resin having too much moisture in it when molded

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Apart from the obvious nose difference, the Martel cab had some extra surface cabling along the port boom.  I gave some pics somewhere, so I’ll do some digging.  

 

She’s now a “standard” FAW1, with normal nose and no cabling.  I suspect the cockpit isn’t standard - there was some test installation in place of the HUD; the change was done purely by the Museum, so they might not have bothered with the cockpit details.  

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Go careful with that crazed FROG plastic. The lighter bits tend to peel away from the rest of the moulding, a bit like dead skin. You will lose all surface detail in getting rid of it, mind you as its al raised detail its no great loss.

 

Helpful of Mars 👽

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6 hours ago, TheBaron said:

but I believe that may be a Sea Eagle, a later development from the Martel (?).

On close inspection I do believe it is a Sea Eagle as you can just make out the protrusion for the turbojet on the left hand side in that picture.

 

6 hours ago, 71chally said:

You're starting with the best two kits, certainly for your 'blank canvass' modelling style

I'm not an expert on Sea Vixen kits, but I'm amazed to learn that the old Frog kit is still the best? I have an Xtrakit Sea Vixen in the stash but I understand there are issues with it, although I know @Navy Bird made a splendid one a while back. As you say though, given that we are dealing with the man himself in this double build, it wouldn't really matter if the starting point came out of a cornflake packet .......... we will still end up with two masterpieces!

 

Terry

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Posted (edited)

When it comes to the basic shape, which is the most important thing (I think) then Frog and Highplanes are the best.

The other kits have far better detail and way easier to build and finish, but I can't see past the fuselage shape issues and they are pretty impossible to correct.

 

I have no doubt that the Baron will walk us through the various mods, but the Frogs most glaring issue is the nose length and shape where the radome meets the fuselage.

 

Re what Crisp says, XJ481 actually still retains the wave guide trunking on the boom, it is the one thing that betrays it's Martel trials past.

I have pictures of the cockpit interior somewhere, will post nearer the appropriate time.

 

That is a Sea Eagle in the C-119 pic, but missiles won't be needed for this build I think.

 

Personally, I'm still realling from the whole FAW.2/Joan Collins thing!

To my mind the Mk.2 was the ultimate version after too many years of getting the Navy a good capable Missillier,  just a couple of years before they saw sense and decided to get the Phantom.

 

 

Edited by 71chally

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Looking forward to watching these benefit from your outstanding skills 

Is there room at the back for one more?

 

   Roger

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41 minutes ago, 71chally said:

Re what Crisp says, XJ481 actually still retains the wave guide trunking on the boom, it is the one thing that betrays it's Martel trials past.

...

To my mind the Mk.2 was the ultimate version after too many years of getting the Navy a good capable Missillier,  just a couple of years before they saw sense and decided to get the Phantom.

I stand corrected.

 

Without doubt the FAW2 was the more capable version.  But the FAW1 was much better looking!

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I'll sneak in at the back…

Looking forward to these starting 'after it's hot but before it gets cold again' :) 

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Its OK Ced, I got one in for you earlier

 

Chin chin

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Remind me to never rely on Tony and Crisp for 'dating' guidance! 

 

One beauty of modelling the FAW.1  is showing it with the integral rocket packs lowered - that's the first challenge thrown down.

There is a great pic in one of the books with a Vixen aboard with rocket housings & many panels open, and nose & wing fold covers in place, just in case like!

 

94b330a21ba9.jpg

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Hello His Baronship !!

Pfiuu, I made it page one !!

And there's already a strong message to the poor aliens from outer spaces !!

I'll follow this one with great attention, since I have also 2 Vixens

But I will have a FAW 1 And a Faw 2....

Chasing a flying saucer with a Sea Vixen ???

MMMh Why not after all !

CC

 

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Ooh, room near near the bar for one more?

 

Ian

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On 6/29/2019 at 2:38 PM, hendie said:

Looks like a rather severe case of 'splay' on the plastic - usually caused by the resin having too much moisture in it when molded

Thanks for ex-splay-ning that hendie. Hopefully it won't lead to any issues later...

On 6/29/2019 at 2:47 PM, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

the Martel cab had some extra surface cabling along the port boom.

I've one or two photos showing same as somebody had mentioned this somewhere before. Put the photos somewhere 'safe' so now they have to be found again of course.. 🤦‍♂️

On 6/29/2019 at 2:47 PM, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

there was some test installation in place of the HUD; the change was done purely by the Museum, so they might not have bothered with the cockpit details.

Oh to get a quick clamber inside <sigh>. :laugh:

On 6/29/2019 at 3:44 PM, Martian Hale said:

You will lose all surface detail in getting rid of it, mind you as its al raised detail its no great loss.

It was leaving anyway Martian! 😆

On 6/29/2019 at 6:09 PM, Terry1954 said:

it wouldn't really matter if the starting point came out of a cornflake packet

🤣In fairness now that might prove somewhat challenging Terry but I draw upon you faith as a source of strength. :thumbsup2:

On 6/29/2019 at 6:50 PM, 71chally said:

but the Frogs most glaring issue is the nose length and shape where the radome meets the fuselage.

That's really what prompted me to make it into '488 so that the nose could all be redone.

On 6/29/2019 at 6:50 PM, 71chally said:

That is a Sea Eagle in the C-119 pic, but missiles won't be needed for this build I think.

For anyone puzzled by this: James has clarified for me exactly how XJ488 itself served as the proxy missile head for the TV Martel trials. See:

I noticed that Crisp however had posted an image of '488 over here with something Martel-ish in the head dept. on that tank-thing under its port wing, so there may be something in the tubular line added yet:

 

 

On 6/29/2019 at 7:10 PM, Hamden said:

Is there room at the back for one more?

Always Roger! :thumbsup2:😁

On 6/29/2019 at 7:32 PM, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

But the FAW1 was much better looking!

 

On 6/30/2019 at 12:54 PM, 71chally said:

Remind me to never rely on Tony and Crisp for 'dating' guidance!  

'let's go over to our Graham for a little reminder!'

Cilla-Black.jpg

On 6/29/2019 at 11:35 PM, CJP said:

I built the High Planes Vixen a few years ago and it is a basic limited run kit but I personally think the shape is good

Nice work CJ! :thumbsup2:

On 6/30/2019 at 9:06 AM, CedB said:

I'll sneak in at the back…

Too late Ced! We've all seen you!  <stagehand swings spotlight into the auditorium>😁

On 6/30/2019 at 12:18 PM, perdu said:

Its OK Ced, I got one in for you earlier

 

Chin chin 

The audience has started drinking. What could possibly go wrong? :rofl:

On 6/30/2019 at 12:54 PM, 71chally said:

 

One beauty of modelling the FAW.1  is showing it with the integral rocket packs lowered - that's the first challenge thrown down.

Already on the to-do list James (by means as yet unresolved). Reading about that system a couple of evening's back and gather they were intended as a short range / last-chance method of interception?

Going to do an engine reveal on one of the Avons too so lots of lovely panelling top and bottom to think about removing. :thumbsup2:

3 hours ago, corsaircorp said:

I'll follow this one with great attention, since I have also 2 Vixens

Two Vixens should be the minimum that anyone should possess CC. By law.

2 hours ago, limeypilot said:

Ooh, room near near the bar for one more?

Of course Ian! They polished off the seafood buffet before you arrived however.

 

Glad this thread has roused some interest in the throng. More details as they emerge....

Off out to an Italian restaurant this evening as my eldest passed his driving test this afternoon so in full paternal pride mode.

:bye:

Tony

 

 

 

 

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For what it's worth the Cyberhobby kit has the best boom shape for a FAW 2 the issue with the other kits is that when viewed from the top (ie looking down on the pointy front of the booms ) they are all too fat and blunt and not pointy enough . (The high planes kit been the worst offender) the error stems from a deHavilland . 3 view that is full of similar blunders. ALSO In my view the issue with the frog nose is largely an optiCal illusion due to the canopy railing been way too deep as it goes down the fuselage side ...scrape it away by about 2/3rds and the nose section ahead of the intakes looks considerably slimmer and longer !

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Jets.  1/72.  A Baron build.  How wonderful; individually all interesting but collectively unmissable :D

 

(Of course any build from you is unmissable really Tony)

 

Clearly we’re Gonna learn a lot about a lovely aircraft.

 

BTW - did Crisp ever finish his 1/48 one?

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