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DH 106 Comet


Paul H
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I am looking at buying a model of a de Havilland Comet & would very much appreciate some advice as to which one to choose.  From what I can make out, the options in 1:144 are the old Airfix 4B, Amodel 4B or 4C, and the F-RSIN Comet 1, whereas in 1:72, there is Mach 2's 4B.  I have read individual reviews of each, and all clearly have their good (& not so good) features - e.g. Airfix has raised panel lines but seems to fit ok (at least for its age!), whereas Amodel has engraved lines but reviews suggest fit isn't great.  However, I have not been able to find any direct comparison reviews between the 1:144 ones or build reviews of the Mach 2.

 

I do not mind whether it is a Comet 1, or a Comet 4 - what I am after is a decent representation of a Comet, and one that is not going to take (too) much work to build, to display.  With that in mind, which would be the best one to go for?

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The best Comet kits, head and shoulders above anything else, are by Authentic Airliners. They are resin and relatively expensive but you get what you pay for. At the moment AA only seem to have the Comet 4 in stock but I'm sure further stocks of the 4B and 4C will be along shortly.

 

The F-RSIN Comet 1 is a short-run moulding so don't expect Zvezda or Tamiya standards. However if you are prepared to put in the necessary work it's a decent kit and the basis for a good model.

 

The old Airfix kit is reasonably accurate dimensionally but it's very basic and lacking in detail particularly around the engines. It's easy enough to build and looks like a Comet but it terms of detail it falls well short of modern standards. I believe that the most recent issue of the kit no longer has fuselage windows so you will have to use decals. Fortunately these are available from Authentic Airliner Decals.

 

I've never built the AModel kit but I understand it is significantly under-scale, possibly around 1/148, although the detailing seems to be good. Have a look at post number #56242 in this thread on Airliner Cafe. The author is also a member of Britmodeller and his views are normally worthy of respect.

 

Welsh Models offer several versions of the Comet as either full resin kits or vacform fuselage with resin flying surfaces but I don't have any experience of them.

 

Hope that's some help.

 

Dave G

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I have the F-RSIN Comet 1 kit in the stash, but cannot comment on it. I can comment on Amodel kits. They need some work, but the decals are good and produce a good result with some effort. They're apparently the best 1/144 Lancaster available, so I've got one of those in the stash as well as a An-2 and a DHC-6 (both 1/144) and a 1/48 D.H.60M.

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Hi Paul, I have scratched a whole range of 1/144th De Havilland aircraft but the DH106 Comet 1 is virtually the only one that I have built from a kit.  This is mainly because I believe that Geoffrey De Havilland had a eye for aesthetics and the Comet 1 is by far the most attractive, much more so than the later versions.  Probably not the best reason for choosing the F-RSIN but that's the one I would go for.

 

 

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Of course if you want to include all Comet kits and want a simple build, there is always the FROG/NOVO 1/96th scale Comet 4, the VEB PLasikart 1/100 Comet 4 and if you want an already made Comet, there's the very cheap chrome-plated diecast Comet 1 in 1/200 on a fixed stand scale by Atlas Editions (loads on E.Bay). I have see some of these painted and decaled and look great. Hawk made a Comet 4 in an odd scale with cut-away fuselage also, but these are very hard to find.

You could always 'enhance' a Corgi diecast Comet 4, 4B, or 4C as they make all three versions in 1/144th scale.    

Edited by AMB
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I've been giving this further thought and have done a lot more research in light of all the very useful info posted above - my findings and thoughts are included below, should these be of use / interest to anyone else considering a Comet kit.

On 24/12/2019 at 00:13, Skodadriver said:

The best Comet kits, head and shoulders above anything else, are by Authentic Airliners. They are resin and relatively expensive but you get what you pay for. At the moment AA only seem to have the Comet 4 in stock but I'm sure further stocks of the 4B and 4C will be along shortly.

 

The F-RSIN Comet 1 is a short-run moulding so don't expect Zvezda or Tamiya standards. However if you are prepared to put in the necessary work it's a decent kit and the basis for a good model.

 

The old Airfix kit is reasonably accurate dimensionally but it's very basic and lacking in detail particularly around the engines. It's easy enough to build and looks like a Comet but it terms of detail it falls well short of modern standards. I believe that the most recent issue of the kit no longer has fuselage windows so you will have to use decals. Fortunately these are available from Authentic Airliner Decals.

 

I've never built the AModel kit but I understand it is significantly under-scale, possibly around 1/148, although the detailing seems to be good. Have a look at post number #56242 in this thread on Airliner Cafe. The author is also a member of Britmodeller and his views are normally worthy of respect.

 

Welsh Models offer several versions of the Comet as either full resin kits or vacform fuselage with resin flying surfaces but I don't have any experience of them.

 

Hope that's some help.

 

Dave G

Unfortunately the Authentic Airliners kits are more than I am prepared to pay for 1:144, especially as Welsh Models' all resin variant in the same scale is quite a bit less and includes decals too.

Turns out that Airfix's newest release does indeed have the fuselage windows filled in, but the portholes are now part of the decal sheet.  The rest does seem very crude compared to the other injection moulded 1:144 kits though due to the lack of engraved panel lines.

Interesting about the scaling issues of the Amodel - this review provides more info, as well as comparion to the Airfix http://www.modellversium.de/kit/artikel.php?id=11209  Incidentally, the German language wikipedia page for the Comet appears to have better dimension info than the English language one!

On 24/12/2019 at 01:07, dnl42 said:

I have the F-RSIN Comet 1 kit in the stash, but cannot comment on it. I can comment on Amodel kits. They need some work, but the decals are good and produce a good result with some effort. They're apparently the best 1/144 Lancaster available, so I've got one of those in the stash as well as a An-2 and a DHC-6 (both 1/144) and a 1/48 D.H.60M.

As for fit, based on this build thread, the Amodel doesn't seem as bad as I thought: https://uamf.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=12305

On 24/12/2019 at 09:28, tpat said:

Hi Paul, I have scratched a whole range of 1/144th De Havilland aircraft but the DH106 Comet 1 is virtually the only one that I have built from a kit.  This is mainly because I believe that Geoffrey De Havilland had a eye for aesthetics and the Comet 1 is by far the most attractive, much more so than the later versions.  Probably not the best reason for choosing the F-RSIN but that's the one I would go for.

 

 

It is certainly quite a dilemma, and I fully understand what you mean!  I've now managed to find a few good build threads on it:

From reading these and other threads, weak undercarriage does seem to be a theme which marrs an otherwise very interesting model.  Whichever variant I go for will almost certainly be displayed on its undercarriage though.  How did you find the undercarriage on the one you built, or did you replace it as others have?

On 24/12/2019 at 11:44, AMB said:

Of course if you want to include all Comet kits and want a simple build, there is always the FROG/NOVO 1/96th scale Comet 4, the VEB PLasikart 1/100 Comet 4 and if you want an already made Comet, there's the very cheap chrome-plated diecast Comet 1 in 1/200 on a fixed stand scale by Atlas Editions (loads on E.Bay). I have see some of these painted and decaled and look great. Hawk made a Comet 4 in an odd scale with cut-away fuselage also, but these are very hard to find.

You could always 'enhance' a Corgi diecast Comet 4, 4B, or 4C as they make all three versions in 1/144th scale.    

Thank you - I've done some research into the Frog one, and it does look pretty decent, but cannot find any available for sensible money.  Good call on the diecasts, and certainly something to consider!

 

On 25/12/2019 at 05:23, The Tomohawk Kid said:

If its 1/72 that floats your boat, the Welsh Models kits are superlative if you are comfortable with resin and vac.

 

They make Comet 1, 4B and 4C.

 

Tommo.

Hadn't considered vac form kits, but prompted by your recommendation, what I've found out about these ones is certainly very positive - these links in particular about Welsh Models' Comets (both Comet 1s, but the only build links I have found so far):

 

http://aeroscale.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=4286

However the Comet 1 is probably more than I had in mind to spend, and their Comet 4 is certainly more than I can justify.  They do look really tempting though!

 

 

In terms of scale alone, 1:72 would mean it would display very nicely along side the Mosquito and Dragon Rapide that I already have (both part built) but would take up significantly more space than 1:144.  However I don't see myself getting any other 1:144 planes, whereas also I have a few others in 1:72 waiting to be built.

 

I've never done a vacformed kit before, but the Welsh Models ones sound so much better than my perception of the reputation that vac form kits seem to have.  A Comet 1 rather than a 4 would also have a size advantage in 1:72 too, being about 100mm shorter...  Mach 2's Comet - well, I still can find very little info, and comments from those who have seen it raise doubts over the accuracy of the wing and engine shaping.  Whether those are things I would notice is another matter - the issue of flash etc and clean up required for a low volume kit doesn't bother me but the reported issue with the lining up of the cabin windows would certainly annoy me.  As such, I think that combined with the issue of size (for storing / displaying), that is 1:72 scale ruled out for me.

 

In 1:144, looking at the injection moulded options, it seems that the Amodel, despite being slightly underscale, is a good option for a 4, whereas the F-RSIN is the only choice for a 1, but with the questions over the undercarriage.  In that company, and with it not being that much cheaper, Airfix's one is relegated to last place.  Post 66 in this thread seems to summarize the Amodel's merits and flaws, especially compared to the Airfix one.  In other media, the Welsh Models also do most variants of the Comet in 1:144, but would be more expensive.

 

In 1:144, I am leaning strongly towards the Amodel, as the slight sizing issue won't be noticiable to me, and it's detail is high.  I am reserving judgement on 1:72, as I want more info on the Mach 2 before deciding on whether their 4C or one of Welsh Models' offerings (probably a Comet 1) is the best option in that scale.  There is also the question of whether 1:72 will fit my display cabinet...

 

And then of course, which airline's livery to choose, which may well sway my final decision...  I shall be blaming the friend who kindly lent me his copy of a book on the history of de Havilland, that was published in 1960, and which sparked my interest in the Comet.  I was reading it purely to find out more about de Havilland's Gipsy engine as back in the summer I'd been helping him put a Gipsy II that he has just rebuilt onto the dyno in his test cell (for running in and airworthiness certification purposes prior to being reinstalled in its airframe).

 

Anyhow, apologies for my rambling, and thank you to all again for your advice & suggestions.

Edited by Paul H
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The Welsh Models vac kits have a very good repuation as such they are very good kits for the novice vac builder. I would say from 1st hand expierance that Mach 2 kits involve more work than the average vac kit, thats not to say they can't  be turned into nice models, they can! If it is 1/72 that you desire the only way to go in my opinion would be the Welsh kits.

 

If you are leaning towards the Amodel Comets, you might want to snag one sooner rather than later as they looked to be out of production and are slowly disappearing. They do look look very nice in the box however, you probably need to consider replacing the decals. Ray at TwoSix decals does a decent range of Comet liveries have a poke around his site and see if anything floats your boat.

 

I have few AA kits (not the Comet) they are very nice indeed as noted above, I believe they are largely made to order now, so if you do spring for an AA kit you might be in for a wait.

 

Whilst you can't entirely dismiss the Airfix Comet, as again noted above it will need some work. Not entirely related about 8/9 years back I built and made as accurate as I could the Airfix V. Vanguard and if that is anything go by a lot of work will be involved in doing the same to Comet. The Vanguard nose profile and cockpit glazing required rebuilding/reshaping, the engine nacelles had to be completely reprofiled and detailed, as well as scratching a set of U/C as well address the other foibles of the Airfix kit. I imagine their Comet will require a similiar amount of work. You'll be also aware Airfix only make the 4B, if you want a 4 or 4C you'll need a set of aftermarket wing extension w pinion tanks, or scratch build them as well as alter the fuselage length acording to variant you are building.

 

Good luck.

 

Tommo.

Edited by The Tomohawk Kid
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The Airfix kit can strill be made to look reasonable. The raised panel lines should not be an issue as they can be sanded off if you don't like them. In 1/144 even engraved lines don't look right, in my view. The main problem with the Airfix kit is the representation of the Avon exhausts - which nothing like the real thing.

 

Here's one I built not too long ago. The decals included in the latest releases are quite nice too.

 

2KHFjOIO.jpg

 

 

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Of course, you could always start with an Airfix 1/72 Nimrod, and after some cutting and filling and filling end up with this:

(Not my model but made by a member of Thames Valley Scale Model Club)

 

Model Dan Air De Havilland Comet 4

 

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On 12/30/2019 at 9:17 AM, The Tomohawk Kid said:

This new book on Comet may interest you, published at the end of next month.

 

https://www.burntash.eu/product-page/de-havilland-comet-harback-version

 

Tommo.

Thanks for that link. The reduced price of "BOAC and the Golden Age of Flying" is extremely tempting although it suggests that sales may not have come up to expectations. 

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After much deliberation, an Amodel 4C should now be on its way...  Whilst still in need of work to get it to go together based on the reviews I have read, the better engraving and shaping to the engines and exhausts sold it to me compared to the Airfix one.  If all goes well, it may be jned later by a Comet 1 (source still undecided), so as to have first and last versions.  This was also part of my reasoning for choosing the Amodel 4C, rather than their 4B or the Airfix one.

 

I may revisit this for a 1:72 one in the future (as the Welsh Models ones do look good!), but at the moment the length & width of a Comet at that scale is just too big for my current display space.  Thank you all again for your advice and feedback!

 

On 27/12/2019 at 04:10, The Tomohawk Kid said:

If you are leaning towards the Amodel Comets, you might want to snag one sooner rather than later as they looked to be out of production and are slowly disappearing. They do look look very nice in the box however, you probably need to consider replacing the decals. Ray at TwoSix decals does a decent range of Comet liveries have a poke around his site and see if anything floats your boat.

Thank you - been having a look at the 26 decal options but still trying to decide whether to stick with the Amodel Dan Air decals or choose something else.  Btw, if of interest to anyone, Hannants have both the BEA 4B & the Dan Air 4C versions in stock - the 4C being restocked earlier today & when I was searching, they were the only ones to have the 4C version.

 

On 29/12/2019 at 11:32, Eric Mc said:

The Airfix kit can strill be made to look reasonable. The raised panel lines should not be an issue as they can be sanded off if you don't like them. In 1/144 even engraved lines don't look right, in my view. The main problem with the Airfix kit is the representation of the Avon exhausts - which nothing like the real thing.

 

Here's one I built not too long ago. The decals included in the latest releases are quite nice too.

That looks very smart!  Whilst what Amodel has shown may perhaps not be 100% scale accurate, I probably wouldn't be applying any washes to make the engraving stand out too much due to the scale, so hopefully the panel line details will look appropriate.  However this will be my first airliner model so this is all conjecture (& perhaps wishful thinking) on my part.

 

On 29/12/2019 at 12:09, Nigel Bunker said:

Of course, you could always start with an Airfix 1/72 Nimrod, and after some cutting and filling and filling end up with this:

(Not my model but made by a member of Thames Valley Scale Model Club)

I've seen a few threads about converting from a Nimrod - somewhat more work than I am aiming for, but very impressive!

 

On 30/12/2019 at 09:17, The Tomohawk Kid said:

This new book on Comet may interest you, published at the end of next month.

 

https://www.burntash.eu/product-page/de-havilland-comet-harback-version

 

Tommo.

I am currently trying to resist the temptation....!!!!

 


 

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11 hours ago, Skodadriver said:

Thanks for that link. The reduced price of "BOAC and the Golden Age of Flying" is extremely tempting although it suggests that sales may not have come up to expectations. 

 

Given it was only published in October I suspect your right 😉 I'll snag a copy of the BOAC book when I'm back in Blighty.

 

The Comet book is being trailered as having new info on the early Comet 1 crashes.

 

Tommo.

Edited by The Tomohawk Kid
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On 12/29/2019 at 12:09 PM, Nigel Bunker said:

Of course, you could always start with an Airfix 1/72 Nimrod, and after some cutting and filling and filling end up with this:

(Not my model but made by a member of Thames Valley Scale Model Club)

 

_falls back stunned_

Tell him he's a lunatic.

A magnificent lunatic.

That's one of the most impressive things I've seen on this site.

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On 12/29/2019 at 11:09 PM, Nigel Bunker said:

Of course, you could always start with an Airfix 1/72 Nimrod, and after some cutting and filling and filling end up with this:

(Not my model but made by a member of Thames Valley Scale Model Club)

 

I seem to recall that we were promised an article on how that conversion was done (SAM? Scale Models?) but don't remember seeing one. Did it ever appear, or am I just having another brain fade?

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10 hours ago, Admiral Puff said:

I seem to recall that we were promised an article on how that conversion was done (SAM? Scale Models?) but don't remember seeing one. Did it ever appear, or am I just having another brain fade?

No, the modeller in question never got around to writing an article on how it was done.

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I seem to recall someone on this forum starting this conversion - but, it appeared to run out of steam as far as postings were concerned. It looked one hell of a styrene hack!

 

With the introduction of the Welsh Models kit, I guess its largely a redundant conversion now.

 

Tommo.

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On 1/3/2020 at 12:13 AM, Eric Mc said:

That might be worth reading. I always think that the correct story of the flaws in the Comet 1 is rarely told - with far too much emphasis being put on the "shape of the windows".

I'm curious. What do you consider the "correct story" to be?

Edited by dnl42
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The incorrect window design was only part of the problem. There were other issues connected with using very light gauge aluminium and other weight saving factors. de Havilland hobbled themselves by choosing their own Goblin engines to power the MkI as it was underpowered and therefore weight saving was a big factor in how the aircraft was designed. 

 

de Havilland were pretty inexperienced with building pressurised aircraft at the time and the Comet combined was a big jump for them as it embodied so many new technologies in one airframe. Indeed, de Havilland has not built that many aircraft as a metal monocoque before the Comet. I can only think of the Flamingo - which was, of course, not pressurised. Their expertise was in wooden construction techniques or metal spaceframes, like the Tiger Moth..

 

When they were designing the Mk2, they chose more powerful Rolls Royce Avons which assisted greatly in allowing them to beef up the construction.

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I’ve had the opertunity to read the RAE accident investigation reports and what horrified me was the number of cracks on the edges of the fuselage cutouts that had been stopped drilled (some twice!). The stopped drilled cracks show that the problem wasn’t unknown. What wasn’t understood by those who drilled those holes (at Hatfield?) was the consequences of those cracks continuing to propagate.

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