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PeterB

Xtrakit (MPM) Vampire FB Mk.5***FINISHED***

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I may end up regretting this with the Scandinavian GB due to start in something under two weeks, but I suppose I may as well have a shot at finishing the last of the batch of kits I started a few years ago as mentioned in various previous threads on this GB.

DSC02342-crop

I don't usually like to have more than 2 kits on the go at once, but with the current 3 just about at the decal stage and over 3 weeks left, here goes! There are not actually too many parts, but like its other DH brethren it has the dreaded twin booms, which can be a source of problems, but I don't seem to remember having any trouble with the old Heller kit I built many years ago so I might be lucky - fingers crossed. I think I will go with the early silver scheme - as most of you will know a lot of the Vampire was plywood skinned so it was painted, not NMF. As you can see, like the Scimitar, Swift and Attacker I painted the interior before I was obliged to suspend work on them, so that will save a little time anyway - I had hoped to do a bit of a "Blitzbuild" as my wife is on jury service for the next couple of weeks, but that may not happen. In the past, you had to turn up at court every morning and sit around in case you were needed, but now, at least down here in South Wales, they have gone "Hi-Tech" and text you to tell you if you are needed or not, which is a lot better and must save them forking out travelling expenses and "loss of earnings" payments. Unfortunately it does also mean I don't have the house to myself for 10 days solid modelling. "What a pity - how sad" as the late Windsor Davies would have said, for those who remember "It ain't half hot Mum".

 

I will make a start on assembling the fuselage, though of course the instructions only say "add weight" and do not give an amount - can't be that much I hope as there is not a lot of room!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

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Pete,

 

One thing to watch is that the trailing edges of the wings on these kits are incredibly thick unless you take some surplus plastic off of the mating surfaces.  Of course, it's not just a matter of sanding the entire inner surface of both the upper and lower wings because you have to be careful about taking any material off of where the booms attach to the wings.  To overcome this I used what my rigger mates used to use as a de-burring tool, a steel rule, I was able to take a lot of material off fairly evenly and quickly.

 

Another thing to watch is the fit of the wings to the fuselage pod but with careful fettling you can achieve a reasonable fit.

 

Sadly, I don't have any photos of my attempt to demonstrate what I mean but hopefully you'll get the drift.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Wez,

 

I will bear that in mind, but the trailing edges were not too bad to start with, and I have already thinned them a bit - I wil dry fit as much as I can and see what changes need to be made. Have you actually built this particular kit - either Xtrakit boxing or the slightly different MPM version? If so can you remember how much weight you added?

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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I was building the Azur version of the kit, the MPM, Azur and Xtrakit are all the same kit.  I haven't got as far as putting the weight in the nose, this will be one of my KUTA kits for maybe next year.

 

Stuart ( @Courageous  ), did an excellent build of the Revell boxing of the Special Hobby F.3 - essentially the same kit, here, hopefully it will provide some guidance.

 

I have to get back to my studying now - Hydroelectricity if you're interested, still Hydroelectricity if you aren't :P

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Posted (edited)

Hi Wez,

 

Unfortunately Stuart built it wheels up so no weight, but I see that he had problems with the wing to fuselage joints, so a bit of filing needed I guess. It seemed to build up quite nicely.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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7 hours ago, PeterB said:

I see that he had problems with the wing to fuselage joints, so a bit of filing needed I guess.

Yes, that wing joint is a bit complex, a number of edges all conspire to throw the thing out.  I found that careful cleaning up and truing of some f the edges gave a much better fit - at least on dry fitting, I never got around to gluing mine together to see how much filler was needed.

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Ok, with just over 3 weeks to go I thought I better make a start. The Xtrakit Vampire FB Mk 5 was moulded by MPM in 2014, and is one of a series of variants that have been released under the Special Hobby, Azur, Azur Frrom and Revell labels, including the F1, F3, F.6, F52 export version and the French licensed built Mistral. The kit contains a number of extra parts which are marked “Do not use this part”, including alternate main wheel hubs, small intakes(?), sliding canopy and a clear upper nose section – not sure what that is for.

 

Although a short run kit it atypically has locating pins! I have assembled the various bulkheads, seat, joystick and IP – I did not bother with the decal as the dials were easy enough to paint and you are not going to be able to see them anyway. The instructions could perhaps be a little clearer in terms of the location of the various “boxes” that are glued on the upper cockpit sides but generally the parts go together pretty well. The instructions show the gunsight and headrest being fitted at this stage, but that seems a recipe for feeding the carpet monster so I will leave them until later, when I am about to fit the canopy. I have managed to get some weight under the cockpit floor and on top of the nose wheel well, and will leave the upper nose off so I can add more later if needed (assuming I can find room).

DSC02351-crop

I have also glued the wings together, and added the engine air intakes to the leading edge. As mentioned by Wez the trailing edges could be a little thinner, but a dry fit seems to show that the fuselage to wing joint on this particular kit is not as bad as I expected – maybe I got lucky with the moulding! I may need to do a little filing, and some filler will be needed, but not a lot hopefully. Should get the fuselage halves together on Sunday.

 

Pete

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I don't have this kit, but the Mistral should have had larger intakes for the Nene engine.  They are fairly distinctive, with straight leading edges.

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11 minutes ago, PeterB said:

Although a short run kit it atypically has locating pins!

It's not a short run kit, it's a mainstream kit albeit one of their earlier efforts of this type.

 

The Mistral parts for the intakes and ejection seat are on a separate sprue.

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I stand corrected.

 

I know some "export" models had something called "Elephant Ear" intakes that look a bit like the bell on a trumpet - supposed to increase the air flow I believe. The sprue you mention Wez is not included in this boxing.

 

As you will know the fuselage was plywood except at the rear, which was metal like the wings. I am thinking of doing a "silver" version but the instructions say Xtracolour Aluminium, Mind you Hannants might not have released their Duralaminium and High Speed Silver paints then. I could undestand Dural on the metal parts, but the plywood would have to be painted so does anybody have an opinion - High Speed Silver seems most likely to me but I am happy to be told otherwise.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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'Silver' Vampires were overall High Speed Silver paint

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13 hours ago, PeterB said:

I stand corrected.

 

I know some "export" models had something called "Elephant Ear" intakes that look a bit like the bell on a trumpet - supposed to increase the air flow I believe. The sprue you mention Wez is not included in this boxing.

 

As you will know the fuselage was plywood except at the rear, which was metal like the wings. I am thinking of doing a "silver" version but the instructions say Xtracolour Aluminium, Mind you Hannants might not have released their Duralaminium and High Speed Silver paints then. I could undestand Dural on the metal parts, but the plywood would have to be painted so does anybody have an opinion - High Speed Silver seems most likely to me but I am happy to be told otherwise.

 

Pete

 

Pete,

 

Those intakes you refer to can be seen here on on the underside of this Australian Vampire, it features the normal Vampire intakes and the additional ones, the trumpet like ones you refer to weren't taken up.

 

The Mistral had intakes in the usual place, they were just bigger and more open, they weren't curved like the standard Vampire ones linked here.  You can compare these to the Mistral here.

 

The Mistral also had an ejection seat and different main wheels, the type of wheel used on RAF single seaters are the type seen in the link to the Vampire above.  The wheels seen on this Vampire trainer are the same as those seen on a lot of warbirds most of which are ex Swiss aircraft, these featured the same wheels as the trainer version.  These were also the wheels used on the Mistral.

 

You're right the fuselage pod was plywood, with fabric tape over the joins and was very smooth, you can see the plywood in this picture here.  There was however, no discernable difference between the pod and the rest of the aircraft, if you follow this link to the Air Britain site where I did a search against the Vampire you'll notice how even the finish is because as @Black Knight says...

 

13 hours ago, Black Knight said:

'Silver' Vampires were overall High Speed Silver paint

 

High speed silver is one of those finishes that dulled in service, it didn't remain a bright finish for long.  Modeldecal always used to recommend adding some light grey to silver to tone it down for HSS paint.

Edited by Wez

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Hi,

 

I am no expert on the Vampire, and indeed have very little info on it. I was basing my comment about the "Elephant Ears" intakes on this from Warpaint 27.

ears-crop

 

As to colours. MJF Bowyer in "Fighting Colours" implies that once camo was re-introduced, home based day fighter variants had silver undersides, and Germany based ones PRU Blue. In the recent Frog GB @stevehnz was talking about gray undersurfaces and I said I had never come across any, but I may have been wrong. The same Warpaint shows some F Mk1 Vampires with grey, and the instructions for this kit actually show a camo one in Medium Sea Grey -Sorry Steve! However I suspect they must have been relatively rare except on the Night Fighter variant?

 

Cheers

 

Pete

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The only camouflage colours I've ever seen documented for Vampire FB.5/9 was Dark Green (DG)/Dark Sea Grey (DSG)/Aluminium (HSS) for UK based and DG/DSG/PRU Blue for 2.ATAF aircraft based in Germany (RAFG).

 

Naturally there was some ebb and flow of aircraft between units so you would see RAFG jets in the UK (particularly after the Vampire numbers were drawn down with the introduction of the Sabre) and potentially some UK finished aircraft in RAFG (I would have to check Cold War Shield to be sure).  Never seen grey specified for the undersides of FB.5/9.

 

Concerning the intakes, the Nene was adopted by the French for the Mistral and the Australians for their Vampires.  The Goblin engine in the Vampire was a single sided compressor whereas the Nene was (IIRC) a double sided compressor, hence the need for extra air.  The bigger intakes on the Mistral and the additional intakes on the underside of the Aussie Vampires provided this.

Edited by Wez

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Hi Wez,

 

Now you mention it I have seen the extra intakes on pics - I think I was confused by the pic in Warpaint and I suspect they were in fact referring to the extra intakes as "Elephant Ears", not the experimental "bell shaped" ones in their pic which apparently did not work very well. The only "profiles" with grey undersides (except night fighters) that I have seen were early F Mk 1 and it was probably a carry over from WWII as they went overall silver fairly soon. I don't know where Hannants/Xtrakit got their info from but they show VZ180:F of 605 Squadron with MSG unders "on exercise at Gibralta in 1955-56".

 

Anyway mine is going to be silver so no worries.

 

The fuselage and wings went together pretty well.

DSC02356-crop

There is a bit of a step between the wing itself and the mounting on the side of the fuselage which is perhaps a little too deep, but a small amount of filling and sanding should make it less obvious. Then I can fit the assembled tail booms and horizontal tail. They seem reasonable in a dry fit but I think a little fettling may be called for.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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4 hours ago, PeterB said:

Medium Sea Grey -Sorry Steve!

It got silver in any case. I must post up  thread for the pair I did, my total output for last year. :(

Steve.

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Ok, I know this is tempting fate, but am actually quite impressed with this kit - at least so far. I was expecting problems with the tail booms, but after a couple of swipes of a file to true everything up they went on pretty well.

DSC02358-crop

Not perfect but nothing a small amount of filler won't fix.

 

In fact, whilst not perhaps up to modern Airfix standards (which can be variable anyway) it does confirm Wez's point about MPM moving up towards mainstream kit production back then. Even my earlier grumble about the cockpit fittings was actually wrong - there are loctating marks for them but I had painted over them with black paint a few years back! Having said that, judging by other modeller's comments it seems the quality of kits may be quite variable, but I seem to have been lucky  - something is bound to go wrong now - probably the decals! I will do a test with some of the spares and see if they need a coat or two of varnish to make them more robust. The underwing serials could be fun as they are in 5 seperate parts to go over the doors - I prefer to tack the doors in place, put the decs on and then cut them when dry. After priming it I might just paint the wings only in silver and then sort the serials out before putting on the gear. I may just get away with the balance but it is close and I may have to squeeze a little more lead in, so I will leave the nose open for a while.

 

Incidentally, for those of you not familiar with this kit, MPM have done a "Tamiya" and provided transparent wingtips and I can see them needing some work to fit properly.

 

Bye for now.

 

Pete

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Hi Pete! Loving your coverage of post war British jets. Just a quick question, what do you use for your nose weight? 
 

Cheers,

 

Ash

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Hi Ash,

 

When I first started modelling I used anything that came to hand - old nuts and bolts etc. I think there are several old half crowns in my B52 and I went through a phase of buying fishing line weights and using the metal (lead?) wrapping on the top of wine bottles (think they call it the "capsule"), but now cheapo wine has plastic wrap. Then I decided to get organised.

 

Back in the 1950's when I was a lad there was a craze for leaded windows - they are not as fashionable now but you still see them around , usually on doors. I remembered my father buying rolls of thin lead and gluing them onto the glass so I looked around and found you can still get it from hardware shops or Amazon. You can get it in various widths but the stuff I am using is 1cm wide and comes on a spool 10 or 11 cm diameter. It is thin and cuts easily, and can be bent or rolled so you can get it into most spaces, and if you squeeze it with pliers as you fold or roll it then you can end up with a pretty dense block. They are quite expensive these days, around £20 for 50 metres, or about £9 for 5 metres I think, but will last most modellers for years. There are a couple of thin lengths under the cockpit floor of the Vamp and I made a block which is thicker at one end to go over the wheelbay - pretty useful stuff. I did try some of Uschi's "lead" putty but it dried out if you remember my Frog Shackleton build. This stuff does not do that of course. 

 

Actually you have just reminded me that I will need to buy some more in a year or two. Perhaps I should get it now as it may go out of use eventually. If that happens I may have to use a roll of old fashioned solder which is also mostly lead I think.

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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4 hours ago, PeterB said:

old nuts and bolts etc.

I used to use the same method of weights for balance as Pete, but a few years ago I had to have a tyre on my car replaced, they ripped off the old LEAD balance weight and threw it in a large dustbin, full of old lead weights which were to be recycled for scrap.  I asked the fitter if I could have my old weights, which was not  problem...….so, I used old lead weights now...……..you can cut the weights with pliers or do as I do, melt them down with a blow lamp into a small mold I made for the purpose of weights to fit into restricted places.  A tip I spotted on here recently on how to fix lead weights into noses was to drop hot candle wax onto the weight, it sets immediately...…………...don't use blue tac as over time it leeches through joins as it is oil based

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Thanks guys, I had been using fishing weights and old screws etc but they’re difficult to get to fit and aren’t as dense as lead... might have to invest in a roll of thin lead as you suggest @PeterB  Might have to weight as I’ve just spent a few pennies on my first airbrush system 😳 

 

cheers

 

Ash

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On 07/01/2020 at 19:56, Wez said:

 

I have to get back to my studying now - Hydroelectricity if you're interested, still Hydroelectricity if you aren't :P

Hi Wez

Just curious what course are you studying  ?

cheers Pat 

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5 hours ago, JOCKNEY said:

Hi Wez

Just curious what course are you studying  ?

cheers Pat 

Pat,

 

I'm studying for a BEng with the OU, my current module is Renewable Energy, it's the top level engineering and science behind the subject.

 

That section on hydroelectricity was fascinating, discussing the appropriate types of turbine for a given application and how much power is generated.

 

I've moved onto tidal power generation now, obviously it uses much the same concepts as hydroelectricity but also wind power.

 

I'm in my final year, come October, six years of hard graft will be over and I can get back to enjoying myself!  Doing some modelling for instance.

 

In the meantime, I have this module and a project to finish - wish me luck!

 

Apologies for the thread drift.

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Hi @Wez

Great stuff PM me if you need any info, I have an MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technology. 

Apologies as well for subject drift !

cheers Pat 

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No worries Pat,

 

Back in 1970 I got a B.Eng in Mechanical Engineering, with my thesis being on aerodynamics, specifically jet turbine blades, and my secondary subject was Nuclear Engineering, but then I ended up as a Bank Manager! Good luck with your studies Wez - hope they are more use to you than mine were.

 

Pete

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