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A Pair of Derelict Vampires...

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It's been a busy few weeks but I've finally got around to thinking about this build!

My original intention was to grab a very old Airfix 747-200 model (built about 20 years ago and full of inaccuracies), then try to depict this as an aircraft being broken up in a scrapyard. Despite being keen to do this one day, I feel the time constraints on a GB will inevitably lead to this not getting completed by the deadline - there is a huge amount of work required to do this properly!

Plan B was to convert a much more recent and decent model (the new Airfix Vampire T11), to show this rotting away in a neglected corner of an airfield. Here's a picture of the two kits mentioned:




Just look at the chunky tail fin on the 747 - that was the main reason for wanting to chop it off completely and show the model as an aircraft being scrapped! The Vampire kit is much nicer, but as I have a brand new one in my stash I thought it might be easier to start from scratch rather than hacking this one about...

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So in no particular order, these are some of the things I need to do. Doubtless other ideas will occur during the build!


Firstly, I need to do some research into building a diorama. What size (and material) for the base and  should it depict concrete, grass or a mixture of both? Time to trawl through the diorama section of BM and search the Internet for some reference pictures!


Regarding the build, a few initial thoughts:

  • Remove some access panels
  • Empty the cockpit, including drilling out the instrument panel
  • Damage/discolouration of the canopy
  • Flat tyres
  • Faded paint (probably day glo orange, as that fades well!)
  • Drooping flaps
  • Random damage and dents
  • Scratch build a few props around the wreck, to make the scene look less barren and add interest!

Im looking forward to this, something a bit different and some new skills to try out.👍

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On 21/07/2023 at 03:47, marvinneko said:

Nice to see more aircraft entropy :) 


Do you have photos to work from? 

Thanks David, I’m still trawling the web for reference pictures…


23 hours ago, Marklo said:

Welcome to the GB, should be interesting.

 Cheers Marklo!


21 hours ago, Muchmirth said:

Interesting project and fun to do 👍

Thank you - I’m looking forward to doing something different!


Regarding the build, nothing has happened yet other than visiting my LMS to buy some grass. I should clarify that is fake grass, to be used for the diorama base…!😁


I am tempted to branch out and have a couple of Vampires in the scene, one largely intact and one broken up into its constituent parts. I have a few Vampire kits in the stash, so I think I will go large with this build!👍


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I had a rummage through my old photos and found a few of interest, all showing de Havilland Vampire T.11 WZ507 at various stages over the past two decades. I used to part own this aircraft, so I have quite a bit of material to refer to! In no particular order here's the first picture, showing the nose bay, canopy and side hatch opened:




We replaced the engine about a decade ago, which gave us the chance to see areas we wouldn't usually see! This is the engine bay showing the intake trunking, fuselage bulkhead, engine mounts and the two wing roots (from the inside):




A better shot showing the wing root. The area in the engine bay is a complete void, with no spar - once the engine is fitted, cowlings are attached, forming the entire rear fuselage:




From the same day, the detached tail cone and a flap fully extended:




Those last three photos will be particularly useful for the 'disassembled' aircraft!


A much older couple of photos now, taken before we had even purchased the aircraft. Of particular interest is the background, showing a pair of detached wings - note the boom attachment points:




Another shot from the same day, this time showing some fuselage pods:




And one more, with some of the engine cowlings opened/removed:




Finally a lovely shot showing WZ507 in flight, taken by Richard Paver for 'Aeroplane' magazine - thanks Richard! I have added a few lines to show where the wings and fuselage separate - the green dot marks the tail cone (pictured earlier) and the lines indicate where wings and pod detach. The central area is the engine bay covered with cowlings:




I think I've nearly done enough research - time to fettle some plastic!



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On 29/07/2023 at 16:05, Bobby No Mac said:

Fantastic pics of a dissected Vampire. It'll be interesting to see how fettling goes

Thanks Bobby - it’s time to fettle!


A few spruce shots to show my initial plan, starting with the booms. The areas marked in red will be removed, to depict missing access panels. I will also remove one rudder:



On the wings there are some sink marks to fix on the trailing edge of the inboard wings, flaps to cutout and fuel caps/nav lights to remove:




Onto the fuselage and tailplane. The elevator will be cut out and repositioned with some downward deflection. Initially I had planned to open up the nose bay hatch and lower engine bay panels, but instead will now completely disassemble the fuselage into the sections mentioned earlier. As I am now planning on two Vampires in the diorama, I will open the hatches on the second example instead. The cockpit tub will be built without seats (so will remove the mounting lugs) and have a drilled out instrument panel to depict missing instruments:




Talking of which, here are the bits for the cockpit:




And the wing upper surface, which is cut into three sections to enable the wings to be separated from the fuselage:




More work with the razor saw beckons!




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  • 2 weeks later...

I've not been getting as much time as I would like to make this diorama, but am slowing making some progress!


Here are the components I'm using for the base - an A4 board, some expanded polystyrene sheets and fake grass:




And a shot of the kits I'm using - the Gnat may or may not make an appearance, depending on how much time I have and if there is space on the base!:




From my reference photos there are two slanted sections inside the rear of the pod, visible through the holes used for the engine intake ducting. I'm using some poly sheet to replicate these:




And a close up of the cockpit, which can be seen in the background of the above photo - hopefully suitably empty!:




Finally the booms, which have had the access panels removed - work on the rudder is still required:




This makes a nice change from just building a model!

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On 10/08/2023 at 07:46, Geo1966 said:

Nice start on the Vampire Matt. That new Airfix kit looks really nice. I might have to add that to my Wishlist! 🤔

Thanks George, it's a lovely little kit!

A quick update... The pod is built and painted, here’s a shot showing slanted sections at the back:




That unseemly gap at the top will not be visible! You can also see the elevator, now drooping in a more convincing manner.


Some fettling has also taken place under the wing, to produce extended flaps:




The inboard flap section was simply cut out; the outboard one is being scratch-built, due to the lip on the its trailing edge. Only one wing is being worked on as the other wing will be upside-down to display the wheel well.


A blurry picture of the booms next. On one Vampire they will be shown detached, on the other airframe they will be in place. One rudder has been removed and the other given a jaunty deflection angle:




The cut booms need to have the skin thinned considerably!

A quick look at the cowls, which will be scattered around the dismantled aircraft:




They need cleaning up, but hopefully not too much work here! The tail cone has had scrap plasticard glued on, ready to be shaped and drilled to replicate the real thing. The outboard flap is also in this picture and the smiling plasticard will become the rear bulkhead on the pod.


Thoroughly enjoying this GB - cheers @Bertie McBoatface for getting this organised, it has re-energised my modelling mojo!

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9 hours ago, JeroenS said:

Good to see some cutting and hacking going on here, nice start!

Thanks Jeroen! Talking of which, on the second kit I attacked the nose:




The nose access hatch has been removed completely and this Vampire will be shown will some internals on display.


I have also opened up the access door on the pod near the cockpit and fashioned a storage area inside:




All of this has been painted dark grey before being closed up. I then started to build the avionics bay in the nose of the intact Vampire, and the bulkhead on the rear of the pod of the dismembered aircraft:




Quite a bit of scratch building coming up!

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I have continued work on the Vampire that will be relatively intact, getting the single piece wing topside attached after removing one of the access panels:




For some reason, there is a bit of a ridge that will need sanding just above the air intake. Here's the underside of the same section, showing the intake ducting - the panels marked with the red crosses will be removed once this has set. I didn't like to remove them too early, as the underside would have been very flimsy without them:




I suspect I might end up removing the other panel too, in front of the crosses - simply as the ones that are planned to come out might not be very obvious as they are hidden by the wing...

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Really good work on a kit so small Matt. Your photos make this look like it is 1/48 scale. Maybe you should sneak a pot of Tamiya paint into your next photos to show the size of what you are working with? 🙂



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On 20/08/2023 at 09:30, Geo1966 said:

Really good work on a kit so small Matt. Your photos make this look like it is 1/48 scale. Maybe you should sneak a pot of Tamiya paint into your next photos to show the size of what you are working with? 🙂

Cheers George, I'll do that. Unfortunately not in this update though - I forgot! 😆


I have continued the build of the intact Vampire, getting all the main components together and removing the belly panel. I then looked at it and realised it looked too pristine, As if it was almost ready to go flying. I decided to add drooping flaps and extended airbrakes, which would be much more representative of an aircraft with no engine or hydraulic pressure:




It's not my most detailed work, but I will add a bit more to it later. When viewed the correct way around it looks more acceptable:




The main components for the disassembled Vampire are in the background - more of these next time (with a paint pot too for George!)


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That looks really good so far.


I think you’re starting to get into that area of modelling where what you know is there and what you can actually see are at odds with each other and that’s probably the trick to the build to only model the visible detail.

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  • 1 month later...
On 22/08/2023 at 16:54, Marklo said:

That looks really good so far.


I think you’re starting to get into that area of modelling where what you know is there and what you can actually see are at odds with each other and that’s probably the trick to the build to only model the visible detail.

Thanks Marklo. I've never seen the point in adding details that cannot be seen!


On 22/08/2023 at 20:18, The Spadgent said:

Brilliant work so far. I also love the way you nonchalantly added that you owned a vampire. 😲😲😲🦇

Cheers Johnny! Some of the best flying experiences I've ever had - it was a blast! A completely gratuitous clip showing take off in the beast:



I've not given this GB much attention for a while - I've been trying (with some success!) to clear some of my older builds from the bench. I had a quick look at it again today and decided it was time to attack the base. I used some A4 board and my biggest scriber to score some lines into it, hopefully representing concrete slabs:




Obviously that looked far too pristine, so some cracks and potholes were added:




A coat of watered down PVA was brushed over this, then fine sand was sprinkled over it and left to dry to give it some texture. I'll see how it looks tomorrow!


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  • 4 weeks later...
On 28/09/2023 at 07:13, The Spadgent said:

Wowza!!!! The thanks is for the take off video. Fantastic.  The base is great so far. 🙌

Cheers Johnny! I was reading your WIP earlier and yours has turned out very nicely. There have been some great builds on this GB.👍


You could easily think that I'd stopped work on mine... I had, due to other commitments but I'm back again now, have noted the (thankfully!) extended deadline and will try to get this one finished in time. Which will be a first!


Work on the base is continuing and not all of it entirely according to plan...! The sand layer used to produce a concrete texture has worked well, but there are a couple of patches that are bare due to the sand getting dislodged before the glue had dried. These will be cunning disguised with some fake grass and general debris!


I had to reinstate the gaps between the slabs, as they had been obliterated by the sand. A coat of Humbrol 168 formed the main concrete base colour, with dashes of 129 (lighter colours) and 27 and 33 (darker patches). This was then blended with a white Flory wash, giving the current appearance as this:




I will do some more dabbling as I'm really enjoying this stage! and will add some resin to create a puddle in the dip, add some fake grass and also a kerb. I will probably add some faded painted lines too - I'm not trying to replicate anything in particular, just jazzing it all up a bit!


Concurrently, it's time to paint some Vampires too!



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22 hours ago, Trevor L said:

That looks very realistic. I quite like the bare patches, they somehow look right.

Thanks Trevor! I'm quite happy with how it turned out - even the bits that are not quite right somehow add to the scene.


Talking of which, it is time to hide the worst of the errors! The fake grass was opened and sparingly applied, using PVA glue to hold it in place:




99% of that grass will go back into the bag!


I've also looked out some paint for the dayglo Vampire - I think the other might have yellow training bands for variation. Either that, or a different dayglo scheme - I haven't decided yet...!

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