Jump to content

Vampire FB.5


Recommended Posts

On Friday 13th May 1955, a Vampire FB5 coded WA300 from 501 Squadron was seen to be in some difficulty on the return to its home airfield at RAF Filton near Bristol. It apparently stalled in the circuit and crashed, killing the pilot, Squadron Leader Geoffrey Berkeley Mercer. The significance of this event? This was my Dad’s CO, the pilot with whom he’d often flown in the Squadron Meteor T7, featured elsewhere on this site. My Dad was unaware of his death until fairly recently and it came as a shock to him when we found out. As a tribute to Sqn Ldr Mercer, I decided to build my Classic Airframes Vampire FB.5 as the aircraft which he flew to the end.

The kit was everything a Classic Airframes limited run kit usually is – poor fitting, tricky to align and with some shape issues. I wrestled it into submission with the usual process of putty, sand, repeat and rescribe and left the shape inaccuracies alone – it looks enough like a Vampire to me.

The squadron markings of black and yellow triangles, the lozenge on the nose gear door and the yellow boar’s head badge all had to be masked and painted, since no decals were available. The decal for the squadron badge is self made. I only lightly weathered the airframe, since this WAS the CO’s machine after all…

I added a scratchbuilt aerial, pitot and gear cover actuators, made new wingtip lights from clear sprue drilled inside and painted, replaced the jet pipe with brass tube, and finished the whole thing off with semi-gloss varnish. Lots of semi, not much gloss.

Not the easiest kit I’ve ever built, but 41½ hours of work resulted in the closest representation I could get to the aircraft that Geoffrey Mercer walked out to on that spring morning.

The first picture says it all - blue skies, Squadron Leader. :poppy:

Dean

web9-2.jpg

web7-2.jpg

web12-1.jpg

web11-1.jpg

web6-2.jpg

web10-1.jpg

web1-3.jpg

web2-3.jpg

web13-1.jpg

web14-1.jpg

  • Like 23
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having built a couple of CA kits and knowing what goes into completing them I find this result very inpressive.

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice Dean - smashing build!

Nicely delivered story aswell - really like models that have a real meaning to them. I echo Colin S-K on that!

well done

Rick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A nice representation of the CO's ride... it always surprises me how many aircraft konk even out during peacetime. It's not a walk in the park being a forces aircrew during peacetime by any stretch of the imagination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments folks. I've dropped this onto a few websites, and the comments it's received there have been few. Maybe first generation British jets don't do it for many people...at least Britmodeller guarantees a warm reception!

Cheers,

Dean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 12 years later...
On 01/04/2009 at 19:30, Deanflyer said:

On Friday 13th May 1955, a Vampire FB5 coded WA300 from 501 Squadron was seen to be in some difficulty on the return to its home airfield at RAF Filton near Bristol. It apparently stalled in the circuit and crashed, killing the pilot, Squadron Leader Geoffrey Berkeley Mercer. The significance of this event? This was my Dad’s CO, the pilot with whom he’d often flown in the Squadron Meteor T7, featured elsewhere on this site. My Dad was unaware of his death until fairly recently and it came as a shock to him when we found out. As a tribute to Sqn Ldr Mercer, I decided to build my Classic Airframes Vampire FB.5 as the aircraft which he flew to the end.

The kit was everything a Classic Airframes limited run kit usually is – poor fitting, tricky to align and with some shape issues. I wrestled it into submission with the usual process of putty, sand, repeat and rescribe and left the shape inaccuracies alone – it looks enough like a Vampire to me.

The squadron markings of black and yellow triangles, the lozenge on the nose gear door and the yellow boar’s head badge all had to be masked and painted, since no decals were available. The decal for the squadron badge is self made. I only lightly weathered the airframe, since this WAS the CO’s machine after all…

I added a scratchbuilt aerial, pitot and gear cover actuators, made new wingtip lights from clear sprue drilled inside and painted, replaced the jet pipe with brass tube, and finished the whole thing off with semi-gloss varnish. Lots of semi, not much gloss.

Not the easiest kit I’ve ever built, but 41½ hours of work resulted in the closest representation I could get to the aircraft that Geoffrey Mercer walked out to on that spring morning.

The first picture says it all - blue skies, Squadron Leader. :poppy:

Dean

web9-2.jpg

web7-2.jpg

web12-1.jpg

web11-1.jpg

web6-2.jpg

web10-1.jpg

web1-3.jpg

web2-3.jpg

web13-1.jpg

web14-1.jpg

@Deanflyer this was my Grandad. It is lovely to see this & hear your story. My mum would love to talk more & has some photos etc that you might be interested in. Let us know the best way to get in touch. Clare

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I missed this tge first time round and great to get a chance to look at this lovely model, you have done a cracking job on the CA kit and created a wonderful Vampire replica and a lovely tribute to Squadron Leader Mercer too.  

Great job all round.

Chris 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to see this one, and as others have said a great job on a CA kit, and a fantastic and fitting tribute to Clare's Grandad.

 

The wonderful power and ways of the Britmodeller community!

 

Terry

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/13/2021 at 10:37 PM, MercerGranddaughter said:

@Deanflyer this was my Grandad. It is lovely to see this & hear your story. My mum would love to talk more & has some photos etc that you might be interested in. Let us know the best way to get in touch. Clare

 

Message sent, Clare... glad you liked it.

 

Dean

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...