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Classic Airframes 1/48 scale De Havilland Vampire FB. Mk 5

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | MILITARY
Kit: No. 470
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Classic Airframes, 773-883-8888, www.classicairframes.com
Price: $45
Comments: Injection-molded, 59 parts (14 resin), decals
Pros: Fine resin details, good decals, desired subject
Cons: Fit problems, inaccurately shaped intakes and fuselage pod
Classic Airframes has initiated a family of Vampire kits with the FB Mk. 6. Well-detailed resin parts are provided for the cockpit, intakes, wheels, landing-gear bay, and the lower nose. The decal sheet provides options for British, Canadian, and Australian jets. The RAAF option would need modification to the intakes.

The cockpit's resin parts fit together OK, with only small casting blocks to remove. I delayed attaching the lower nose until the fuselage was assembled. This resin part is too wide, requiring substantial trimming to fit flush with the nose. The instructions have you mount the engine bulkhead with the locating tab aligned with the wing root; it fits much better aligned vertically. I had to thin the edges of the nozzle aperture in the fuselage to get the tailpipe to fit. I packed as much weight as I could behind the cockpit, and still had to add more in the nose.

The trailing edges of the wings needed thinning, and the separate wingtips took some trimming. The gear wells are handed; I aligned the stiffeners with the wing spar engraving. The tab and slot used to assemble the booms to the wing also needed to be trimmed.

I trimmed the resin intakes to fit the wings, but I didn't notice that the intakes interfered with the curvature of the fuselage until the glue was setting. Judicious work with a knife would help. Small amounts of putty were needed for all main joints, except the stabilizer.

The rest of the small parts are well detailed, although the main-gear struts required a lot of trimming. The intake supports needed to be trimmed shorter. I overdid it on one, but it was easily fixed.

The windscreen and fuselage needed trimming for a better fit. Both clear parts are improved with a dip in Future.

I decided to paint my Vampire in the "speed-silver" RCAF scheme. The decals went on trouble-free. Be aware that every option requires the serial number to be placed across the main gear doors. I applied the decals with the doors taped in place, then cut them to fit each door.

The finished model looks like a Vampire, but fanatics will notice that the fuselage pod is a bit short and the intake shape isn't quite right. Still, most experienced modelers will choose to fix or ignore these small glitches. Less experienced modelers may have trouble with the fit problems and dealing with resin parts. I spent a short 18 hours on mine, and I'm pleased with the result.

- Chuck Davis

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