Classic Airframes 1/48 de Havilland Vampire T.11

with Aeroclub resin intakes

Royal Air Force, 5 Flying Training School, United Kingdom 1961

Built in tandem with its single-seat counterpart, the FB.5, this version was just as much effort and hassle! I made some further additions and details, such as Aeroclub resin intakes, a brass tube for the exhaust, brass tube and wire pitot, and clear wingtip navigation lights. Because Classic Airframes retooled the wing intakes and the way the wings attach to the fuselage, more work was needed on the wing to fuselage joint than with the single seater. Essentially the fuselage has a recess for the wing to slot into, which is completely the wrong shape for the intakes. Thus the inboard wall of the intakes need their outer surfaces to be thinned down significantly, and the intakes are also far too thick (by 1-2mm) and so needed sanding down once attached to the wings. All worth it in the end though, since the Aeroclub intakes are still vastly superior in shape to the kit versions.

Other than that, the story is similar to the that for the FB.5. The fuselage joints are all poor — I made up complete fuselage halves and then joined them together, but this resulted in an asymmetric nose in plan view as the fuselage halves were not the same length. There were big gaps (1-2mm) around the resin nose insert, and the underfuselage panel did not fit well. Aside from the intake areas, the wings were a better fit to the fuselage and I built up the tail assembly in the same manner as for the single-seater. There is an addendum sheet telling the modeller that the canopy front does not fit to the fuselage (no kidding!) but the suggested fix of altering the canopy shape seemed highly impractical; I filled the gap with Milliput instead.

Eventually I had a complete airframe that had to be painted in the same time frame (and at the same time) as the FB.5. I used Halford’s primer as a base for the Alclad II White Aluminium; in future I will put a coat of Humbrol Gloss Black in between as the primer is just too grainy, even after extensive rubbing down. The aluminium areas were masked and a white acrylic undercoat sprayed for the dayglo orange. I used Xtracolour dayglo orange (actually for Luftwaffe aircraft) and was very satisfied. The photos make it look much more orange, and less fluorescent than it is in real life. I visited Duxford whilst building this kit and confirmed that the Xtracolour dayglo is a good match for the real paint on their two-seat Vampire. The paint was overcoated and washed in my usual manner, again forgetting to wash the decals after I had applied them (doh!). The kit decals were used and were flawless.

In common with the two seater, there are two obvious flaws with this model: the canopy was not very well masked, and the panel lines not highlighted over the decals. In addition, it was not until adding the undercarriage that I realised the kit should have come with a separate resin nose door different to that for the single-seater. My kit was missing this and I had painted and decalled the injection moulded door, which is the wrong shape. I made it a little more square, but basically it is curved when it should be flat. Not a bad kit at the end of the day. If I hadn’t been in a rush it would look much better, but I was glad to have it completed before packing away the models for a year or two.

Year bought: 2005 (Hannants)

Year built: 2006 (St Ives, Cambridgeshire)

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