Sea Vixen FAW 2/D3
Xtrakit & Xtradecals, 1/72 scale
S u m m a r y
Xtrakit XK 72003 -
de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW 2/D 3
Xtradecals X02577 - DH Sea Vixen FAW.1 and FAW.2
Media and Price:
Kit: 77 parts arranged on four sprues of grey styrene, six parts on transparency sprue, sixteen resin parts and decals for two subjects.
From GBP£14.46 available online from Hannants website
Please note that the usual minimum order requirement does not apply, so you may order just one kit if you wish.
Decals: Two double-sided full colour instruction sheets; one decal sheet
From GBP£5.95 available online from Hannants website
||Exquisite moulding with finely engraved panel lines and control surfaces. Lovely resin details. Excellent decals. Type long desired by FAA modellers.
||No locating/alignment pins for the major parts of construction. Slightly undersized seats. Some modelling experience will be required
Reviewed by Peter Mitchell
When Gerry Anderson, creator of the Thunderbirds, was designing the fantastic vehicles featured in that series, I wonder if it is possible that he was inspired by some of the then current RAF/RN jet aircraft? Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve always thought that Thunderbird 1 had more than a passing resemblance to the E.E. Lightning and that Thunderbird 2 (my particular favourite) must have had its genesis in the de Havilland Sea Vixen.
The Sea Vixen was the final development of de Havilland's response to Specifications N.40/46 and F.44/46 for an all-weather, missile-armed, high-speed jet fighter.
The other contender for this requirement was the Gloster Javelin.
In the end the RAF chose the Gloster product, while de Havilland won over the navy.
Things did not get off to a good start for the Sea Vixen.
The first prototype, the DH 110, tragically disintegrated at the 1952 Farnborough Air Show killing its crew and twenty nine spectators.
Following an investigation and some design modifications, a strengthened prototype resumed the development of the project.
The first true Sea Vixen had its maiden flight on 20th June 1955 and by 1956 it had conducted its full sea trails on HMS Ark Royal.
The Sea Vixen used the same twin tail boom arrangement as that used on its predecessors the de Havilland Vampire and Venom, indeed the Sea vixen resembled a Venom on steroids.
Crew arrangements on the Sea Vixen were slightly unorthodox, The pilot sat in a cockpit with the canopy offset to the left hand side, similar to the E.E. Canberra PR 9, while the navigator/observer was housed to the right completely within the fuselage down the "coal hole" which only had a small window.
First produced as the Sea Vixen FAW.1, this was succeeded in 1962 by the Sea Vixen FAW.2 which had improved electronics, crew escape systems and greater range. The extended range came from additional fuel stored in tanks housed in enlarged tail booms fitted above and before the wing leading edge.
Visually an FAW.1 and FAW.2 may be distinguished by these tail boom fuel tanks which extend forward over the leading edge of the wing on the FAW.2.
The Sea Vixen was to become the first British aircraft to be solely armed with missiles, rockets and bombs.
During its service career, the Sea Vixen flew with eight squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm until 1972, when they were eventually replaced by the McDonnell Douglas Phantom. The last remaining roles for the Sea Vixen in service was that of a target tug, the TT.2 and as a Drone the D.3 which flew on into the 1980’s.
Many examples of retired Sea Vixens escaped the scrap yard and are now to be found in museums.
Currently there is only one example XP924 that remains in flying condition.
To my knowledge there have only been two other injection moulded kits of the Sea Vixen produced in 1/72, these being the ageing Frog offering of the early 1970’s (re-released at various times by Novo and Revell) and the limited run Highplanes product from the 1990’s.
Now Xtrakit in conjunction with MPM have produced a most excellent rendition of the Sea Vixen in 1/72 scale.
This is most definitely the new gold standard for the Sea Vixen in 1/72.
The kit consists of four sprues of light grey styrene, minimal flash and exquisite surface detail. Sprue attachments are thin and sensibly placed, although there are some ejection pins that will need to be removed to ensure some larger parts fit together; but nothing that damages any detail or will be seen after construction.
Construction starts, as you might expect, with the cockpit. Here MPM have provided all the basics and then a little more. The cockpit tub is divided into pilot and observer sections, detailed side consuls are then added, as are two nicely detailed instrument panels. These are then supplemented by two beautifully moulded resin MB Mk.4D ejection seats complete with seat harnesses. The seats are slightly undersized - around 1/87 scale. Hannants has confirmed that this was an intentional compromise to permit more detail to be present on the various panels.
There is room for further detailing should the modeller wish to go down this path; however one must remember that the cockpit openings are not large and the predominant colour will be black.
The rear of the Rolls Royce Avon engines are provided as fine resin mouldings and these are engineered to slip into the end of the exhaust nozzles. Air intake ducts are provided and these are blanked off at the end by nicely represented engine turbine fronts.
The fuselage is split horizontally and extends along the wing to include the tail boom faring and inner wings. The top and bottom halves sandwich in the cockpit, enclosed wheel wells and engine ducts.
The tail booms and outer wing panels butt join to the main fuselage assembly, and this is perhaps the main weakness of the kit, since there are no alignment pins or tabs. It will in all probability be a little tricky to get the correct alignment and these critical joints will be weak. I feel that the modeller cannot avoid adding some extra strengthening pins in this area. Even so, by leaving the outer wings as separate panels it will enable the modeller to produce the kit with the wings folded. The attachment ends will need to be detailed and I expect that some enterprising after-market manufacturer is already working on resin replacements.
The nose is a separate item and attaches to the fuselage at a natural break, no doubt the same enterprising after-market manufacturer will provide the necessary radar installations that will enable this to be displayed in the open position.
No mention is made in the instructions concerning the need for nose weight and I would have expected that the Sea Vixen would be a tail-sitter. Nevertheless, there ought to be sufficient space in the nose for this to be included and I will certainly be adding it to mine….. just to be sure.
The final part of construction concerns the addition of the FAW.2 tail boom extensions, various fins, antennae, intakes and the landing gear. The forward landing gear is a delicately moulded resin item. In providing the tail boom extensions as separate items the mould designer has cunningly enabled this kit to model either the FAW.1 or FAW.2 versions. I suppose we can expect an FAW.1 version in the future.
The option of a leading edge refuelling probe is included, as is an extended or retracted arrestor hook.
Ordinance attachment pylons are provided, however the only ordinance included with the kit are outboard wing drop tanks. Interestingly these attachment pylons are about the only kit items I could find that have any shrinkage dimples in them and these are only slight!
The kit transparencies are clear and commendably thin they include windshields for both the FAW.1 or FAW.2 versions and will enable both pilot and observer cockpits to be displayed in the open position.
The decals are beautifully printed by AVIPRINT. They are very comprehensive, providing a plethora of stencils, the detail is fine enough for even the small print to be legible. The colour grades appear to be correct and the register is perfect.
The modeller is offered the choice of two schemes for the same aircraft “XP924”, this being the last Sea Vixen in flying condition. One option is this aircraft while in the service of 899 Sqn. in the standard RN camouflage scheme of extra dark sea grey over white.
The alternative is the colours it displayed in later life after it was converted to a D3 Drone, these being a rather attractive bright yellow over a red base.
Sea Vixen fans may be aware that this was the same aircraft that was for a time sponsored by “Red Bull”. Mercifully the option for that hideous livery is not provided.
Xtradecal X02577 - DH Sea Vixen FAW.1 and FAW.2
For those wishing to model other Sea Vixen, Xtradecal sheet X02577 provides sufficient decals to model virtually any FAW.1 or FAW.2 version.
The decals are perfectly printed with good register and opaque colours.
Instructions comprise two double-sided full colour sheets with side profiles of each featured aircraft and general top and bottom plan views.
This decal sheet ill be a very useful accessory for those wishing to customise their Sea Vixen.
Overall, this is a gorgeous kit that should satisfy the majority of modellers and will be suitable for all but novice levels. It is high quality and enough is included to make a pleasing model straight from the box, while those with a super-detailing fixation should be able to make a masterpiece without too much trouble.
At last we have a finely produced mainstream 1/72 Sea Vixen. Now I’m hoping for an accurate and modern rendition of the E.E. Lightning in 1/72.
Thank you Xtrakit!
Thanks to Hannants for the sample
Xtrakit instruction sheet
Wikipedia: Sea Vixen
Scale Aircraft Modelling Vol. 18, No. 8. October 1996 p390-392.
Model Aircraft Monthly Vol. 4, Issue 3. March 2005 p46-55.
“Warpaint No. 11” by Steve Hazell. Hall Publications.
Xtrakits, Xtraparts and Xtradecals are
available online from Hannants'
Text Copyright © 2008 by Peter Mitchell
Images Copyright © 2008 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 17 June, 2008
17 June, 2008
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