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de Havilland Vampire
F. Mk.1 Swiss AF


Czech Master Resin, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

Czech Master Resin Kit No. 226 - de Havilland Vampire F. Mk.1 Swiss AF

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media

57 x cream resin airframe parts, 7 x black resin undercarriage parts, 1 x Eduard coloured photo-etch (PE) fret,  2 x vac-from acetate canopies, 1 x  Eduard pre-cut paint mask and decals for 4 x aircraft

Price:

Available online from Hannants for £31.48, West Coast Hobbys for Cn$47.00 and various other CMR stockists. (Click here for currency conversion)

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Highly detailed and very comprehensive kit.

Disadvantages:

None apparent.

Conclusions:

Suited to modellers with some resin and multi-media experience.  A superb kit.

 

Reviewed by Mark Davies


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Background

 

The Vampire, originally to be named Spidercrab, was Britain’s second production jet fighter. It came into service just a little too late to see action in WW2. It was designed to exploit the Goblin jet engine that for its time was more powerful than most other early jets, enabling a single engine fighter to be considered when most designs required two engines. The twin-boom layout was adopted because this did not require a long jet-pipe that would have led to a loss of thrust. The small fuselage was constructed of wood in a similar manner to de Havilland’s Mosquito, but the remaining airframe was of conventional metal construction.

Flying only six months after Gloster’s Meteor in September 1943, the Vampire was a private venture project whereas the Meteor was already specified for production.  Two notable firsts attributed to the early Vampire were being the first RAF aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level flight, and the first jet to land on an aircraft carrier. It would go on to be developed into a very successful family of fighter-bombers, navalised versions, and two-seat all-weather fighters and trainers. Widely exported, the Vampire was still in relatively wide service with several airforces in the 1960’s and ‘70’s.

The Swiss Air Force selected the Vampire as its first jet aircraft, initially ordering three F Mk 1s.  Although all were delivered to Switzerland, one of these never made it into Swiss Air Force service as it was being used by the Swiss procure agency, Kriegstechnische Abteilung (KTA) for pilot training when it crashed after take-off at Dubendorf in August 1946. Consequently a fourth F Mk 1 was procured. The three remaining F Mk 1’s were retired in April 1961. However other marks of Vampire were to remain in Swiss service until replaced by BAE Hawks, and it was in January 1990 when the last 59 fighters and 33 trainers were finally withdrawn from service. (Thankfully, warbird enthusiasts bought many of these after their auction by the Swiss government.)

 

 

FirstLook

 

As far as I’m aware in 1/72 there have not been that many Vampire kits. There is the old Frog kit and far superior Heller/Airfix issue, both FB.5’s (although Heller also offered a French Mistral). Revell has also boxed the Heller kit, and Marivox offered it with conversion parts to make and F.Mk 1. Released just a few weeks ahead of this review were an F Mk 1 & FB.6 by A-Model (I have yet to see these kits, but I have been told they have some accuracy shape issues) . CMR has previously offered the Vampire prototype called the Spidercrab, and in 2009 the F.Mk 1 as the first of an all-new series of single-engine Vampires in “Hi-Tech” multi-media format.  This Swiss AF boxing of the earlier F Mk I provides some nice colour schemes and interesting ferry tanks.

The kit comes packaged in CMR’s now standard sturdy top opening box. The parts and decals are in heat sealed plastic bags, which in turn are sealed in a further bag with the instructions and photo-walkaround. The straightforward instructions consist of double-sided A4 pages (see here).

 

  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • CMR Swiss Vampire Kit Review by Mark Davies: Image
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The parts map and constructional illustrations are very clear and easy to follow. More double-sided pages give comprehensive painting and markings plans. Colour notes and other written instructions are in English. More double-sided pages provide an excellent photo section focused on various aspects of the Swiss F Mk 1’s.

The kit’s resin parts are in CMR’s usual cream resin, and very nicely moulded with virtually no pinholes. A little flash is evident in a couple of places, but this can be removed easily and in seconds. The undercarriage is in a black resin that provides greater strength than the cream resin for fine weight-bearing parts.

The kit is awash with detail. Considerable attention to detail has been paid to the cockpit, wheel wells and flap bays. Detail levels are further enhanced by the pre-coloured Eduard PE set provided.

 

 

Unlike the first F Mk 1 kit, this one only has the pressurised version’s canopy and later style seat. Two copies of the canopy provide for insurance or practice when cutting out. It comes with an Eduard pre-cut mask which simply serves to make life easy when it comes to painting.

 

 

What is interesting are two huge 100 gallon underwing slipper-type tanks. I have seen these in photos of aircraft just prior to delivery to Switzerland from England, so I assume they were ferry tanks rather than a Swiss attempt at radically boosting the F Mk 1’s in-service endurance. However, I could be wrong on this point.

Decals are typical of CMR, being well registered and suggest good opacity. Based on past experience they should be very good to use; but like most Czech decals they will be quite thin and need to be floated into position, as they tend to adhere extremely well once there is no fluid under them.

 

 

Markings for four Swiss AF schemes are included.

 

Conclusion

 

This is a superbly executed kit. Despite its tiny details and twin-boom layout it should go together in a straightforward manner. Without doubt, this is the definitive Swiss Vampire F1 kit, and it is highly recommended.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Czech Master Resin for this review sample.


CMR Models are available online from Hannants in the UK,
Red Roo Models in Australia and quality specialist model retailers worldwide.


Text Copyright 2010 by Mark Davies
This Page Created on 21 July, 2010
Last updated 21 July, 2010

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