by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Originally published on:
Czech Master Resin [CMR] has released a 1/72 resin multimedia kit of the de Havilland Sea Venom. Both Royal Naval versions are included: the FAW 21 and 22 as well as the Royal Australian Navies FAW 53. The Sea Venom kit has the wings extended but CMR offer a separate release just for the wings if you fancy displaying the wings folded.
The de Havilland Sea Venom was a British post war carrier jet aircraft developed from the de Havilland Venom. It served with the Fleet Air Arm [FAA] and the Royal Australian Navy [RAN]. The French Navy operated the Aquilon, a version of the Sea Venom FAW.20 licence-built by SNCASE [Sud-Est].
The Sea Venom was the navalised version of the Venom NF.2 two-seat night fighter, and was used as an all-weather interceptor by the FAA. The necessary modifications for use on the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers included folding wings, a arrestor hook [which retracted into a characteristic "lip" over the jetpipe] and strengthened, long-stroke undercarriage. The canopy was modified to allow ejection from underwater. The first prototype made its first flight in 1951, and began carrier trials that same year. A further two prototypes were built. The first production Sea Venom took the designation FAW.20 [Fighter- All-Weather]. It was powered by a single de Havilland Ghost 103 turbojet engine and its armament was the same as the RAF version. The next variant was the FAW.21, which included the modifications introduced in the Venom NF.2A and NF.3. Some of these modifications included the Ghost 104 engine, a clear-view canopy and American radar. The final Royal Navy variant was the FAW.22 powered by the Ghost 105 engine. A total of 39 of this type were built in 1957–58. Some were later fitted out with the de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missile.
Seven FAW.21’s were modified in 1958 for electronic counter measures [ECM] purposes, with the cannon replaced by the ECM equipment. These became the ECM.21. 831 Naval Air Squadron [FAA], was the sole squadron to be equipped with it, was shore-based at RAF Witton from 1963 and disbanded in 1966. Converted FAW.22s was known as the ECM.22.
The Sea Venom saw much service during its time with the Royal Navy. In 1956 alongside RAF Venoms, Sea Venoms took part in the Suez War which began on 31 October. They were part of Nos. 809, 892 and 893 Naval Air Squadrons based on the light fleet carrier HMS Albion and fleet carrier HMS Eagle. The Anglo-French invasion, codenamed Operation Muskateer, took place in response to the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by Egypt’s leader, General Nasser. The air war began on the 31 October 1956 signalling the beginning of the Suez War. The Sea Venoms launched many sorties, bombing a variety of targets in Egypt in the process.
In 1958, during the Cyprus Emergency, Sea Venoms of 809 NAS, operating off HMS Albion, flew a number of sorties against the Cypriot terrorists. The type also saw service during conflicts in the Middle East.
By 1959, the Sea Venom began to be replaced in Royal Navy service by the de Havilland Sea Vixen, an aircraft that also had the distinctive twin-boom tail. The Sea Venom would be withdrawn from frontline service soon afterwards.
Thirty-nine Sea Venom FAW.53’s saw service with the Royal Australian Navy, replacing the Hawker Sea Fury. The FAW.53 entered service in 1956 and, during its service with the RAN, operated off the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. It was taken out of first-line service in 1967, when it was replaced by the American A-4 Skyhawk. The Aquilon saw service with the French Navy until being withdrawn in 1963.
CMR 231 de Havilland Sea Venom FAW 21/22/53
All the parts used in the construction of the Sea Venom are very well packed in the stout top opening box. The resin parts are contained in a sealed six pouch bag. Also there is a generous amount of bubble wrap to stop any excessive movement of parts in the box. Instructions, vac formed parts, photo etched parts and decals are separately packed in sealed bags. I do like the illustrations that Juanita Franzi is commissioned to do for the CMR kits, well worth cutting out and hanging in your workspace.
Included with this 1/72 multimedia kit is:
-numerous green resin parts,
-5 x black resin parts,
-1 x pre-coloured PE fret from Eduard.
-1 x non-coloured PE fret from Eduard.
-2 x vac-form canopies,
-1 x set of Kabuki masks for the windscreen and canopy, from Eduard.
-2 x decal sheets with options for five aircraft.
-14 x pages of construction, colour and marking instructions.
-8 x A4 sides of black and white photographs
The cockpit is made up from some superbly detailed resin and pre coloured photo etched parts. The cockpit floor and rear bulkhead and seats are one piece. There does not seem to be any compromise in quality with this arrangement and it saves a lot of time and effort constructing the cockpit. There is some excellent raised detail on the inside of the cockpit walls and on the deck behind the two crew members. The control stick also looks very good. There are pre coloured photo etched harnesses to fit to the seat. The style of the Eduard instrument panel should be the familiar to all: instrument faces printed on one piece and the instrument panel itself on another. The instruments do differ between the FAA and the RAN Sea Venoms so pay close attention to the instructions. The resin gun sight mount needs the glass screen scratch building; there is plenty of excess clear plastic from the canopies to fabricate one. There are various non coloured PE parts to further detail the cockpit. Interior colour is mostly black. All in all the parts will reproduce the busy and very cramped cockpit of the Sea Venom very well.
The canopy CMR supply two vac formed canopies and they look like some of the best I have ever seen. They are formed in one piece; the framing on the windscreen is delicately done. In fact the canopy is so thin and clear you do not need to separate the windscreen from the canopy to see all that lovely cockpit detail. If you really must separate the lovely looking one piece canopy and windscreen, then CMR provide a resin hinged arm for the canopy, but it will need adjusting slightly. There is a photo etched windscreen wiper to add to the windscreen.
The rather shapely fuselage is split vertically with excellent recessed detail. The panel lines and fasteners are very well done being light and very consistent. There are also a few raised bumps, air inlets and vents cast onto the fuselage. The inner parts of the scoops/vents are recessed. A quick fit of the two fuselage halves reveals that the panel lines meet right where they should do. The area around the jet pipe is beautifully shaped. The wall of the fuselage around the jet pipe is commendably thin. The one piece jet pipe is superb, very thin and the rear spool of the engine has been nicely represented deep inside. The wing locating points in the fuselage are the air intake duct and a generous slot towards the trailing edge. The front undercarriage bay is a separate one piece part that fits between in the gap in the floor of the cockpit. There is a little low relief detail in there, but the real thing does not have a lot of detail anyway.
The casting block for the fuselage halves has been removed, but there is a slight amount of roughness where the separation was done. But it should be easy enough to quickly clean the surface up before joining the fuselage halves. There are a few pin holes caused by air bubbles in the resin that need to be filled. This is easily done with some liquid paper or Tippex.
Each wing is one piece and quite breathtaking in the detail and includes the large wing tip fuel tanks. The detail on the surface is a mixture of fine recessed lines and raised areas. The stunning detail extends to the rib detail in the undercarriage bays and the exposed areas that are seen when the flaps are dropped. The depth of the undercarriage bays is just right. I particularly like the look of the blisters above and below the wings where the undercarriage bays are situated. There are some remaining parts of the casting block at the wing root that will need to be cleaned up to ensure a good join to the fuselage. CMR has captured the shape of the wing very well.
The air intakes for the engine are separate one piece parts. There are two PE braces to attach to the inside of each intake. The intake ducts turn 90° into the fuselage so there is not much chance of seeing the forward part of the engine. The duct ends are flashed over preventing seeing into the fuselage. Both the intakes are attached to the same casting block via some very thin flash that should be no problem to remove. In fact they will easily detach with some light pressure using your fingers. The wing fences are photo etched parts.
The four separate and highly detailed flaps and air brakes can be displayed retracted or extended. If you are displaying them down then there are numerous resin actuating arms to add.
There is a choice between types of stabiliser slabs, both are one piece and incredibly thin. It shares the same razor sharp trailing edges of the main wings.
The tail booms are both one piece with the rudders cast in situ in the neutral position. The attachment point is at the trailing edge of the wing. There is a small stub in the tail boom that fits into a hole in the fairing in the wing. The stub will need trimming down slightly to ensure a tight fit. There are locating holes in the bullet fairing where the pins on the horizontal stabiliser fit. The trailing edges of the rudders are incredibly thin. A little light cleaning up is required on the lower parts of the booms where the casting block was removed. The recessed detail is very good, I particularly like the series of inspection hatches running down the inside of the booms, there are even tiny holes where the screws where located.
The undercarriage legs are cast in the stronger black resin along with the retracting jacks for the main undercarriage. They look superb, but great care will be necessary removing the delicate parts from the casting block. The main legs have additional photo etched parts. The detailing on both sides of the gear doors is superb and they are very thin as well. The three spoke detail of the main wheels is exquisite and it’s nice to see the distinctive de Havilland nose wheel tyre has been reproduced.
The tail hook looks very good but is very delicate, so handle with care.
Ordinance there is quite a lot of stuff to hang under the wings. Also included are two Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear [RATOG] packs you can fit under the tool booms.
-2 x 100 gallon fuel tanks.
-24 x shaped rocket projectiles. There are eight projectiles for each of the three types of shaped warheads: two types of practice and one type of live rounds.
-4 x rocket rails.
-2 x 1000lb HEMC bombs.
-2 x 5000lb GP bombs.
-2 x 250lb GP bombs.
-2 x RATOG packs.
The fuel tanks are one piece with photo etched fins. The rocket projectiles have separate photo etched tail fins; there is a PE jig to help with alignment of the fins. The rocket rails are separate pieces and the racks onto which the rockets are mounted are PE parts. The rockets can be stacked in two’s or singularly on the rocket rails. The bombs are one piece items. The RATOG packs are one piece resin items with two rocket motors with each pack.
Accuracy: The CMR Sea Venom looks spot on dimensionally and the outline shape looks very good indeed. Also looking at the many images this kit captures the look of the Sea Venom extremely well.
Markings five options are included with this release:
[A]-DH Sea Venom FAW 21, WW189 - '451/J', No.892 NAS, HMS Eagle, 'Suez Crisis', 5th-11th November 1956.
[B]-DH Sea Venom FAW 21, WW281 - '095', No.893 NAS, HMS Eagle, 'Suez Crisis', 5th-11th November 1956.
[C]-DH Sea Venom FAW.22, XG721 - '582/HF', No.750 NAS, Hal Far, Malta, 1965.
[D]-DH Sea Venom FAW.53, WZ895 - '870/NW', No.724 Squadron RAN, Naval Air Station (NAS) Nowra, Summer 1959.
[E]-DH Sea Venom FAW.53, WZ906 - '209/M', No.724 Squadron RAN, HMS Melbourne, 1964.
Options [A], [B], [D] and [E] are painted with sky under surfaces and extra dark sea grey upper surfaces. Option [C] has white under surfaces and extra dark sea grey upper surfaces. Options [A] and [B] have yellow and black Suez Campaign stripes painted on the wings and tail. Option [E] has dark blue wing tip tanks.
The decals are silk screen printed. The colour density and the definition look very good indeed. There are many stencils and wing no go areas included on one sheet. The other decal sheet has national insignia, squadron and serial numbers as well as squadron badges and art work.
The masks are made from Kubaki tape and are produced by Eduard. This sheet has masks for the canopy and wheels.
The instructions has some fine black line diagrams and the written instructions are in English. They certainly leave you in no doubt where things go or what colour they are painted. The painting instructions and decal guide provide multi view drawings of the aircraft. Federal Standard numbers are provided for the paint references. I do like the inclusion by CMR of the black and white photo references.
Ref No: CMR 231
Price: £39.99 from Hannants
Wing Fold Set
This separate release from CMR provides you with a set of folded wings, a feature that always adds interest to any naval aircraft. No surgery is necessary. Included with this release is:
-2 x outer wing section.
-2 x inner wing section.
-2 x sway braces.
-Numerous wing hinge detail parts
-1 x double sided A4 sheet of instructions and reference images.
The parts for the wing fold set share the same high quality recessed and raised detail. All the parts are in resin, there are no PE parts. There is some superb detail around the hinges and the ribs in wing fold. There also many separate parts for the hinges and mechanism. The parts are very small so a lot of care will be needed to remove parts from their respective blocks. The initial glue points for the two sections of wing should be quickly followed up by adding the hinges to add strength. CMR has thoughtfully provided resin sway braces for the folded wing, but I would be tempted to replace them with suitable metal parts.
Instructions are very good and provide oversized drawings of all the relevant parts. The large drawings certainly make life easier fitting the small wing hinge parts.
Ref no: DS7207
Price: £19.99 from Hannants
CMR has taken advantage of being able to produce high quality kits using multimedia parts. Were this kit excels is the use of resin for the major parts of the airframe. You will notice the traditional breakdown with the fuselage from plastic kits, but the big bonus with this release is the one piece wings and booms. Along with the separate wing fold parts, the CMR offers a superb kit of this important aircraft. The level of detail of the resin parts is superb and they are enhanced with the PE etched parts. Accuracy? Well it’s by far and away the most accurate looking Sea Venom in 1/72 I have seen to date in any medium. It captures the lovely curves very well indeed. This release because of the breakdown of the components does not look a difficult build although there are a lot of very small delicate parts.