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In-Box Review
172
DH Vampire T.11
De Havilland Vampire T.11
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by: Magnus Fridsell [ MAGNUSF ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

Very few kits have been available of the Vampire T.11 or its export versions in 1/72 and certainly no mainstream injected ones. This kit is without doubt a most welcome arrival! So what’s in this very attractively designed box then?

Box content
Decals
A comprehensive decal sheet almost the same size as the box is supplied. Markings for two aircraft and a horrendous lot of stencilling! A nice touch is that the underwing numbers are supplied in both full and pre-cut variants for use with either gear-up or gear-down builds. Regarding those two decal options, one is from RAF Oakington in 1962, silver with lots of colourful orange dayglo markings. The other one is a currently airworthy civilian registred aircraft based with the Vampire Preservation Group at North Weald, also in silver but with different dayglo markings. I would have preferred another operational option considering the almost total lack of after-market decals. On the other hand it is a rather charming initiative and according to the instructions VPG and Airfix cooperated in the preparation of this kit.

Plastic parts
The plastic parts are on par with the latest Airfix offerings, maybe even a bit more refined. Panel lines are probably still a bit too heavy for some modellers tastes; I for one have no problem with them. They tend to look perfectly OK on the finished model! Details such as wheels, landing gear and cockpit parts are well detailed and finely cast. There is real intake trunking (filling and sanding that one internally will be quite an adventure...), a compressor face and a bit of detail on the rear cockpit decking. There is also a fairly nicely cast full crew of two, the fact that they are identical twins and obviously flying on autopilot (hands on the knees...) takes away a bit of the attraction... Sadly, still no engraved instrument panel; decal only as usual... When it comes to general casting quality, there is no flash but a sink mark is present along the upper surfaces of the flaps. This one will be very visible if not filled and sanded before painting!

Clear parts
The clear parts look OK. The bulged canopy (separately cast so can be built open) could have been both thinner and clearer but still I think I can live with it as it is.

Assembly
Assembly isn’t entirely conventional since the upper wing surface is supplied as one piece, wingtip to wingtip together with the center fuselage top. This then straddles the fuselage pod. I hope the parts fit well and even then I think some extra care when assembling this part of the kit will be necessary! Load options are limited to droptanks or not.

There are a few things that are NOT in the box that would have been nice to find there. The most obvious part is an early type canopy that is flatter and with more framing. Myself being Swedish, more than half of our Vampire fleet flew with that canopy. The other thing missing is different seats: many Vampires were flown without ejection seats, instead having bakelite “Spitfire-type” seats. This last thing is however a lot easier to fix than the canopy, I think you even could get away with filing down the kit ejections seats...

Conclusions
This is a sure winner and most probably a big seller being just about the only game in town for an attractive price. Model-wise I think Airfix have done a quite reasonable job but I still wish they had tried to stretch that last bit! Regarding the lack of decal options, I think this problem will be solved before most of us come to the decal stage of our first Airfix Vampire build...
SUMMARY
Highs: A sound and well-detailed at the usual reasonable Airfix-price!
Lows: Canopy could have been a bit clearer and thinner.
Verdict: The very fact that this is a nicely done Vampire T.11 makes this one a sure winner!
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: A02058
  Suggested Retail: £7.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 13, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 77.50%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 79.26%

About Magnus Fridsell (magnusf)
FROM: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

It all started with a Biggles book, one of those where he is a flying policeman... He flew an Auster of some kind. Later that year, this was in 1982 when I was 10, I got the Airfix Series 1 Auster for Christmas. Since then modelling has been my interest. It has survived RC flying, flying full sca...

Copyright ©2019 text by Magnus Fridsell [ MAGNUSF ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

The attack version was the Venom. I don't think that Airfix ever did a Venom, but the two seat night-fighter has been done by Dragon and multiple versions have been done by Czech Master. Here's a page full of Czech Master Vampire variants (plus a ringer thrown in).
FEB 17, 2013 - 04:47 AM
Thanks Jessica and Magnus for your feedback about the Chilean Vampire T11. I have just received the AZTEC decal sheet with some south american Vampires and a Chilean Vampire MkII. Is the Mk II the same variant of the T11 please ? Cheers Pierre.
FEB 17, 2013 - 11:19 PM
To make it very simple: if it looks the same it is the same. Check canopy and possibly lack of ejection seats! Magnus
FEB 17, 2013 - 11:24 PM
Thanks Magnus, I will check these points ! BTW, I've just applied the first primer coat (surfacer 1000). I will apply the second primer coat very soon and paint the model. Cheers Pierre.
FEB 21, 2013 - 01:33 AM
A build blog is now up and running here! Magnus
FEB 23, 2013 - 09:06 AM
Thanks Magnus ! I'll take a look....
FEB 25, 2013 - 11:49 PM
I guess it's better late than never so my thanks to Magnus for reviewing this kit and doing a build Blog. I just received this kit as a Christmas gift from my SWMBO and have been researching about it. From reading the review and the BLOG and a few other articles it appears things in the kit have changed. Primary is the option that one of the aircraft choices is now that of a Swedish J-28C. Here's a pict of the "newer" decals and paint instructions. Vampire-A-2 by Jan Etal, on Flickr Vampire-A- - 1 by Jan Etal, on Flickr Cheers, Jan
DEC 26, 2018 - 09:01 AM
Jan! Thanks for your update and I'm glad you found your way around to this old thread ! Note that the Swedish aircraft in this latest boxing is a museum aircraft. It is not possible to do an operational green-over-grey aircraft from the Airfix kit out-of-the-box since all aircraft that had the more modern "buldged" canopy as in the kit were painted silver. All operational green-over-grey aircraft had the older framed canopy that is not included in the kit. Note also that no operational SWAF aircraft no matter what canopy had ejection seats (!), they all had a classic "Spitfire-type" seat. How to make one of these from the kit seat can be seen in my build blog ! Gotta finish that Vampire soon, it stalled due to a decal mishap but it otherwise fit to fly another day... Magnus
DEC 26, 2018 - 09:45 PM
Kitmaker has a good track record of finding things on the first try if they exist. Subsequent searches aren't always so good. I read somewhere that it was some "Preservation Society" effort to keep a Vampire alive kind of like the British Vampire Preservation Group. Darn I was sort of leaning toward that version. Yes I read your note on the seats in the Blog and saw the pictures where you changed them. My intention was/is to keep the build simple and pretty much OOTB to sharpen some 'rusty' skills that have been dormant for a while Just a couple of quick observations on my kit. The grey sprues look pristine with no flash and I haven't noticed any visible sink holes or ejector pin marks that won't be hidden after assembly. The clear parts although separately bagged had a few light scratches on a couple of spots. HOWEVER, the main windshield was not cracked but did exhibit a scratch in the approximate area where your one in a picture was cracked. Thanks again for your review and insightful Blog. Good luck on finishing your build, I'll stay tuned. Cheers, Jan
DEC 27, 2018 - 04:01 AM
   

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