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Vampire

Classic Airframes 1/48 Vampire NF.10 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2006 Manufacturer Classic Airframes
Subject de Havilland Vampire NF.10 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 492 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Excellent detailing in the cockpit and wheel wells Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Vampire
Vampire
Vampire
Vampire
Vampire

The Vampire was the UK's first operational single-engine jet fighter and was the first jet fighter in the world to land on an aircraft carrier. The distinction for the first operational single-engine jet fighter went to the He 162 Volksjager.

The weight penalty for using a twin-boom structure was offset by obtaining the optimum thrust out of the early jet engines by not forcing them to breath down or exhaust out of long fuselage ducts. The overall design is one of simple functionality, with the least amount of weight to carry a pilot, guns, fuel and an engine aloft.

Production of the Vampire extended over 20 years in several countries, with over 5,000 aircraft built. Few jet aircraft can boast of a production run of that size, much less mass production of the UK's first operational jet fighter!

This new series from Classic Airframes isn't the first Vampire to be produced in 1/48 scale (Hobbycraft earned that distinction), but this is certainly the best Vamp (in my opinion) produced in any scale to date. While even the first Classic Airframes release of the Vamp had a few minor problems, each subsequent version seems to iron out these issues. In this installment, we have the two-seat night fighter variant of the Vampire, the NF.10.

Molded in Classic Airframes' standard light gray styrene, the kit is presented on two parts trees. No flash is apparent on any of the parts and you can see the simple layout for yourself.

The kit also comes with a set of resin parts cast in medium gray resin providing the cockpit, intakes, main wheel wells, ventral fin extensions, and landing gear wheels.

The kit also comes with two sheets of decals to cover the this variant. The three aircraft presented in this set include:

  • NF.10, WM705, 151 Sqn, RAF Leuchars, 1952
  • NF.10, WP256, 23 Sqn, 1953
  • NF.10, ST-53, Scoula Turbogetti, Italian AF, 1955

As you can see in the images, the first decal sheet provides the distinctive aircraft markings whilst the second sheet provides the airframe stenciling.

I am really impressed with the nice injection molding on this kit, and even more so with the casting of these resin parts! The only real challenge in building this kit will be to get sufficient weight into the nose to allow it to sit properly on the nose gear. I don't see any issues here and only a beautiful rendition of this unique aircraft.

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!

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