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Sea Venom

Classic Airframes 1/48 Sea Venom FAW.21 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer Classic Airframes
Subject Sea Venom FAW.21 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4112 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Interesting FAA subject Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Sea Venom
Sea Venom
Sea Venom
Sea Venom
Sea Venom
Sea Venom

The de Havilland Venom was follow-on design of the RAF's first single-engine fighter, the Vampire. Incorporating a larger engine, the Venom would be the last of the line to be powered by a centrifugal-flow jet engine as the next generation - Sea Vixen, would transition to the German-developed axial-flow engine that had greater growth potential.

The Sea Venom was a navalized version of the two-seat Venom used as a carrier-based all-weather fighter/interceptor. The Sea Venom FAW (fighter, all-weather) first flew in 1951 and started its carrier suitability trials that same year. The first version was the FAW.20 and featured side-by-side seating. The FAW.21 followed and introduced structural improvements, an American-made radar (and different radome), and added ejection seats to the type. The FAW.22 was the final version and added additional thrust and the capability to carry the Firestreak missile. Later in their service careers, several FAW.21 and FAW.22 airframes were converted to electronic warfare aircraft and designated as ECM.21 and ECM.22, respectively. The FAW.53 was the Australian designation for their FAW.21s in RAN service.

Here is Classic Airframes next installment in the de Havilland jet-fighter line-up, the Sea Venom. This kit is nicely laid out and features some very nice detailing in the styrene and resin parts.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts, and a bag full of resin details.

The cockpit is nicely rendered with the radar officer's seat properly shifted aft to allow for safe ejection from around the bulky radar gear. The ejection seats are nicely cast with seat belts and shoulder restraints in place as well as the overhead grab handle to fire the seat. You can see the nice resin tub that has side walls and the nicely rendered instrument panel to enclose the tub. Install the radar, control stick, rudder pedals, and ejection seats to complete this assembly.

The engine exhaust duct gets the turbine face installed at one end, and this is placed in the fuselage along with the cockpit tub to get the fuselage process started. The styrene belly pan and resin ventral nose section containing the nosewheel well and gun ports get inserted into the underside of the fuselage along with whatever ballast (weight not specified) you'll need to keep the aircraft from becoming a tail-dragger.

The wings go together next with the tip tanks and resin wing root intakes coming together. Unlike the Vampire kit previously released, this one uses styrene for the airflow ducting on the inside of the intakes.

The tail booms, horizontal stab, and wings all install together with the fuselage to render the airframe subassembly. Add the landing gear, canopy, and optional rocket armament to complete your FAW.21.

Decals are provided for three examples:

  • Sea Venom FAW.21, WW189, 892 Sqn, FAA, J/451, HMS Ark Royal, Operation Musketeer, Nov 1956
  • Sea Venom FAW.21, XG693, 894 Sqn, FAA, A/492, HMS Albion, late 1950s, sharkmouth
  • Sea Venom FAW.53, WZ897, 805 Sqn, RAN, M/801, HMS Melbourne, 1962

This is a nice addition to the Fleet Air Arm flightline and should build up rather nicely. As with any limited production kit such as these Classic Airframes examples, modeling skills and experience working with resin parts is essential for a successful build. Patience and frequent dry-fitting of parts is essential, especially when it is time to align the wings and tailboom with the fuselage to assure a square and true alignment from all angles.

I highly recommended this kit to intermediate/advanced modelers.

My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!