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Vampire FB.9

Trumpeter 1/48 Vampire FB.9 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2013 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Vampire FB.9 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2875 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build Cons Decal roundels
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $32.95

First Look

Vampire FB.9
Vampire FB.9
Vampire FB.9
Vampire FB.9

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!

Over the last few years, Trumpeter has produced several subjects previously released by Classic Airframes and here is their latest: their first installment in the de Havilland Vampire series. This is the FB.9 which is also interesting in that this kit is simple!

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees and one tree of clear parts. No photo-etched details, no tiny parts, and some very nice engineering. At last, a Vampire in 1/48 that will also be an easy build.

So let's get to the features and options:

  • Nice cockpit (though you can bet the Eduard will dress this up for the AMS modeler)
  • Fuselage and wings are molded integral top and bottom halves
  • Choice of drop tanks or slipper fuel tanks
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable landing gear

The kit provides markings for two subjects:

  • Vampire FB.9, WR128, 502 Sqn, RAF Auxillary, RNAS Sydenham, UK, 1955
  • Vampire FB.9, WP996, 32 Sqn, RAF, RAF Khormaksar, Aden, 1952

Markings are provided on a single sheet which unfortunately has some of the roundel red dots off-center on my example.

Out of the box, this kit will be a really simple build that has some nice detailing. It is nice to see Trumpeter turning out subjects that are not over-engineered so that more modelers will appreciate these subjects.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!