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Robert Bausch
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Here’s to old RAF jets! 1/32 DeHavilland Venom NF.3, 151 Sqn, RAF

December 14, 2013 · in Aviation · · 12 · 3.1K

This is the old kit, which could be built as a RAF version, or a Fleet Air Arm Sea . It is another of those kits that I “started in the City, and finished in the country”, but this time it's one that I only finished pretty recently (for me, anyway). Just in the last several years, I think. So it has been under construction in 4 of our homes, for probably 30+ years!

It's a pretty simple kit, with a bare bones cockpit, and very basic jet engine inside (as in Matchbox, perhaps a bit toy like), but I don't think you will find another 1/32 DH Venom (though I could be wrong!). A straightforward 3 color RAF camouflage scheme. 151 Squadron's markings of the cross of St. Andrew livens it up a bit. 151 at this time (1955) was based at RAF Leuchars in Scotland.

After all the years of moving and storage, the decals were a bit troublesome, as they tended to break up, but I kept at it, and did the best I could! It's strange, because in looking at my leftovers from the kit: instructions, decals and extra parts for the FAA version, I discover that I had 3 complete decal sheets for this model, I don't know why. Not sure why I had trouble with the decals with so many to choose from, but guess they all looked good, and when I had trouble with the one I used, didn't want to get in the hassle of trying to get them off, and maybe ruining the finish. They were all the same age, so all probably would have produced the same problems.

The early DeHavilland twin boom jet fighters were always kind of interesting to me. I seem to remember the initial version, the Vampire, was referred to as “the aerial kiddie car”! The Venom had a very modestly swept back wing (leading edge) compared to the Vampire, and the more powerful DH Ghost engine, which gave it a top speed of nearly 600 mph, and a climb rate of about 6500 fpm, not bad for the time. Its ceiling was 45,000 feet and maneuverability at high altitude was quite good, not necessarily so with the early jets (except the Canberra!). These aircraft still had largely wooden construction in the fuselage, like the Mosquito and Vampire. Of course the Sea Vixen was a far more up to date machine, and was all metal! But still with twin booms.

I have 1/72 models of both the DH Sea Vixen and Gloster Javelin, and you can see how much more efficient the Sea Vixen looks next to the massive Javelin. For some reason, however, I have always liked the Javelin, I guess maybe because the delta wing was a novelty at the time of its introduction. And that huge fin, with the delta tailplane at the top. And my love of the RAF, which is the reason for a lot of the aircraft I like.

My main reference was the old (1974) monograph on the Venom by Roger Lindsay. This has a fairly detailed “Modelling the Venom” section, devoted to the 1/72 Frog kit of the Sea Venom FAW.21/53 (which I built, but no longer have), and how to modify that kit to different versions, including land based RAF types. No mention of the 1/32 Matchbox kit, as it hadn't appeared yet. According to my info it came out in 1980.

Anyway, this Venom is one that I'm glad I decided to keep!

Reader reactions:
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12 responses

  1. that's really the two seater vampire and such

  2. Bob,
    Excellent work on this model. My hat goes off for anyone that can make such a beautiful model from a Matchbox kit.

  3. Great detailing. Subtle paintwork on an iconic airframe.

  4. Nice to see an old Venom posted .
    A really great job done on it as well Robert.
    The old Matchbox kits, ahhhh, I remember them well. Never got round to building the larger scales but built a few of the smaller kits back then ,so long ago!

  5. These 50's jets are certainly very attractive, and you've made a typically great job of this one, Robert.

  6. Nice work, Robert. Proof that persistence pays off. This reminds me I have the same kit (Revell boxing, better decals) and a good sheet of aftermarket decals to let me do a Sea Venom from Operation Musketeer. I really ought to drag it out and finish it off. If I get a couple MB Mk.2 resin seats I'm on my way. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  7. Nice, clean build. RAF paint schemes were always "cool", no matter what the aircraft.

  8. I don't think I have ever seen one of these build even if the Matchbox kits were quite common when I grew up in the 1980s. You've done a good job on this one, I like it a lot!

    Best regards


  9. Thanks!
    Thank you all for your nice comments on the Venom. I'm glad I finally finished this one, it must have felt neglected over all those years! Now it is complete and on display, and not residing in a box in some dark corner.
    Robert Bausch

  10. said on July 31, 2014

    Great job on this model. This aircraft shows up numerous times in my father's log book from when he was stationed at 151 Leuchars. Very happy to see the aircraft live on.

    • John,

      Thanks for your nice comment. Some years ago I did a painting of a Gloster Javelin in 151 Squadron markings. It was seen on my website by a gentleman in Scotland who had flown the exact aircraft I did the painting of! We corresponded, and I was able to send him a digital file of the painting which he had a local firm make a large print of. It now hangs on a wall in his home. His name is David Reed. I was trying to send you a picture of the painting, but don't see your email address. If you are interested, let me know. Thanks again!

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