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Rick Wilkes
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Trumpeter 1/48 Vampire FB Mk. 5

December 17, 2013 · in Aviation · · 14 · 5.8K

As a memento of the IPMS/UK 50th Anniversary Tour, and being unable to model a massive bout of constipation, and unwilling to spend £40 for one of the Alleycat kits, I purchased the new FB Mk. 5, when I got home. Little did I know that the accuracy of this kit would more closely resembled the former than the latter...:-). Well enough of the potty humor and on with the build. I had no fit problems and had the model pretty much assembled before I found the comparison build with the Alleycat kit on At that point the only errors I decided to correct were the tailpipe and the sit of the landing.gear. I cut the "bell" off the kit tailpipe even with the end of the fuselage, then augured out enough room to insert a short piece of brass tube. To correct the sit I shortened the main gear struts ~3mm and substituted the nose gear strut from the SAC white metal replacement set. This is definitely a tail sitter and while I don't know how much weight I needed but it was a lot. I had to add more during final assembly due to the nose high sit. Of course the glue found a way to the inside of the windscreen, but I was able to pry it off and vac-u-form a replacement. The only addition to the cockpit was a sutton harness and some mostly imaginary painting to make it look busy. I used Tester MM enamels for the camo & masked with Blu-tac..I used Xtradecals sheet X48124 for a RaAF aircraft based at RAF Ouston that was shared by No. 607 & No. 608 Squadrons, hence the different flashes on each boom. Other than that, all markings are from the kit and went down well, a little silvering cured with Solvaset and a hair drier. That's pretty much it. It's virtues are excellent fit, nice detailing, fine engraved panel lines and the rivet guy didn't run wild. Of it's vices,as shown in various articles by Vampire boffins, they are legion and run from easy to nearly impossible to fix. I agree with the conclusion that you'd be better off getting the Alleycat kit if you want an truly accurate model of the Vampire, and if I build another Vampire, that is the kit I would buy. On the other hand with good references and the use of some use of greater or lesser modeling skills you can bring this kit up to probably 80-90% on the Vampire goodness scale for between 1/3 to1/4 the cost of the resin kit. In end I enjoyed building this kit, it's a nice looking little jet, with colorful markings and let's me recall the best and worst parts of my trip to England.

Now, I wish Christmas would get here, my wife says Santa's bringing me some Hobgoblin Ale

Happy Holidays


Reader reactions:
3  Awesome

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14 responses

  1. Wouldn't touch that opening statement with a corncob.
    The kit built up into a good looking model. Clean build & nicely applied finish.

  2. very cool looking model

  3. Nice build there Rick, it looks good.
    Well done.

  4. Nice clean build, great job on the cockpit detail, it makes the model.

  5. Rick,
    No matter what faults you found with the kit it definitely does not show. you did an excellent job on this. I really like it.

    • Thanks Frank. When I bought the kit I the only thing I thought questionable was the flare at the end of the tail pipe. It went together so well I had the basic airframe assembled and ready to paint before I learned of the "fatal flaws". Being a member of the "it's close enough for me crowd", I only fixed the things that I thought really helped to capture the "character" of the Vampire. If I had the info sooner I might have fixed some of the other things, but then again I probably would have bought an Alleycat kit and saved myself the


  6. Just to be clear I had a great time on the tour with old friends and new. My "ailment" was the result of something I brought with me, not the local cuisine. In fact once I had recovered, I had some of the best Chinese food, ( of all things) I've ever eaten while we were at Telford.

  7. Good looking build. I too have fallen victim to the evil Trumpy-but it sure looks like a Vampire from here.

  8. If you consider what your time is worth, even paying yourself minimum wage, the time spent getting this kit to "80-90%" of the Alleycat kit makes this the more expensive model. The Alleycat is not quite "throw it in the air and it assembles itself", but it is pretty close, and when I have sat my Alleycat Vampire next to one of these Trump kits, the difference is amazingly obvious.

    All that said, you have shown this kit's virtues with a very nice build.

    • Tom I certainly agree with the time invested vs value rendered factor. I just reviewed Jon's article on Britmodeller, and realized that I hadn't done any of his "easy fixes" such as squaring the wing tips & trailing edge of the rudders etc. To me the tailpipe and the sit were the two things that jumped out at me as a "casual" fan of the Vampire, and on reflection, I might have done more if I'd realized it sooner, but as you say, if I was going to commit to all that, I might as well have bought an Alleycat Vamp.

      I'll trouble you for one tip, when filling holes for drop tanks and such, I have tried plastic rod, stretched sprue from the same kit, putty and superglue, but more often than not, end up with a dent or a bump that I just can't get to blend smoothly with the rest of the surrounding surface. Where am I going wrong.


      PS: Where was that "what's my time worth" factor when you were slogging through a certain outfit's 1/48th Golden Age US Navy Biplanes?...;-) I'm glad you stuck it out, after all somebody has to be the first guy to ride a new

  9. Well, maybe it's not 100% accurate, but it certainly looks like a Vampire. Nice clean build, good detailing and a neat finish all help to make this into a very pleasing model.

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