1/48 Hobbycraft de Havilland Vampire FB52, Iraq, 1955
This my 1/48 Hobbycraft de Havilland Vampire FB52, Iraq, 1955, built for the de Havilland Aircraft Company 100 years Group Build.
The Vampire is a British jet fighter which was developed and manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was the second jet fighter to be operated by the RAF, after the Gloster Meteor, and the first to be powered by a single jet engine.
Development of the Vampire as an experimental aircraft began in 1941 during the Second World War, to exploit the groundbreaking innovation of jet propulsion. From the company’s design studies, it was decided to use a single-engine, twin-boom aircraft, powered by the Halford H.1 turbojet (later produced as the “Goblin”).
Aside from its propulsion system and twin-boom configuration, it was a relatively conventional aircraft. In May 1944 it was decided to mass-produce the aircraft as an interceptor for the Royal Air Force (RAF). In 1946 the Vampire entered operational service with the RAF, only months after the war had ended.
The Vampire quickly proved to be effective and was adopted as a replacement of wartime piston-engined fighter aircraft. During its early service it accomplished several aviation firsts and achieved various records, such as being the first jet aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The Vampire remained in front-line RAF service until 1953 when it was progressively reassigned to various secondary roles, such as ground attack and pilot training, for which specialist variants were produced.
The RAF retired the Vampire in 1966 when its final role of advanced trainer was filled by the Folland Gnat. The Royal Navy had also adapted the type as the Sea Vampire, a navalised variant suitable for operations from aircraft carriers. It was the service’s first jet fighter.
The Vampire was exported to a wide variety of nations and was operated worldwide in numerous theatres and climates. Several countries deployed the type in combat during conflicts, including the Suez Crisis, the Malayan Emergency, and the Rhodesian Bush War.
By the end of production, almost 3,300 Vampires had been manufactured, a quarter of these having been manufactured under licence in several other countries. In addition, de Havilland pursued the further development of the type; major derivatives produced include the DH.115, a dedicated dual-seat trainer, and the more advanced DH.112 Venom, a refined variant furnished with a swept wing (instead of the straight wing of the Vampire) and oriented towards conducting ground attack and night fighter operations.
Iraq initially bought in 1953 6 single seat Vampires FB52 and a single T55 dual seater, followed, in 1955, by a second batch of another 6 single seaters and nine dual seaters, one of which crashed during delivery. It was Iraq’s first jet fighter unit.
After the British pullout of Iraq that year, the machines’ fate, in terms of spare parts availability, might not have been so sporty, resulting in the slow but steady process of them phasing out. It has been reported that the ones in flying condition were used against Kurdish rebels by 1961, totally fading away the following years.
The Hobbycraft kit has received criticism for producing a Vampire-ish result, and it is true that it could be more detailed, or more accurate, in some areas.
it is a solid kit though and that Iraqi brown/sand over azure (-ish) blue with the gorgeous looking numbering was very tempting, so rare for a Vampire!
I did some scratchbuilding and modifications at areas that would look too plain or wrong (basically cockpit, wheel wells and landing gear.
As usual, I won’t tire you with building/painting details (and I might have already tired you with the historical intro, which was almost copied from wikipedia, enriched with som info read in Greg Goebel’s Airvectors.net amazing site…).
Should you need detailed info on the build, please refer to my Group Build thread:
Some “in-progress” shots are attached to the end of this article.
I would like to express my sincere regards to our friend Erik Gjørup @airbum, GB Administrator, not only for the conception of this amazingly interesting GB, but also for his warm welcome and continuous (and very pleasant!) support through my build and all participants builds!
Also, my equally sincere regards to all friends who followed my build, “keeping good, solid modeling company” and constructively commenting.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.