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Spiros Pendedekas
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1/48 Hobbycraft de Havilland Vampire FB52, Iraq, 1955

Hi everyone!

This my 1/48 FB52, , 1955, built for the 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 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.

Happy Modeling!

Reader reactions:
15  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

48 responses

  1. Such a cool looking plane Spiros.! Fantastic job.


  2. A great job. Spiros, a truly different scheme. The narrative keeps it interesting.

  3. Nice build, Spiros. Very interesting subject all around and you did it justice. Well done, friend.

  4. Great build, Spiros, I've always loved the Vampire, and it looks especially good in this colour scheme.

  5. Not a silk purse from a sow's ear, but a nice, useful cloth purse. A triumph of skill and talent over plastic.

    • Thanks Tom, @tcinla!
      Those small "extra detailing" attempts (my usual sratchbuilt and often ficticious way...) might add some interest to an otherwise solid but in need for some more refinement kit...
      ...Having commenced this sic intro, please wish me good luck on my forthcoming 1/48 Glencoe Venom build!...(with the jewel Scalemaster decals, though...)

  6. Great job Spiros! Really like the underneath shot with the Iraqi markings.

  7. Nice work from a not so nice kit, Spiros. I’d love to see Airfix do some 1/48 Vampires. The markings selections are endless.

  8. Great result from a very average kit Spiros. I really like the colour scheme as most Vampires I have seen are painted aluminium or NMF.

    • Thanks Haslam @Haslam55!
      There were Zimbabwe lovely (though minimal) markings too, at an equal amazing allover brown with disruptive green topsides...
      ...making me wish to have bought two of them kits, despite their very average posture...

  9. It was a pleasure to follow your build Spiros! And a very nice result from your efforts. Thank you for sharing this my friend (@fiveten)

    • Thanks for all support (Admin DH100GB wise, modeling wise and friend wise), my friend @airbum!

      It is a pure pleasure for me to be a member of your Group. And pure fun, too. Thank you for this!

      I will be in urgent need for your thoughts, best wishes and continuous support on my forthcoming (Oh! NO!) ...Glencoe 1/48 Venom...

      ...a kit, whose start was described as "The start of madness" by a fellow modeler...

      (LOL LOL LOL!)

      But, more to come on the DH100GB thread...

  10. Hi Spiros. WOW what a fantastic looking Vampire. I like the camo and all round this is an awesome build. Well done!

  11. Great job Spiros.

  12. One of the coolest de Havilland planes.
    You made it look fantastic in this scheme, Spiros @fiveten
    Those modifications gave it something extra.
    Must have been difficult to land this plane, hardly any tail to ground clearance.

    • Thanks for following along my build, John @johnb!
      And thanks for liking the final result!
      The Vampire is such a beauty of a plane indeed!
      I bet it was taking off an landing almost "levelled"; no Mirage 2000 style aerodynamic braking on this one!

  13. Spiros, @fiveten
    This little plane looks amazing ! I have been following along with you on the build journal, even though I didn't leave too many comments. All of the little scratch built items you added have really paid off well, and have added to the realism. I have never seen another one of these Vampires painted this way, in the desert scheme and wearing Iraqi markings.

    Well done my friend. I pressed the "liked" button too.

  14. Spiros: You made it to the finish line at last! I agree with Louis - all that scratch work and patience paid off big time! That pudgy little Vampire looks uniquely fantastic! Congrats on another fine looking model.

  15. Thanks my friends Louis @lgardner and Eric @eb801!
    You were a fantastic company all along my build!

  16. Nice to see a Vampire that is not silver occasionally! You have done a fine job Spiros

  17. Really nice, Spiros (@fiveten). The camouflage came out particularly well. It was great to follow along with your build.

  18. It was great and really supportive that you followed along my build, George @gblair.
    Thanks for liking the final result!

  19. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    A fabulous looking Vampire jet Spiros.
    Just standing there gives it a glow of historic stature plus the national markings and
    camouflage of Iraq gives this build a unique appeal.
    Very nice work.

  20. Nice one, Spiros!
    Never saw a Vampire with this camo before. Built one for a friend in Swiss livery an year ago and got another one to build for myself in Portuguese colors sometime in the future.
    Waiting for your Venom.

  21. Another beauty Spiros! Love the Iraqui scheme (I built an Su-24 in that scheme). Turns the Vamp into something unusual!

  22. Nice job Spiros, never saw one in that camo scheme. Well done.

  23. Great looking Vampire, you choose very attractive color scheme, and executed it well.
    I am preparing myself for the T-55 model in 1/72 scale, in very similar Jordanian colors.
    Hope will get result near as yours.
    Regards Djordje

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