1/48 Trumpeter Vampire FB Mk 9
I actually started this model around 5 or 6 months ago for the De Havilland Group, but life jumped up and bit me on the backside. The virus got bad here in Texas and really slowed things down. Then my daughter had a baby (our first and probably only grandbaby). We found ourselves traveling to Austin (about 2 hours away) at least once a week to visit, which burns a lot of time. Then I suggested we move to Austin (I didn't think my wife would leave our house that we had been in for 30 years), but now we are waiting to move into a house that is being built. Unbuilt models are much easier to move, so I packed up all the models except for a few. In the midst of going through 30 years of collected stuff, I got back to working on the Vampire. Then the Arctic blew through Texas, everything froze solid, and we had no electricity and no water for a week. All of you who live in cold climates can laugh, but south-central Texas isn't supposed to get so cold. Things are finally back to sort-of normal and I finally finished the Vampire.
I have wanted to build something from RAF Cranwell for a while. Cranwell is the military college where the RAF provides the initial training for their future flying officers. Back in the 1980s I was an Air Force Captain, and I got a call from the Air Force Personnel Center. They were looking for someone with very specific requirements to fill an exchange assignment to RAF Cranwell. Apparently my background as a T-37 Instructor Pilot, a current C-141 Instructor Pilot, and a classroom instructor in pilot training was what they were looking for. When they submitted my name to Airlift Command for the assignment, they refused to release me from my current assignment because there was a shortage of C-141 instructors. So, this assignment was the one that got away.
I thought this would be a fairly simple kit to build. Early in the planning stage my friend Spiros (@fiveten) mentioned that this kit isn't exactly a Mark 9 Vampire. It seems that De Havilland added a Godfrey air conditioning unit to a Mark 5 so that it would be more suitable for desert operations. The a/c unit was housed in the right intake, which was extended about 9 inches to accommodate the air conditioner. So, the Mark 9 is basically a Mark 5 with an air conditioner.
Spiros pointed out that the Mark 9 had assymetric intakes, but he thought no one would notice that the Trumpeter kit didn't have the correct starboard intake. Once you know about the different intakes, I knew it would bother me not to fix them. I figured it would be an easy fix, and indeed it took little effort to add the revised starboard intake. The kit was also missing the pitot tube located on the port fin, but that was also easy to fix.
The build was problem free until it was time to add the decals. I planned to use some decals I had purchased from Euro Decals. I had used their decals before and really liked them. These seemed to be thicker than previously, and they were very brittle. I managed to shred several of the decals trying to get them into position. Luckily I could replace the broken decals with the kit decals, which performed very well. The other problem area was the light blue bands that wrap around each boom. The decals for these bands were too small to wrap around the booms, so I chose to paint them instead. The sky blue bands, along with their thin black stripes on each end were masked and painted without too much drama (much to my surprise).
Finally done, and I have a reminder of the assignment I almost had in the 1980s. Everyone stay safe.