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De Havilland
Vampire FB Mk. 5


Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 470 - De Havilland Vampire FB Mk. 5
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 42 parts in gray styrene, 13 parts in gray colored resin and 2 clear injection molded parts. Instructions, decal sheet and painting guide for 3 aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$45.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Fine panel lines, highly detailed cockpit sidewalls, crisply printed decals.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Vampire FB Mk. 5  may be ordered online from Squadron




We have arrived at an interesting milestone in modeling, for it appears that one model company is issuing new kits in 1/48 scale faster then the average modeler is capable of building them.   

Classic Airframes has released kits of the Fiat CR. 42 and the Westland Wyvern since the second week in December 2004.   

Today, less than two months later, on 2 February, Groundhog Day, I received the De Havilland Vampire.   If Punxsutawney Phil* is correct, and we do indeed have six more weeks of winter, there are certainly enough new kits to build during those remaining long cold nights and weekends.





Upon opening the box, I was immediately struck by the fact that the color of the plastic is the same as that in the Wyvern kit.  But the similarity ends there.  First, the panel lines are much finer than the Wyverns, while still being sharp.  These appear to be “Goldilocks” panel lines.  In many of the older kits they were too fine. In the Wyvern, they seemed a bit too prominent.  But in this kit, they seem just right. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The second thing I noticed was the cockpit sidewalls.  While the Wyvern’s were quite basic, the Vampire’s are beautifully detailed.  Once again, the control column is cast as an integral part of the cockpit. Given the two-part canopy, the cockpit can be shown off quite nicely.  As with the Wyvern’s canopy, a dip in Future will improve the clarity. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

There is no doubt that this kit was designed so that the maximum number of Vampire variants could be developed.  The booms, wing tips and center fuselage are molded as separate components.  This kit includes both the flat and rounded wing tips. 

A few random observations: There are not many accessories included, just a pair of under wing tanks.  The wheel wells have a very thin pour stub. Also, there is a depression around the wheel well opening in the wing in which the resin well sits.  But, even with that, it appears that some sanding of the wheel well tops will be required to get the wing halves to go together.  The tail booms are not mere butt joints to the wings.  The booms and wings were designed such that the booms have a lip that fits into the opening of the wing.  A test fit shows that a little careful trimming of the opening in the wing will allow for a very good fit.



Marking Options


The kit contains markings for three different aircraft and a set of stencils.  The artwork for and printing of the decals appears particularly well done.  The stenciling is quite legible and the Canadian maple leafs are very sharp in outline. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Markings are supplied for: 

FB.5 - No. 112 Squadron RAF, VX462 / A*G RAF Fassberg, Germany, circa 1952.

This was an experimental scheme of PRU Blue with a disruptive application of Dark Green over the top surfaces.  This scheme has already been commented on in Plane Talking.  The scheme was taken from a profile in Warpaint Series No. 27.  But upon looking through the monograph, I noticed a faded color picture on page 16.  I suggest that the aircraft in the picture appear to be in the same scheme.  The upper surface appears to be too light to be Dark Sea Grey.  Also, there is little evidence of an upper-lower dividing line, which would have cut across the lower portion of the roundel and on the nose.

FB. 9 – No. 75 Squadron, RNZAF, NZ5753, circa 1953.

The aircraft has Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey upper surfaces with an underside in Aluminum (Speed Silver?).  The FB. 9 differed from the FB. 5 in that it was intended for use in hot climates and had a Godfrey refrigeration unit installed in the starboard/right intake .  This resulted in an eight inch fillet forward extension on the intake.  The kit does not seem to provide for this.  In 1/48 scale, this would amount to a three-sixteenths extension (approx. 4.76 mm).

FB. 5 – No. 421 Squadron, RCAF, VZ339, United Kingdom, circa 195.

This aircraft is in an overall Aluminum (Speed Silver?) finish.





One could criticize Classic Airframes for focusing too much on British aircraft.  But, while the Vampire was a British product, in its various forms it served in air forces around the world; from Latin American air forces, to Denmark, Iraq and even Japan.  Given the number of Vampire variants that theoretically could be issued, one could amass quite a collection of Vampires, each with a different set of national markings. 

I look forward to spending a few of those remaining winter nights working on the FB. 5 of No. 112 Squadron.  I’ll set it along side my shark mouthed Tomahawk and Warhawk.  

Highly Recommended.





Warpaint Series No. 27, de Havilland Vampire, by W. A. Harrison, published by Hall Park Book LTD.

* http://www.groundhog.org/

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.

Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright © 2005 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 03 February, 2005
Last updated 22 February, 2005

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