Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Aeroclub's 1/48 scale
De Havilland Vampire T.35

by Peter Jones

De Havilland Vampire T.35
2 Flight Training Squadron (FTS) RAAF

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com




I originally purchased this kit many many years ago, long before the Hobbycraft and Classic Airframes releases became available.  The kit is a product of the “cottage industry”.  The main airframe components are comprised of plastic vac-form parts with the detail parts being cast in white metal.  Aeroclub have done a good job on this one and it allows you to build an accurate representation either one of an Mk FB5/9, NF.10 or T.11 to be built. 

This project has been a work in progress; albeit very slow, for many years and the pending release of the Classic Airframes kit provided the incentive to finish.





Construction commenced with removal of vac-form components from their backing sheet, a chore which unnecessarily scares many modelers from tackling vac-form kits.  However, once you get into it, it is not all that daunting and the task can be completed in a matter of a few hours.  

I used my normal approach to this process by running a very fine 2H lead pencil around the bottom edges of the vac-formed parts then scribed a light cut approximately 1mm from each part and simply snapped the parts from the sheet. 

120 grit coarse wet and dry sandpaper was taped paper to a piece of 20mm thick glass and the separated components were sanded using lots of water to lubricate the parts and to keep the dust down whilst removing the bulk of the plastic.  When the pencil line marks were close the course paper was replaced with finer 360 grit sandpaper and the sanding process was continued until all components were down to the pencil line.  Once the line was reached, the remaining material was simply wiped off and the parts were ready for the next step in the construction process. 

The excess plastic over the openings for the cockpit and cannons was removed by first drilling a series of holes close to the edges of the openings and “joining the dots” with a motor tool to remove the waste material.  Final finish to the edges was achieved with a scalpel, fine files and sandpaper. 



The mainplane is supplied as top and bottom one-piece affairs that incorporate the stubs for the twin booms as well as the fuselage pod.  I liked this approach by Aeroclub as it helps in establishing the correct dihedral.  The forward fuselage sections are separate pieces and are split vertically as per conventional kits to enable the various versions to be built. 

The modeling phase of the project commenced next as the kit does not supply any detail for the cockpit sides.  This was achieved using scrap plastic card, stretched sprue and fine fuse wire to replicate the various wiring and cables that abound in the one-to-one-scale version.  Whilst time consuming it was not really all that onerous and the access to a preserved example at the RAAF Association Museum here in Perth was of tremendous help. 

Once the construction was complete, the cockpit was sprayed with a very dark grey (the one-to-one-versions were painted black) and later dry brushed with a lighter grey to enhance the all the added detail. 

The only other scratch building really necessary was to add cannon blast tubes and this was done by using Sutcliffe plastic tube.  Whilst I was satisfied with this added detail I couldn’t help myself and partly scratch built the wing flaps into the lowered position. 

Aeroclub supply bulkheads for the fuselage/mainplane and these are welcome as they stiffen up the complete assembly significantly.  A substantial lead weight was added to the nose section to ensure that the model sat correctly on its undercarriage.  Once all the major components were assembled all joints were given a wipe with Tamiya putty and then block sanded with various grades of wet and dry sand paper. The cockpit was then masked off and a coat of Humbrol primmer was applied to the completed airframe.



Painting and Markings



After a final clean up and sand using 400 grit wet and dry sandpaper the whole airframe was then re-primed for the following colour coats.  I wanted to complete the model to depict a machine operated by 2 Flight Training School RAAF here in Perth, Western Australia in during the 1960’s.  Being a training machine it bore the RAAF’s then high-visibility finish of airframe silver and International Orange (IO).  Due to this choice, it was essential that a white base coat was first applied.  These areas were painted in gloss white (Xtracolour X141) and, after allowing a few days for this to harden the white was masked off using Tamiya tape and the IO (Xtracolour X104) was sprayed on building light coats until the correct depth of colour was achieved.  



The IO was allowed a few days to dry and harden and then masked off. (Xtracolour X216 – Silber) was then sprayed over the whole airframe to simulate the silver dope finish worn by the RAAF machines.  Final detail painting was completed using Humbrol matt black slightly lightened with white to simulate the anti icing strips.

Decals and Finishing 

As the Xtracolor paints that I used are gloss, no further topcoats were needed and decaling commenced.  XtraDecal sheet 018-48 was of great help here as it carries a vast amount of stencil data and this sheet was used extensively.  However, further examination of the RAAF Association Museum example indicated that even more stencil data was required and this was sourced from my decal spares box as were the RAAF roundels and squadron applied markings.  Having the real aircraft as a reference, there was no excuses to not getting it right!

Final Assembly 

The model was then allowed to settle for a few days to let the paint and decals harden.  Final Assembly followed and the dangly bits and pieces such as the undercarriage, wheels, doors, partly scratch built flaps, various pitot tubes, and the windscreen wiper etc were fitted.  

Once completed, I was very pleased with the result and felt that it captured the overall form and feel of the original very well.  

I am now looking forward to Classic Airframes kit of the dual seater.





When the Hobby craft kits were released I purchased both single and two seat kits.  On closer inspection the Hobbycraft kits were very disappointing and bore only a slight similarity to the real aircraft.  Both kits were given to my son for cracker (Aussie for firecracker) fodder and I only kept the drop tanks for use with the Aeroclub kit (although even these are not the correct shape). 

Subsequent Classic airframes releases have been a great inspiration and I would personally like to thank Jules for his endeavor in providing us with kits that would have been a scratch build exercise previously.





Aviation Heritage Museum – Bullcreek, Western Australia

Vampire, Macchi and Iroquois in Australian Service – Stewart Wilson
Published 1994, ISBN 1 875671 07 2

Aircraft OF THE RAAF 1921 – 71
Geoffrey Pentland and Peter Malone, Published 1971,

 Flightpath Magazine – Volume 6 Number 1 (plus numerous other issues)



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Text and Photographs Copyright © 2005 by Peter Jones
Page Created 09 July, 2005
Last Updated 08 July, 2005

Back to HyperScale Main Page