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Classic Airframes new 1/48 scale
Two-Seater Vampires

by Phil Hale

De Havilland Vampire T.35


Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Two-Seater Vampire kits may be ordered online from Squadron



For a detailed examination of the kit contents, see my in-box review elsewhere on HyperScale.

Classic Airframes Vampires T.11/T.55
Kit Numbers 493 and 494

Well, here we are again sports fans.

I seem to build Classic Airframes kits in packs. I usually like to build one at a time because I learn the trouble spots on the first one. The second kit is usually easier to build because I have figured out how to over come the challenging places. I guess most of you are like that as well. I built a single seat Vampire but these kits provide new fuselage fuselage and tail boom parts.



There are several other new parts to include the cockpit and canopy. New parts sometimes create a new set of challenges.

Well, on to the review.





Construction began as usual, cleaning up the new resin cockpit parts and the canopy. I like to get this done and also polish and mask the canopy early. This way, Iím ready to paint as soon as possible because I usually paint the outside of the canopy the interior color and knew if I open it I can mask the inside and spray Testorís Dullcoat on the inside. It also puts a base coat and you can check for flaws.


Take care when attaching the completed cockpit to the fuselage. I left mine loose inside the fuselage so that I could move it into position. You will have to trim and sand some to get a good fit. Dry fit before gluing the fuselage together.

Also take care in positioning the cockpit as the gun panel/nose wheel well ( resin part R13) fits into the slot in the bottom of the cockpit. I had to sand down the top of the wheel well to get it to fit in the slot. You will still have to fill and sand to get a good smooth fit. The gun bay door (Part 16) will require filling a sanding.

Part 7, the bulkhead for the tail pipe will require a little sanding and dry fitting. I replaced the tail pipe with a piece of brass tubing. I learned this from my friend Kevin when he built his Vampire. Be sure to sand the pour stub off the main gear wells completely. If you donít this could interfere with the fit of the wing halves. I would recommend sanding down the trailing edges before gluing them together. This will help later when you are attaching the tail booms to the wings.

I had a little trouble getting a good fit of the wings to the fuselage. I really donít a have a foolproof way of attaching them. I had to fill and sand to get a smooth fit. Take care when sanding around the intakes. I used Tamiya Putty (Basic Type) thinned with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement and My Surfacer 500 to fill the area around the intakes. Thinning the Tamiya Putty will allow it to flow down into the seam. The Mr Surfacer works well over the putty and when spraying silver for a natural metal finish, it gives a good smooth surface.


I sanded the mounting points off the tail booms before attaching them to the wings. I would recommend using a brass rod or plastic rod to re-enforce this area. Take care and make sure that you align them properly. This will make attaching the center stabilizer a little easier. I tired something a little different and it may be old hat to most of you but it worked well and thought that I would pass it on.

The outboard stabilizers are resin and I usually attach resin to plastic with super glue. This time, I coated the plastic stub on the tail boon with Ambroid Liquid Cement. This caused the plastic to melt a little and before it dried I placed the resin parts on the slightly melted area. This gave me some time to align them and then made cleaning up the area a little quicker.

On the British Central Air Traffic School Scheme, I decided to open the canopy. I wanted to show the detail but the canopy is very thick and if you were doing this for competition, I would recommend a vacuum formed replacement. You will need to cut/sand the bottom of the seats down about a 1/8th of an inch to get a good fit on a closed canopy.



The seats as is will keep the canopy from fitting well. The canopy is so thick that it may interfere with the top of the instrument panel as well. Dry fit is the word of the day for this kit. Take your time and dry fit.



Painting and Markings


I picked two colorful schemes and that is the trouble with these kits because most of the options are very colorful. It was hard to pick just one. Painting both models took a lot of time, especially the British CATS Scheme. The wings are silver and the fuselage and part of the tail booms are Medium Sea Gray. I used Model Master enamels for the Medium Sea Gray and Floquil Bright Silver for the wings.



The red stripes are all decals and went on well. I used Model Master RAF Dark Earth/RAF Middlestone for the upper surfaces on the Iraqi T.55 and Model Master RAF Azure Blue for the undersides. The decals are printed by Micro Scale for both kits and went on very well.





Bottom line on these kits - take you time.

Dry fit most everything and youíll end up with a nice colorful two seat Vampire.

Thanks to Jules and Classic Airframes for giving us unusual subjects to build.

Dr Phil Hale


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the sample

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Phil Hale
Page Created 12 September, 2005
Last Updated 12 September, 2005

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