de Havilland D.H.100 Vampire FB.5/FB.50 (J28B)
| F217F || 1971-1974 || J2(K) || 195000 || 1xRAF & 1xSwedish AF |
| F431 || 1974-1976 || H(B) || 70000 || 1xRAF & 1xSwedish AF |
| F217 || 1976-1977 || H(B) || 35000 || 1xRAF & 1xSwedish AF |
FROG model aircraft 1932-1976, R. Lines, L. Hellstrom
Frog: 1:72 scale Vampire
MUCH the most requested jet fighter kit in our recent experience has been the DH Vampire, and now Frog have obliged with a very neat kit for this aircraft, the Mk 5 to be precise. In outline the model appears to be very accurate and it certainly captures the somewhat spidery look of the real aircraft. The canopy is particularly sharp and clear and the wing root intakes are well represented. However, Frog have made no great success of providing positive alignment for the tail booms and the modeller must take great care here to avoid a built-in droop on one side or other. The join lines on the booms are also fairly prominent and need careful rubbing down to eliminate. None of these small faults is too great to be overcome by the average modeller, however. Very neat transfers given in the kit offer a choice of RAuxAF or Swedish AF finishes and colour art on the box shows the paint schemes in the usual Frog pattern. Priced at 20p, the kit is good value and will obviously grace a lot of collections. Our sample came from Jones Bros of Chiswick who can supply by post at 5p extra for post and packing.
Airfix magazine, сентябрь 1971 года
NEW TO YOU?
The kit manufacturers seem almost to a man to have ignored the jet and for that matter piston-engined aircraft which saw service in the late 40s and early 50s. Frog came to the fore in this era with their kits of the WESTLAND WYVERN naval fighter strike aircraft and they also released a very attractive kit of the GLOSTER METEOR 4 - Airfix, of course, followed this up by producing their kit of the earlier METEOR III) and their respective kit programmes will include other kits of representative aircraft of this hitherto ignored period in aviation history.
FROG are therefore to be congratulated on the choice of subject for their current release; a neat kit of the de Havilland VAMPIRE Mk. 5 (U.K. price 20p). The Vampire 5 entered service with the R.A.F. in 1949 and differed from the earlier Vampire variants in that the Mk. 5 was intended for the ground-attack/close support role fighter/bomber type of operation and it fast became the backbone of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany. They also became the first jet aircraft to equip R.A.F. squadrons in the Far East, where 60 Squadron, based at Tengah, December, 1950, used their new mount to considerable effect against the Malaysian Terrorist groups. At home, the Vampire 5 also delighted the crowds at the 1950 Farnborough Show with the aerobatics and smoke-laying performance flown by pilots of 54 Squadron R.A.F., who had recently taken the Vampire 5 on charge to replace its original Mk. 3s. (The modeller can also carry out a fairly simple conversion to produce a model from the Vampire 5 kit into the TROPICAL equipped Mk. 9 - externally, the only difference between the two versions being that the Mk. 9 had one wing fillet fairing 9 in. longer than that on the other wing).
The FROG kit is moulded in medium grey plastic and the surface detailing is extremely light and care must be taken not to accidentally remove this during assembly and trimming of the component parts.
The kit assembles in a very simple manner, with the fuselage 'pod' moulded in left and right hand 'halves', the wings again are in top and bottom halves, butting against the wing root fairing on each side of the fuselage "pod". The twin boom units are also in 'halves", with an 'open' end which fits on to a faired projection protruding from the rear of the wing trailing edges. However, care must be taken to ensure that in trimming the boom/wing fairings to obtain a flush fit of these parts one obtains the correct angle of the booms - otherwise, when one fits the tailplane between the ends of the booms this will be out of correct alignment and extremely difficult to correct once the parts are cemented together!
The undercarriage is neatly moulded, with very fine undercarriage legs: these are extremely delicate and one must not put too much internal weight inside the nose of the 'pod' or this could cause the nose wheel oleo to collapse. (In their older kits of the Venom - now no longer available -they included small lead weights to enable the model to stand square on its tricycle undercarriage, a pity that this feature was not included in the kit of the Vampire).
The main wheels are separate mouldings, but the small diameter nose wheel is integral with the nose wheel undercarriage legs.
External stores consist of two bombs complete with bomb-racks. The cockpit canopy is excellent, with the prominent 'stepped' appearance of that on the full size aircraft. The cockpit interior detailing is rather sparse, consisting of just a seat for the pilot complete with head rest the pilot figure seems to have been fed more regularly than those in other earlier FROG kits and is acceptable for a 1/72 scale miniature.
The kit comes complete in a clear packet bag with card wrapper or 'header'. This enables FROG to keep the cost of ths kit down, but also to retain thsir quality of kit decals - which, with one or two exceptions, can be among the best seen in any 1/72 scale kit.
For the Vampire 5 the artwork on the packet shows an aircraft of No. 502 Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, when at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, in 1956; this in standard contemporary camouflage finish. The colour printing is slightly misleading but the illustrations now also include the name of the colours required to be used, in this case the new HUMBROL NATO SET colours of DARK GREEN and DARK SEA GREY UPPER SURFACES (the correct camouflage pattern is shown on the artwork) in gloss finish (but NOT high gloss!) and the undersurfaces of the aircraft are SILVER DOPED paintwork, not bare or natural metal.
The optional finish is for an F.B. Mk. 50 (J-28B) of the 3rd Squadron. F15 Fighter Wing, Royal Swedish Air Force, based at Soderhamn. This aircraft is in the Dark Green overall upper surface camouflage (one colour only) with Light Blue-Grey undersides.
The decals are of the usual FROG standard. The R.A.F. roundels are of the correct size, style and colour and the Squadron nose markings (consisting of basically a Light Blue background on which appears Red Lightning Flashes with the roundel between the two 'arms of the insignia) plus the Squadron badge (which is somewhat smudged on our sample kit). Wing walkway lines are also provided, these being complete with readable KEEP OFF instructions. Serial of the machine is WA309, code letter 'L' in Black. The markings for the Swedish J-28B includes the Swedish Crown national insignia plus White wing-walkway markings plus a squadron crest and the letter 'P' plus the numerals 15 and yellow stencil instructions seen on the Swedish variant.
This kit is a very welcome addition to the FROG range and we hope that this will encourage other manufacturers to look again at the late 40s, early 50s era, as there are many aircraft which could be produced in kit form for which at the moment NO kits exist to 1/72 scale.
Scale Models, September 1971
Twin-boom from Frog
Having pleaded for years the cause of kits covering that most neglected period of aviation, the half-score or so years immediately following WWII, we have been delighted to see a few of the better-known types of the late 'forties and early 'fifties appearing on the stockists' shelves. Frog has been well to the fore in this "gap-filling" process, and the company's recently-released de Havilland Vampire FB Mk 5 particularly welcome, despite being accompanied by yet another kit of that perennial, the Messerschmitt Bf 110, which, if more glamorous than the Vampire, must be infinitely more familiar to the modelling fraternity.
The Vampire is both accurate and neatly moulded, and suffers virtually no flash. Manufactured in good-quality dark grey plastic, it has fine surface detail and is accompanied by a first class decal sheet providing the markings of an aircraft of No 502 Sqdn RAF and those of an FB Mk 50 of Sweden's Flygvapen, all of which should add up to an excellent product. Unfortunately it suffers one serious shortcoming: the fit of the component parts is, frankly, appalling! Literally every major joint has to be filed or filled or both! For a Frog kit this failing is most unusual, yet it is no exaggeration to say that the effort involved in getting the Vampire's joints to fit even reasonably well is such as to spoil the pleasure in assembling what is in all other respects a very good kit, which, at 20 pence, is outstanding value. We can only hope that Frog will rework this kit as soon as possible as, in its present form, it will have an adverse effect on its manufacturer's reputation, particularly among younger modellers."
AIR ENTHUSIAST/OCTOBER 1971
New Frog kits
Five new Frog kits are now available, the de Havilland Vampire FB5, Messerschmitt Bf 110G, McDonnell Douglas Skyhawk, Dornier Do 17Z-2 and Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat 1. All are in 1/72 scale. Unfortunately, space will only permit me to review two of these this month — in order of being received from the manufacturer.
Frog recently brought out a kit of the de Havilland Hornet, which was very disappointing from an accuracy point of view. Now it has produced the Hornet's stable-mate and contemporary, the Vampire, in its FB5 version. This is a much better kit than the Hornet in most respects. It makes up into a delightful little replica of DH's fine, nimble, single-jet fighter. The outline accuracy of the model is excellent, and it looks right from all points of view. Unfortunately the moulding is poor and the fit of such parts as the tail booms to the fuselage needs a lot of care to ensure the correct tailplane angle, and to prevent tailplane twist. The fit of the two wing halves was poor on my sample, which resulted in considerable sinkage on the underside and, in consequence, required much filling. It is a pity that such a nice little model should be marred by moulding standards. The moulding of the canopy, however, is very good and the result is a splendid representation of the "blown" hood used on this type.
This is a model that requires a great deal of weight in the nose to ensure the correct balance on its wheels. On my model I packed the nose with fishing lead shot and plasticine up to the instrument panel line and then only just got correct balance. A lead pilot figure would help in cases like this! The tail booms are moulded in one piece and this does add a lot of weight aft. The-full size Vampire also benefits from the weight of the 20mm gun installation being located forward of the centre of gravity, which on such a small aircraft accounts for quite a high proportion of the forward weight. It is interesting to note that both of our first generation jet fighters, the Meteor and Vampire, require excessive noseweight when produced in model form.
The only underwing stores included in this kit are two 500lb bombs, but it would not be difficult to adapt rockets from the Hornet kit, or drop-tanks from some other kit — with suitably modified fairings. The bombs are moulded integrally with their fairings and racks, presumably on account of cost, although personally I prefer to have them moulded as separate items. Moulded in this way, they never look realistic.
The transfers are for two models: one set is for an FB5 from 502 Squadron stationed at Aldergrove, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, during 1956, while the other set is for an FB50 (J-28B) of the 3rd Squadron, Flygflottilj 15, of the Royal Swedish Air Force, based at Soderhamn.
The cost of this excellent model of the Vampire is 20p.
Aircraft Illustrated 1971-11
Three from Frog
IT is sincerely to be hoped that Lines Bros.' financial difficulties do not halt the flow of Frog kits as, evidenced by the three reviewed here, there are some fine-quality kits of interesting models expected from Frog.
Filling a long-standing gap in the jet fighter range is the very welcome 1/72nd-scale D.H. Vampire at 20p, which makes up into an R. Aux. A.F. Vampire FB.5 or a Swedish A.F. FB.50. This is a very accurate model, although care is needed in assembling the tail booms, and makes a fine addition to any collection.
Air Pictorial 1971-11