FROG F409 Orange Series Sea Vixen FAW.Mk.2 Strike Fighter, ROVEX Models and Hobbies, 1976
"Frog Sea Vixen
RECENT RELEASES of modern American Navy fighters must have made some devotees of the Fleet Air Arm and its aircraft despair, not only for the sad demise of a great service but also the lack of kits of some of its more popular aircraft with which they could capture for ever its days of glory.
Happily one of these aircraft has at last appeared and appropriately enough it has come from Frog who over the years seem to have become something of specialists when it comes to aircraft with sea boots.
The Sea Vixen is one of those aircraft which hasa magic all its own and the kit now generally available will be welcomed by all modellers of jet fighters.
Originally designed to meet the same specification as the Javelin, the DH 110, from which the Sea Vixen evolved, had an unhappy start to its career and it looked to be doomed when the Gloster delta was chosen by the RAF. But extensive redesign turned it into a much better aircraft than the Javelin and the Navy — so often the poor relation — gained a first class strike fighter.
Moulded in the now familiar dark blue plastic used by Frog in many of their recent releases, the Sea Vixen is a first rate kit and makes up into an accurate model of the twin-boomed carrier-borne aircraft.
There are several innovations, including two sets of wings for aircraft with everything folded or in the flying configuration, and an alternative domed cover for the observers 'coal hole' — as it was called.
The wings and tailplanes benefit from attention to their trailing edges which are a little on the thick side and similarly replacement of undercarriage doors also improves the final overall effect. The tailpipes are blanked off and the intakes have solid walls which prevent a see-through fuselage but it is best to spend a little time in these areas and improve them by thinning down the intake splitters and drilling out the tailpipes, blanking the fuselage off further inside. Wheel wells and oleo legs are well detailed but it is rather sad that Frog chose to mould the nose wheel as an integral part of the nose wheel leg. The Matra pods are best replaced with similar parts from another kit, but once the Red Top missiles have their fins reduced in thickness they are as good as any available. The ejector seat is poor and Nelson must be rotating in his grave at the representation of the Naval pilot.
Decals for aircraft of No 899 and 829 Squadrons are up to the expected high standards set by Frog but it is worth recording that XJ580 went to the RAE at Farnborough not the RAF as claimed on the box art.
The Sea Vixen kit provides a lot of scope for detail work, especially if the wing folded version is chosen, but to convert it back to an FAW 1 would be a major conversion which no doubt some of the keener types will try during the dark winter evenings. This model is highly recommended and it would be nice to see Frog give their Naval treatment to an updated Attacker or Scimitar.
Airfix magazine 1976-09
NEW TO YOU?
FROG H.S. F.A.W.2 Sea Vixen. 1/72nd scale. Price 75p.
AMONGST the plethora of Mustangs, Phantoms, Zero's, Harriers and Spitfires kitted almost ad nauseum by most of the plastic manufacturers, there are still a few firms that will push out the rarity, the one off, the neglected subject that everyone wants, but few producers invest tooling money on. One of these firms is FROG, who have boldly kitted a model of the Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen - an oft requested kit. To say FROG have done the aircraft complete justice would not be totally true but they do provide the basis for a good replica to be made. Overall impression is one of heaviness, and most of the parts, while being finely detailed, suffer from poor joint lines due to the plastic being very thick.
The breakdown of assembly does not make the building of this kit any easier either, indeed some of the parts fit very badly and considerable filler was required around the boom and wing/fuselage joints. Cockpit detail is restricted to the usual "Frogman", a seat and a floor, with no sign of an instrument panel or side consoles.
The fuselage halves are split laterally and the joint is only apparent on the forward fuselage where this can be smoothed out reasonably well. But poor joints which do need filling, sanding and filing are the forward parts of the booms where there is about 1/32nd of an inch overlap on the joints. The method of boom attachment is a poor one, again we have the boom tacked on to the trailing edges of the wings whereas full length booms slotted or sandwiched between the wings would have been much better,
Answering recent criticism of "see-through" fuselages, FROG do blank off air intakes and orifices. The trouble is that they are closed off far too close to the outer edges as to defeat their purpose - a great pity. Wheel well detail is applied, albeit far too shallow, but it is there all the same. Many underwing stores in the form of Red Top missiles and rocket packs are supplied as well as fuel tanks and these can be fitted to the model whichever wing position is opted for. Undercarriage assemblies are sturdy but look a little too heavy for absolute
authenticity, though they are finely detailed.
So far this has sounded like a thorough "nit-pick", but, these are only niggling faults that can be remedied, and are certainly using while in view of the fact that, as yet, this is the only Sea Vixen, and a basically accurate one at that.
Decals are supplied for two versions, XJ580 of 844 Squadron Fleet Air Arm on HMS Eagle and XN690 of RNAS Yeovilton which formed part of the Navy's display team, "Simon's Circus". The decals, although thin, are up to the usual FROG standard, well printed and in perfect register. Oddly enough no decals were provided for the thin red crossed lines that appear on the upper fuselage. Instead these are moulded as fine lines on the model and will have to be hand painted. The machines differ in that XJ580 had a bulged observer's fairing, and FROG are thoughtful enough to provide one.
Overall the Vixen appears to be an accurate if somewhat chunky replica of this well known aircraft, a little more planning in kit design would have elevated it into the top notch bracket.
Scale Models, november 1976