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Friday, March 16, 2012

Heller DeHav Vampire FB5

Now that I seem to be over the completion anxiety that affected my production around the end of last year, work is flowing through the system much easier. Though it isn’t going to be too much longer until the weekends will be warm and sunny enough for biking and trips to the coast, we’ve still got “good modelling weather” here in Seattle.

And that has allowed me to finish another in a series of postwar British fighters. I can’t say the Vampire is one of those aircraft that really gets me excited, which likely explains why I used a decades-old Heller kit that I had in the stash rather than sell a kidney and invest in the much better CMR kit. Still, once you give it a buffing with medium grit sandpaper to get rid of the raised panel lines, it isn’t a badly detailed little thing.

Back in the day, Modeldecal produced their hundredth decal sheet, and filled it with DH-100 Vampire schemes. I chose a nice bold one with squadron markings and set out on construction. The build was generally trouble free, with some sanding and a little putty needed on a majority of the joins. This happened to be squarely in the time period where I was having Alclad issues, so even though I was successfully able to spray the undersides, the masking pulled up bits of the underlying paint. So some brush painted patching was necessary.

Other niggles dogged the build: some paper towel stuffed into the intakes went a little too deep and became lodged inside the wing – though not far enough to not be visible from the outside. Digging it out caused the loss of one of the starboard intake’s strakes. Still trying to decide how/if to fix that one. The mass balances on the underside of the horizontal tail just didn’t want to stay attached, and even the nose gear managed to break off at least once.

One of the principles that Dickie Ward used when creating Modeldecal art was that he would provide the distinct markings for a larger variety of aircraft, and the modeller would come up with roundels and serial numbers. Though I do have most of his sheets in the stash, it turned out that I didn’t have the white serial numbers/letters that were required for the serial numbers on the twin tail booms. Modeldecal has been out of print for ages, but when they went south all of the stock was sold to Hannants. And Hannants does still have sheets (and has reprinted a number of them over the years). Thankfully sheet 36 was one of them, and in a couple of weeks I was able to finish up the Vampire.

Not a contest winner, but my primary goal was just to get back in the groove and finish some projects that had languished over the winter. My strategy was to use some tried and true kits that I was familiar with to recharge the mojo. These were the Airfix Hawk and the Tamiya P-47s. They did the trick admirably, and are working their way through the production line. The P-47 razor is mostly painted (awaiting a surface coat for its upper surfaces), the P-47 bubble is still getting some detail painting done (in this case, the yellow cowling), and the two Hawks are built and waiting for their black paint. And those aren’t the only ones getting some attention.

This is completed model #378, finished in March of 2012.

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