Full Review with Chris McDowell
A note from Geoff C…
AS I now have Chris’s full build article in hand I thought you’d like to see how it all turned out? Wow! I just love it, especially the scheme and subtle weathering. What do you think? Don’t forget, you can always comment on any build you see in SMN – just go to the Comments field at the bottom of the page :)
You may also be interested to see Gerry D’s impressive build he completed earlier and you’ll find that in the usual Trumpeter Pages in Aircraft-Finished Now.
Over to you Chris for the story…
The de Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen is a British twin-engine, twin boom-tailed, two-seat, carrier-based fleet air-defence fighter flown by the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm during the 1950s through to the early 1970s. The Sea Vixen was designed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company during the late 1940s at its Hatfield aircraft factory in Hertfordshire, developed from the company’s earlier first generation jet fighters. It was later called the Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen after de Havilland was absorbed by the Hawker Siddeley Corporation in 1960.
The Sea Vixen had the distinction of being the first British two-seat combat aircraft to achieve supersonic speed, albeit not in level flight. Operating from British aircraft carriers, it was used in combat over Tanganyika and over Yemen during the Aden Emergency. In 1972, the Sea Vixen was phased out in favour of the American-made McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1 interceptor.*
Sea Vixen kits
For several years now, the only descent 1:48th scale Sea Vixen worth talking about, was the Airfix kit released back in 2011. A good kit from all accounts, but just a little hard to get hold of these days. Especially now, as the kit is currently out of production. So your only chance of getting one, if you don’t have one in your stash already, is on second hand sites like eBay, or from kit swaps etc. Understandably (to a certain degree) these can sometimes go for silly money.
So when Trumpeter stated they were releasing a new tooled Sea Vixen, fans of early British jets were salivating at the thought. (Since writing this, Airfix have now revealed that there Sea vixen will be rereleased this year 2019).
Unfortunately the new release from Trumpeter didn’t quite live up to expectations when it first hit reviewers’ benches. From what I have read from several different reviews I have seen of the kit, Trumpeter just didn’t quite get this one right. I’m not going to go into all the reasons why, as this is a build review rather than a kit review. There are definitely some shape issues, but it’s the issues like not having separate and positional ailerons, airbrakes, rudders that have a lot of people scratching their heads. You can of course cut these parts off and with a little work reposition them, but from a brand new kit on the market for around £60, you really shouldn’t have to.
The bigger issues for me though are the pilot’s canopy, and the lack of a wing fold that really spoils this release. In today’s market. I’m just shocked that Trumpeter designed and manufactured a kit, that it’s actually impossible to open the pilot’s canopy! The rear section of the canopy frame that should slide back with the clear section, has been moulded into the top of the fuselage. So without major surgery, and a lot of scratch building the pilot’s cockpit will have to remain closed.
Although, you can open the navigators cockpit hatch….. Strange, I know. This kind of weird design feature continues with the wing fold, or lack of one in this case. The wings have been split where they would fold, and Trumpeter have taken the time to design and manufacture the bulk heads that would fit into each section of wing, but have then not bothered with any of the smaller parts required to actually fold the wings.
The instruction have you completely ignore the bulk heads, and there is absolutely no mention of a wing fold option at all. The less said about the decals, and the colour chart the better. The decals have been poorly printed (although a second set was sent to me that was slightly better), and the wrong colour has been used for the underwing markings. On top of that, the colour chart would have you spray the underside silver. The Sea Vixen never had a silver underside. A quick google search would confirm these issues in minutes, so how did Trumpeter get all of this so wrong?!?!?!
It’s not all doom and gloom though, the detail is quite nice, and the breakdown of parts seems pretty good. Although there are going to be a few tough seems to clean up that are right through the middle of engraved details. Especially with the upper section of the cockpit. So I’m already expecting some re-scribing to be done during the project.
I did dry-fit the major assembly parts once I had removed them from the parts tree, and they seemed to go together quite easily. So fingers crossed it’ll be a quick build.
Trumpeter has also included a fret of photo-etch for some of the smaller details to keep them in scale thickness. So without further ado, let’s get started and see if I can make something that will do the Sea Vixen justice.