High Planes Models 1/72 Vampire T.33 Conversion

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High Planes Models 1/72 Vampire T.33 Conversion

Postby Antoney Wilkinson » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:54 am

High Planes Models 1/72 Vampire T.31 Conversion/Airfix De Havilland Vampire T.11

An easier conversion you don't find.

While not something I'd planned to do I did alert its producer to some pictures of this bird that I found interesting. We're all familiar with the all over red 25Sqn Vampire with the Swan on the side, but I had never before seen the T.31 with it.

As a result some early production items for the conversion turned up in the mail so I was compiled to give it a go.

Couldn't have been more straight forward.

The conversion kit comes with replacement booms, 2 x replacement Windscreen/Canopy and 2 older style fixed seats. All are moulded beautifully and the quality is consistent with the Airfix kit.

In short the conversion requires the replacement of:

- Windscreen/Canopy with the more heavily frame type
- Replacement of the booms, and
- Replacement of the ejection seats with those that would look more at home on your porch in the 1950's/60's

The booms are very straight forward to replace. It is a simple cut with a razor saw at the designated panel line and then glue the replacements in. They don't need a lot of finessing and I used Zap-a-Gap to adhere them which also acted as a filler for the join.

The seats are nicely moulded including the ribbed seat back. I spend a bit of time here and detailed them up a bit with two types of brown and some Flory Models Grime which added to the realism.

I was also building a CMR FB31 which came with two different seat options and photo etch for seat belts. Knowing I wasn't going to use the earlier style seats for at least a couple of the ones I have in the stash, I poached the older style belts and added them to the seats.

The seats do need propping up so they fit at the right height in the cockpit. I cut the base off of the Airfix kit seats, reversed them and glued them to the seats from the conversion. I little trimming and they fit like they should.

The remainder of the construction is per the kit instructions and for those who've built this one before, it literally falls together, with only a small amount of filler required.

The application of the replacement Windshield/Canopy was the only challenging part for me. I am not as good as I would like to be at glueing these on. In this case I got a little zealous with the Zap-a-Gap and the while the windscreen fit like the one in the kit, it did fog in places despite a few coats of Future beforehand.

This necessitated the removal of the canopy. Luckily the conversion provides two of them, thanks Christopher. Using a sharp Exacto knife I removed the canopy from leaving the windshield, sides and rear in place. I used a flat paint brush and some water to remove the fogging and then used the same paint brush to apply another coat of Future. Phew....

I used the second Windshield/Canopy to use the same knife to remove the opening and masked along with the windshield, sides and rear ready for paint.

A quick coat of Gunze flat black to the clear parts to simulate the black frame and we were ready for color.

My chosen painted aluminum/silver for these aircraft is Tamiya's AS-12 rattle can. I have decanted it before and put it through my airbrush but from experience I get the better finish straight from the can.

I warm it up beforehand to atomize the paint which aids in getting an even and very smooth finish. Its also very quick.

AS-12 dries very quickly and is hard as nails. A good coat of Future and we were ready for decals.

High Planes Decals are always of good quality so no issue with the application. I chose the scheme I sent to Christopher Brown but the other schemes are equally attractive.

I used the kit decals for stenciling where I had to use a little bit of license as there isn't much in the way of reference material on these. I did look at the CMR FB31 instructions and used those as a bit of a guide too.

A top coat of future, then a duller coat and it was time remove the masks.

The addition of some flat black to the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer and it was just a case of finishing and adding the remaining kit items and some aerials fashioned from Tooth Brush Bristles and it was done.

This is a welcome addition to my collection and one I'm glad I did. Thank you to High Planes Models for the opportunity to give this one a go.

I'd recommend this conversion to anyone whose interested in adding a very nice rendition of the Vampire T31 to their collection.

Cheers and good building,

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Antoney Wilkinson
Posts: 2697
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:14 am

Re: High Planes Models 1/72 Vampire T.31 Conversion

Postby Antoney Wilkinson » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:57 am

The remaining build photos...
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Antoney Wilkinson
Posts: 2697
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:14 am