WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:
Despite an astonishingly long gestation, the Sea Vixen FAW.1, armed with the FireStreak Air to Air missile, gave the RN a truly modern and flexible aircraft, which was equally at home in the ground attack role. Although it could be unforgiving to fly, it was popular with pilots (although less so with the Observers, stuck in the dark black hole to starboard).
The Sea Vixen represented the end of DeHavilland's highly successful twin boom family; sadly it will always be remembered for the horrific crash into the crowd of the DH110 prototype at the 1952 SBAC Farnborough Airshow, which led directly to the strict SBAC airshow safety rules against flying over the crowd line, that still apply to all public airshows in the UK..
The FAW2 added "saddle" fuel tanks over the twin booms and swapped the first generation Firestreak missile for the much more capable Red Top. The Observer's hatch was modified with a frangible perspex canopy allowing him to eject through the canopy if needed (sadly, Sea Vixens suffered from a high rate of accidents).
The FAW1 was the mount of the famous 766 Squadron "Fred's Five" Royal Navy formation display team, a role subsequently taken up by the FAW2 and the "Simons Sircus" formation display team, named after the 766 Sqn CO, Lt Cdr Simon Idiens RN.
Although a capable and effective aircraft, it was never really "state of the art". Retired prematurely as a result of the UK Government's austerity decision to withdraw from "East of Suez" in the early 1970s, it was never tested in combat, although Sea Vixens saw active operations during the 1961 Kuwait crisis, the Tanganyika mutiny, Radfan rebellion, withdrawal from Aden and the Biera Patrol blockade of Rhodesia.
On the sprues - a lot of plastic!
Airfix really have played an ace with their 1/48th scale Sea Vixen. Beautifully engineered, it is an absolute joy to build, giving an excellent replica of this unusual aircraft straight from the large (and very full) box. This one was a Christmas pressy from Mrs T and I fully intend to spend my time on it, not least because the Sea Vixen remains one of my favourite aircraft.
Not surprisingly, construction starts with the cockpit, which has more than adequate detail for this scale. The real thing is largely black inside, so after an overall matt black coat, all that is needed are a few touches of colour on the instruments and controls, followed by a little dry brushing with silver to highlight detail.
The ejector seats are adequate as supplied, although a good range of resin alternatives has also appeared, but I chose simply to add a few seatbelts to the ones in the box. Two aircrew are also supplied and have been fitted in all the built ones I have seen so far; my two may yet find themselves in the cockpit.
More FAA Jet aircraft (including 1/72 Sea Vixens) on my RN Jets Pages
Air Arm Museum Model Show, RNAS Yeovilton - Feb 2011
Late last month, I was able to spend another most enjoyable day displaying some of my models at Yeovilton, plus there were a few more additions to the stash!
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