by: Tim Hatton [ ]
HistoryThe DH. 110 was designed initially for the FAA [Fleet Air Arm] and the RAF [Royal Air Force] as an all weather interceptor. The original design was to have cannons installed. However the RAF decided to go for a rival design in the Gloster Javelin. The Admiralty continued to show interest and chose the DH.110 to be it's carrier based fleet defence fighter. The DH.110 first flew on 26 September 1951 by John Cunningham. The aircraft was later involved in the dreadful accident that killed 31 people, 28 spectators and the two crew, at the Farnborough air show in 1952. Many modifications were carried out and it was not until July, 1959 before the Sea Vixen FAW 1 [Fighter All Weather] entered the FAA. 78 FAW 1's were built initially, followed by another order for 40 in 1959. Another 16 FAW 1's were to be built in 1961, but these were converted to FAW 2's and 67 existing FAW 1's were also converted to FAW 2's. The main external difference between the two marks is that the FAW 2 tail boom extends forward of the main wing leading edge . This extension was used to accommodate more fuel. Eight squadrons of the FAA were equipped with the Sea Vixen before being replaced by Phantoms in 1972. As well as a fighter the Sea Vixen could be used as a bomber and also as a tanker. A number of Sea Vixens were converted into drones, being re designated Sea Vixen D3. The drones were notable in that they were capable of supersonic speed in level flight, something the FAW 1 and 2 could not do. This was because the D3's had improved engines and all unessential equipment removed. Other Sea Vixens became target tugs and were re designated TT.2. There is currently one airworthy Sea Vixen [G-CVIX] and this was formerly a D3 [XP924].
The KitThe kit comes in a top opening box, which is pretty robust, which is good for us who rely on the Internet and the post for our kits. On the side of the box it states that this kit has been manufactured by MPM Productions in the Czech Republic. The box illustration show the different colour schemes of the D3 and FAW2. The observant will notice both aircraft have the same serial XP924. So the kit depicts one aircraft at different times in it's history! A nice touch by Xtrakit. This aircraft also wore the distinctive colours of the Red Bull team.
InstructionsOn A4 folded paper, there is a diagram of the parts on their respective sprues. On the diagram there are part numbers, which are so small I had to use a magnifying glass. There are 19 stages to construction and the illustrations are very clear and easy to understand. There is a list of colours that you will need to paint this aircraft, Xtracolor and Xtracrylix of course! The two painting guides includes references for the placement of the decals.
The kit comes in 4 grey sprues A,B,C and D and one of clear plastic E. The clear sprue is packed separately within the main bag. All the panel lines and rivet detail are finely recessed and nicely done. The plastic attaching the parts are generally a little thick and in some places have over run. As a result some careful cutting will be required to separate the parts. I could not find any sink marks or flaws in the plastic. There are no parts numbers on the sprues. There is also a small bag of resin bits.
Sprue A: Contains the two halves of the fuselage, split horizontally. There is some excess plastic on the gluing area of the trailing edges of the wing that need to be removed to create a good join. Also there are four pieces that make up the two tail booms and tail. There are no locating points at all so some care will be needed when joining. The two tail booms are butt joined to the wings and this joint will probably need reinforcing with plastic card or sprue. Also on the sprue is the one piece exhaust fairing and two jet pipes.
Sprue B: Contains the outer wing, each wing is made up of two parts. These outer panel are butt joined to the inner wing. Again there are no locating points to aid assembly. The fence on each wing is very thin. Also included is the single piece tail plane. The tail plane /tail joint has locating slabs and recesses for a positive fit. The main undercarriage bays are well moulded with some internal low relief detailing. The floor, front and rear bulkheads and the dividing wall of the two crew positions has similar fine low relief detailing. There are two side consoles and a two part instrument panel for the pilot. For the navigator there is an instrument panel and a radar scope. Also on this sprue is the slightly raised fairing which is the upper access hatch for the navigator. The two part air inlets for the engines are split horizontally. A dry fit of the air inlet seems a good fit, although because of the internal shape of the trunking it will be a bit of a challenge to get rid of any evidence of the joint. I tried a quick dry fitting of the intakes and the wings and the join is not bad at all. The joints will require some filling and cleaning up though.
Sprue C: Contains the main undercarriage struts, wheels and doors. The main wheels come in two halves and are nicely detailed There are four wing ribs for the join of the outer wing to the inner wing, but no provision to display the wings folded. There are six under wing hard points included. There is a bulkhead with two engine fans moulded on. There does not look to be enough blades on the fan, but it's doubtful these will be seen that well once the fuselage and and trunking are assembled. Also on this sprue is the forward undercarriage housing, which like the main gear bays are nicely detailed in low relief. There is an extended refueling boom which attaches to the port wing. There are also some undercarriage doors, presumably for the FAW1, which are not used for this kit.
Sprue D: Has the longer tail booms that characterise the FAW2. Each boom comes in two parts and these fit over the existing shorter tail booms of the FAW1. Remember this is a MPM mould and MPM offer the FAW1. Also on this sprue are two fuel tanks and the undercarriage doors.
This was floating free in the bag. It is a very good representation of the fairing covering the GEC AI.18 Air Interception radar. Looks a lot like the nose of the Tornado IDS.
Sprue E: Is the sprue with the windscreen canopy and windows. There are two windscreens presumably one is for the FAW1 and the other for the FAW2. The map of the kit parts informs you that you must use the canopy marked number three. The differences between the windscreens are very, very subtle so make sure you select the correct one. Looking at the map of the kit parts, the diagram of sprue E bears little resemblance to the actual sprue. What also made it a little more confusing is that the canopy had detached from the sprue and was loose within the bag.
Resin bitsThese come in a small resealable bag. The contents include a beautifully moulded if very delicate looking one piece nose gear unit and separate doors. A resin arrestor hook, two fuselage strengthening plates with circular cutouts. Retracted refueling probe, various vents and a scope for the navigator. Two very nicely detailed parts representing the rear of two Rolls Royce Avon Mk 208 turbojets. Oddly there are two very well done ejector seats, but they look undersized for this scale. I did compare it with another resin ejector seat from Pavlia. Although they are different MB ejector seats it did illustrate the size difference [see photo].
Paint masksAlways a welcome inclusion in any kit, but there is absolutely no reference to these in the instructions or paint guide. I think they are masks for the pilots canopy, navigators hatch and window. Also possibly for the demarcation of the colours on the D3. The masks have been produced by MPM. The masks would be really useful, but it's a great pity there are no instructions from Xtrakit on how to place them.
Decal sheetBagged separately, the sheet contains approximately 68 decals, most of which are stencils. The sheet is produced by Aviprint and the quality looks excellent. The stencils, some of which are tiny, are legible.
MarkingsThere are decals for one aircraft: XP924 as a D3 and as a FAW2 . Paint references are for Xtracrylix as noted in the instructions.
A. Sea Vixen D3, XP924. This scheme represent a D3 drone and is painted yellow [XA1019] on the upper surfaces and red arrows red [XA1014] on the lower. The wing tips are black [XA1012]. The scheme is featured on the box cover.
B. Sea Vixen FAW 2, XP924. In the markings of 899 squadron, which is currently owned by De Havilland Aviation and is the only airworthy example of this type. It is painted extra dark sea grey [XA1005] upper surface and white [XA1141] below.
NotesThis will be a very familiar to some of you that already have the MPM Sea Vixen FAW1. There is no provision to display the model with it's wings folded. Although the ribs are provided at the point where the wing would fold, it is possible to scratch build the wing fold mechanism without too much trouble. Or perhaps there are some after market products out there that will cover this. There are no weapons included, which is a pity. The Sea Vixen could carry four Red Top or Firestreak air to air missiles, bombs or four Matra rocket pods.
ConclusionsThis kit will need a little bit more effort and care than the usual mass produced kits. But you will be rewarded with a very distinctive and stunning looking aircraft that was a familiar sight on British aircraft carriers. I can't wait to get started.
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