The Venom NF.3 was a development of the Venom NF.2 and would be the last dedicated night fighter in RAF service. Powered by the de Havilland Ghost 104 engine, it differed from the NF.2 in having a wholly inset tail plane, power-assisted ailerons and an improved AI Mk.21 radar fitted in the large nose. It had a relatively brief career with the Royal Air Force, having been only an interim solution until the all-weather Gloster Javelin entered service. The NF.3 first flew in 1953 and entered service in 1955 being withdrawn in 1957.
The man behind CMR Petr Buchar’s has been on a quest to produce as many de Havilland twin tail military jets as possible. The NF.3 is possibly the last of the line from the man from the Czech Republic.
The top opening box with reinforced ends is very sturdy, which is good news if you acquire your kits via the post. There is an excellent illustration on the box cover showing one of the marking options and the rather pugnacious lines of this night fighter. All resin parts are placed in multi cell plastic bags which are surrounded in bubble wrap. Canopies, masks, decals and photo etched [PE] parts are all sealed separately.
-62 x resin parts approx:
-2 x vac formed canopies. Canopies are in the closed position.
-1 x pre painted PE sheet created by Eduard.
-1 x PE sheet created by Eduard
-1 x set of paint masks for the canopy, created by Eduard.
-2 x decal sheets.
-6 x A4 page construction guide including parts map.
-4 x A4 pages of painting instructions.
-2 x A4 pages stencil guide.
-2 x A4 pages, “in action” supplement.
-4 x A4 pages “in detail” supplement.
As you can see you get a fair bit for your money.
The cockpit is made up from around 12 resin parts and quite a few photo etched parts. There are pre painted photo etched seat harnesses for both seats. The rear bulkhead is combined with the cockpit floor. There is a cut out in the floor to accommodate the separate wheel well for the nose gear. A smaller bulkhead for the forward part of the cockpit must be added to the floor before the fuselage halves are joined [don't forget to weight the nose]. The pre coloured photo etched instrument panel for the pilot is typical Eduard. The radar operator’s side has further pre coloured photo etched parts. If you prefer you can paint and highlight the excellent looking resin instrument panel instead. There are photo etched trim wheels for the fuselage side on the left of the pilot’s seat. The cockpit walls have good low relief detailing including cables and boxes. The instructions suggest a little scratch building to construct two reinforcement rods between the rear of the pilot’s seat and the rear bulkhead. A further suggestion is adding some piping to the electronics on the rear bulkhead shelf. Details are included in the instructions. Colour notes are provided for the cockpit, but the interior colour is dominated by black. All in all the office will look superb through the clear canopy.
The two vac formed canopies included with this release are real gems. The plastic is very clear and the frames are well defined. The windscreen wiper included on the PE sheet is a nice touch. A whip aerial will need to be scratch built for the rear of the canopy; the dimensions for the aerial and positioning are provided. The Eduard paint masks included will be very useful.
The pugnacious look of the fuselage is captured nicely. The recesses for the cannon troughs and the spent cartridge chutes are nicely done. The recess for the air intakes and the small recess towards the rear provide the location points for the wings. The one piece jet pipe for the Goblin engine needs to be fitted before the fuselage halves are glued. Panel lines and fasteners detail are finely recessed. There is low relief detailing representing cables and a box on the rearmost part of the cockpit decking. The cut outs for the front undercarriage well will need the very thin layer of flash removing before installing the one piece undercarriage bay. The front undercarriage well does not have a lot of detail just like the real thing. A look over both fuselage halves revealed a few tiny air bubbles underneath the fuselage. These are easily dealt with using correction fluid or filler.
The two one piece wings have the wing tip fuel tanks cast onto them. A test dry fit of the wings to the fuselage reveals an excellent fit. The two air intakes for the engine are cast separately, which offers the advantage of not only accurate depth to the intakes; it also provides accurate shape of the ducts into the fuselage. There are two PE vanes to glue into each of the intakes. The main wheel and the flap interior wells are beautifully detailed with low relief frame work and actuating mechanisms. The joint for the tail booms is on the trailing edges of the wings and there is a stub for the boom to fit onto. The flaps and the airbrakes can be displayed open or closed. The two one piece flaps are extremely thin and they will need some care separating them from their blocks. If you decide to display your Venom with flaps and air brakes deployed, tiny resin actuators arms are included. As with the fuselage the panel lines are beautifully done, crisp and recessed. The wing fences are supplied as PE parts. There are a four PE and four scratch build aerials to add to the under surface of the wings.
The rudders have incredibly thin trailing edges. A dry test fit of the wing and boom demonstrates an excellent fit. There are two small 8 mm long aerials on each boom that you need to create. The one piece horizontal stabiliser has four small pegs that fit into four small holes in the bullet fairings on the tail fins. The stabiliser needs separating from its block, but the contact area is very thin, so it should separate easily enough. Again the trailing edges are realistically thin.
The undercarriage legs are cast in black resin and are possibly stronger than the resin used in the rest of the kit. The detail is very good, the front undercarriage unit is cast in one piece including the actuator arm, and there is a little thin flash to remove. CMR has provided two types of wheels and they look superb; the distinctive twin raised tread of the front wheel is faithfully reproduced. The cast detail of the spokes for the main wheels is very well done. There are PE torsion links for the legs. The resin undercarriage doors have wonderful low relief detail cast on them.
The Eduard paint masks for the canopy, windscreen and wheels are a real bonus. The instructions include a full placement guide for the masks.
There is a choice of four schemes, all of which are RAF machines:
-De Havilland Venom NF.3 - WX853 — 'R', 23 Squadron, RAF Coltishall, circa 1955.
-De Havilland Venom NF.3 - WX914 — 'A', 89 Squadron, RAF Stradishall, January 1956
-De Havilland Venom NF.3 - WX796 — 141 Squadron, RAF Coltishall, October 1955.
-De Havilland Venom NF.3 - WX849 — 'V', 151 Squadron, RAF Leuchars, Scotland, circa 1955
The disruptive camouflage on the upper surface is dark sea grey [FS16173] with dark green [FS14079]. Under surfaces are medium sea grey [FS16270]. The painting guides show both port and starboard profiles of each aircraft and an upper and lower plan views. Also included are the location points of the roundels and squadron number under the wings. There is no variation in the camouflage schemes off all four options, but the Squadron markings on the booms will certainly brighten up this night fighter’s appearance. WX853 and WX914 feature wing tip fuel tanks in silver or natural metal.
The decals have very good colour depth and are glossy and thin. There are quite a few stencils to apply.
The four pages of building instructions take you through 14 building stages. The exploded line drawings are excellent and the parts key with all the components numbered is very useful. There are very useful colour notes for the various internal areas such as the cockpit, wheel and flap wells. There are also clear instructions of what to do with the PE parts as some require some bending. There is a very helpful guide for applying the paint masks to the windscreen and canopy. The grey tone paint guide has port and starboard profiles as well as upper and lower plan views. Each scheme is on an A4 sheet with details of the positioning of roundels, serial numbers, and the large squadron codes under the wings. It’s worth noting that there are full colour images of each scheme available on the CMR website.
The inclusion of the supplements illustrating various NF.3’s is typical of CMR commitment to modelers. It is also a sign of how confident Petr Buchar is in the accuracy of his kits. You don’t have to do much trawling on the internet looking for reference images. The supplements include images of this night fighter in service as well as a detailed look at WX905 located at Newark Air Museum in the UK. The supplements have some very useful annotation from Andy Robinson. The supplements are just one example of the way CMR go above and beyond of what you expect from a kit.
CMR has produced a superb line of De Havilland jet aircraft and this release is no exception. The rather pugnacious look of the real thing has been captured very well indeed. The kit oozes quality and will reward any experienced modeler with the best looking 1/72 two seat Venom on the market. There is also the added bonus that this kit will need no after market products. So there is no reason this kit should end up buried deep within your stash. Nicely done CMR.