Special Hobby - 1/72 De Havilland Vampire Mk.1 'RAF, RAAF and Armée de l'Air. Development of jet fighter later to be named Vampire began in 1941 and related closely with development of H-1 jet engine, for which the engine section of de Havilland company was responsible. The engine was known later under its new name Goblin and its development was very successful. The Vampire was therefore ordered under Air Ministry specification E6/41 for an experimental machine able to be converted to a fighter plane. The design of the plane was fully adjusted to the new engine, which resulted in overall tiny dimensions of the plane, very low undercarriage and the tail planes being carried by two slim tail booms. The first prototype, unofficially named Spider Crab, flew for the first time on September 20, 1943 with G. de Havilland Jr at the controls. The trials were a success and an order for first 120 planes was placed in May 1944 and was continuously increased. The production planes were licence-built by English Electric since de Havilland was busy producing Mosquitoes. The original name Spider Crab was rejected by the RAF and changed to Vampire Mk.I.
First squadrons got their Vampires in May 1945, but did not take part in the war. The development continued in further versions, besides the versions with DH Goblin engine, there were also versions with Nene engine (built in Australia), two-seat night fighter versions, two-seater training versions or naval fighter versions. The Mk.I version was also the very first jet fighter aircraft to be used by military of neutral countries, Switzerland and Sweden.
The kit s plastic parts come on three grey styrene sprues and two clear sprues which are accompanied by a fret of photo-etches. The first clear sprue offers the standard, late type of the clear hood and also the original, early style canopy typical for the first Mk.Is. This part, however, was not manufactured to our standards, which we regret of course, and thus we have decided to rework the design completely and produce a second sprue with much more exact rendition of the early hood.
The decal sheet contains markings for three RAF machines which differ by having various national markings on them, another machine with serial A78-1which was flown by the RAAF down under and the final option brings a very special French machine, in fact a remotely controlled drone named Porthos
Originally, the Vampire Mk.I kit was to offer schemes for just two operators of the type, the RAF and RAAF. It has been decided, however, that a new marking option will be offered in this boxing to make it more attractive for a wider range of modellers. The new addition to the kit is a quite eye-catching machine wearing French colours and the title of this boxing has also been updated.