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Airfix + Uncle Les 1/48 scale
Vampire FB.31

by Brett Green

Vampire FB.31
No.21 "City of Melbourne" Citizen Air Force Reserve Fighter Squadron
RAAF Laverton, 1959



I have finally managed to break my modelling drought with my first completed model in about a year.

We sold our long-time family home in early 2022, then moved into a temporary rental property while the sale settled, then moved again into our new home later in the year.

Now it's back to regular programming with a nice new workshop. Here is the first output - the Airfix 1/48 scale de Havilland Vampire F.3 converted to an RAAF Vampire FB.31 using the Uncle Les conversion.

The Uncle Les conversion comprises parts in 3D printed resin, conventionally cast resin and decals.

The 3D printed resin parts are four "elephant ear" intakes (two are spares), a VHF antenna, Martin Baker Mk.2 ejection seat, a trestle stand to help with the tail-heavy booms and two chocks.



The grey resin nose is moulded with the Sperry aurpilot gyro housing in place.



Markings are supplied for two RAAF 21 Squadron subjects. Two small decal sheets are supplied - one with clear backing film and one with white backing film.



Eduard offers a wide range of accessories for the Airfix Vampire. I used the ZOOM photo-etched cockpit update, the BRASSIN wheels and the MASK masking set.



The multi-part instrument panel from rhe ZOOM set looks fantastic.



This model needs a lot of nose weight. I added squashed lead sinkers into the nose, behind the intakes and in the front of the drop tanks, but it was still nowhere near enough.



The Uncle Les conversion parts were easy to install, but care needs to be taken when removing the elephant ear intakes from their backing sheet. Les wisely includes two spares in case of mishaps (I had two mishaps...)



Fit of the nose isn't bad...



...but the upper and lower nose join still required quite a bit of filling, sanding and rescribing even after lots of test fitting and wrestling the parts into place.



Detail inside the flaps is brilliant.



The Uncle Les MB Mk.2 ejection seat looks a bit soft in its salmon-coloured resin but it comes up really well after a careful paint job.



I used Aerocraft Models' lovely 1/48 scale brass landing gear legs. These are designed for the Vampire Mk.5/9 and are also applicable to the Aussie FB.31. Aerocraft's brass landing gear is a luxurious finishing touch, and it's helpful to be able to bend the legs and axles after they have been glued in place too.



For markings I used Airfix kit decals for national markings and stencils, Uncle Les decals for the unique markings, and the white background decals from a Novascale decal set.



I was inpressed with the Airfix 1/48 scale Vampire kit and the Uncle Les FB.31 conversion set.

Uncle Les' Vampire FB.31 conversions are ocassionally available in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scale from the Uncle Les Sales Facebook page.

You can also try his website. Check the pages regularly for when they come up for sale.

This project will be written up for a major Feature Article in Issue 141 of Military Illustrated Modeller magazine.

Model and Text Copyright © 2023 by Brett Green
Page Created 13 April, 2023
Last Updated 14 April, 2023

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