Author Topic: Special Hobby 1/72 Vickers Type 267 Vildebeest Mk.III  (Read 1311 times)

Offline Brad Cancian

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1180
  • "This time I've got you, Red Baron!"
    • Brad's Models
Special Hobby 1/72 Vickers Type 267 Vildebeest Mk.III
« on: May 13, 2023, 04:24:11 PM »
Special Hobby 1/72 Vickers Type 267 Vildebeest Mk.III ‘British Torpedo Bomber’

Reviewed by Zac Yates

Scale: 1/72
Item #: SH 72400
Price: €31.00 direct from Special Hobby. Also available through quality hobby retailers worldwide.
Contents: four sprues (three grey and one clear); eight resin parts; PE fret; four decal options.

The Vickers Vildebeest and the similar Vickers Vincent were two very large two- to three-seat single-engined British biplanes designed and built by Vickers and used as light bombers, torpedo bombers and in army cooperation roles. First flown in 1928, it remained in service at the start of the Second World War, with the last Vildebeests flying against Japanese forces over Singapore and Java in 1942 (from Wikipedia Production ran to 209 Vildebeests and 197 Vincents.

Nineteen RAF units operated the two types and it was exported to Iraq, Spain and New Zealand. It’s in the latter country that the sole surviving examples of each can be found (both under restoration for static display) and this reviewer feels fortunate to have visited Vincent NZ311 on several occasions. This is a very large single bay biplane close to the length and wingspan of a De Havilland Mosquito, and very tall: entering the cockpit is a mission in itself and benefits from using a ladder!

Special Hobby’s Vildebeest
Originally released in 2011 by Azur-FRROM, this 2018 release by Special Hobby is the sixth in the Vildebeest/Vincent family and duplicates the subject aircraft from the initial boxing.

Surface detailing on the fuselage halves is delicately engraved while the rib detail on the wings and control surfaces appears overdone and the fabric sag is exaggerated. Given the sheer number of ribs and nose ribs depicted most modellers will likely cite the old phrase “discretion is the better part of valour” and leave these alone rather than sand and replace them. This reviewer will certainly be taking the path of least resistance!

Careful clean-up will be needed on some parts due to flash, injector pin towers and intrusive moulding gates. One side of the separate vertical tail part was scratched in the review example, possibly due to the right fuselage half “floating” loose in the bag on its sprue.

Considerable attention was paid by the designers to the cockpit interior – there are a lot of injected and photoetch parts to go into a space that will be largely invisible when the fuselage halves are mated. The more visible observer’s station is similarly detailed with cockpit framing, ammunition racks and a seat – it should be pointed out PE seatbelts are provided for both crew members.

Biplanes have long suffered a poor reputation as model kits due to engineering resulting in tricky wing mating. This kit appears to be no exception: not every strut location point is marked on the lower wing (and those that are have very shallow holes) and those on the top wing could also be defined better. Careful examination of the instructions – and perhaps counting ribs – will be necessary for mounting the struts between the fuselage and lower wing, as will a good adhesive for all points of contact. Likewise, the landing gear attach points are very vague and only two of six holes are moulded.

Another potentially tricky area is the mount assembly for the large torpedo (which itself features several small PE parts) which is made from a single, thin, folded PE frame. There are also several brackets and miscellaneous small external parts provided on the PE fret which may best be added after decaling. The observer’s machine gun is supplied, with its Scarff-style mount, in injected plastic with small PE additions.

The instructions feature a simple rigging diagram calling for 0.2mm and 0.3mm lines. Although a 1/72 subject this kit is close enough to the size of a 1/48 Great War scout that the process shouldn’t pose much of a problem. Lines and horns for the control surfaces, including the elevator trim tabs, are all provided as single-piece PE parts.

The resin bag is dominated by the core of the Bristol Pegasus radial engine, which is very finely detailed. The other parts are the barrel for the forward-firing machine gun (two are provided), the rudder bar and control stick, the oil cooler and – oddly – the wingtip navigation lights. All except the engine are small, delicate pieces and care will be needed when separating them from the casting block.

The five very small clear parts are very thin and clear. They helpfully come in a zip-lock bag so none are lost should they come loose.

Instructions and Markings
Instructions come in Special Hobby’s usual high quality instruction booklet, with construction completed in 10 steps.

The kit features four marking options, all identical to the original Azur-FRROM release of the base kit:

1.   NK-K (serial unknown) of 100 Sqn Royal Air Force, RAF Seletar, Singapore, end of 1941-beginning of 1942. This aircraft wears Dark Green and Dark Earth over Sky blue camouflage. This is the box art aircraft, although that depicts bomb racks fitted to the lower wing which are not included in the kit.
2.   K4176/B of 100 Sqn RAF, Seletar, Singapore, 1936. This aircraft is overall Aluminium Dope with red flashes on the spats and a white B in a red diamond on the top wing.
3.   NZ109/B1 of B Flight, Royal New Zealand Air Force Flight Training School, 1941. This too is overall Aluminium Dope and features a dark blue cheatline on the fuselage and spats.
4.   K6402/OE-J of 36 Sqn RAF, RAF Seletar, Singapore, end of 1941-beginning of 1942. This wears the same camouflage colours as the first aircraft but in a different pattern.

The decals by DEAD Design and AVIPRINT look to be very thin with minimal carrier film and are of high quality. The diamond-B emblem for the second markings option appears twice as an errata sheet is supplied with a smaller version.

The various cheatlines and flashes are helpfully provided, avoiding awkward masking, and a healthy number of stencils are provided (as is a separate location guide for same).

One issue is the serials for K6402 appear out of alignment – there are no such issues with the other three subjects so it’s possible this may be reflective of the real aircraft.

It’s likely this family of kits is the best we will get for the Vildebeest and, for the experienced modeller, that’s not a bad thing. While the moulds are showing their age and kit design has progressed the biggest obstacles will be the fiddly cockpit details and attaching the upper wing and associated struts. The result will be an impressive model that will dominate one’s display shelf and start a few conversations.

Recommended to the experienced builder.

(Review sample kindly supplied by Special Hobby. Please support the businesses that support your Forum.)
Owner and Administrator

Offline KiwiZac

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2706
    • My Linktree
Re: Special Hobby 1/72 Vickers Type 267 Vildebeest Mk.III
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2023, 02:04:14 PM »
After this review was posted David Duxbury, a prominent RNZAF historian, was in touch to note the following and I wanted to relay it here for those interested:
A couple of quick comments on the Vildebeest kit (relating to the "read here" note). Looks pretty good generally, but the mention of the RNZAF unit operating NZ109 (I think) utilises that awful modernism of "Flight Training School" instead of the correct Flying Training School. And I cannot understand why a Scarf (spelling?) gunner's ring should appear on a Mk. III Vildebeest or Vincent when the correct equipment should have been a Fairey Hi-speed gun mounting. The propeller also looks a bit on the skinny side to me - these were serious examples of heavy wood construction, with a massive hub!
Zac in NZ