by: Felix Bustelo [ ]
The de Havilland DH-112 Venom was a 1950s twin-boom British jet fighter-bomber that was developed from the DH-100 Vampire. The Venom was fitted with the de Havilland Ghost engine, which was more powerful than the Goblin engine found in the Vampire. The Venom also had a more refined airframe which improved performance. The Venom FB-1 was a single seat aircraft that entered into service in 1952. The design lent itself to a night fighter role and the NF-2 variant was developed, entering into service in 1953. Since a night fighter required a two-man crew (pilot and navigator/radar operator), the NF-2 had a pair of side-by-side seats. The NF-3, which entered into service in 1955, was fitted with ejector seats, an improved Ghost 104 engine and a new American radar which required a slightly modified nose. A total of 123 NF-3 aircraft were produced.
The kit is comprised of:
4 light gray sprues
1 clear sprue
1 photoetch brass fret
1 decal sheet
An instruction pamphlet
Let me start off by saying that while I consider myself an experienced ship modeler, I am not nearly as knowledgeable about aircraft. That being said, I am not going to nitpick about the accuracy of particular details. Instead I will try to assess the kit based on whether I think it looks good and how buildable I perceive it to be based on an in-box review.
Upon opening the kit and looking at the sprues, I was surprised to see each one labeled Sea Venom. At this point I wondered if Cyber-Hobby made a mistake and put the wrong contents into this box. Poking around the Internet, I discovered that Cyber-Hobby had produced a kit of the Sea Venom FAW.21 and since this aircraft was derived from the NF-3, it was now clear to me why these sprues are in the box. The images of the sprues in the instructions also show that not all of the over 100 parts are used for the NF-3.
The parts are well molded, with no noticeable flash and recessed panel lines. That being said, I was a bit disappointed to see that in order to build an NF-3, I will have to cut off the rear of the fuselage and attach the alternate parts on Sprue E. The plus side here is that there are lines molded on the inside of the fuselage to show where you will need to make the cuts. The down side is that you have to take this step and glue on the new parts and make it look like you had not conduct transplant surgery to the kit. Because of this step, I would not recommend this kit to a novice builder.
The Ghost jet engine is a little kit in it of itself with lots of nice detail. However, this detail will not be seen once you enclose it within the fuselage. More advanced modelers will open up panels to show it off.
The cockpit also looks pretty good out of the box, though it would benefit from at least some photoetch harnesses. I did find that Eduard makes a photoetch detail set for the Sea Venom kit, so perhaps some if not most of the parts could be used on an NF-3. Although I stated that I was not going to nitpick over a detail, I will do that here: according to Philip Birtlesí Postwar Military Aircraft: 5, which covers the Venom as well as the other twin-boom de Havilland jets, the Sea Venom FAW.21 was equipped with ejector seats and the NF-3 was not. As this is essentially a Sea Venom kit, I wonder if the seats are correct for the NF-3. To be honest, I am not sure if there is a visual difference between the two types of seats, so this may be a moot point.
Being a Sea Venom kit with parts for both the naval aircraft and the NF-3, the kit wings were engineered to be folded. Since the NF-3 was a land based aircraft, you will build these in a fixed position. The nose is a separate part which should facilitate adding weight to keep what looks like a tail heavy model grounded. The landing gear looks very well detailed and quite sturdy.
The clear parts sprue contains the canopy and a pair of taillights that are fitted to the tail ends of the airplane. According to the information printed on the kit box, the canopy can supposedly be modeled in an open or closed position. Looking at the kit part, I donít think this is true, unless you cut into the canopy to open it. The instructions do not show you this as an option and make no mention of an open cockpit. The prominent wing fences are provided as photoetch parts.
The decal sheet provides markings for a RAF aircraft of the 125 Squadron, RAF Stradishall, 1956 and a Swedish Air Force of the F.1 Wing, Vasteras, 1959. The sheet also had the gauges for the instrument panel. The decals look well done and sharp.
The assembly instructions are printed on tri-fold pamphlet, which opens up to 6 pages. The cover page has the box top art work with the images of the sprues at the bottom. The parts not to be used with the NF-3 are shaded in blue. The second page has explanations of the icons used in the assembly diagrams and color references for Aqueous Hobby Color, Mr. Color and Testors Model Master paints as well as generic descriptions in 5 languages. The assembly diagrams are well done in my opinion though the modeler may wish to follow a different sequence at their discretion. The last two pages cover painting and decal placement for the RAF and Swedish aircraft. Colors are specified for the RAF aircraft but none are specified for the Swedish one, but if you compare the two, you can interpret that the latter was overall Medium Sea Grey with Dark Green swaths. There are no painting instructions for the cockpit interior, so you will have to do your own research there.
Although this kit has its flaws, overall it looks good to me. In reality, this is the only injection-molded kit of this aircraft in this scale, so like it or not, this is it. Because of the surgery required to build an NF-3 variant, I would not recommend this kit to a novice modeler. I for one will wait to build a few aircraft kits to develop my skills before I will tackle this one.