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1/48 Alley Cat 

De Havilland Vampire FB. Mk 5



 
Packaging:

  • Were the sprues individually bagged?
    • Yes they are bubble wrapped and segregated in small zip lock baggies
  • Was the clear sprue in a separate bag?
    • Yes in a separate zip lock Baggie
  • Were there any additional protective measures used which might warrant bonus points?
    • The box itself is super sturdy hard cardboard flip top lid. 
    • Given this kit made it inside my luggage from Telford to the USA through all baggage handling without a single dent is testimony this can withstand just about any rough handling.
  • Is the box art worth raving about?
    • I love the box art and is a very nice rendition line drawing.  Although not the standard "action" shot you see so many times, this is very well detailed and shows of a very nice colorful option that should attract many to buy this kit.
  • Were any parts damaged?
    • Zero damage encountered throughout the kit. 
    • The bubble warp sandwich nicely fills any gaps in the box and ensure no movement and shifting of the parts at all.




Instructions:

  • Are they clear and easy to follow? 
    • For a limited run resin kit these are the best instructions I have seen produced.
    • Although short they are to the point and can easily be followed.  Granted that the breakdown of the kit is pretty simple and should not bring any confusion to even the most novice of builders.
  • Do they include multiple languages? 
    • No only English is provided.
  • Are they accurate?
    • I have started the detailed in-box build and so far the instructions are right on the money and have some additional pointers to place the nose cone into the narrow cavity between the wing.
  • Do you agree with the build sequence?
    • The Build sequence is so straight forward and due to the small parts count there is no need to deviate from what is suggested.
  • Do they include color call outs?
    •  Yes and are pretty straightforward.
    • A little research on the Internet could provide additional colors of nobs etc for the instrument panel and throttle levers though, as only "Black" is called out for the cockpit.
  • For multiple paint types? 
    • No Paint types provided and is left to the preference of the modeler. 
    • Given that the target audience would be a more advanced modeler this is appropriate as most will have their own "best paint" in mind.
  • Painting profiles?
    • As Alley Cat provides several boxing options additional color/decal sheets are available. 
    • Even so in this particular box offering a nice Silver/blue tailed, an over all silver option and a Camo version are of the choosing.
  • In color?
    • The color instructions are a very welcome addition to limited run kits and are rarely seen, Well Done Alley Cat !


Excellent stenciling guides are provided... Nicely done once again !










Decals:

  • Are they accurate?
    • Doing a quick research on the net, Alley Cat did a great job in providing "just about all" stenciling needed to provide a nice accurately depicted "factory fresh" marked up aircraft.
    • Squadron markings appear to be nicely done with correct colors and saturation throughout the decal sheet.
  • Are they in register?
    • The national roundels and even the tiniest markings are easily readable under magnification. 
    • A superb job on these decal sheets.  Once again a super job on a limited run kit that is rarely done by other manufacturers.  High Kudos on this sheet.
  • Are stencils included? 
    • Yes a full range of accurately/readable under magnification.
  • Are there many schemes catered for?
    • 3 schemes plus if you wanted to another kit is available with3 more schemes.
  • Are seat belts or instrument decals included? 
    • A small PE fret with seat-belts is provided.  A very nice touch. 
  • Were any setting solutions needed / used?
    • Please refer to my detailed In Box Build review coming shortly.
    • I do not foresee any problems with these decals but will provide a full report later in the coming weeks.









Accuracy:

  • How does the kit compare with the real thing? 
    • A quick comparison of line-drawings I could find on the net and scaling them this little kit is a true gem and nicely measures up.
    • I had the pleasure of seeing two examples at Hendon and Cosford and took a ton of reference shots. 
    • Looking through these the kit is very nicely renditioned indeed.
    • Panel lines are accurately depicted throughout the model as found on the "real thing"
    • Speaking of panel lines, these are some of the best "consistent" meaning depth and width and super fine throughout the whole model. 
    • Hats off once again to Alley Cat for being able to do such a super job in resin.
  • Are there any glaring errors?
    • None detected at this time of the review. 
  • Are there any after market sets available which are worth considering?
    • Most of you know and are familiar with my builds and love to super detail just about anything, if there is a resin set out there for the model I am building most likely I "must have it". 
    • To be honest on this little kit pretty much everything is provided.  The real thing was a design of simplicity itself and comes through in the model. 
    • If you want to be picky you could super detail out the wheel wells with some lead wire. 
    • A nice touch could have been some dropped landing flaps.
Detail:

  • What is the detail level like?
    • Detail for this kit and scale is just perfect, nice shallow/thin panel lines, thin gear doors, with enough relief to come across as perfect. 
    • Nice landing gear in soft white metal with brake lines accurately molded in. 
  • Does the kit have lots of raised or engraved surface detail?
    • Zero raised detail in panel lines.  Perhaps some of the best engraved consistent/thin/ depth etc panel lines just lovely throughout.
  • Especially in areas people frequently focus (e.g. on aircraft this would be the cockpit, wheel wells and engines)? 
    • As the cockpit of the real thing is quite small and once enclosed with the cockpit glass I feel it is accurately renditioned and does the job perfectly.
    • For the more advanced modeler it is possible to open up the cockpit and slide the canopy backwards even doing so the nice PE front provides some nice level to keep one interested when inspecting up close. 
    • The seat is very nicely done with excelent fine detail.
  • Is the detail crisp or soft?  Can it be easily enhanced? 
    • Detail is very crisp, a little bit of light polishing of the wing and body plus the tail pods to remove slight mold impression(s) provides a super smooth finish overall.
  • How does it compare with other kits? 
    • Comparing this to the Classic Airframe kit these are miles apart.  I like the simplicity of Alley Cat's breakdown without loss of detail.  And in my mind nicer / more colorful markings.
  • Was there lots of flash? 
    • Very minor flash and off course the normal to be expected casting blocks. 
    • These should present no trouble at all to anyone whom has worked with resin before and has a nice thin razor saw to make short work of these.
  • Are the clear parts thin or thick, or deformed?
    • Interestingly Alley Cat provides their clear parts as clear resin, rather than the often encountered vac form canopies.  I truly like this approach as the canopy frame work is much better and crisply defined as compared to the vac from approach. 
    • The clear parts can definitely benefit from a quick polish with a Flory model "Green/White" stick and a dip in future to give a perfect shine. 
    • I will provide a complete observation/write up once I get to that step in my in box build review.















Fit:

  • If the kit has been built, how well did it go together? 
    • I have started working on the kit and so far the fit and alignment is superb.
  • Was the parts fit generally good, or were there lots of gaps?
    • Glued on the tail booms with zero issues and/or need for sanding/gap fillers.
  • Did you need to do lots of dry fitting? 
    • Any short run/resin kit benefits from a quick check and dry fit.  the fit of Alley Cat's product are just amazing and some of the best I have seen in resin kit manufacturing.
  • Can you think if any advice that would help others to build it?
    • If you want to make the leap into resin limited production kits this one (especially the Vampire) might just be your ticket. 
    • I would venture to say these are so good they match up easily to the Hasegawa mass market kits out there. 
    • The simplicity of breakdown and limited parts provides a nice introduction with quick results and a pleasing model that is not often seen in modelers collections or the contest arena.

Extras:

  • Did the kit include any photo-etch or resin parts?
    • Small PE fret for the cockpit and is very nicely renditioned
  • A canopy or marking masks?
    • Another nice touch is the canopy mask for both inside and outside framing.  They look like they fit very well. 
  • Hoses, chains or metal barrels?
    • No, nor needed unless someone would want to super detail a couple of break-lines inside the wheel-wells
  • Were they any good or necessary? NA
  • Any other goodies?
    • A couple of pieces of lead weight to keep the nose down.

 

 

 
Value for Money:

  • How does the cost of the kit compare with its contemporaries? 
    • Alley Cat's pricing model fits very well within the limited run "collector" kit variety.  Given for what you get in the box as a quality product it is a great investment.
  • Are there any other options available?
    • One more boxing variety is available for markings, speaking with Alistair at Telford he mentioned several other Marks (Mk's) are in the works. 
Packaging     10/10
Instructions   9/10, could benefit of more color call outs for cockpit
Decals          10/10
Accuracy      10/10 could benefit for options of dropped flaps
Detail           9/10 could benefit for options of dropped flaps
Fit               9/10 first impressions are very good !
Extras           10/10, love the additional PE and canopy mask
Value for Money   9/10

Overall          76/80