Multimedia Review
DH 106 Comet 3B
DH 106 Comet 3B in BEA markings
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by: Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]

First impressions

This kit is a jewel of the cottage industry. Details are very crisp and the execution is clean. The kit makes good use of the strengths of resin and vacuform moulding techniques while avoiding the major weakness of an all resin kit which is its comparatively heavy weight. Even though the landing gear struts are resin, the hollow vac fuselage means that they are unlikely to deform under the weight of the finished model.

The fuselage is in Welsh's traditional thick vacuform plastic with 3 circular bulkheads to keep it from collapsing. Windows are provided as decals with a note on the instruction sheet advising the modeller to apply the decals as a guide for marking their positions preparatory to drilling them out if clear windows are desired. Nose weight will be required. In addition to the bulkheads, small tabs cut from the backing sheet should be glued to the fuselage halves to help keep then aligned and to add to the gluing surface. Give them a little curl before gluing to keep the fuselage circular. This kit is a good candidate for Clint Groves' “river of epoxy” technique. Cut a hole in the roof of the wing root area and notches top and bottom in each of the bulkheads to allow slow setting epoxy to be poured into the closed fuselage. Rock the fuselage back and forth to allow the epoxy to coat the entire inside of the upper fuselage seam and allow to dry. Then repeat for the fore and aft sections of the lower seam. Done correctly the fuselage will become extremely solid and stand up to extraordinary abuse.

Each wing is a one piece resin moulding which also comprises a portion of the lower fuselage. The wings are joined together and the completed fuselage fits over-top. Only minor trimming and cleanup will need to be done before the wings are glued. Being resin, they will need to be glued with epoxy or cyanoacrylate glue.

The tail-planes are one piece resin mouldings. They will need to be drilled and pinned for strength. Given the construction, then cannot be left off until after painting and decalling. Luckily, the cheat-line ends at the tail-planes rather than overlapping them.

The Comet's engines were buried in the wing roots so they are portrayed entirely in the wing mouldings. 4 resin exhausts are the only extra parts required.

Landing gear
The landing gear struts and wheels are one-piece resin mouldings with surprisingly good detail. They will need only a good painting before they can be glued in place. The gear doors are nice little resin mouldings. They are not quite scale thickness, but are much better than comparable injection parts

I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a Comet.

Decals and markings
The decal sheet has markings for the sole Comet 3 as it appeared during de Havilland's marketing efforts aimed at BEA. Since BEA changed their colour scheme shortly afterwards to the famous “Red Square” scheme, no Comets flew revenue service in the kit colour scheme. The Comet 3 ended up being a dead end development, as it was replaced in production by the Comet 4 which was sufficiently different enough to warrant a new designation. The Comet 3 went on to a career in the Royal Aircraft Establishment, being used in zero-visibility landing trials and later on to validate the concept of a jet-powered maritime patrol aircraft that eventually became the Nimrod.

This kit illustrates the strengths of the vac/resin combination. It's simple, very well detailed and the subject is one the mainstream manufacturers will never even dream of producing. It could very easily serve as an introductory vac kit to a modeller who has never done one before. There are only 2 parts to sand out, and only the vertical stabiliser to worry about getting properly thin.
Highs: Beautiful resin mouldings for the wings and detail parts. Simple construction.
Lows: Some modellers are still frightened of vacuforms. It's also not cheap.
Verdict: The perfect model to cure vacuphobia. It couldn't be any simpler.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: SL223P
  Suggested Retail: C$69.95
  PUBLISHED: Jul 16, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Is a secret (Jessie_C)

Copyright ©2021 text by Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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