FR017 Vickers Vildebeest MK III - sold out

The prototype Vickers Vildebeest (Vickers Type 132) was first flown in April 1928 and was powered by a Bristol Jupiter VIII radial engine. The type won the competition for a land-based torpedo bomber to replace the Hawker Horsley. An initial production order was placed in 1931 for nine aircraft (MK I), with the first production aircraft flying in September 1932. The Vildebeest entered service in October 1932, with 100 Squadron at Donibristle (Scotland). The major production version was the Vildebeest Mk III, which also introduced the third crew member.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, 101 Vildebeest’s were still in service with the RAF (6 Mk II and 52 MK III’s in the Far East, 23 MK III and 16 MK IV’s in the UK).  

In December 1941, the Singapore-based squadrons 36 and 100, which were still equipped with Vildebeest MK III’s, tried to oppose the Japanese invasion of Malaya. These obsolete biplanes were deployed against the attackers, attempting unsuccessfully on the 8th December to torpedo a Japanese cruiser.  During the Malayan campaign, in spite of suffering heavy losses they sank several Japanese ships.  On the 24th january 1942, 11 Vildebeest MK IIIs in bomber role and 3 Fairey Albacores destroyed the critical Labia bridge. During the Endau attack, 10 Vildebeest‘s were shot down, with the two squadron leaders being killed in the fight.  On January 31st, the surviving planes escaped to Java (Kemajoran). 36 Squadron suffered heavily again in trying to attack Japanese transports and landing ships at Rembang, on 28 th February.  All  Far East based Vildebeests were retired in March 1942.

 The Royal New Zealand Air Force purchased 12 Vildebeest MK III’s in 1935 for a use in a coastal defence role (codes: NZ101 to NZ112), with a further 27 acquired from RAF stocks in 1940-41 (15 MK III).  They were used up until May 1943.

Specifications (MK III):  Crew: three, pilot, navigator, and observer.  Length: 36 ft 8 in (11.18 m), wingspan: 49 ft 0 in (14.94 m), range: 1,250 mi (1,090 nm, 2,010 km), service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,800 m).  Armament:  1 × fixed, forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun and 1 × flexible, rearward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis machine gun. Bombs: 1,100 lb (500 kg) of bombs or 1 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedo. Powerplant: 1× Bristol Pegasus II-M3 air-cooled radial engine, 635 hp (474 kW) giving a maximum speed of 143 mph (124 knots, 230 km/h).


  • Bloody Shambles Vol II (C. Shores, B. Cul with Y. Izawa, Grubb Street)
  • Avions n°36 to 39 (in french)

Improvements, build reviews:

  • Britmodeller threads on the Vildebeest, about the camouflages
  • Build in Scale Aviation Modeler International, Vol 17, Issue 8, August 2011
  • Build in Model Airplanes International, september 2011, Issue 74