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Finally, I got to the finish flag with my LeO! The slow progress has been predominantly something that I’ve allowed while my over enthusiastic brain has concentrated on other projects. Note to self: limit my number of concurrent builds! A GB build thread here: As you can see, and you will all know by now, she is a LeO 453S (“S” for sauvetage, safety/rescue in English), modelled as one of the machines of the SASM99 unit based in Maison Blanche, Algeria, in the 1950s. This air unit emerged from the air sea rescue sections created after WW2 when France, signatory to the O.A.C.I. (International Civil Aviation Organization) acquired the necessary means to meet its international commitments. Consequently, the Superior Council of French Aviation Safety requested the attachment of the SAR to the Civil and Commercial Aviation Secretariat (SGACC). The military maintained operational control. It had the necessary materials and crews to immediately undertake any research within the areas for which it is responsible, including those located in French Africa. At the end of WW2, the Armee de l’air (the air force) therefore set up an air-sea rescue service (SAMAR) subsequently reinforced by an air-land search and rescue organization (SATER). This service was initially based in Provence (Salon de Provence) then in Algeria in Blida under the name of SASM in February 1946. It was placed under the dependence of the Air Defense Zone 903 having three Vickers Wellington as its fleet. A HP Halifax, detached from Bordeaux, then took over the interim while waiting for the provision of aircraft of the LeO 453. Three aircraft were first used and in 1953 the unit grew to six aircraft, enabling it to operate and fulfill its mission. The SASM. was then transferred to Algiers-Maison Blanche and, in March 1954, to Boufarik where it merged with the GLA 45 liaison group which included two squadrons; one for transport and another for sea rescue made up of eight LeO 453s. A re-organisation gave birth to GLA 45 and a new SASM99. In February 1955, SASM saw the replacement of the LeO 453, by four-engine Bloch SE 161 Languedoc which belonged to Air France. Ten aircraft were specially fitted out at Toulouse-Montaudran. Still in Boufarik, this formation again changed its name, to the EARS99 (Air Search and Rescue Squadron). In February 1956, it moved again to Algiers. Many problems were encountered with the Blochs. The squadron was reinforced by a Noratlas N 2501, loaned by the GMMTA (Groupement des Means Militaires du Transport Air). On a weekly basis, an aircraft (generally N 2501) was dispatched. By 1960 the Lockheed L-749 Constellation gradually replaced the Languedoc. Ultimately the unit went through more changes and new types. The unit eventually dissolved in 1969. The subject of this build, using the Heller kit (the only kit!), is No.21, coded 99-JC. Ten LeO 453Ss (Nos. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 35 and 38) were operated by SASM99, some coming from the disbanded SASM98 and GLA45. No. 38 was lost in an accident near Mallorca in 1954. Specifically, No.21 was converted from LeO 451 No.457. She hadn’t been without incident as she had an engine issue over France in 1952. Finally she was retired with the remainder of the fleet in 1956. The only photo I have found of her is this tail-on shot. Therefore I post below a shot of the scrap yard at Blida where they all sadly passed on. Note that some of the fleet had de-icing boots, others didn't. No.21 was in the latter group. The LeO 453S was a heavily modified version of the versatile LeO 45 design, having a passenger compartment and observer positions. The upper gun “turret” was deleted. A number of aerials and antennas were added too. The biggest change was the change to R1830-43 (or 67) engines, driving Hamilton props. What did I use?: 1. Kit – Heller LeO 45 1/72 (80389) 2. Decals – Kit rudder stripes, Berna Decals roundels, and the remainder drawn by Giorgio @Giorgio N and printed by Arctic Decals. 3. Aftermarket & other bits – Renaissance Models main undercarriage assemblies and wheels (RF72064), DF loop bullet from a Heller T-6, Engines (with cowlings and props) from an Airfix C-47 (thanks @1903flight), EZ Line for the aerials. Various bits of Plastruct rod. I used a drop tank from a Special Hobby Super Mystere as the basis for the dorsal turret mods. I made the engine intakes from Mk82 bombs. The exhausts were made from sprue, bent over a flame and drilled out. The tail cone was extended with card. 4. Paints – overall Humbrol Polished Aluminium (27002), 33 Matt Black, 60 Scarlet, and others here and there. She was finished with Humbrol Satincote. 5. Weathering – Flory Wash (Dirt), Tamiya Weathering Powders, Prismacolor Silver pencil I must also acknowledge the help I got from Scott @Jinxman, James @1903flight, Wez @Wez, Mike @Michou, Tony @TonyOD, Martin @Lightningboy2000 and others. Thanks everyone. So here she is: There are a few glitches. I'm just glad to get her to RFI! Martin