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Stampe S.V.4 1:72 Azur FRROM The Stampe S.V.4 can be said to be one of the Belgian Aeronautical Industry's best successes. Jean Stampe designed the aircraft to provide pilot training as well as to have good aerobatic capabilities. The aircraft won a competition in 1939 organised by Belgium & France for a new trainer. Belgium immediately ordered 30 aircraft. However WWI intervened and only 35 aircraft in total were built before the factory had to close. Michel Donnet and Leon Divoy escaped to the UK in the prototype backup OO-ATD in 1941. Following WWII both France and Belgium still lacked a trainer and in 1947 Belgium ordered 65 S.V.4b aircraft. These differed from earlier examples by having a more powerful Gypsy Major X engine, and a removable sliding canopy. France ordered 701 examples to be powered by a Renault 4-POI engine which was to be built under license in France. 150 more were built in Algeria. The French version was designated S.V.4c Both countries used the aircraft for training, and liaison duties. The Belgian Air Force Aerobatic Team The Manchots (Penguins) used the Stampe from 1965 to 1970. As the aircraft was such a good light aircraft many examples were sold to private clubs. It also seems the Stampe has had a few film roles. They were used in "The Blue Max", and "Von Richthofen and Brown" in British and German markings. Lately the aircraft Indian Jones escaped from The Airship in the Last Crusade was a Stampe, as was the aircraft in "The Mummy", both these aircraft having a spurious gun turret added. The Kits The four different kits (FR0024, 25, 26 & 27) are almost identical, in fact you get the same three sprues of grey plastic, and clear sprue in each boxing. The parts have restrained fabric details where needed. Each boxing has two different engines and propellers, along with the different canopies which were used. All four boxings also contain the common resin parts including two Venturis, humps for conversion to SV.4C & SV.4am as well as the pilot tube. As well as these different boxings contain parts specific to them in resin. FR0024 has the back of the rear control Panel. FR0025 has an oil tank & cooler. FR0026 has a complte different exhaust and parts for filling the existing exhaust parts. FR0027 has an oil tank & cooler. The oil tanks for 024 & 026 are also in plastic; therefore the modeller can theoretically build and Stampe from any boxing, though the scratch building of a few specific part might be a bit difficult. Construction starts with the cockpit. It is pretty basic in there just like the real thing! Two seats (or one depending on your kit) are added to the cockpit floor along with control columns and rudder pedals. Cockpit bulkheads are added along with the engine fire wall. The two fuselage sides can then be closed around the cockpit. The cockpit sides have detail for the fuselage frames moulded in. Once the main fuselage is closed up the lower wing is added. This is followed by the tailplanes and rudder. Once these are on its time to add the upper wing. This attached via two struts on each side and four in front of the cockpit. The modeller will need to consult the side profiles to get the wing in the correct place. Once the wings are on the right engine will need to be selected for the appropriate aircraft, along with the correct prop. These can then be added. The main landing gear along with the tail wheel can then be added. The final stage of construction being add the correct exhaust. The modeller can rig the aircraft if they want with a full rigging diagram supplied. Canopy Both styles of canopy, and the screens for the open cockpit aircraft are on the same sprue, and included in each kit. They are clear if a little thick with well defined frame lines. I think for a lot of modellers these injection canopies are preferable to thinner vacformed ones (I know they are for me!) Decals Each boxing has a small decal sheet. These are printed by Aviprint and are in register (mostly), and look colour dense. FR0024 Has three decal options; A. Belgian Air Force 1952-70. B. Belgian Air Force Aerobatic Display Team 1954-1968. C. Belgian Air Force early 1950s. FR0025 Has three decal options; A. Aeronavale. Escadrille 50S. Lanveoc-Poulmic Naval Aviation Base, 1950. B. ALAT Mainz-Frinthen 1956. C. Service de la Formation Aeronautique. Chavenay 1979. FR0026 Has three decal options, The yellow ring roundel look slightly out of centre to my eye; A. Ex Belgian OO-ATD liberated and flown to the UK, Flown in RAF Trainer colours 1942/44. B. Ex Belgian OO-ATD liberated and flown to the UK, RAF Markings over original civil registration, 1941 C. G-ATKC Tiger Club, Redhill 1960. This aircraft went to Moscow in 1966, was destroyed in an accident in 1982. FR0027 Has four decal options; A. Aircraft belonging to famous French Aerobatic Pilot Marcel Charollais. B. As marking A but with no civil serial F-BDGI on the side. C. 688 St Yan 1950 F-BDNM. D. 1077 Bought in the USA and now in Germany, restored by Mr & Mrs Franz Busse D-EEFB. Conclusion Though there have been other Stampe SV.4 kits including resin ones, and the old Heller 1:50 it is great to see the at people FFROM do a new injection moulded kit of this important Belgian aircraft in 1:72. Highly Recommended. Review samples courtesy of