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  1. Fairey Delta 2 (DW72009) British Supersonic Research Aircraft 1:72 Dora Wings distributed in UK by Albion Alloys Following WWII, British aviation technology still lead the world, giving away first place to the speed of sound to the Americans by cancelling the Miles M.52 project and sharing the data. The delta wing had been considered as a new wing planform for early jets, and Fairey was tasked with looking into it along with a great many other new aspects that came alongside jet engines. The Type-R project was originally intended to be a VTOL undertaking, but pivoted to supersonic flight and renamed it the Delta 1 project. An initial contract for three airframes was curtailed once the initial prototype had flown, as it was a difficult aircraft to fly with many vices, although Fairey continued flying it as a test-bed until 1956 when they bent it in a rough landing, grounding it for good. The FD2 originated as a single-engined transonic interceptor, but morphed into something different due to Fairey’s inventiveness and dissatisfaction with doing just what was asked of them. The early data that was gathered during the FD1 project and the experience of the new chief engineer they imported from Hawker gave them a start, although the Gannet project took priority during this period, slowing down progress for a time. Rebels that they were, the FD2 was developed upon a specification that would outstrip requirements by a substantial margin that eventually led the aircraft to be the first in the world to reach 1,000mph. Two prototypes were built, and care was taken to ensure that military equipment could be added later if it reached service, taking to the sky toward the end of 1954. A flameout of the first prototype due to loss of fuel supply resulted in serious damage to the rear end after the main gear failed to deploy in time for the emergency landing. Once back in the sky, supersonic flight became commonplace for the aircraft in France after the Ministry refused permission over the UK because they mistakenly believed that sonic booms could be dangerous at low-level, although no claims for damages were ever lodged in France. Its proximity to and collaboration with French engineers gave Dassault plenty of data that helped in the design of the Mirage III, which shared many of the same characteristic of the FD2, save for the droop-snoot that was later incorporated by the Concorde engineers. The two airframes went on to perform a great deal of test flying, part of which included flying at supersonic speeds without the use of reheat in 1955, despite almost total lack of support from the Ministry, who were under the sway of Duncan Sandys, and only had eyes for missiles. The record had previously been held by a North American F-100 Super Sabre, and after many hurdles were crossed, including reticence from Rolls Royce and the Civil Service (some things never change), Fairey went ahead on the 10th March 1956, reaching 1,132 mph or Mach 1.73, which was 37% more than the previous record. Once the competition had got over the shock, they put their best efforts into taking the record back, which was finally done by the USAF flying an F-101A Voodoo at the end of 1957. Despite the success of the prototypes, Fairey could not manage to convert that success into a completed project, although some of their data and ground-breaking design-work went into the Concorde project in the 60s, including a heavily re-designed FD2 with new wings called the BAC 211. The Kit In true Dora Wings style, this kit is a little out of the ordinary and was unexpected but very, very welcome, especially by the 1:72 modellers on this here forum. I was happy that they are happy of course, and can’t wait for a similar announcement in 1:48. I can dream, can’t I? The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the FD2 in-flight over broken cloud, and inside are five crisply-moulded sprues in grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, two decal sheets, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE), a sheet of vinyl masks, and a portrait format A5 instruction booklet printed in full-colour on glossy paper. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from Dora Wings, who seem to improve with every kit. The exterior of the model is sleek like the real thing, with fine engraved panel lines, super detail inside the upper wing halves, moulded-in sidewall detail in the nose, cockpit, gear bays and legs that wouldn’t look out of place on a kit of a larger scale. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the narrow instrument panel with decal, covered by a coaming and set aside while the ejection seat is built from five parts plus decals representing four-point seatbelts. The shallow cockpit tub receives the seat on two tabs, plus the short control column with the instrument panel in front, and an oval bulkhead in front of that. The rear bulkhead finishes the cockpit, which is inserted between the nose halves, separated from the fuselage at the pivot-point for the droop-snoot. The canopy is furnished in two parts, which is good news for this scale, then the spine and underside are fitted with aerials and PE vanes on the pitot probe, which are probably left off until after painting. The fuselage has its intakes fleshed-out inside by two additional parts per side, and the exhaust tube is made from two halves plus a forward bulkhead that has the rear face of the engine moulded-in, then it and the nose gear bay are trapped between the two fuselage halves, adding a flat spar between to support the wings. These are built from upper and lower halves, adding aileron and flap to the trailing edges, and an actuator fairing to the ailerons, briefly stopping to admire the detail included in the gear bay mouldings before you slot them onto the spars, following up with the rudder, which can be posed deflected if you wish. The nose can be fitted drooped or straight for in-flight by using one of two bulkheads supplied, glued into the flat front of the fuselage, mating the nose once the glue is cured, and taking note of the two diagrams that show the correct angles from the side. A gaggle of auxiliary intakes are scattered over the upper fuselage, and PE strakes are fitted into shallow grooves in the upper wings, flipping the model over to fit the landing gear and bay doors. The main bay struts are braced by a V-strut, while the nose gear leg is an A-frame with extended central strut and a Y-brace near the top of the retraction jacks. Another retraction jack is fitted as the main legs are installed in their bays, fitting a single main wheel to the axle inboard, with a captive bay door on the outer face. The nose gear leg is installed as-is, slotting two wheels on a cross-axle near the front of the bay. Markings You might expect these prototypes to be bare metal only, but they also got to wear some colourful schemes, especially at shows. From the box you can build one of these four options: WG774, March 1956, World Air Speed Record – 1,132mph, pilot Lieutenant Commander Peter Twiss WG774, 2nd September 1955 WG777, RAF Musuem, Cosford, Shropshire, UK WG774, SBAC Show Farnborough, September 1958 Decals are by Dora’s usual partner, DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The only thing that could make this a better FD2 if it was in 1:48. I know I’m harping on about that a little bit, but I figure if I mither Eugen often enough he might cave in. It’s a great kit with plenty of detail, including the droop-snoot if you feel the urge, just don’t be tempted to fill that join line. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK in all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Super Mystère B2 Early (FR7001) 1:48 Azur Frrom The Super Mystere was a successor to the earlier Mystere series of jet fighters, and was the first European production aircraft to be capable of supersonic speeds in level flight, thanks to its slender swept wings, and the addition of an afterburner ring to its Atar 101 engine. The prototype of the Avon-engined B1 first flew in 1956, with the French engined B2 flying a little later, and going into production for a run of 180 airframes. A further upgraded B4 was cancelled before it reached production due to the superior capabilities of the Mirage III that was coming into service at that time. The Super Mystère bears a passing resemblance to the North American F-100 Super Sabre of a similar vintage, which owes more to the direction of aviation and aerodynamic research at the time, rather than any sneaking about in balaclavas. The B2s entered service with three Escadres de Chasse in mid ’57, each of which adopted a colour and name for their subordinate escadres, and went on to serve in these roles until 1977 when they were withdrawn, a few going on to serve at a French technical school. The Israelis also bought two dozen airframes, and considered them a good match for the MiG-19s that they often encountered, particularly during the Yom Kippur and Six-Day wars when some were lost to enemy action. Another dozen aircraft were purchased by the Honduran Air Force, who later bought a few more, which went on to serve well into the 90s, performing ground support operations for their nation. The Kit This is Azur Frrom’s first 1:48 scale kit, and one of very few kits in this scale of the Super Mystère, the only other injection moulded styrene being from a company that has a reputation for being difficult to build. This is good news for “quarter scale” modellers such as myself, as it should be more widely available and much easier to build. The kit arrives in a top-opening box in their usual pale blue theme, with an attractive painting of the subject matter on the front. Inside are five large sprues in grey styrene in a resealable clear bag, a clear sprue in its own bag, decal sheet in another bag, and the instruction booklet. It is printed in colour on glossy paper with colour profiles on the rear pages, followed by a few more pages illustrating Azur Frrom’s range of products in 1:72 scale. Detail is good, including finely engraved panel lines, raised and recessed details in the cockpit, gear bays and air-brakes, and crisp clear parts to show off your work on the cockpit details. The kit is a cooperation with Special Hobby, as can be seen from the sprues, and that should give many modellers an idea of what to expect. Construction begins with detailing of the fuselage halves with exhaust cowling, air-brake bays and other inserts that are particular to this variant. The exhaust trunking is built up alongside, starting with the main tube with the afterburner ring suspended between the two halves, then top-and-tailing it with a split exhaust and a crisp rendition of the engine’s rear face. The cockpit is assembled on the floor part, which has the side consoles and front bulkhead moulded-in, adding the instrument panel with decal, rudders with supports, control column, and rear bulkhead that has the ejector seat ramp moulded-in, turned into a tub by the application of the cockpit sidewall inserts. The long intake trunking is made from top and bottom halves, with the front compressor face of the Atar engine blanking it off at the rear. This and the exhaust are inserted into the starboard fuselage half on a set of pegs, but the fuselage isn’t closed yet, as there is more work to do. The main gear bay is built from roof, two curved bulkheads front and rear, plus a divider down the centre, which is then inserted into the lower fuselage along with the nose gear bay, all of which is painted in a buff primer. The cockpit is glued into the starboard fuselage on a flat spot moulded into the intake trunking, the rudder is placed in slots in the fin, and the port fuselage half is brought in, trapping the rudder and a small insert behind the cockpit, and being joined by the lower fuselage to form the full profile. There is a choice of inserts under the fuselage depending on when the aircraft was built, fitting the intake lip to the nose to tidy the area up, with a small clear light inserted into a depression under the nose. Although the Super Mystère was a low-wing monoplane, the lower wings are separate, plugging into slots in the wing roots that are moulded into the fuselage sides. My example had a small short-shot in one wingtip, but it’s nothing a little styrene sheet and some filler can’t fix during the build, but you may wish to check your example to be sure. An insert with ribbing is placed inside to form the outer portion of the gear bay, then the upper wing is glued over it, with more of the primer used throughout. They are slotted into the fuselage, whilst adding clear tip lights and small round lights in the upper trailing edges, and the low T-tail is created by inserting the two elevators into their fairings near the bottom of the fin. The landing gear comprises three straight struts, the nose gear inserting into the bay by twisting is through 90°, then fixing the retraction jack into the rear of the bay. The main gear legs are inserted into their sockets with the retraction jacks inboard, and each gear leg is tipped by a wheel, using two halves for the main gear and a single moulding for the nose. The gear bay doors are attached to the sides of the bays, adding retraction jacks to them along the way. Numerous small parts are attached under the fuselage, including a pair of probes under the intake, giving it a catfish appearance. Turning the model over, the ejection seat is made from eight parts, slotting into the cockpit with a piece of head armour behind it, the instrument coaming and gun sight at the front, including two tiny clear panes on the sight. The canopy can then be fitted over the cockpit, starting with the fixed windscreen, and a choice of open or closed canopy, which opens in a non-standard manner, raising at both ends. If posing the canopy closed, there are small pips on the bottom rail of the clear part that need removing, but if posing it open, the rectangular section behind it raises up, and the front is supported by a pair of rods, giving the canopy the impression of hovering over the pilot. It is quite easy to imagine a pilot banging their head if they were incautious when leaving their aircraft. A pair of rear-view mirrors are supplied for the front of the canopy, and the rear support is detailed with its own jack that is visible when completed. Markings Depending on your point of view, there are either two or three decal options on the sheet, as the first option was seen with differing tail decoration during its career. From the box you can build one of the following: SM B2 No.110, 10-SB from 24/04/59 to 20/11/64 EC 01/10 ‘Valois’, Creil SM B2 No.110, 10-SB engaged in SEATO Cruise top Bangkok in March 1961 Sm B2 No.60, 5-NJ from 03/05/61 to 06/04/64, EC 01/05 ‘Vendée’, Orange-Caritat The decals are printed using a digital process, and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. This means that the carrier film on the decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion A great many Francophile 1:48 modellers will be very happy with this new release from Azur Frrom, as it fills a gap in early French jet aviation, and fills it with a well-detailed model of this important mark. Highly recommended. Available from collaborators, Special Hobby Review sample courtesy of
  3. Mirage IIIC Armée de L’Air (SH72476) 1:72 Special Hobby The Dassault Mirage III is one of the most recognisable aircraft to emerge from the Dassault Aviation stable in post war France with its distinctive delta wings and sharply pointed nose. The Mirage III grew out of French government studies for a light weight all weather interceptor able to reach an altitude 18,000 meters (59,500+ ft) in six minutes and able to reach Mach 1.3 in level flight. The tail less delta combined the wing with an area ruled Coke bottle-shaped fuselage to achieve such speed, minimising buffeting and other compressibility related issues that had plagued early supersonic designs. The Mirage IIIC would remain in French service from 1961 until 1988, and although there were fewer than 100 airframes built of this mark, it formed the basis for many sub-variants that were sold to overseas operators, including Israel, who operated the Mirage IIICJ that had less advanced avionics and some aspects of the design removed or simplified. Nevertheless, Israel found these aircraft and weapons systems more than a match for anything her neighbours were able to field during the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars, with the aircraft being a resounding success in combat with Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian aircraft, many of which were of Soviet origin. Israel then sold some of these aircraft to Argentina when they had been replaced by more modern designs. The Kit This is a reboxing of a new tool by Special Hobby of this Dassault success story, and it shows by the level of detail that is present. There is fine detail to be seen throughout all the sprues, including a crystal-clear canopy sprue, and a well-printed sheet of decals. The kit arrives in a modest top-opening box, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a small clear sprue in a Ziploc bag, a decal sheet in a resealable bag, and an A5 instruction booklet printed in colour on glossy paper. Construction begins with the cockpit, which consists of a tub with separate front and rear bulkheads that has the side consoles moulded-in, to which the rudder pedals, control column, instrument panel with decal, and the coaming with a clear HUD unit is attached to the top. The exhaust is made up from three sections to obtain detail, with a two-part lip, and a single section representing the rear of the engine that has a bulkhead moulded-in to secure it within the fuselage. The intake bullet fairings have a small insert added to each one, and the nose gear bay is glued to an insert that forms the lower surface of the nose, after which you can begin to close the fuselage, adding a two-part outer fairing to the exhaust before putting the trunk and cockpit between the two halves, installing the nose gear insert below once the halves are together. The tail fin is separate, and you have a choice of bullet fairings for within the intakes either side of the cockpit depending on which decal options you choose. Once you have chosen, the outer fairing can be glued over it to complete the intake trunking. The lower wings are moulded as a single part that incorporates the underside of the fuselage, needing a few fairings removing and a choice of two rectangular inserts installing before you can proceed. The main bays are added to the inside and are painted along with the roof details that are moulded into the upper sides of the wings, which are separate parts that are fitted after the fuselage is glued on the lower wing. Flying surface actuators are joined to the wing, and a circular light is inserted into a hole in the underside of the nose, leaving you with a very Mirage-shaped model that just needs the fine details and some paint to finish it. The nose gear is built from an A-frame to which the two halves of the yoke are added along with a rectangular bay door and the single-part wheel. The main gear struts are each one part with two-part wheels, and these are attached within their bays with the addition of a pair of retraction struts and bay doors on the outer and inner edges. The nose leg has a long retraction jack and another rectangular door at the front, plus a third that sits on the side of the bay with a retraction jack projecting into the bay. Several antennae, pitot probe in the nose and other small parts are dotted around the airframe, and the last act is to insert the ejection seat, which is made from five parts, and is covered by the fixed windscreen and pivoting canopy, which can be fixed in place in the raised or lowered position. A diagram shows the weapons locations for your ease, and these are included in the box, as follows: 2 x AIM-9D Sidewinder A2A Missile 2 x Matra Magic A2A Missile 1 x Matra R530 A2A Missile for the centreline 2 x 625L Fuel Tank 2 x 1300L Fuel Tank 2 x 500L Fuel Tank Each one is provided with a pylon and/or adapter rail, with separate perpendicular fins on many of the missiles, and a tail cone for the 500L fuel tanks. Markings There are four decal options included on the sheet, and you are provided with a four-view page for each one, complete with colour call-outs in Gunze Aqueous and lacquer. From the box you can build one of the following: No.28, 2_EG, Escadron de Chasse EC 1/2 Cigones, Armée de L’Air, Base Aérienne BA 102 Dijon-Longvic, France 1961 No.77, 13PG, EC 2/13 Alpes, BA132, Colmar Meyenheim, France, 1963 No.30, 10-RE, EC 2/10 Seine, BA120 Creil, France, May 1978 No.27, EC 2/10 Vexin, BA188 Djibouti (Ambouli International Airport), République de Djibouti, November 1978-September 1988 The decals appear to be printed using the same digital processes as Eduard are now using, and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. I mention Eduard because from 2021, the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion A very well-detailed and crisply moulded new tooling of this important French fighter in service with their own forces. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Hi all, My next project will be a Voodoo carrying this test gear. Is there anyone out there who knows what it is and has more information about it. I've searched the net without success so I am now hoping the wonderful resource that is BM can help ;). It is slung on a F-101A, operating out of Tyndall AFB in the early 1960s. As well as the vehicle itself any thoughts of the pylon apparatus woyld be of immense help. Thank you. Martin
  5. Hi all, This is my build of the Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis" aircraft used by "Chuck" Yeager to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947. It was my entry to the Prototypes, Experimentals, World Firsts & Record Breakers GB. I used the Hobby Craft 1/72 Bell X-1, which I bought second hand in eBay and built it completely OOB. I didn't apply any weathering as the aircraft, being an experimental machine, was constantly taken care of. It can also be seen as representing the aircraft as displayed in the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., which is clean (though hanging from the ceiling). The kit is old (1991), has fit problems in the cockpit and the assembly of the main landing gear legs is very fiddly. However, it is well detailed for the scale and the decals behaved acceptably after about 26 years in the box. The build thread can be found here and my entry to the GB's gallery is here. Here are the general view pictures: IMAG4759 IMAG4760 IMAG4761 IMAG4762 IMAG4763 IMAG4764 IMAG4765 IMAG4766 IMAG4767 IMAG4768 IMAG4769 IMAG4770 IMAG4771 Detailing of the control column, side console of the cockpit and instrument panel (from left to right) : IMAG4688 Cockpit before closing the fuselage (control column not installed): IMAG4692 IMAG4693 Details of the main landing gear and nose gear: IMAG4747 IMAG4748 IMAG4750 Exhausts: IMAG4751 Wing probes: IMAG4752 IMAG4753 Closed canopy IMAG4754 Thanks for looking. All comments are very welcome. Cheers Jaime
  6. Hi folks and a happy 2018 to you all.This is the Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis" named after his wife as flown by Chuck Yeager on the 14th of October 1947 for its historic supersonic flight, the first manned aircraft to do so.I'm not sure if it's DNF for 2017 or an early starter for 2018 but it's complete and I'm happy with that. I bought this from Tony at Modelnerds at QMHE in late August. It's my third boxing of this kit after selling on the previous two release and this one I finally built. Being a profipack kit it contained extras in the way of a photo etch fret, resin wheel and canopy mask. The wheels are far better than the two piece plastic items and the masks is a big help considering the separate frames for the canopy. The plastic pitot tubes on the nose and wing tips were replaced with brass rod and tube which are again much better defined than the kit specimens.One thing I did learn is to be sure to paint the glueing edge of a canopy particularly when it's visible. Next time I'll use the canopy glue rather than the Tamiya Extra thin in a situation like this.The only gripe I have is the decal placement guide. For this historic aircraft no date is given for the particular flight, only referring to it as the later part of 1947. This in turns means that the markings a re slightly different than those suggested. As you can see in the following photo the 'Bell Aircraft' logo is on the port nose which is not present on the decal placement guide. This was one of two changes made to the markings, the second was to remove the 'A.M.C. Flight Test Division Wright Field Decal' as it was not present.Assembly was straight forward with the supplied etch pieces used to enhance the spartan cockpit in the way of seat straps and instrument panel. Once the cockpit was done the build was rapid as the wings and tailplane are single piece. Once joined with the fuselage some Mr Surfacer fixed up the average gap and then some Gunze H14 Orange was applied. Once done it sat for two months! Fast forward to last night and I sat down and decalled it in one session. Today I've finished off the fiddly parts and voila!I held off on panel line washes except for the flight control surfaces as any colour applied to the panel line would break its clean lines.Here 'tis. Hope you like it.MD
  7. Hello, I've been looking at the available decal sheets for Concorde and the F-DCAL sheet for the UK prototype caught my eye. Apart from the smaller visor windows on the first two prototypes, are there any other notable difference between these aircraft the production ones? Many thanks! Andrew
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