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  1. More than 10000 French soldiers survived the battle of Dien Bien Phu to become POW. They had a 700 km trek to get to their prison camps near the border with China. Around 3000 came back to France after the war. More than 7000 died during captivity or just became MIA. A few bits of History (with a big H!) On 13 march 1954, general Giap launch an attack with his Viet Minh Divisions against the finest of the French Army, paras « Metro » and « Colo » (metropolitans and colonials), the Big Legion, armoured cavalry, sapper and colonials troops, gathered into what’s beginning to be an entrenched camp, completely surrounded by the ennemy, Dien Bien Phu. The camp was setup to act as a forward operating base, as there were signs of a buildup of Viet Minh forces in the region. The provincial capital located in the depths of north-west Vietnam, approximately 300 km from Hanoi as the crow flies, the place is difficult to access and can only be supplied by the Air Force. The latter also provides support, in addition to around thirty 105 mm howitzer and as many 120 mm mortars with a handful of 155 mm guns, all distributed over the different fire bases which constitute the camp. There's also a squadron of Chaffee tanks. But what about the French Navy ? The carrier aviation regularly carries out campaigns in Indochina, with one of the aircraft carriers and an air group generally made up of a fighter flotilla on F6F-5 Hellcat and a dive bombing flotilla equipped with SB2C- 5 Helldiver. One of these campaigns has been underway since November 1953, with the aircraft carrier Arromanches (Ex-Colossus, Colossus class), with flotillas 11F (Hellcat) and 3F (Helldiver). In March 1954 when Giap start the real battle, the group had already been in the breach for 4 months, between the missions on DBP and the diversions launched by the Viet Minh in several places in Tonkin. It is therefore far from being at the top of its capabilities, both the equipment and the human resources having suffered during this period of time. For example, the 11F only has half of its fleet left, i.e. 10 Hellcats out of the 20 taken (including 6 as spares), flown by two thirds of its pilots (It will ultimately have lost 5 Hellcats on DBP, more than a third of its normal allocation). Aéronavale is in a complicated situation, having to show itself capable of both taking its place in NATO and facing the Indochinese crisis. It decided at the beginning of April 1954 to send 14F to join the group, so as to allow 11F to slow down. 14F is the first flotilla to fly Corsair, F4U-7 model, ordered and produced exclusively for the French Aéronavale. The aircraft possess the qualities of the AU-1, a real air to ground version of the Corsair, with the addition of hardpoints, cockpit and engine armor, but its PW 2800 engine , optimized for low altitude with a single-stage compressor, is replaced by… another version of the PW 2800, used on the F4U-4, better suited to medium altitude and therefore more consistent with a fighter intended for fleet defense among other missions. Problem, if the F4U-7 airframes are new, this is not the case for the engines, whose production has already stopped: Therefore, French Navy has acquired a second-hand batch which may not be in optimum conditions, making F4U-7 first years in Aéronavale quite difficult. Deploying them to SEA was out of question. 14F then take matters in its own hands, and from April 20, training flights resumed. Then, on April 23, it was established at Bach Mai (one of Hanoi's airfields) with 16 planes, when 3F was disengaged. It start to gain momentum by carrying out missions in areas of secondary importance, and finally, on April 30, she began operating on the Cuvette (Cuvette was the place definition, a sort of basin with an airstrip bordered by hills where firebases where established, each one with a battalion or two. Cuvette became sort of a nickname for DBP). But it is far too late, even though volunteers are still being parachuted every night, the fate of the battle has already been decided, and the survivors are only fighting for honor, theirs and that of their country, country which will soon have no other choice but to abandon them to their sad fate. On May 7, 1954, it appears that Corsair from the 14F were the last French aircraft to fly over Dien Bien Phu as the garrison surendered. 14F will continue the fight on various hot spots in Indochina, until the signing of the Geneva agreements on July 21, 1954. A few days later, it brings its AU-1s back to Tourane where they are embarked on the Arromanches, who will return them to the Americans, before sailing back to the France… and Algeria, but that’s another story. The subject : The Corsair featured is the AU-1 BuNo 129343, a photo of which is present in an ECPAD booklet. The plane is seen on the ground at Bach Maï, probably shortly after being taken into account by the 14F. It only wears its BuNo visible under the tail, only the fuselage roundel with the « fish hook » (anchor), without any badge or flotilla identifier. The rudder flag appears to be half painted, with a red (?) stripe present. The external stores configuration is shown in the photo of another Corsair in the unit. The aircraft was returned to the USA at the end of the campaign... then delivered again to France in 1957, as part of the purchase of around sixty machines this time, intended to compensate for the attrition of F4U-7, and certainly to stock up on spare parts. The model: Refer to the text on my model of the CANA F4U-5, the model being almost identical In summary, very nice model, easy to assemble, I built both F4U-5 and AU-1 in parallel in one weekend. What changes are the engine cowls (no more air intake for the AU-1), the 1/2 fuselages, very slightly modified to accommodate the new exhausts, but Hasegawa forgot to also modify the base support of the latter, and they are therefore impossible to put in place in their current state), the wing pylons, and some antennas that the brand has forgotten. On the other hand, I stupidly got stuck on painting at one point (Canopy, landing cross... and bombs!), and put everything aside, but I wanted to finish by May 7, and the resumption was catastrophic! Breakage, errors, burrs, etc... everything has happened, and more than once, it came close to a test flight across the workshop. Well, you'll understand that it's not my best model build so far.... Extras and doc: My confidence in the Hasegawa decals being quite relative, and the decorations of the box not offering an AU-1 from the first batch for Dien Bien Phu, I set out in search of a decal sheet dealing with machines from this period, and I found at my usual dealer the reference 48-013 at Modelart which offers this AU-1, as well as several Dash 7s from all eras. Absolutely no problems using this sheet, but at the same time I must point out that I only used two roundels, two BuNos, two anchors, with two side numbers. The red stripe on the rudder is painted, and there are no stencils, which can be obtained from Hasegawa. Concerning the doc, classic with In Action and Walkaround from Squadron, a few books from ARDHAN for context, and a small collection of photos published by ECPAD which devotes a chapter to the Corsair with beautiful photos which inspired me. And the pictures:
  2. Here's my Amodel 1/72 Embraer Xingu in Aeronavale colours. Pretty much a standard relatively recent Amodel kit - quite a nice kit but plenty of flash and quite a lot of fettling needed to get everything to fit well. There are a couple of flaws - one fixable, one not so easy: I think the main undercarriage legs are too long as the kit (unmodified) sits very tail-high, so I took a couple of millimetres off the legs and it sits better now. The more challenging issue - which I haven't attempted to fix - is that the engines sit perpendicular to the wings, but should be perpendicular to the ground. Fixing this would have been quite a big job so I left it. Build thread is here thanks for looking Julian
  3. This is my latest model off the production line, the French Navy's equivalent of the Fairey Gannet, the Bréguet Alizé. Another labour of love as I turned a very old and simple kit from the 1960s into a reasonable reproduction of the real thing. Along the way I had to construct out of plasticard and stretched sprue the wheel wells, a cockpit, some undercarriage doors, under-wing pylons, a new arrestor hook, and various aerials. It is all brush painted with Vallejo and Humbrol, and probably the most complex scratch building work I've done so far. Apart from its simplicity, the quality of the kit wasn't terrible, soft plastic that fit together quite well and decals that were still in one piece after 30 years. A fun build that was very rewarding. Thank you for looking
  4. Hello All, I finished this in February and it's just been published in the May issue of SAM. This is the Airfix kit in a modified scheme from the kit: I've changed the serial number using a homemade mask so the roundels with anchors can be used. I've added a fair amount of PE by Eduard, a resin engine by Vector and some resin navigation lights by Quickboost. The necessary splash guards for the windows are fabricated from an old drop F-15 tank. The finish is mainly Mr Color 104 Gun Chrome. The kit was quite hard work, mainly due to the extensive clean up required for all of the parts and the sub-par moulding, but it does make for a nice model. Comments are very welcome Jon
  5. Bonjour mes amis! Hello Friends! So I'm in with this French Navy rotor in centenary scheme for the Aeronavale Dream Model Dauphin_Box by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Kit contents Dream Model Dauphin_Sprue_2 by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Nice recessed details and correct large tail unlike the Matchbox Dauphin... Dream Model Dauphin_Sprue_1 by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Resin nose, bits and small P/E sheet Dream Model Dauphin_Sprue_3 by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Clear parts Dream Model Dauphin_Sprue_4 by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Simple two-sided instruction sheet.. Dream Model Dauphin_instructions by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr And three decal schemes - a regular two-tone helo, a two-tone with tail & fuselage art and the all black box scheme with tricoleur tail which I'll do. Dream Model Dauphin_decals_1 by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Dream Model Dauphin_decals_2 by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr I've built this kit before but as an earlier AS-356 Dauphin II and it's a little gem.. Dream Model_Irish_Air_Corps_SA365_Dauphin (2) rs by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Dream Model_Irish_Air_Corps_SA365_Dauphin (3) rs by Dermot Moriarty, on Flickr Enjoy your builds and happy modelling! Cheers, Dermot
  6. Ready for inspection today is the Revell boxing of the old Matchbox Walrus in 1/72 scale. I would have preferred some pre-war British markings for this one, but didn't feel like paying nearly as much for decals as I did for the kit, especially when I wouldn't use the rest of the sheet. In any case, here is a French Navy Walrus, stationed at French Naval Training Base Hourtin in the summer of 1948. Apparently Walruses were used as training aircraft for pilots going on to fly the Sunderland. One mistake I did make was to align the top roundels with the ailerons, and not with each other, but it isn't terribly noticeable, thankfully. I may yet try to use a wash for the first time as well, as I have to imagine these aircraft were not the most well maintained / cleaned. Thanks all, Stay safe, Tweener
  7. Built this one as a conversion from the Airfix Spitfire Vb using an assortment of parts from various sources and the kind help of a few BM members. The WiP thread can be found here http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234927994-seafire-iii-from-airfix-72nd-spitfire-vb/
  8. This is the Hobbyboss Rafale M, with some Eduard etch (destined for the Rafale C, but I’m taking a punt that the M cockpit is pretty much identical) and markings for an airframe decorated with fin markings to commemorate 1000 flying hours from the Model Alliance World Air Power Update No 2 sheet. The Hobbyboss kit has beautifully fine surface detail, even though there is comment online that it is slightly underscale, and the fit is a bit ropey in areas (notably the intakes). A fair bit of bodging was required to get the main landing gear together. From the box, the kit only represents the F1 standard as it lacks the EO suite ahead of the cockpit; this also means only Mica EMs and Magic missiles should be fitted. Replacement decals are a must to my mind as the kit markings (especially roundels and numbers) are not representative of an in-service machine. Even so, the Model Alliance sheet has some issues; for example, the duck’s tunic should be blue not purple but I decided I could live with it. There are also some compromises because the Model Alliance sheet doesn’t have some key airframe markings (eg rescue markings around the canopy) so I had to use the kit markings, which are too bright. Had I be starting again, I would have got some Syhart decals. I’ve added some intake trunking from plastic tube and card, dropped the trailing edge surfaces and deflected the rudder, and made some mods to the wingtip launchers to depict an in-service machine. The particular shade of grey the Aeronavale uses to paint its Rafales is hard to pin down. I ended up with Gunze H308 FS 36320 over a base coat of Tamiya XF54 and a heavy wash of Paynes Grey
  9. Hi this is my first RFI for a while - I did not get around to doing a WIP - the Kinetic Super Etendard SEM was built mainly from the box with the exception of fitting the Aires resin cockpit set and a couple of small scratch built items. The resin cockpit took a lot of work to get it to fit into the fuselage and involved removing quite a bit of resin from the cockpit sides under a running tap to stop the resin dust. The back of the casting also had to be cut away to fit over the nose wheel bay and the front needed tapering to fit in. As mentioned in other modellers posts the windscreen/canopy are a little narrow and needs some gentle persuasion to ease into position - I also cut along the panel line just below the sills to enable them to be eased in to meet the windscreen and lessen the stress on it - I did ended up with some crazing on the RH side when viewed from a certain angle but not too bad so it needs careful handling. Once the cockpit was in the rest of the build was pretty straight forward & pleasant - the instructions are a bit confusing in places with some misnumbering of parts in the diagrams. I also inserted brass rod/tube on the tailplane hinge as the plastic pins were a bit fragile - The Aires Ejection seat etch is very fiddly with individual buckles to thread onto the belts but makes up into a very nice model - I did make the parachute pack a little bulkier with putty & added some back padding referencing photos of Martin Baker MK6 seats. Intake covers scratch built from card & brass wire Paints used were Mr Hobby aqueous acrylic FS35237 & FS36118 - I mainly used kit decals although the lighter grey numbers and MARINE lettering came from Berna decals BD48-47 sheet - the kit decals don't provide them in the lighter grey - I still need to add the four reinforcing strips to the radome when I get a sheet of Xtradecal silver decal stripes. I wanted to fit some L'Arsenal ALKAN flares launchers but they are still transiting the universe's postal system somewhere Finally parked next to my FM Alize - I know the camouflage schemes are from different eras but they sit nicely together I think. Thanks for looking CJP
  10. This is the delightful Academy F-8 Crusader from the “French Navy Special” boxing. I used the Wolfpack Design wing fold set, plus a few pieces from an old Airwaves F-8E details in the cockpit (mainly the canopy frame). The blue-grey of Aeronavale Crusaders is an elusive shade and, having experimented with a wide variety of colours, I settled on a combination of a base colour of Gunze H42 gloss blue grey, panel highlights in Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey, and then a light top coat of Humbrol 230 with a wash of Paynes Grey. Decals are from the box.
  11. This is the Hasegawa kit, released in the early 90's and bought by me about 20 years ago. Despite it's age, it's still a great little kit and the French markings included make it a bit different. I think my intermediate blue came out a bit dark, perhaps a drop or two of white in that next time I build something with a USN type camouflage, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with this. The SBD makes build number 9 for 2017.
  12. This is reference for a future project. I'm planning on doing the Tamiya 1/48 Lancaster as an Aeronavalé aircraft. I'm going to do the overall Blue finished aircraft. Would the cockpit have been Black (left over from wartime service?) or would the it have been painted Interior Grey-Green when they were refurbished? How about inside the nose. I know you won't see much of the rest of the interior, and the bomb bay will be closed so I'm not worried about that. I've got the really nice Berna decals, I'm thinking of ordering the Belcher Bits Engine Nacelles Set. Someday, if I can find the Eduard set(s) at a price I'm willing to pay, I want to pick them up. Is there anything else that anyone would suggest for such a build? This is (more or less) how I want to do mine, http://s262.photobucket.com/user/Duggy009/media/Avro-Lancaster-French-1.jpg.html Did the French use the USN Dark Blue or something more akin to Oxford Blue? Some B&W photos seem to show something a bit lighter than the USN Blue.
  13. Supermarine Seafire Mk.III Special Hobby 1:48 Our friends at Special Hobby have sent us two boxings of their Supermarine Seafire Mk.III Kit. The first is for those used by the Irish Air Corps and The Aéronavale. The second is for The Fleet Air Arm and is boxed for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. It is believed that the Admiralty first showed an interest in a carrier based Spitfire as early as 1938, when Fairey Aviation proposed such a modification could take place. This idea was rejected and subsequently left the Fleet Air Arm to order other less capable aircraft. The matter was again raised in 1939 and a Spitfire was fitted with an A Frame arrestor hook. After further investigation folding wings were added to the specification. At the time one of the major factors holding back a Sea Spitfire (or Seafire as it was to become) was that production capacity was needed for land Spitfires. Due to this Wildcats were ordered from Grumman for the FAA to be called the Martlet. By the end of 1941 the Admiralty again looked at Spitfire project. 48 Spitfire Mk Vbs were converted by Air Training Services at Hamble to become hooked Spitfires. These would allow the Royal Navy to get experience operating the type, which due to its narrow undercarriage and high nose was not the ideal carrier aircraft. The second major type for the RN was the Seafire Mk II, this used a cropped supercharger to provide greater power at lower levels. The IIc was the first major mark to be deployed in any number. The Seafire Mk III was the real first true carrier Seafire. It was developed from the IIc. It had manually folding wings allowing more aircraft to be carried. The wing would fold using a system of two straight chordwise folds. A break was introduced immediately outboard of the wheel well where the wing would fold upwards and slightly forward, a second fold would be at the wingtip. The Mk III would use the Merlin 55 engine with a 4 bladed prop. The Mk III would be used by the Fleet Air Arm, The Irish Air Corps, and the French Aéronavale. The French would receive 65 Mk IIIs which were deployed to Vietnam on board the carrier Arromanches in 1948. The Irish Air Corps were supplied with 12 Mk III in 1947 which were stripped of their Naval equipment (except the wing fold) by Supermarine. The Kit The kit arrives in a fairly sturdy box. Inside are three large and three small sprues of grey plastic, a clear sprue, a sheet of vinyl, a sheet of photo etch; and an instrument panel film. Construction as with most aircraft starts with the cockpit area. The bulkhead forward of the pilot is made up along with the instrument panel. This is added to the engine firewall, the floor area including rudder pedals and control column is added. The seat can then be attached to its backing of armour plate, this along with the headrest is then added to the rear fuselage frame. PE seat belts and harness straps are then added. The next step is to add both of the previous subassemblies onto the main fuselage. Lage side panels with relief details are also added at this stage. The fuselage can then be closed up. The vinyl parts can then be applied to the closed up fuselage. The next stage in construction is the wings. The upper wing halves are attached to the one part lower wing. The internal sections of the wheel wells need to be placed inside the wing sections before they are closed up. The right cannon bulges need to be glued to the upper wing. There is no internal structure under the bulges. Be sure to use the right cannon bulges as there are four different sets on the sprues. The propellor is the next sub assembly to be built up, along with the arrestor hook parts If your build needs them). The next major task is to attach fuselage to the wings. Following this the tail planes, rudder, ailerons; and wing tips are added. Attention then turns to the underside of the aircraft. The radiators, engine under cowling, air intake and tail wheel are added. If your aircraft has an arrestor hook this sub assembly is also added, if not then a plate is added to this area. The undercarriage is also assembled and added at this stage. Finally to wrap up your build the engine exhausts, appropriate cannon barrels, aerial mast, entry door, propellor assembly; and canopies are added to the kit. Photo Etch & Vinyl A small photo etched fret is provided for the seat belts & harness, Instrument panel, rudder pedals, escape crowbar, and fuselage stiffening plates. A self adhesive vinyl sheet provides for raised areas on the fuselage where even PE would be too thick. An acetate film is provided for use between the PE instrument panel parts. Canopy The clear parts are very clear and remarkably thin. Care will need to be taken removing them from the sprue. I am not sure if the main canopy will fit over the rear part as the instructions do not show this. Decals - Aéronavale & Irish Air Corps Decals are provided for two aircraft as used by the The Aéronavale. I.F.12 Flottile 1.F The Aéronavale, Aircraft Carrier Arromanches 1948. FAA Camo, French roundels and a replacement rudder. 54.S.14 (exPR146) Flottile 1.F The Aéronavale, Aircraft Carrier Arromanches 1947. Older airscoops and longer cannon barrels were fitted. This aircraft retained its post war FAA paint scheme and markings. French unit markings were added to the fin. Markings are also supplied to make any one of four Seafires as used by The Irish Air Corps based in Gormanston 1947. Decals - D-Day Fleet Eyes Decals are supplied for two FAA Seafires with Invasion Stripes (The modeller has to paint these) NF541 886 Naval Air Squadron, No3 Air Spotting Wing, RNAS Lee-On-Solent 1944. Full invasion stripes were painted as the aircraft spotted for Naval Gunfire. On 8/6/44 this aircraft flown by Sqn L Chapman shot down a Bf 109. The aircraft was painted in the RAF Daylight Fighter Scheme. The instructions indicate the tail parts were replaced and left in a base green colour (Primer?). This aircraft had clipped wingtips. NF547 885 Naval Air Squadron, No3 Air Spotting Wing, RNAS Lee-On-Solent 1944. Full invasion stripes were painted as the aircraft spotted for Naval Gunfire, in particular HMS Warpite. On 7/6/44 the aircraft was shot down by AA fire and crashed in France. Lt Hugh Land (RNZNVR) managed to destroy the aircraft and evade getting back to Allied lines on 18/6/44. All decals are printed by Aviprint, are in register and colour density looks good. Conclusion From MPM kits I have bought in the past the plastic parts in this kit do seem to have improved. They are well moulded with fine engraved panel lines. There is a tiny amount a flash on some parts but certainly nothing the modeller can not remove. Its good to see this kit available in different boxing with just more than FAA markings. Overall I would highly recommend this kit. "Aéronavale & Irish Air Corps" Boxing "D-Day Fleet Eyes Boxing" Boxing Review sample courtesy of
  14. Thought you guys might get a kick out of this. A few years ago, an author named Stephen Chapis wrote a nice article covering the history of the specific Corsair airframes used in the 1970s television show "Baa Baa Blacksheep". Well he recently updated the article and posted it to Warbirds News. The article is a fascinating read as it talks about the history of these planes during their military use (what history could be found) how they ended up in private hands, their show use and where they ended up after. The ones that intrigued me the most were a pair of F4U-7s that apparently flew combat during the Suez crisis and possibly in Indo-China. There is also a former "Soccer War" FG-1D mentioned. http://www.warbirdsnews.com/warbird-articles/poor-lambs-corsairs-baa-baa-blacksheep.html The article has certainly given me inspiration for a possible project. For me it would be going full circle in my modeling history as my very first model kit at age 6 was a Revell 1/72 F4U Corsair because the show was on the air at the time. My brother "helped" (i.e. he did most of the work), but after that I was hooked and it started me on a hobby that has lasted almost four decades.
  15. Hello, I'm happy to share my completed Azur Vindicator. It's a lovely kit to build, matching original Accurate Miniatures parts with new Azur wings, resin and etch to create a French naval version. It took a little while, with breaks for holidays etc, and the full WIP is here. Hope you enjoy it, and welcome all constructive comments as ever. The last image is also in the WIP, but shows the amount of interior detail on offer, and much stays visible. Take care, Matt
  16. Hi guys, Just finished this as my entry for the French Fancy GB. Overall it's a very nice model and goes together quite nicely. I used a mix of the kit decals and a sheet from MDC. Here is a link to the build: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234979096-revell-148-f4u-7-corsair-en-algerie-cest-fini/ And here are the pictures of the finished item: Hope you like them. All comments and criticisms are welcome as usual and thanks for looking. Craig.
  17. This looks to be yet another cracking little kit from Revell, I'm looking forward to this one.
  18. Hi all, My entry for this Group Build is going to be the Revell boxing of the excellent Hasegawa F4U-7 Corsair in 1/48 scale. These aircraft were used extensively by the Aeronavale during this bitter conflict and were operated from both shore bases and carrier decks, their good range and ability to carry a large amount of just about anything you could possibly want to drop on or fire at people making them very popular (with the French at least, probably less so the Algerians). Here are the usual "kit in bits" shots. Striking box art of the usual Suez marked aircraft. The contents and decals sheet laid out. A closer shot of the excellent Revell decal sheet. And now a couple of shots of the real thing to give some idea of the finish I am going to try and achieve, and to prove that they were also shore based, and very, very dirty! I hope that this choice of topic meets with the approval of the other group builders (there are some great topics on the go already). Any help and advice (and criticism) is always welcome. Thanks for looking. Craig.
  19. As I was unable to make either Friday or Saturday at Yeovilton I decided to try and catch some departures. The original plan was to go on Monday but when I heard these two were leaving on Sunday my mind was made up. As usual, you stand in sunshine all morning then as soon as these two start up it clouds over.
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