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French & Belgian pre 1940 Roundels 1:72 Azur FR.ROM All too often we dont get enough national markings on sheets to do what we want, or in some cases they are just incorrect. In a new venture FFROM have decided to print correct French and Belgian roundels for pre 1940s aircraft. French Decals (FR0X01) This sheet gives roundels for Armée de l'Air without the outer yellow band. The circle proportions are 1-2-3 and are in sizes 120, 100, 90, 80 & 75 cms in 1/72. They can be used in other scales with 120 cms becoming 80 cms in 1.48. Belgian Decals (FR0X02) This sheets gives roundels for Aéronautique Militaire. These have no outer blue circle which came in after WWII. There are two type of roundels those with the proportions 1-2-3, and those 1-3-5. The 1-2-3 are in sizes 120, 80, 60 & 50 cms. The 1-3-5 are in sizes 140, 80, 60, 40 and 40 cms. All the decals are printed by Fantasy Printshop so will offer no issues as to quality and their ability to lie down correctly with standard solvents. Conclusion This seems to be a good move by FRROM to provide quality decals correctly researched for this time period. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Breguet Br.1050 Alizé 1:72 Azur FRROM The Breguet Br.1050 Alizé (French for "Tradewind") was a French carrier based anti submarine warfare aircraft. In a design similar to its British counterpart the Gannet it was a conventional low wing monoplane, powered by a Turboprop engine, though the Alizé had only one engine and propeller. The aircraft was a development based loosely on the Breguet Vultur which was modified into the Breguet Br.965 Épaulard. The aircraft was fitted with a CSF radar system and could carry a torpedo or delpth charges in its internal weapons bay. Wing hard points could carry 68mm rocket pods of wire guided AS.12 missiles. Unusually the front section of the undercarriage nacelles carried sonarbouys. The prototype first flew in 1956 and the aircraft was exhibited at the Paris Airshow in 1957. 75 aircraft were produced for the French Navy, and a further 12 aircraft by the Indian Navy (the only export customer). It was reported the Indian Navy purchased a further 5 used aircraft from the French Navy. The French Navy would go onto upgrade the aircraft in 1980 with a new radar as used on the Atlantique aircraft, an OMEGA navigation system, and a new ESM system. Another upgrade was to follow in 1990 to 24 aircraft. This consisted of a new decoy system, digital data link, new avionics and a FLIR. France would use the aircraft during the NATO campaign in Kosovo in 1999 flying from the aircraft carrier Foch, They were to retire the next year along with the Foch. The Indian Navy would go onto use their aircraft in Combat during the invasion of Goa in 1961, and the war with Pakistan in 1971. One aircraft would be lost to a Pakistani F-104. India stopped carrier operations in 1987 but the aircraft still saw active service supporting Indian operations against the Tamil Tigers during the Indian peacekeeping operations in Sri Lanka. The aircraft was retired in 1991. The Kits Each kit comes on 4 sprues of light grey plastic. The plastic is typical of that we see from FFROM with restrained panels lines. The canopy sprue is bagged separately to protect it. Constructions starts of surprisingly in the cockpit! The consoles are added for the pilot, navigator and radar operator followed by their seats. Additional parts are then added in the cockpit area to the insides of the main fuselage. the turbine exhausts are also made up and installed one into each half. The cockpit and front landing gear well are then installed into the right fuselage half. Into the left fuselage half you then have to install the rear radar and its compartment. This can be in the retraced position if sitting the model on it's undercarriage or extended if you wish to model the aircraft in flight. Once in the coaming can be fitted in from of the cockpit and the fuselage closed up (it is recommended 8g of nose wright is added). The next step is onto the wings. These are of conventional Left/Right with upper/lower surfaces. The four part main undercarriage nacelles are then made up and one added to each wing. The main wings, tail planes and rudder are then added to the main fuselage. The next major step is to construct and add the undercarriage. This is substantial as you would expect for a carrier aircraft. There is a single nose wheel with double wheeled units for the mains. The launch tubes for the unique nacelle mounted sonarbouys are also added along with the gear doors, arrestor hook and propeller. The six wing pylons are added along with the modellers choice of rocket pods or AS-12 missiles. 3 prominent aerials are then added to finish off the model. Decals Each boxing has a small decal sheet. There is no printer mentioned, they are in register, and look colour dense. FR0028 This boxing represents earlier aircraft and has three decal options all French Navy; A. No.72 Flottille 4F 1966/70. B. No.2 Coded I, Sqn 10S (CEPA), 1959/60. C. No.16 Flottille 9F 1966. FR0026 This boxing represents earlier aircraft with the ALM upgrade, and has three decal options, A. No.42 Flottille 6F High Vis Scheme 1981. B. No.41 Flottille 6F Low Vis Scheme, Clemenceau 1997. C. No.55 Flottille 4F Low Vis Scheme, 1989-1996. FR0031 This boxing represents the aircraft operated by the Indian Navy and has three decal options; A. IN206 INAS 310 "White Cobras" INS Vakrant 1970. B. IN204 INAS 310 "White Cobras" INS Vakrant 1985. C. IN203 INAS 310 "White Cobras" INS Vakrant 1971. Conclusion Though there have been other Alize kits, it is great to see the at people FFROM do a new injection moulded kit of this important French aircraft in 1:72. Highly Recommended. Review samples courtesy of
Les Avianteurs Polonais en France 1940 Azur FR.ROM / Artipresse Until the arrival of the book I must admit despite many years of reading about the history of WWII and in particular the war in the Air; I was completely unaware that Polish Airmen had fought for France as they later would for the British. This book gives the full story of the participation of Polish airmen in combat against the Luftwaffe during the Campaign of France. Much of the staff of the Polish air force had withdrawn into Romania after the country's occupation by the Nazis in September 1939. From here the Polish airmen were sent to France, where they formed several units within the Air Force. After the French debacle they joined Britain where they continued fighting with the RAF until the end of the war. The author has conducted long-term research in the Polish, French, and British archives; he met with most of the protagonists still alive at the time of the research. It is a study in depth in to this little known subject. The over 10 year of research have produced a leading reference work on this subject. The book is a massive 416 pages illustrated with 772 photos and a hundred colour illustrations. It should be pointed out that the book is in French only. Even with my limited language skills it is fairly easy to follow the narrative, and the pictures/illustrations are undoubtedly first rate. Though to get the complete picture and a full understanding you will have to have fairly good French. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of Available direct from The Publisher
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