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  1. Reims FTB337G LYNX Roden 1:32 Under the terms of total sanctions, the purchase of new weapons was absolutely impossible. The management of adjacent South Africa, which also had increasing confrontation with the world community, over apartheid, nevertheless managed to transfer helicopters and trained pilots to Rhodesia; in addition, through unofficial mediators, it was possible to acquire dual-purpose aircraft in some Western European countries, which were de facto civilian, but could be easily reconfigured for military purposes. One such aircraft was the Reims 337G, the French license build of the American lightweight multipurpose Cessna Super Skymaster 337. In 1975, it was possible to purchase 18 such machines, one of which was lost while flying over Mozambique. All the other 17 succeeded in arriving at new bases and were soon involved in anti-terrorist operations. The civilian airframes were converted for their future missions - two 7,7 mm machine guns in containers were mounted above the cockpit over the wings, a number of pylons for hanging various types of weapons were mounted under the wing - from light bombs to cassette bombs, unguided rocket pods as well as special Mini Golf bombs, which turned out to be very effective weapons. The right row of seats in the cabin in almost all 17 planes were dismantled to allow for installing litters to evacuate wounded special forces directly from the battlefield. Also, the engine exhaust outlets were shielded to reduce infrared radiation, as irregular combatants at that time already widely used the Soviet "Strela" MANPADS against government aviation. The first application of the new machine, which received the semi-official name of Lynx, revealed it to be a very effective weapon for anti-partisan warfare. The ability to launch attacks from low altitudes, a respectable turn of speed, and low visibility in the face of ground to air defence, and fairly high survivability made this aircraft indispensable in all significant operations against Nkomo and Mugabe. Particularly successful were attacks with the use of napalm containers - when they were used whole units of insurgents seemed to be paralysed, because the chances of surviving Lynx attacks with napalm were virtually non-existent. Another successful innovation was the Mini Golf bomb with a long, 1200-millimeter detonator in front of the body of the bomb itself. When dropping it from the plane under a parachute, the pin struck the surface of the ground, and detonation of the explosive occurred at a height of a meter above the surface. Due to the special composition of the explosive there was an effect, which was compared with the "mini-explosion of a nuclear bomb" - in the strike zone, this weapon destroyed absolutely everything alive without exception in an area of 100 by 150 meters. The use of this type of weapon was only occasional, but it had a very great psychological impact on Mugabe's armed groups. Another important role of these planes, just as with their US sibling the O-2, was to direct more heavily armed planes on to a target. A Lynx flew directly to a target and marked it with light or phosphorus bombs, and after that, there appeared a Hunter or a Canberra, which completed the mission. Also, very often, Lynx pilots flew in "free hunting" fashion, patrolling areas where insurgents were crossing the borders of the country from neighbouring Mozambique or Zambia. The Model Third in the 1:32 series of Cessna Skymaster derivatives, the kit comes in a rather large box with an artist’s impression of a heavily armed Lynx in-flight. Opening the box reveals ten sprues of grey styrene, and one of clear, there is also quite a large decal sheet. As with the previous releases there is quite a lot of flash visible and wave fronts on some of the parts. That said the details are finely done and there is a fair amount of detail included in the kit. While it looks great on the sprues, I’ve read that while the accuracy is fairly close, although there have been no reports of build problems I’d imagine the ones seen in the 0-2A Skymaster kit will probably surface in this kit as well. While the majority of parts are the same, this release includes a new clear sprue which contains the bulged pilots door windows there are also two new sprues containing the Rhodesian specific weaponry. The different wing tips and tail booms are also included The build begins with the assembly of the two, four piece propellers, which include the spinners, horizontal tail unit with separate elevator, two, two piece wing mounted machine gun pods, two four piece pylons which includes the nicely produced crutch pads. The tail booms are assembled next, each from two halves and with separate rudders and anti collision light on the port fin. The engine exhausts are also assembled at this point and fitted. The engines themselves are complex little models in their own right, each engine consisting of no less than 50 parts. The rear engine frame and nose engine compartment/nose gear bay are also assembled, as is the seven piece nose landing gear. The seven piece front engine bay is fitted with the nose wheel assembly, followed by the engine assembly and the pair of exhaust pipe assemblies, which go into a new exhaust collector that sits under the rear fuselage. The rear engine frame is then fitted with its engine and the simpler exhaust parts. Unfortunately the anti Strela exhausts are not included. The completed front engine assembly is then the attached to the firewall and under pan. Work then begins with the aft avionics bay that sits between the engine bay and the cockpit, this consists of four shelves on which the various radios and other avionic boxes are fitted. The instrument panel is then assembled, consisting of the panel, coaming, four rudder pedals, centre pedestal and control yolks with separate shafts. The four seats are then built up, two from five parts and two from four parts, before being glued into position on the cabin floor, unfortunately this is incorrect as I believe the rear seats were removed and the two 600 round ammunition boxes for the wing mounted machine guns are fitted in their place, but there appears to be very few, if any photos of this on the net. The three piece doors are then assembled and the windows and viewing ports added to the fuselage sides. If you wish to have the starboard side cargo door open the instructions show you where to cut so that it can be split and posed open, the struts are also included for this option. Now while the interior is quite nicely done, there is plenty of scope for the modeller to add further detail, including the quilted sound proofing, circuit breaker panel on the captain’s side of the cockpit, and seat belts. Hopefully an aftermarket company will release the parts required for the exhausts and interior. If building out of the box the cabin floor is glued to one half of the fuselage, along with the engine assemblies and instrument panels and the three piece aft engine intake glued into position. The wing comes as three main parts with the upper section being a single piece moulding, not forgetting to open up the holes required for the pylons. The separate flaps can be posed in either extended or stowed positions and there is a skylight fitted above the cockpit area. The wingtips are also separate and are of the correct type for this version. The main landing gear comprises of a single piece strut and a pair of three piece wheels. With the fuselage all assembled, which will require a significant amount of weight in the forward area, wherever you can squeeze it in, the wing is glued into place along with the two booms and horizontal stabiliser. Then the main undercarriage assembly is add as are the pylons, weapons pods, nose bay doors, Rad Alt panel, and main gear doors. Finally the outer pylons are fitted with the four piece mini golf bombs, while the inner pylons are fitted with four piece napalm bombs, while the two wing mounted pods are also fitted, as are the various aerials. Decals The decals are really rather a disappointment, while they are correct colour and style, they are not in register, although they are better than those in the O-2A kit. FBT337G Lynx , #Sqn RhAF, late 1979 FBT337G Lynx , #Sqn of Zimbabwe Air Force, October 1981 FBT337G Lynx , Air Force of Zimbabwe , late 1982 Conclusion It’s great to see this variant finally kitted in 1:32, as although it was only used by one air force and in limited numbers, it is still an interesting sub-type. As with the other releases it is a disappointment with the amount of flash as there is no way a newly released kit should suffer from this, and the wave fronts can be overcome by heating the moulds better. Now we have to see what the aftermarket companies come up with to make this a more accurate and impressive model. Review sample courtesy of
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