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Paul A H

Airbus A400M “Grizzly”

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Airbus A400M “Grizzly”

1:72 Revell

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The A400M is a large, turboprop powered aircraft designed by Airbus Military to fulfil the future military transport requirements of the air forces of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the UK. Following the first flight of the A400M in December 2009, Airbus is planning to deliver the first production aircraft in 2013.

In terms of capability, the A400M is designed to fill a gap between the tactical capabilities of the venerable C-130 and the strategic lift abilities of the C-17. Powered by four huge, but highly efficient, Europrop International TP400 engines, each developing 11,000 shaft horsepower, the A400M will be capable of cruising at 37,000 feet at a speed of up to Mach 0.72. The A400M will be capable of carrying up to 37 tonnes of cargo or 116 passengers. In Royal Air Force service, the A400M will be known as the Atlas and is scheduled to enter service in 2015.

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Big kits of big aeroplanes always seem to cause a stir within the modelling community, and this giant from Revell has been no exception. Just to give you an flavour of the kit's vital statistics:

  • It arrives in a huge, top-opening box measuring 60cm by 42cm.
  • It's comprised of 212 parts, including a full interior, spread across 14 sprues of grey plastic and one clear sprue.
  • Once complete, the model will measure an impressive 64.4cm by 69cm
  • If you have to ask yourself whether you’ve got space for one, you probably haven't!

The plastic parts are exactly what you would expect from a modern Revell product; clean mouldings, nicely engraved panel lines and lots of detail. The fuselage is moulded in two large halves and the upper wing is moulded in a single huge span. This should avoid any issues of an awkward fit around the upper wing roots. There are two raised ribs on the inner surface of the upper wing, which should give the structure plenty of additional strength. The downside of this approach is that it has left a couple of long sink marks in the outer surface of the wing. There are also noticeable sink marks in the fuselage where the location points are, well, located. Whether this is due to insufficient injection pressure or just because the sheer size of the parts shows up the limitations of the injection moulding process, I’m not sure. Either way, a squidge of putty and a rub down should sort things out.

As mentioned above, Revell has included a full interior with this kit. Detail in and around the cockpit is excellent. The consoles and instrument panel feature fine, raised details, although decals are provided if you prefer to use them. The instrument panel itself features 9 LCD displays, whereas the real thing seems to have fewer than that, but this shouldn’t worry you as little will be seen of it once the fuselage halves have been closed up. Behind the cockpit bulkhead is a neat little staircase that leads down to the main load area. Rather than being moulded on the inside of the fuselage halves, the walls and floor of the detailed load area are made up of separate parts. This means that he fuselage of the model is actually double skinned as it is made up of inner and outer halves plus a floor. In turn, this means that Revell have been able to go to town with interior detail, and boy have they made the most of it. This approach also makes the model much stronger (and heavier).

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The landing gear on the A400M is housed in pods on either side of the fuselage. When assembling this part, I would recommend taking great care to make sure that all 12 main gear wheels are flat on the ground at the same time, as any flaws here will show up a treat. The undercarriage is complex and will probably require a fair bit of patience to assemble and paint. The wheel hubs look noticeably too smaller than they should be, which in turn makes the tyres look too fat. Hopefully this won’t be too noticeable on the finished model though.

The engines are nicely detailed and, unusually for a turboprop, full-length intakes and exhausts are provided, as well as turbine faces. 2 sets of huge 8 bladed airscrews are provided, so you can finished your model with fully-forward or feathered props.

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The single clear sprue is nicely moulded and the windows are thin and transparent. The corners of the windscreen are rounded, which could be tricky to mask, but I understand that Eduard will shorlty be releasing a set of paint masks for this kit. Hopfully they will include masks for all those tyres too!

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Three marking options are provided:

  • The prototype Airbus A400M from the Airbus Military Flight Test Centre, Seville, Spain, 2011
  • A German Airbus A400M of Lufttransportkommando der Bundeswehr (a guesstimated scheme)
  • A French Airbus A400M of ET.64 Escadre de Transport (another guesstimated scheme

Naturally it's a disappointment that no RAF scheme has been included, so modellers wishing to build the aircraft in those markings (like me) will have to raid the spares box for some alternative decals.

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Conclusion

There's no denying it, this is an absolute whopper of a kit! Although it is jam-packed with nice details, it looks as though it should be relatively straightforward to put together. The interior space is very intelligently designed, and I imagine a great many modellers will be scouring the model shops to find some appropriate loads to fit inside the cavernous fuselage. If you can find the space for it, this kit can be highly recommended.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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I haven't a clue where I could store one let alone display a built model. I've been a bit sceptical about this plane since its inception but now it's almost 'real' I think it looks good. It'll cost a fortune to fill with vehicles and the like. I'm looking forward to seeing some on competition tables.

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Squint a little use your imagination a little more and think 'Shorts Belfast'......

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I do love this kit, even though it's got a boring grey scheme, I can see lots of potential in it!

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I got this about a month ago and it's simply fantastic

I would echo the comments that shes a monster, but don't let that deter you!

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Agreed. You can always live in it after you've built it :)

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I got this about a month ago and it's simply fantastic

I would echo the comments that shes a monster, but don't let that deter you!

It certainly is a monster

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That's a 1/48 Typhoon

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That looks nice,

Revell did the same interior trick with the Transall and that worked a treat.

I would love one to do in a whiff tactical camo but dont know where I would store it!

Julien

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.....a little disappointed there are no Belgian markings on that decal sheet...

Otherwise this kit looks awesome. Maybe it will end someday on my bench 2 B)

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Thanks for the review.

I have just been told mine has arrived in country. Mine will definitely be a What If. I belive the RAAF will consider these down the track once they have matured operationally a bit. Give them 5 years I suppose. Mine will be grey but not a standard scheme. I hope to start on it next week :D

Now I need to figure out what is going inside!

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I'd dearly love to take this A400M and put it in the Transport Command colours as per my Magna Belfast!:

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How blinking cool would that look?

Dan

Edited by Airbusians

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I was thinking about the RAF C-130 tactical Green scheme. My kit is half made as well.

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Me likes this!!!!!

Not a big military fan (except a few helicopters) but me wants this kit!!!!!!!

You can bet it will be used in UN missions, so you could do one on a more civilan opertaion. A nice big white bird.

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It certainly is a monster

DSCF1440-1.jpg

That's a 1/48 Typhoon

She is a size for sure.

Not the best of pics from my fobile moan!

Here are some comparrisons in 72nd for Fuselages and then Wings

Top: Annigrand C17

Centre: A400M

Bottom: Italeri C130J

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Now who will be willing to let me have their C-17 Decs from Model Alliance please?

Doesn't the Herc look small!

Adrian

Edited by atdb27

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