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woody37

S.E. 535 Mistral (French Vampire) Build

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S.N.C.A.S.E. S.E 535 Mistral Build

1:72 CMR

The Mistral as you've probably guessed was a licence built version of the Vampire using a Nene powerplant incorporated into what was basically a Mk.5 airframe. To supply the Nene, enlarged intakes were provided. Other features of the Mistral were a SNCASO ejection seat and a pressurised cockpit. The first version to see service was the SE 532 using a Hispano built Nene 102 of which 97 entered service. This was accompanied by the SE 535 of which 150 were delivered using the Nene 104 and capable of carrying bombs or rockets along with the 4 x 20mm cannon in the nose. The Mistral operated with the Armee de l'Air from 1952 and was eventually phased out of service in 1961.

Having built the 1/72 CMR Lancaster Mk.II last year, I was really looking forwards to doing another of CMR's fine kits, and this became my next subject. It comes in a sturdy top opening box with quite reserved but effective artwork.

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On opening the box, you will find the contents carefully packed and segregated to prevent damage. The kit contains resin parts, Vac Formed canopy, coloured Photo-etch fret, paint masks for the canopy and of course decals. One of the key features of CMR's kits is the very fine detail and small parts that are included, so to protect them, the parts are sealed in bags with air in to stop them from being crushed which is a great idea.

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Due to the intricate detailing in this kit, it isn't really a beginners model, however my experience of using resin isn't that great, so average model builders should find it a pleasant kit to build. So first things first....start by reviewing the instructions ! They are very well written. As well as the excellent diagrams, they are packed with tips to assist with the build throughout as well as references to the real aircraft.

First steps were to assemble the cockpit area. This is a combination of finely detail resin supplemented by coloured Photo-etch parts. This is my first time using pre-coloured etch and I'm hooked !

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The instruction recommend painting the seat green, which is probably correct, however after doing lots of searching on't internet, I could only find images of them in black, so I went with this to play safe. The seat and cockpit area was painted in dark grey (Tamiya XF-63) then a water based wash was applied to bring out the details. Once dried, the photo etch parts were added

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With the cockpit key parts done, a dry fit of the wings was done to assess what work would be needed when the major parts are assembled. The fit was excellent

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The next step was to fit the major components. The fuselage was in two halves and each wing moulded as one unit. The leading and trailing edges of the wing are sharp and crisp, a real benefit to modelling in resin and a credit to what CMR have achieved in such a small kit. A small amount of filler was needed on the outboard edges of the one piece intakes where they joined the leading endge of the wings, however that could of been due to my preparation. I was a little nervous about connecting the booms and aligning the tail section up, however I had no reason to be. Care does need to be taken here, but aligning them up went well and the parts were attached using superglue.

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With the tail unit and wings attached, I decided to model an aircraft with the drop tanks on, so on they went !

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This is how she looked so far

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After adding all that lovely detail into the cockpit, I was loathed to fit the canopy in the closed position, as whilsts the canopy is nicely moulded, it would still hide what detail can be seen, so I packed the canopy out with blue tack and using a new blade, cut the windscreen from the sliding canopy before sanding the edges and giving it a dip in Kleer. The windscreen was then fitted and Masilla Plastica puttly applied to blend it in to the fuselage. With the cockpit masked up, another coat of primer was added to find any blemishes before moving on to the silver paint work. A light preshading was also done whilst I had the dark grey in the gun for some other parts.

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With the build ready, the next step was to apply the paintwork. Another first for me here was spraying silver from the airbrush, I've normally used rattle cans. As the Mistral was painted silver, I wanted to replicate the look. I tried a couple of silvers and wasn't happy with either, so I mixed Revell Aqua silver 90 and light grey 371 which looked just right. It's hard to see this in the pictures, but the third one below seems to pick it up best.

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Now for the part I like best (well apart from doing the weathering !!), adding the decals. The decal sheet is jammed packed with stencils and markings to allow one of three aircraft to be built. I chose Mistral No. 27 of E/C 2/7 "Nice" based in Tunisia 1959 for no other reason than I liked the red colour additions ! The instruction sheet has a whole page dedicated to the stencils. I chose not to add all the stencils as sometimes on small kits, they can look overdone, however if you do like to have them all added, you won't be disappointed. The flaps were added after the decals. The flap actuators are very small and care does need to be taken here. The fit of the flaps was perfect.

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The surface detail in the kit is beautiful, however it can easily get 'lost' in a silver paint work, so with the help of a wash and some pastel brushing, this detail was emphasised to restore it's beauty. A light covering of matt varnish toned the reflectivity down.

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The last steps were to paint the canopy and add the whip aerial on the top of the fuselage. This was made out of fine rod.

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Conclusion

This is a wonderful little kit. The research into the actual aircraft and attention to detail in the kit manufacture are quite incredible. In my opinion, the Vampire range produced by CMR is the best available in 1/72 scale. You get everything you need, the masks, the coloured etch, the vac canopy and the interior packed with resin detail. Fitting such a large amount of detail into such a small kit means that care does have to be taken in preparation, dry fitting and handling, but the results that can be achieved are very high. I thoroughly enjoyed this build and I hope it inspires a few others to go out and have a go too.

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Review sample courtesy of

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Wow, that looked incredible. Really makes me want to grab a CMR kit.

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Very nice job - I have the Swiss Vampire from CMR on my wishlist (No. 72-225), as I love the yellow/orange and black striping! CMR seems to get better with each kit.

Cheers,

Bill

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Bill, if you do it, I'd love to see some pics, as you say, that's a great scheme to do :)

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Now thats a little honey of a kit and a nice build as well. I've got a fb.9 which I want to change to an Aussie fb.31, time to play I think after seeing this.

Thanx for the insperation. I like the sound of your method to cut open the Vac Canopy I'll have to try it instead of using both provided and a pair of scissors.

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Very nice review and build Neil :clap2:

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Nice build article, very helpful thanks. The kit looks way ahead of the Heller, Aeroclub etc ones

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Very nice vampire, great job !

Cheers Pierre.

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