Jump to content

Sepecat Jaguar A - 1:48 Kitty Hawk


Mike
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sepecat Jaguar A



1:48 Kitty Hawk

boxtop.jpg

The Jaguar has a convoluted development history, which began with Britain and France wanting different things, with some commonality of goals, if that makes any sense. Eventually these converged sufficiently to make more sense, and with the cancellation of one of the possible solutions, the Jaguar was born along with a separate joint venture between Breuget and BAC (as it was then) to form SEPECAT, which stands for Société Européenne de Production de l'Avion d'École de Combat et d'Appui Tactique, which translates to European Company for Production of Combat Trainer & Tactical Support Aircraft - a descriptive title if ever there was one, but a long way from catchy.

The British and French partners ordered about 160 airframes each, with the French opting for a portion of their lot to be the yet-to-be finalised Jaguar-M options. These were of course cancelled due to cost increases and political wrangling in favour of the Super Etendard. Each Nation also ordered 35-40 two-seat trainers to assist in the conversion of pilots to this new jet. With the jet trainer element now completely removed from the aircraft's tasking with the introduction of the Hawk and Alphajet, the Jaguar was translated to a pure Ground Attack and Tactical Strike aircraft, a job that it did well, as it was a mechanically robust aircraft, with its unusual over-wing pylons freeing up more wing hard-points for munitions.

Powered by two Adour engines, the initial airframes were considered to be underpowered, and crews joked that they only took off due to the curvature of the earth. Successive improvements to the engines increased power and load hauling ability though, and its ability to produce high power for take-off and short dashes made for some interesting low-level flight videos on YouTube over the years.

The French Jaguar A was delivered to the Armée de l'Air in 1973, taking part in a number of conflicts in North Africa where French interests were threatened, and then went on to serve in the Gulf War through to the Kosovo and Bosnian conflicts, before being retired in 2005, some two years earlier than the British Jaguar's final curtain call.

The Kit

For years we have had only the Airfix/Heller tooling in 1:48 that dates back to just before the dinosaurs became extinct, and has many flaws associated with its age and heritage. We have known about this new tooling from young company, Kitty Hawk for only a few months now, but we are reliably informed by Mr Song that this is the first of a number of editions of the kit that will include British and 2-seat versions. That will make a lot of Jaguar fans very happy, and consign a lot of Airfix kits to the loft, I'm sure.

The kit arrives in a diminutive white box, with a painting of a desert camouflaged Jag wearing French roundels on the top. Opening the lid, and you are greeted by a lot of plastic, filling the box to the top. There are seven sprues of pale grey styrene, plus two separate fuselage halves (minus nose), and a clear sprue. There is also a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a colourful decal sheet, and a similarly small instruction booklet to finish off. First impressions are good – there is a lot of detail packed into these sprues, with restrained engraved panel lines, rivet detail and quite a few weapons parts included with the kit.

fuselage.jpg

sprue1.jpg

sprue2.jpg

sprue3.jpg

sprue4.jpg

sprue5.jpg

sprue6.jpg

sprue7.jpg

pe.jpg

The build begins with the cockpit, which is based upon an open-backed tub, which is then closed by a nicely detailed rear bulkhead, and detailed with PE side-console and PE instrument panel laminated to a styrene base that fits in a slot between the moulded in rudder pedals, but does not have a tab to hold it fast. The ejector seat is built up from a central cushion and headbox section, sandwiched between two side-panels that cover the rear, with a separate pull-handle between the pilot's knees. A set of PE harnesses are supplied to further detail this, and while it is surprisingly good enough to suffice for the majority of builders, additional detail can always be had by replacing it with a resin aftermarket part. There are some other seat parts for other versions of the kit that aren't mentioned in the instructions, so make sure you pick the correct ones from the sprues. The cockpit is finished off with a control-column, and a pair of internal side-wall parts that although not much of them will be seen, have some good detail moulded in. Like many fast jets, the nose gear bay is then attached to the underside of the cockpit, and here the detail is similarly good. The roof and end panels are moulded as one part, with separate sides that permit detail to be moulded on all facets, with plenty of rivet, cabling and structural detail moulded in. The instructions would have you install the nose-gear leg at this point, but I will be investigating the possibility of adding it later, to save it from damage during handling. The gear leg is strong, and has a pair of large mounting surfaces that mate with the roof of the bay and slide into slots cut in the sidewalls, it has separate yoke detail to the front, and a 2-part wheel that has the hub moulded integrally.

detail-cockpit.jpg

detail-pe.jpg

detail-nosebay.jpg

The cockpit/nose gear bay assembly is then sandwiched between the nose sides, after adding some clear parts to the area portray sensors etc., and adding the nose equipment bay that may be posed open or closed. A single piece is included to portray the bay detail, which looks very nice, and should fulfil its purpose well with some careful painting. The two panels are added a little later in the open position, but if you are planning on leaving them closed, it might be as well to add them before you have closed up the nose, so that you can get them lined up with the rest of the skin. Once the nose is closed up, the coaming is added to the flat area in front of the instrument panel, which has a large oblong cut-out for the HUD that is installed with a clear part representing the reflective glass. The various sensors and the nose-mounted pitot probe can be left of until later, as can the open panels on the nose if you are leaving them open. The gun troughs are then added, and a pair of barrel stubs are installed within the trough to give added detail. The prominent exhaust holes underneath the cannon bulges are separate parts on the rear fuselage, which gives the mould the flexibility to depict one or both cannons installed for the 2-seat or single-seat versions. It also gives additional detail to a complex area, and careful fettling of the parts before gluing should result in minimal clean-up.

detail-nose.jpg

clear.jpg

The clear parts are thin and commendably clear, but would of course benefit from a dip in Klear/Future or Alclad Aqua Gloss. A set of PE rear-view mirrors are included for the canopy lip as well as a number of small styrene parts that attach to the inside of the windscreen. Their location isn't terribly exact on the drawing, so check your references before you install them.

detail-fuselage.jpg

Attention then turns to the rear of the fuselage, and unconventionally begins with the construction of the main landing gear. The Jag's landing gear was quite innovative in its day, and because of its rough field handling requirement, the legs are sturdy and shod with balloon tyres. The struts are made up from six parts, which gives an idea of the complex shape. The twin tyres are made from separate halves with moulded in hub detail and circumferential tread pattern engraved in, with one attached to each side of the swing-arm. The completed legs are then installed to the front wall of the air-brake bay where the mounting points for the legs are moulded into their surface. The main bays are built up from individual wall parts, and fix forward of the air-brake bays. Detail in these areas is also good, although little will be seen because of the fact that the doors were usually closed after landing, unless they were needed left open for maintenance. Forward of the main bays are the cannon maintenance bays, which have a depiction of the 30mm DEFA cannons made up from two separate parts. The bay doors can be left open or closed at your whim.

The intakes for the two engines are split diagonally into L-shaped sections that fix together along a diagonal mating surface to retain the curve of the sides of the parts. Of course a little sanding of the seam will be required, but this should be minimal, and as it is on the outer edges, shouldn't be too taxing. The trunking only extends as far as the intake sections, and leads into the fuselage, where the engine fronts will be visible within the gloom (if you can even see that far), so a coat of black to the inside of the fuselage just before closing up would be wise to hide any structure and prevent light-leaks. The intakes have a little rough surface on their internal faces, which you might want to take care of before gluing the halves together, and you could also paint the lip and trunk before gluing to make a tricky task a little easier. The blow-in doors are depicted in their relaxed state on this model, as they were only ever open when the engine was turning over and creating a drop in pressure that allowed them to hinge in to provide more air to burn with the fuel. If you plan on modelling your Jaguar in flight, you will need to remove the doors and pose them deflected inwards as per the box top painting.

The fuselage halves are full of holes for open bays, so are by their nature flexible when handled straight from the box. They will doubtless firm up when the various bays are installed, which indicates that it might be an idea to tape the halves together while waiting for the bays to set up, so that no warp is induced by parts curing slightly out of line. The largest opening in the fuselage is to the very rear, where the twin Adour turbofans are installed. A large flat slab with a firewall bisecting it and the forward bulkhead are installed first, with the engines themselves added afterwards, having been made up from five styrene parts each, with a PE burner ring installed within the exhaust area, and a set of exhaust petals made up from a strip of PE that is curved around into a cylinder, and the individual petals folded in the correct order before being slid into the outer exhaust ring. A central outer skin panel is installed along the line of the firewall on the underside of the fuselage, and the modeller can then decide whether to install the main engine panels or leave them off, displaying one or both of the engines. The same can be done with the airbrakes, which have fine holes cut through them, just like the real things. If posing them open, a pair of jacks are included (one for each) to put them at the correct angle to the airframe. The tail-cone and a PE arrestor wire are added, as are the choice of two centre-line pylons, although whether they are better left off until after painting is a decision for each modeller to make.

The wings are provided as individual halves, with the outer wing panel moulded entirely to the upper wing, due to the narrowness of the wing at that point. The flaps and slats are all separate parts, and a PE spoiler is supplied for the top of the wing, as well as the wing-fence, which is also made from PE. A tiny wedge of clear styrene is installed in each wing-tip for the recognition lights. The rudder is made up of three parts, the main part of the fin, the rudder panel, and the top of the tail, again due to the changes in the tail between marks. A pair of PE antenna parts are installed perpendicular to the tail at around the half-way point. The elevators are single parts, as they are rather thin, and affix to the fuselage with a large peg around which they can be rotated. The ventral strakes attach to long slots on the underside of the engine bulges, and a gaggle of small sensor parts install on the underside and rear spine. The crew heat exchanger that sits on the spine behind the cockpit fits into a slot, and has two PE blade aerials attached to its back.

detail-wing.jpg

It is only at this point that the instructions suggest joining the front to the rear of the fuselage, after all of the weapons pylons have been installed. Happily, the pylons are made up of separate halves, and have attachment details added once they are joined. This is a neat little feature, and something that should be commended to all manufacturers of modern jets.

The remainder of the build concerns itself with the construction of the weapons load that this pugnacious aircraft could carry into battle. A table on page 18 shows what each of the stations was capable of carrying, but check your references for actual war-loads and training loads that were typically carried. The sprues contain the following weapons:

  • BGL 1000
  • 250KG Bomb x 4 on 2 dispensers
  • AS.37 Martel
  • BGL 400 x 2
  • AS.30 missile
  • BLG66 cluster bombs x 2
  • PHIMAT countermeasures pod
  • Matra 155 x 2
  • OBL 755
  • AIM-9L Sidewinder x 2
  • ATLIS targeting pod
  • R550 Magic.2 x 2
  • Barracuda ECM pod

That's quite a pile of weapons, which takes up the majority of two sprues. Only one fuel tank is included with this edition, and that isn't mentioned in the instructions, although it's likely to be a centreline tank judging by the fact that there is just the one of them. It can be found on sprue H, next to the wing parts.

The decals permit you to model one of two schemes, as follows:

  • No. 124, EC01/007. Provence Saint-Dizier, 1994 - dark earth/light brown camouflage over light blue undersides.
  • No.62 "Boar's Head" markings - dark green/dark sea grey over silver.

decals.jpg

Decals are sharply printed and appear to be in good register with a slightly matt/gloss mottling to the carrier film, which varies over the surface. The two large perforated decals are for the BLG-66 cluster bombs, depicting the bomblet dispenser holes. A full painting and marking guide for the weapons is included on the inside front cover of the instructions, taking advantage of the glossy colour print of the outer sleeve.

Conclusion

A new tooling of the Jaguar in 1:48 has been requested and prayed for for many years by modellers, and finally we have one, courtesy of Kitty Hawk. Soon we should have a full set of options for British, French and trainer aircraft, which is only to be applauded. From my personal (and very selfish) British standpoint, it's a shame the French edition was first out of the gate if only by a very short time, but in the grand scheme of things, we can wait a few more weeks for a new RAF Jaguar in 1:48, can't we?

It is a thoroughly modern tooling, with a lot of detail included in the box, especially in the important cockpit, gear bay and surface areas. You have options to open up many panels, there are plenty of weapons included for you to choose from, and you even get a fret of PE parts to add to the kit, although there are no styrene equivalents for those that are PE phobic.

From a personal point of view I couldn't be happier. I have a planned build of three, or possibly four Jags in 1:48 before I depart this world, so will be replacing my Airfix kits as I go along. Perhaps those Retirement Scheme decals might get used afterall!

Very highly recommended.

This is now a Work in Progress, and can be seen here.

Review sample courtesy of

logo.gif and available soon from major hobby shops

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes - and all in a compact box... I've already cut a few parts from the sprues, and will start a Work In Progress thread tomorrow once I've got more to show for my labours :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And we have a WINNER :analintruder:

Only thing I miss is the extra droptanks, but never too late :winkgrin:

Buy a French one and build it without tanks and then buy a RAF one and then you have two tanks......Or build it early RAF with just a centreline tank....

Nice review.

I hope they remember to change the seat when the British version comes out.

Looking at the sprues there appears to be two different seats.....

Personally, I can't wait.......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks great, when a GR.1 or 3 comes out I'll definitely get one. Two issues I have though: if the engine bay is displayed open there is not a bit of detail included in the kit for all the engine accessories, electrics and plumbing in there so you need good references and a well-stocked spares box.

Also, I don't see any parts on the sprues for something like intake ducting - how and where well those compressor faces be mounted? Full intake ducts would be quite substantial parts...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to see the different gun exhaust outlets and what looks like the different drag shute covers. Looks to be very nice indeed.

I don't like to judge based on photographs for the obvious reasons but the leading edge curve looks a little too scalloped to me. Probably effect of photography . . .

I'll be getting the British versions!! Who's going to stock them? And how much?

Nick

Edited by Nick Belbin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

if the engine bay is displayed open there is not a bit of detail included in the kit for all the engine accessories, electrics and plumbing in there so you need good references and a well-stocked spares box.

This may help, I took this photo many moons ago at Abingdon.

http://www.flickr.co...157617639652433

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but the leading edge curve looks a little too scalloped to me. Probably effect of photography . . .

Don't forget that it was me taking the photos, so more than likely :photo:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see the ECM fin tip as an option and the overwing AAR mounting, all good for a Brit built Jag.

As for drop tanks I have some spare from my Esci kit of many moons ago - is that the pre history one Mike was thinking of?

I hope but wouldn't hold my breath for the Agave radar nose version for the Indian maritime specific fit. Some resin for that maybe?

I may have missed it but how are the airbrake perforations shown? They changed from the prototype to production.

£?

Trevor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...