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EricP

Matchbox 1/72 Aerospatiale Dauphin 2

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Hi gang, I'd like to join in the fun with a (hopefully) simple build.

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I haven't built a helo for a long time, last ones I remember were the Matchbox Cobra and Airfix Sea King (Apollo recovery), and that was when they were still "current issues" :D

This kit is simple but good ... the fabled mad trencher must have been on vacation when the mould was cut on this kit, hence only door outlines are engraved.

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This is also a "China" version of the kit ... at some stage several Matchbox kits were produced in or for the Chinese market, hence Chinese instructions and possible funky plastic. Many years ago I picked up a Matchbox Tornado with really brittle plastic that split & flaked. Thankfully this kit is not like that, the plastic is soft but workable, sort of like short run kits.

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The box ends show the 2 provided liveries as nicely rendered drawings ...

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... while line drawings are on the back in the usual Matchbox style ...

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Nope, you will not get a "white" helo if don't paint it, despite what the box promises :)

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Clear parts aren't bad, a bit thick but thankfully not scratched despite the age of the kit.

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Decals are a bit sad ...

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I put them in a ziplock baggie and left them on a window facing direct morning sun for a week, this is what they look like now.

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Not a biggie, I plan to spray them with an acrylic coating as I fully expect them to shatter, and will cut close to the decals. The French cockade is also out of register, so will need to do some surgery there too.

I plan to build this as the French Air Force version, I could not find a single photo online that shows this particular livery, though the ones I found came close, with the cockade further down the fuselage rather than on the cheatline.

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Aah! The Dauphin, a surprisingly noisy helicopter and only Dolphin like if you lose the engines and main rotor gear box...

...still it's very French and very welcome.

This is yet another I have in the stash so again, I'll be paying close attention to this one.

Wez

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Good choice and look forward to this.

I also have this in my stash, so would like to see how it goes together.

cheers

Aaron

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Thanks, Wez & Aaron ... I haven't seen this helo around these parts, and didn't know it's a noisy beast!

A bit more progress ... I'm guessing with that hefty tail, this will be a tailsitter, fishing weights to the rescue!

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The only space available is under the cabin floor, and that's a narrow area just behind the nose wheel well, so round fishing weights were shaped with pliers to resemble 2 "planks". It's not that difficult, doing both of those probably took me less than 10 min while watching the idiot box. I only had to remember not to touch food with my bare hands before washing them.

Test fitting shows they do fit nicely, I'll epoxy them in at some point to prevent them rattling around.

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The cabin's a bit bare ...

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... a very old Airfix Islander kindly donated passenger seats ...

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They fit rather well, perhaps a touch of sanding needed for the middle double row, and I'll get creative with the rear seats, maybe putting in some "rescue" equipment in the open space. Or maybe a mini-chaingun :D

Started work on the engine cowling, the seam's not too bad but still need some sanding to even it out.

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Edited by EricP

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good choice to add the islander seats. For weight in helos where space is minimum I use tungsten putty as it can easily be shaped to fit into those tiny cavities but the flattened weights work just as well. Regards rotor droop that you asked; The finger rub method is the one that has been passed onto me and works. Its slow but more controlled and as it takes a bit of time its a perfect job to do watching the idiot box, just like the fishing weights :) Hair dryer is another method but comes with its own risks.

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Another one to watch (although I must admit that I find rectractable undercarriages on helicopters slightly odd - probably just me!)

Cliff

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Never built a Matchbox helicopter, so I am curious to see how it shapes up.

Re not touching food after touching lead, this is commendable, but I doubt lead poisoning is a likelihood. More likely to happen after being shot twice at point blank range with .45 caliber bullets.

And I never wash my hands after handling bullets. Hoops!

Have fun with your Dauphin.

JR

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Nice start Eric,built this kit many years ago,look forward to it progressing!

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Thanks for the comments, guys, and the advice on bending the rotor blades. I'll need to give it a gentle touch ... my ham-fisted efforts resulted in one broken blade so far (2nd from top in the pic below, doesn't come out well in the pic as I had sanded and re-primed it, though it's obvious to the naked eye).

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The engine cowling came out ok, though, here it is primed.

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Decided to populate the cabin ... apart from the Airfix Islander seats, which I sprayed grey with a hint of blue, I added seat harnesses and lap belts from Tamiya tape sprayed semil-gloss black, and used a punch set to knock out tiny tiny discs for the belt and harness clasps. A bit oversized, but better than nothing. The belts and harnesses I see in pics online are firmly cinched up, no free play like usual harnesses we see on aftermarket ejection seats, maybe so they don't fly around the cabin like pendulums during violent maneuvers.

The kit comes with decent control columns and oversized rudder pedals, which I left alone. I scratchbuilt the collective levers, as well as a pilot from some unknown kit. I don't know what French pilots wore, but overall khaki seems a safe bet. There's an empty spot on the rear bulkhead next to the seat, I'll probably paint a tank in dayglo orange and stick it in there for visual interest ... after it's all closed up, I doubt we can see much. In the same vein, I felt the cabin's a bit too clean, but any weathering I do is not likely to be seen, so I'll leave it alone.

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Thanks, guys. A little encouragement can be a dangerous thing ... I decided to go through the "junkyard" to see what I can add, and you can see the results here :D

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The 2 life preservers are the wheels from the old, venerable Airfix Spitfire Mk IX (yes, the one molded in light blue with solid wings!), and as rescue work can be dangerous, a weapon is provided on the rear passenger bulkhead :D. I didn't want the interior to look empty, but I reckon I may have overdone it somewhat :)

Doesn't look too bad inside the cockpit.

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I also took the opportunity to airbrush the fuselage color ... my usual trick with tricky (!) gloss white is to start with a coat of flat white (Tamiya XF-2) followed by gloss white (Tamiya X-2). That allows me to do thin coats without runs or paint pooling in corners.

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Test fitting the cabin again, this is what we get:

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And with the engine cowling on top ...

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Note that I added the "grab handles" on the tail boom with 0.5mm wire, that's quite prominent on the aircraft and not provided in the kit. Anyone know what they are?

The cabin roof is provided as a separate part, surprisingly with console switch detail which I tried to paint.

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Next up are the rotor blades. I beveled a 45-degree notch on the tip of the leading edge ... bottom is original, and the top blade's done.

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A bit of masking ...

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And automagically they turn out like this ...

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:D

They're still not done, need to mask and paint the leading edge a dark grey/silver color.

Edited by EricP

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