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Paul A H

S.N.C.A.S.E. S.E. 535 Mistral - 1:72

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

1:72 Azur Frrom

 

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The distinctive De Havilland DH.100 Vampire was built to fulfil a wartime requirement for a small, lightweight jet fighter for the Royal Air Force. Although the prototype aircraft flew almost two years before the end of the War, the production aircraft arrived too late to see service in the conflict. Despite this, well over 3,000 examples were produced and the aircraft enjoyed a relatively long service life by the standards of the day. Powered by a single De Havilland Goblin turbojet, the diminutive Vampire was capable of 548 mph and had a service ceiling of over 40,000 ft. In common with many other fighters of the day, it was armed with four 20mm cannon. The S.E. 35 Mistral was a licence built Vampire, manufactured by Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est (S.N.C.A.S.E.) and based on the Nene-powered Mk.53 that was also used in Armée de l'Air service.

 

The Vampire has enjoyed something of a modelling renaissance recently. For a long while, the old FROG and Heller kits were pretty much it as far as 1:72 Vampires were concerned. Czech Master released a range of well-regarded but pricey resin kits some time ago, but it is not until fairly recently that we have had some new plastic kits of the type courtesy of A Model, Airfix, Cyberhobby and Special Hobby. This particular kit by Azur Frrom is based on the Special Hobby kit, which has already been released across a range of labels, including Xtrakit, Special Hobby and Azur. It includes a new resin seat and an extra frame of parts which includes a new upper fuselage, intakes and nose. 

 

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Inside the top opening box are over 70 parts moulded in grey and clear styrene, as well as a sheet of decals, a resin seat and a full-colour instruction booklet. The kit looks excellent on the sprue, with lots of crisp, moulded detail and surface structures made up of fine, recessed lines and fasteners. The overall impression is closer to a modern, high pressure injection moulded kit than the older MPM/Special Hobby kits in my collection. Construction starts with the well-detailed cockpit. This area is made up of the floor, rear bulkhead, pilot's seat, control column and the instrument panel. The instrument panel features recessed detail and a decal is provided for the instrument dials themselves. The gun sight is moulded from clear plastic. The inside of the fuselage halves benefit from some separately moulded sidewall details. Taken together, the overall impression is of a well detailed and suitably busy cockpit. The resin seat really serves to lift the detail up a notch.

 

Other internal detail includes the front and rear faces of the turbojet engine. Azur Frrom (Special Hobby) have elected for a bit of a smoke and mirrors effect here, splitting the front face of the engine into two parts so each can be seen through the intake trunking (part of which is cleverly moulded to the lower half of the fuselage pod. There is no separate tail pipe for the jet exhaust, with the pipe and protruding lip being moulded as part of the upper and lower fuselage halves. The nose cone is moulded separately to the rest of the fuselage, and it follows a panel line which should reduce the need to clean up the joint when finished. It will also enable you to fit the nose weight after the main structure of the model has been completed - a definite plus for a natural tail-sitter like the Vampire/Mistral.

 

Once the two halves of the fuselage pod have been joined together, attention turns to the wings and the horizontal stabiliser. The wings are simply moulded in upper and lower halves, with control surfaces moulded in place. Surface details are very nicely represented, although the trailing edges are a little on the thick side (nothing that can't be sorted relatively easily though). The shallow main landing gear bays are moulded as part of the lower wing but are pretty well detailed. The engine air intakes are separately moulded on the extra frame of parts. Happily, this addresses one of the shortcomings of the original kit (titchy intakes). The tail booms look pretty good and, as with the wings and horizontal stabiliser, the control surfaces are moulded in place. With the airframe complete, attention turns to the undercarriage. The undercarriage itself is quite nicely moulded without being overly complex. Ordnance is catered for by the inclusion of a pair of drop tanks and a pair of rockets. The canopy is nicely moulded and is split into two parts, so it can be finished in the open position if desired.

 

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Three decal options are provided, which is more than reasonable for a kit of this size:

  • SNCASE SE-535 Mistral No. 82, 8-PB, EC 1/8 "Maghreb", Rabat-Salé, Morocco, 1957;
  • SNCASE SE-535 Mistral No. 195, 7-BC, 7 éme EC, Telergma, Algeria, crashed on 19 August, 1958;
  • SNCASE SE-535 Mistral No. 64, 20-LF, EC 1/20, "Ouarsenis", Boufarik, Algeria, 1959;

The decals are nicely printed and the colours look accurate to my eye.

 

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Conclusion

 

I liked the original version of this kit a lot, and this version from Azur Frrom is no less appealing. The level of detail is very good indeed, and provided there are no surprises in terms of fit and finish, it should build up into a nice model. Overall, this is a nice kit which I am looking forward to building. Recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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Interesting model, although it does look rather like a flying potato!  😆

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