by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
BackgroundThe Dassault Super Mystère B.2 holds an important place in aviation history as the first western European production aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight. First flying in 1956, 180 Super Mystère B.2s were built, serving with the Armée de l'Air until 1977. 28 aircraft served with the Israeli Air Force, performing well in combat against MiG-19s. The final user was the Honduran Air Force, who acquired 12 ex-Israeli machines - these serving until the mid 1990s, some 40 years after the aircraft's first flight.
For me, the Super Mystère is an absolutely classic case of the aviation adage "if it looks right, it will fly right". Everything about it just looks "right" for a top fighter of its era and the only thing that prevented the Super Mystère B.2 being built in greater numbers and enjoying more acclaim was that Dassault already had an even more impressive aircraft leaving the drawing board that eclipsed it - the legendary Dassault Mirage.
The KitFRROM's Dassault Super Mystère B.2 "Early" arrives in a compact and attractive top-opening box, with the main sprues and accessories tightly bagged together. Inside the pack, the clear parts and decals are further sealed in their own bags. Everything arrived perfectly intact in the sample kit. The kit comprises:
80 x grey styrene parts
6 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 3 x colour schemes
The moulding is very clean, with no signs of flash or sink marks, and just some light mould lines to take care of. As far as I can see on first inspection, the ejector pins have been kept out of sight. Surface detail comprises neatly engraved panel lines - maybe a tad heavy for my taste in this scale, but very much on a par with modern "mainstream" kits. In fact, the overriding impression on examining the Super Mystère is that Special Hobby (who produce the kit for FRROM) have firmly left their short-run roots behind and are set to challenge some of the top producers in terms of moulding sophistication and quality.
Test FitA quick test fit shows the fuselage halves close neatly around the cockpit and engine parts, and the wings and tail slot firmly in place. The instructions don't indicate whether any nose-weight is needed to prevent the kit being a tail-sitter, but (as best as one can tell without building the kit fully) it does seem to be right on the edge of tipping back. There is a little bit of room ahead of the cockpit and I think it may be advisable to use it to squeeze some weight in to be on the safe side.
A Few DetailsConstruction kicks off with a long intake pipe with an engine front and a similarly long exhaust with an engine rear closing it off and preventing a see-through fuselage. The intake pipe also forms the roof of the nosewheel well, which is reasonably detailed for this scale and boxed-off ready to fit into the forward fuselage. The mainwheel wells also boast some detail - but note that the fuselage doors are usually closed on parked aircraft, leaving just the wing apertures exposed.
The cockpit is quite nicely fitted out, with separate sidewalls for the main "tub", plus rudder pedals, control column, and an instrument panel that comes complete with a decal. The ejection seat is actually fitted later in construction and consists of five parts. It doesn't come with any seat harness, but adding one along with an ejection handle on the headrest shouldn’t be difficult.
The wings fit together very neatly, with a drop-in panel on the underside to ensure sharp leading and trailing edges. A nice touch is the inclusion of clear navigation lamps for the wingtips.
The undercarriage is crisply moulded with good detail on the legs and wheels. The tyres are moulded “unweighted”, so I’ll file small flats on them to prevent the finished model appearing to stand “on tiptoe”.
The canopy is very nice and clear, and can be posed open or closed. The original canopy opened rather like a Thunderstreak, and the kit includes jacks and a folded rear panel.
In terms of ordnance, FRROM provide two types of drop tanks and a pair of AAMs. Judging from the shape of the front fins, the missiles look like Shafrir-2s. These will be fine for an Israeli Air Force aircraft but, from what I've read online, Arméé de l'Air Super Mystères in the '60s were armed with AIM-9Bs.
Instructions & DecalsThe instructions are printed in colour as a classy 16-page booklet, with very clear construction diagrams. Assembly is broken down into 19 logical stages, and colour matches are provided for Gunze Sangyo paints.
FRROM include markings for a trio of Arméé de l'Air Super Mystères in this boxing:
Scheme A1: SM B2 No. 110, 10-SB engaged in the SEATO cruise to Bangkok in March 1961
Scheme A2: SM B2 No. 110, 10-SB from 04/24/59 to 11/20/64, EC 01/10 "Valois", Creil.
Scheme B: SM B2 No. 18, 12-ZH from 02/07/68 to 04/03/70, EC 02/12 "Cornouaille", Cambrai
Scheme C: SM B2 No. 60, 5-NJ from 05/03/61 to 05/04/64, EC 01/05 "Vendée", Orange-Caritat.
The decals are custom-printed by Cartograf, so their quality should be second to none. The items are thin and glossy, with virtually no excess carrier film except where it’s needed to keep groups of small designs together. FRROM have included plenty of servicing stencils - far more than you'd commonly find on a 1:72 kit - so you can look forward to a good few happy hours applying them, and the results should look great.
ConclusionIt must be at least 45 years since I built the old Airfix Super Mystère as a kid, so the chance to tackle this new-tool kit from FRROM will be very welcome both as something of a nostalgia-trip and a reminder of just how much model technology has advanced over the intervening years.
FRROM very kindly provided samples of both the “Early” and “Late” boxings, so Andy Brazier (Betheyn) will review the second kit and then we’ll have a bit of fun doing a Dual-Build in the Forum.
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