by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History The all-weather Vautour IIN jet fighters were operated in France not only by AF units, they were used also as a kind of test-beds long time after being withdrawn from military service.
Development work for radars to be used in various and more advanced Mirage III, F.1 and even Mirage 2000 fighters were carried out using these Vautour aircraft. In the French Centre d´Essais en Vol (CEV, or Flight Test Centre) several IIN Vautours of various serial numbers were flown, amongst them also the very first IIN Vautour to be produced, this one was handed over to the CEV on Feb 7, 1957 and was equipped with a Cyrano radar connected with Mirage fighters development.
This machine was also used for trials with fixed armament, rockets and missiles. It was sold to Israel in 1964 and operated at Ramat David AB by No.110 tayeset (or squadron) since 1967.The plane was fitted with extra long range fuel tanks in its bomb bay and modified to carry a Thomson CSF ECM „Yabelet“ Pod and used to blind Egyptian and Syrian SA-2 Radar systems in the opening hours of the Six Day War. On return from one such mission, an u/c trouble occurred, the machine ran off runway and was grounded for the rest of the war.
In 1968, a K-38 camera pack was installed in the belly and another camera systems in the gun bay, AAM Shafrir I was also carried under the wings and the plane was used in a photo recce role until 1970 when it was put into storage. Now it is on display at the IAF Museum in Hatzerim.
In the boxThis kit was first produced in 2011 by Azur, and has been released in different guises by Azur and Special Hobby 4 times since. Considering the age of the moulds the parts are free of flash and ejection pin marks, although raised, are in places that wont be seen once taken care of.
Packed in the standard top opening box, the parts are all packed into one re-sealable bag. Resin parts, clear parts and the decals are all packed into separate bags in the main bag, so any damage to the parts will be kept to a minimum.
The decal sheet also has the one small photo etch fret and a film sheet for the instrument panels inside the bag.
Exterior detail is in the way of very fine recessed panel lines.
The new resin nose has to be installed by cutting off the moulded on plastic nose from the two fuselage halves. This should be fairly simple as the cut is along existing panel lines. The cannon troughs will also need to be filled in on the front of the aircraft.
The wings are split into upper and lower halves with the underwing engine pods split into left and right halves. An insert for the outrigger wheels are on the outside halves of the engine pods.
The engines have an air inlet and the exhaust as inserts for each end.
The stabilisers are one piece each and the tail is moulded onto the fuselage halves. A separate rudder is fitted and can be fixed in a off center position.
Internal detail especially for the twin cockpit is very good, with each ejection seat made up of several parts each and both have photo etch harnesses.
The instrument panels are a sandwich of plastic, film and photo etch. The film fits onto the plastic IP and is clear with the dials picked out in black. A P.E cover fits over the top which will need painting.
Various resin parts are fitted to the side consoles and interior of the cockpit, and once painted should look pretty good.
The cockpit floor makes up the roof of the nose gear bay.
The undercarriage is the same as for the Harrier with two inline wheels and two out riggers. The nose gear is very well detailed with several resin parts attached to the gear legs. The wheels are split down the middle so a little sanding will be required to remove the seam.
The rear undercarriage leg on the other hand is one part, with the same type of wheels as the front.
The out riggers are made up of 4 plastic parts and one resin part. The wheels are one piece each.
These fit into an insert into the engine pods, and the wheel covers nearly cover the internal detail up. The detail is raised on the inserts and is the outer casing of the engine (of which none are supplied).
The clear parts are distortion free and have the framework as raised areas, so masking should be pretty easy.
Resin parts A multitude of resin parts are supplied, with the smaller parts on three casting blocks. The larger items have their own blocks.
The parts are well cast with no imperfections present.
The larger parts cover the two external fuel pods, two camera housings, which fit under each engine pod.
The inserts for the air inlets and exhausts are also resin, and better detailed then they would be if moulded in plastic.
The nose is one piece resin, and is attached to the base at the mating surface, so a steady hand to remove the block and some sanding will need to be done to get it to fit true.
The smaller items look very delicate, so care will be needed to remove the parts from the casting blocks.
Instructions and decals The instruction sheet is in colour and printed on a glossy, folded A4 size booklet. The build sequence is pretty logical, but some parts do need a second look at.
Internal colours are given along the way for the Gunze Sango and Mr Color range of paints.
Resin and P.E parts are highlighted with the appropriate number.
The decals are printed by Cartograph, so quality should be high. The hi-viz orange is very bright, possibly the brightest I have seen on a decal sheet, and will make the aircraft really stand out.
markings for four aircraft are supplied.
•No.348 CEV Flight Test Centre. Bretgny-sur-Orge, France 1990. Metal finish with Hi-viz markings.
•No.337 CEV Flight Test Centre. Bretgny-sur-Orge, France 1980. White with red and blue uppers.
•No.70 "Fantomas", Israeli Defence Forces. Metal finish
•No.70 "Fantomas", Israeli Defence Forces. Three colour camouflage.
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