Special Hobby May 2024 News

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Westland Whirlwind FB Mk.I Fighter-Bomber 1/72

Not long before the outbreak of WW2, the British Air Ministry issued a requirement calling for two types of fighter aircraft, one light weight with machine gun armament and the other one with heavy cannon armament. To these requirements, the machine gun armed Hurricanes and Spitfires were designed, while to fit the second category, the Westland offered their Whirlwind twin engined ‘Cannon Fighter’. This type was eventually produced in more than a hundred examples and further production was ceased only by the shortage of the Peregrine engines. The Whirlwinds were deployed over the English Channel in fighter and ground attack missions. For the latter ones, the Whirlwinds were fitted with bomb racks and were designated FB Mk.I. It was only in 1944 that they were replaced by Typhoon aircraft.
The Fighter-Bomber Whirlwind model comes on two styrene sprues and one with clear parts. All these are joined by 3D-printed parts, resin cast details and etches. The decals cater for four schemes, two of which in the earlier green-brown colours and the other two in the later scheme of green and grey, that are also corrected now compared to the earlier release, based on new available reference materials.

Fouga CM.170 Magister ‘Aerobatic Teams’ 1/72

The Fouga Magister was not only a great trainer jet, it was also an excellent aerobatic machine used by many aerobatic display teams. This release of the Magister covers the schemes of the Belgian Red Devils, French Patrouille de Ecolé de l Air and the FFS A Acro Team of Germany. All of these airframes wore quite strikng and colourful schemes indeed.
As well as serving with the French military the Magister was also an export success for Fouga which sold the type to a multitude of foreign operators and it was even built under licence in three countries. The first licence-built Magisters entered service with the air forces of Germany and Finland in 1958 where they also joined French-built Magisters and the third licence producer of the Magister was Israel, which produced its first aircraft in 1960. The Israeli Magisters were known locally as the Tzukit (or Thrush) and as well as basic training they were also used in the light-attack role where they proved successful during several of the Israeli-Arab conflicts. In the ground attack role the Magister could carry a pair of machine guns fitted in the nose section and various weaponry was mounted under the wings in the form of bombs and unguided rockets.
Within Europe the Magister was flown by France, Belgium, Austria and Ireland but there were also many other operators worldwide in Africa, Asia and South America, many of whom were no doubt attracted by its lightweight design and low operating costs. Among these far flung operators were countries such as Algeria, Bangladesh, Biafra, Brazil, El Salvador, Libya, Morocco, Togo and Uganda. Some Fougas are still flying these days, many of them in civilian hands.
The model comes on four grey styrene sprues with nicely detailed parts plus one with clear parts.

SMB-2 Super Mystère ‘Sa’ar – Israeli Storm in the Sky’ 1/48

This model kit of the SMB.2 French jet fighter with the J52 US-built engine and longer tail cone is made using steel moulds and comes on nine styrene sprues (two of which are doubled) and one clear parts sprue. The excellent styrene parts are joined by no less perfect 3D-printed items (made in cooperation with Mini Craft Collection) which contain the ejection seat, speed brakes, 250kg bombs and Shafrir missiles on their racks. The decal sheet caters for three Israeli machines in various colour schemes.

The French Dassault Super Mystere B2 was the first Western European, mass production-built jet fighter to achieve supersonic speed in a level flight. The type was a follow-on development of Dassault’s earlier successful jet fighter airplanes such as the Ouragan or Mystere IV and a number of test prototypes too. The first production airframe, out of the total of 180 built, first flew on 26 February 1957, with the production machines being allocated to No.10, 12 and 5 escadrons of the Armée de l’Air, they also served with test centres CEV and CEAM and in flying schools. Later machines were fitted with more powerful Atar 101G-2 or G-3 engines. The type was on strength of combat squadrons until 1977 when the last remaining SMB2s of No.12 Escadron were replaced by more modern Mirage III jets. The service of SMB2s with the French military was quite uneventful, the only exception to the dull military routine were the occasional air force exercises which took place in NATO countries or in Africa and also the Operation Air Bull in Thailand. The most important operator of the type outside of France, the Israel Air Force saw much more interesting flying and combtat career of the type – their SMB2s took part in a series of clashes, conflicts and wars between Israel and its Arab neighbours. These wars are know as the War over Water, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War and also the rather lengthy conflict between these „regular“ wars, the Attrition War. The State of Israel had placed the order for the SMB2 fighters already in 1956, this being confirmed only two years later, in 1958. The SMB2, locally known as the Sambad, were deliveder in two batches of 24 and 12 airframes. Seven more of them were delivered later to make up for losses suffered during the service. Soon after the Sambads had been delivered, Israel acquired also the excellent Mirage IIIC jets which became its major front line fighter aircraft, so the Sambads were deployed just to one Tayeset, or Squadron (the 105th) and flew mainly in the fighter-bomber role. Owing to the trouble with spare parts caused by the French arms embargo, the Israeli Aircrafr Industries (IAI) proposed to fit the already rather worn out airframes with the US-built J52 turbofan. Even though these powerplants lacked the reheat, they were 25% lighter, had lower fuel consumption and offered thrust almost comparable to their French counterparts. As the new unit weighted less, it had to be mounted further back in the rear fuselage and as the nozzle was also already longer, it resulted in much longer jet pipe of the new machines compared to the standard Sambad. In the end, this change proved to help the type’s survivability after being hit by enemy’s IR-guided anti-aircraft missiles – the missiles homed usually on the hot exhaust nozzle and when exploded, the war head fragments did not hit the tail control surfaces as lethaly as was the case with the standard, short tailed Sambad type. The performance remained almost the same, except for acceleration and initial rate of climb. What is more, the type could carry much more underwing stores, had much larger range and could operate in the combat area much longer. In total, 26 airframes were re-engined and they were known in the IAF as the Sa’ar, or Storm in Hebrew. In a short time, they got the opportunity to show their capabilities in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and excelled in the ground attack role. In 1975, the 105th Tayeset received their new F-4 Phantom II jets and the already obsolete Sa’ars finally retired.
– superbly detailed and highly accurate model in the Hi-Tech format
– accurate decals incule servicing stencils for three IAF airframes in various colour schemes
– wide variety of underwing armament contained in the kit
– limited release

 

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