by: Oliver Peissl [ ]
Originally published on:
HistoryThe Super Etendard is a development of the earlier Etendard IVM that was originally to have been replaced by a nasalized version of the SEPECAT Jaguar (the Jaguar M), until this plan was stalled by political problems, together with problems with operating the Jaguar aboard ships, including the inability to land back on a carrier after an engine failure. Instead, Dassault proposed an improved version of the Etendard IVM, with a more powerful engine, a new wing and improved avionics. This proposal was accepted by the French Navy in 1973 as the Super Etendard.
The first of three prototypes, a IVM modified with the new engine and some of the new avionics, made its maiden flight on 28 October 1974. The French Navy initially ordered 60 of the new model, with options for a further 20, but budget cuts lead to only 71 being purchased in the end, with deliveries starting in June 1978, while the Argentinean Navy ordered a further 14. Production was completed in 1983.
The KitThe kit is packed in a typical Heller top opening box with a nice painting of two flying Super Etendards on the lid. By opening the box, on can immediately see that this is a reissue of an old kit, but also notice the presence of some upgrade parts for the kit. Inside the box, there are eight grey and one clear sprue, with a total of 113 parts? New horizontal tailplanes are provided as separate resin parts. The Photo etched parts include the air brakes, frames for the canopy, the direct actuation for the ejection seat, plates for the vertical tail and some fins for the external weapons. Additional resin detail parts are packed in a separate bag which holds a total of 23 parts for cockpit, air brakes, external weapons, like the Damocles, Paveway, the Douglas D827 and the Alkan Pod, including racks for some of them.
The new decals from Heller are much better than the ones included in the old kit. Stencils, markings and emblems have been very finely printed and are in perfect register. The canopy parts are still the original ones and are a little too thick. The injected grey plastic parts are engraved with thin panel lines and are quite subtly detailed.
The external stores provided are two GBU-49 Paveway, a Damocles Pod, an Alkan Pod, two 1100L fuel tanks, two 625L fuel tanks, a central 600L Tank, and a Douglas D827 Pod. These parts can be assembled in different configurations which are depicted in a separate placement sheet.
One can choose between extended or closed flaps. Also the wing tips of this aircraft carrier air plane can be build raised up or down. Another option is the possibility to assemble the air brakes in open or closed condition.
InstructionsThe cover of the instruction features the same picture as the box cover along with an history of the airplane. After that, Heller's instructions will guide you through the assembly steps, and every modeler, novice or experienced, shouldn't encounter any difficulty here. There are a total of 33 assembly steps which are preceded by a resin and photo etched parts layout.
Heller had the good idea, on page nine, to propose some detail pictures of the ejection seat in three walkaround photos. Instructions for the color schemes and the assembly of the external weapons are also included. It goes on with color and markings for these. Finally, the instructions also show how to fix these weapons and a drawing with possible configurations will help you out. Pictures of the Cockpit are present on the last page as well.
Included in this kit is one decal sheet with flat decals. It includes the national and squadron markings as well as stencils for the aircraft and the stencils for the external stores. The color indications are based on Heller colors. I think this should be changed in the future; at least a second color producer should be integrated.
Scheme 1 - AMD-BA Super Etendard Modernised, N°17, 17F, Marine National, Kandahar, Afghanistan, summer 2008.
Scheme 2 - AMD-BA Super Etendard Modernised, N°17, 17F, Marine National, Landivisiau, Bretagne, summer 2010.
Up to the color definition, the painting guide is very good and shows the aircraft in a four side profile. The first machine is finished in a one tone grey and the second in two shades of grey.
ConclusionAfter lots of years we are all happy to get another Super Etendard Kit, especially with these upgrades! Another big plus point to Heller are the new Decals. It seems as if other new Kits will be released, so we look forward to the hopefully not so far future.
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