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In-Box Review
148
Alpha Jet A/E
Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet A/E
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by: Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

History
The Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet is a light attack jet and advanced trainer aircraft co-manufactured by Dornier of Germany and Dassault-Breguet of France. Adopted by many air forces worldwide, the Alpha Jet continues to be widely used even after its useful service life was over in France and Germany, its primary operators.
The French Air Force decided to use the Alpha Jet primarily as a trainer, and the first production Alpha Jet for the French made its first flight on 4 November 1977. The French variant was known as the Alpha Jet E (the "E" standing for Ecole, French for "School"{pronounced 'ay-call'})

The Luftwaffe decided to use the Alpha Jet mainly in the light strike role, preferring to continue flight training in the southwestern United States on American trainer types instead of performing training in Germany, although Germany also used Alpha Jets based at Beja, Portugal for weapons training. It was designated the Alpha Jet A (the "A" standing for Appui Tactique or "Tactical Strike"{ap-wee tac-teek}) or Alpha Jet Close Support variant.

After their military service, several airframes were sold to civilian operators, several of whom use them for military support work.

History adapted from Wikipedia

First Impressions
Opening the flimsy end-opening box reveals 2 large well-populated sprues, a slightly smaller sprue containing the fuselage, a clear sprue, a small photo-etch fret and a nice crisply printed decal sheet. The parts are very cleanly moulded with little flash and a fine satin texture.

Fuselage
The fuselage is made up of two halves plus a bottom plate containing the main landing gear well and half of the engine nacelles. Separate noses for the A and E variants and separate tail cones are provided, as well as an optional left fin half with an ECM fairing on the trailing edge for the -A. The instrument panels have some raised detail, but the instrument faces are blank. Decal instruments would work well, and it's a shame that they're not offered on the otherwise well-populated decal sheet. The bang seats are made from left and right halves with separate cushions. This will make painting a snap, and the etched seat belts will make them look very nice without recourse to aftermarket. The rather narrow cockpit side consoles have some raised detail which will benefit from careful painting although the throttle handles are missing. The remaining etched part is the frame for the front-seater's HUD. Optional short or long belly pods are provided for the -A and -E variants. Depending upon which version is chosen, their mounting holes must be drilled before gluing the bottom of the fuselage. Separate speed brake wells and speed brakes which may be posed open complete a rather complex fuselage assembly. Any seam cleanup ought to be done at this point before the wings are attached. There are several small panels which have optional parts depending upon the version desired. A decision must be made by step 2 of the instructions given the many optional parts on offer.

wings
Each wing is made from a top and bottom half, and sockets into the fuselage using a pair of short built-in spars which ought to result in a solid fit. Separate flaps may be posed up or down using the optional flap fairings provided. 4 drop tanks and their pylons are provided to hang under the wings.

Engine
The engines are represented by compressor faces to close off the intake trunking, and short exhaust sections which form part of rear fuselage. It will be important to properly fill the seams in the intakes, as otherwise they'd be very visible.

Empennage
Optional left fin halves are provided for the -A and -E versions, each with their particular antenna fit. The horizontal stabilisers are one piece, and have nice substantial mounting tabs. They may only be mounted in the neutral position.

Landing gear
The Aphpa Jet's landing gear is spindly and complicated, and the plastic parts capture this well. For best results it should be assembled before painting to ensure maximum strength. The wheels are offered as Kinetic's familiar separate hub and half tires. The nose wheel may be left off until final assembly, but the main gear legs need to be glued into their well before the bottom of the fuselage can be glued in place. Cleaning up the seams will be made more difficult by the need to avoid breakage. Masking for the paint job will also be a chore.

Accuracy
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like an Alpha Jet.

Decals and Markings
The decal sheet was drawn by Canuck Models and printed by Cartograf . The rather small but quite complete sheet provides options from the French Air Force and two civilian operators.

  • 1. Alpha Jet E, French Air Force in overall blue-grey.
  • 2. Alpha Jet A, QinetiQ under contract to the UK MOD and therefore wearing the overall black RAF trainer scheme;
  • 3. Alpha Jet A, Discovery Air Service Canada under contract to the RCAF in a colourful grey/white/blue camouflage scheme.

The printing used for the marking instructions is very dark, and it is difficult to determine where each marking is supposed to go. I could wish that Kinetic would find an alternative graphic style for this step.

the real thing
A French Air Force Alpha Jet E.

QiniteQ's Alpha Jet A

Discovery Air Alpha Jets in formation.

conclusion
This is a good kit, but not suitable for a beginner. You should have a few models in your experience and be happy with doing your own research to supplement the instructions. The many small parts may frustrate beginning modellers. Finally the Heller and Esci kits have a worthy successor.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: An accurate injection-moulded Alpha Jet in 1/48 scale at last! Crisp mouldings and interesting decal options including civilian operators.
Lows: Simplified cockpit parts cry out for replacement, instructions could be clearer.
Verdict: This kit will look good beside the Airfix or Italeri Hawk or in any collection of trainers. Alpha Jets served with numerous countries and in many exciting colour schemes.
Percentage Rating
93%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: K48043
  Suggested Retail: US$29.98
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 13, 2013
  NATIONALITY: France
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.12%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.80%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Is a secret (Jessie_C)
FROM: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Copyright 2019 text by Is a secret [ JESSIE_C ]. All rights reserved.



   

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