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Vampire

Contact Résine 1/48 SNCASE 532/535 Mistral Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2006 Manufacturer Contact Résine
Subject SNCASE 532/535 Mistral Scale 1/48
Kit Number N/A Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Excellent detailing in the cockpit and wheel wells Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Vampire
Vampire
Vampire
Vampire
Vampire

The Vampire was the UK's first operational single-engine jet fighter and was the first jet fighter in the world to land on an aircraft carrier. The distinction for the first operational single-engine jet fighter went to the He 162 Volksjager.

The weight penalty for using a twin-boom structure was offset by obtaining the optimum thrust out of the early jet engines by not forcing them to breath down or exhaust out of long fuselage ducts. The overall design is one of simple functionality, with the least amount of weight to carry a pilot, guns, fuel and an engine aloft.

Production of the Vampire extended over 20 years in several countries, with over 5,000 aircraft built. Few jet aircraft can boast of a production run of that size, much less mass production of the UK's first operational jet fighter!

France not only operated the Vampire, they obtained a license to build their own variants of the aircraft. The aircraft was fitted with a Hispano-built Rolls Royce Nene and was built of French materials and equipped with French instruments. In all, SNCASE build 430 Vampires/Mistrals.

While technically not a new-tool kit, Contact Résine has obtained around 200 Classic Airframes 1/48 Vampire kits and worked their magic on them.

The basic kit is molded in Classic Airframes' standard light gray styrene, and is presented on two parts trees. Each release from Classic Airframes raises the bar on their injection molding standard as these parts are sharply detailed with crisp panel lines and detailing. No flash is apparent on any of the parts and you can see the simple layout for yourself.

This kit also comes with two sets of resin parts. The parts molded in gray represent the original Classic Airframes parts for the early Vampire as shown by the non-ejecting pilot's seat and nicely cast cockpit.

The second set of resin parts, cast in tan resin, provide a new cockpit tub, ejection seat, intakes, flaps, and main wheels. This transforms the kit into the French configuration Mistral. The flaps are a nice addition as the basic kit has had its flaps up and locked, these allow for the flaps to be positioned as desired.

Two decal sheets are included in the kit. The upper sheet represents the two Mistrals presented by Contact Résine:

  • Mistral, EC 1/5, 5-WT, 1954-56
  • Mistral, EC 3/5, 5-NK, 1954-56

The lower decal sheet is from the original Classic Airframes release for the French Vampire and is rather interesting to see side-by-side with the Contact Résine sheet. You can see just how far off the Classic Airframes decals were from the national colors.

This is a very nice variation of the Classic Airframes kit to render the French version of the venerable Vampire family.

Note that payment is via International Money Order only. Pricing from the manufacturer is €65.00 plus €11.00 shipping. Orders can be sent to:

Contact-Résine C/O Mr ROLLAND MICHEL 31 rue des Alpins 74000 ANNECY FRANCE

Remember that this is a very limited edition of only 200 kits, so if this is a subject of interest, you'd better get one ordered NOW.

My sincere thanks to Contact Résine for this review sample!

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