FM 1/48 Breguet BR.1050 Alize Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||February 2005||Manufacturer||Fonderie Miniature|
|Subject||Breguet BR.1050 Alize||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||6041||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, White Metal, Photo Etch, Vac|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons||Flash clean-up required|
|Skill Level||Advanced||MSRP (USD)||TBA|
In 1947 The French Navy put out a request for a carrier based two seat attack aircraft. In response, Breguet designed the Br.960 Vultur. The Vultur was interesting in the fact that it had a turboprop up front and a jet engine in the rear. The aircraft tested successfully but there were no available carriers to operate it on.
In 1952 three new prototypes were flown, the new name was the Epaulard and the new mission now was ASW.
Actual production started in 1957 and production ended in 1961. Total production was 75 aircraft, 12 of which went to the Indian Navy.
The Alize went through two major upgrade periods in its life (1964-65 and 1974).
The French Navy had originally decide that the Alize would carry on until 1990 but other needs and necessities led to another upgrade for 15 airframes in 1996.
Three Squadrons flew the Alize. Flottille 4F, Flottille 6F and Flottille 9F.
The Alize flew missions over Lebanon, over the Adriatic Sea and was used during the first Gulf War. There are still 8 Alizes with 100,000 hours of airframe life left in them. These will be converted to the Airborne MAritime Situation COntrol System standard with a new Ocean Master radar. The planes will be also wired to shoot anti-shipping missiles.
The first Alize I am aware of was released many years ago by Heller. I believe it was 1:50 scale.
The second kitting of the Alize was by Mach 2 in 72nd scale. The kit is actually very nicely conceived but the execution is a bit weak and the quality uneven.
The third and most recent kiting of the Alize is by Fonderie Miniatures.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene with resin and white metal details. A fret of photoetch is provided together with vacuform plastic for the clear parts (in duplicate).
The engraving is fine and the rivets present where necessary are very tiny and recessed. The plastic molding is much better than what we remember from earlier limited run French releases. Still care will need to be taken to remove the flashing and to clean up the parts from minor imperfections. There is a lot of detail provided in plastic like a complete bomb bay, landing gear bays, etc. The detail is provided in a semi-raised fashion that will look good after some weathering and highlighting. One wonders though if it would have been nicer to have the aforementioned bays done in resin.
The resin details are plentiful and will give a nice busy look to the cockpit. The Alize came in different cockpit configurations in its long life and I am guessing that this configuration is from the middle years. We get two choices for the wing nacelles - with clear vac fronts or with solid resin fronts that include the LC3 ECMs. There is resin provided for the wingfolds but you will have to perform surgery on the plastic to fold the wings. The resin turboprop exhaust was very nicely done in my example.
The white metal parts for the landing gear are pretty nice and detailed. Some parts will need to get straightened out because the white metal used is pretty soft.
The crew seats are also made out of white metal.
The photoetch fret provides hinges and actuator arms as well as seatbelts and other tinny details.
Jean-Pierre Tauzin-Fin owner of Fonderie Miniatures must have some professional relationship with Didier Palix owner of Mach 2 (and maker of other kits such as the Beech 18 for Battle Axe and the Boeing 737 for Daco). The decals in the FM kit are just scaled up copies of the Mach 2 Alize.
The FM kit provides limited assembly instructions as far as drawings go but makes an effort to provide info with some sketches and plenty of text. No usable info is provided in the FM kit for the decal placement and no paint guide at all.
The Mach 2 kit provides good info on decal placement and has good painting instructions. The information off of the Mach 2 kit is provided here as a reference since the decals in the FM kit are exactly the same as the ones in the Mach 2 kit.
This is the best Alize so far with lots of detail to keep the experienced modeler busy for days. Three aircraft choices are provided. This is a very nice and needed addition to the collectors of naval aviation.