Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 Super Etendard Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2016||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Kit Number||80138||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice details and options||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
During the early 1970s, the French Navy's primary strike fighter, the Etendard IV, was due to be replaced by the SEPECAT Jaguar M but several problems led to that program's cancellation. Dassault filled the void with a proposed major upgrade to the Etendard IV which included a new engine, improved avionics, and the new Exocet anti-shipping missile system. This new platform became the Super Etendard and entered service with the French Navy in 1978. The Super Etendard was embarked on the Clemenceau and Foch and saw combat in Operation Olifant, Operation Enduring Freedom. Today the Super Etendard has moved over to the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and continues to support combat operations in the Middle East.
The Super Etendard was also operated by the Argentine Navy and was just coming online when the Falklands/Malvinas War broke out. French training staff withdrew from Argentina before the Super Etendard's primary weapon was integrated and trained, but Argentine crews were able to adapt the ground-launched Exocet missiles to the aircraft. On May 4, 1982, two Super Etendards were able to lock onto a target though only one of the two missiles reached their target. That missile struck HMS Sheffield and started a major fire, though fortunately most of the ship's company were able to safely abandon ship. On May 25, 1982, the Argentines launched two Super Etendards with the aim of hitting one of the two British aircraft carriers. Instead, both missiles hit and ultimately sank the Atlantic Conveyor.
The Iraqi Air Force had leased five Super Etendards for combat operations against the Iranians. While Iranian fighter crews claimed to have shot down three Iraqi Super Etendards, four of the five leased aircraft were returned to France several years before two Exocet missiles struck USS Stark (launched by Iraqi Mirage F1s).
Kitty Hawk Models continues to turn out a variety of subjects that usually fill big gaps in our scale flightlines. In this case, we have the second of three Chinese-produced kits of the Super Etendard. You'll recall that we've had the Super Etendard in 1/48 by Heller/Airfix with tooling that is over 25 years old. The first modern kit of the Super Etendard came in late 2015 from Kinetic Models, this release is the second, and AMK has announced the Super Etendard for release later this year or early next year. Like the Kinetic kit, this release features scribed panel lines and surface details and like the Kinetic kit, this release has options for the early Super Etendard (SUE) and for the modernized Super Etendard (SEM).
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on eight parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Nicely detailed ejection seat w/photo-etched crew restraints
- Positionable canopy
- Optional boarding ladder
- Nicely detailed wheel wells
- Detailed Atar engine and afterburner section
- Choice of open or closed auxiliary intake vents
- Optional display with removed tail section
- Positionable tail hook
- Positionable speed brakes
- Positionable leading edge and trailing edge flaps
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable air refueling probe
- Choice of SUE or SEM antenna configurations
The kit provides the following external stores options:
- 2 x Magic 2 AAM
- 1 x AM-39 Exocet
- 1 x Barracuda ECM pod
- 1 x Phimat chaff dispenser pod
- 2 x rocket pods
- 2 x AS.30
- 2 x GBU-12 LGBs
- 2 x external fuel tank
- 1 x ATLIS targeting pod
- 1 x buddy refueling pod
- 1 x CRM-280 reconnaissance pod
Markings are included for eight options:
- SEM, 44, Flotille 11F, French Navy, 80th Anniversary, 2002
- SUE, 7447, Iraqi AF
- SUE, 2, Flotille 11F, French Navy, RIAT 1997
- SEM, 8, Flotille 17F, French Navy, ISAF, 2007
- SEM, 62, Flotille 11F, French Navy, Tiger Meet 2007
- SUE, 3-A-203, 2 Escuadrilla de Caza y Ataque, Argentine Navy
- SUE, 7, Flotille 11F, French Navy, Tiger Meet 1986
- SUE, 49, Flotille 17F, French Navy
The kit provides a wealth of external stores including some that are not used in this subject (including AIM-9L/M Sidewinders) and will give you some interesting display options.
Note that when you look down the intakes, you will see the engine compressor face, but there are no ducts provided. The kit provides the tail section separated at the maintenance break so you can display the model under maintenance with the afterburner section visible or with the engine removed. You'll have to provide the internal structural details should you opt for the removed engine option.
Patience will be required for assembly as this kit is broken down into many parts for some reason: forward fuselage halves, main fuselage halves, tail section halves, dorsal spine, ventral gun fairing, main wings and outer wing panels. The outer wing panels are molded separately but the instructions do not indicate folding options (you can if you wish) though there are no wing fold details to speak of.
If you're looking for a nice project for your scale flightline or a contest contender, this kit will provide some nice details and colorful decal subjects to work with. Give one a try!
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!