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Super Etendard Kit

Kinetic 1/48 Super Etendard Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2016 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject Super Etendard Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48061 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

Super Etendard Kit
Super Etendard Kit
Super Etendard Kit
Super Etendard Kit
Super Etendard Kit
Super Etendard Kit

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).

Here is one of three nice kits released by Kinetic during December 2015. The 1/48 Super Etendard was released along with the 1/24 P-47D Razorback Thunderbolt and 1/48 Su-33 Sea Flanker. It is interesting that this kit took a while to reach the Cybermodeler labs. Kinetic sold out of their first production run of the Super Etendard and had to rush a second batch into production. This kit came out of the second batch and arrived in the US right after the New Year. That is when it was lost in the Post Office Sorting Facility in Chigago for several weeks. The package finally re-surfaced and finished its journey.

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on five parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. Out of the box, this kit provides the parts to build your choice of early Super Etendard (SuE) or the modernized Super Etendard (SEM). Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Choice of SuE or SEM instrument panels
  • Nicely detailed ejection seat (needs crew restraints)
  • Positionable canopy
  • Nicely detailed wheel wells
  • Full-length engine intake ducts with engine compressor face
  • Choice of open or closed auxiliary intake vents
  • Folding wing option with fold details
  • Positionable tail hook
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable leading edge and trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable elevators
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable air refueling probe

External stores options include:

  • 2 x Magic 1 AAM
  • 2 x Magic 2 AAM
  • 2 x AM-39 Exocet
  • 2 x Barracuda ECM pod
  • 2 x chaff dispenser pod
  • 2 x RP-23 external fuel tank
  • 2 x RP-24 external fuel tank
  • 1 x Damocles targeting pod
  • 1 x buddy refueling pod

The kit also includes a nice decal sheet with some nice markings options:

  • Super Etendard circa 1980s - markings for 11, 14, and 17 squadrons along with generic aircraft numbers to replicate virtually any SuE in service
  • Super Etendard, Afghanistan, 2008, markings for 11 and 17 squadrons along with generic aircraft numbers to replicate any of the SEM aircraft deployed
  • Super Etendard, Libyan Ops, 2011, markings for 17F squadron aboard Charles de Gaulle with aircraft numbers that can replicate any of the SEM airframes embarked for those operations
  • Super Etendard, Argentine Navy, 1980s to present, with markings to replicate your choice of 3-A-201 through 3-A-214
  • Super Etendard, Iraqi Air Force, 1983-1985, with markings to replicate your choice of 7445-7449

It is nice to see this kit sell out so quickly on its first production run and continuing to do well today. Looking this kit over, it is clear why the kit has been so well received and I look forward to seeing the model built-up. If you haven't picked one of these up yet, you'll want one for your scale flightline!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!