PJ Production 1/48 Alpha Jet A Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2011||Manufacturer||PJ Production|
|Subject||Alpha Jet A||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||481005||Primary Media||Resin/White Metal/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Very nice detailing||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (Euro)||79.00€ (about $102.00 depending on exchage rates)|
In the early 1960s, many of the European air forces were looking for a replacement trainer to keep their aircrew training current with the combat aircraft being operated by each Air Force. At the time, the two principal trainers in use in Western Europe was the French-built Magister and the US-built T-33 Shooting Star. While both still had operational life remaining, it was going to take some time to develop the replacement.
Two contenders emerged from the training requirement, the British Aerospace Hawk and the Dornier-Dassault Alpha Jet. The Alpha Jet was first flown in 1973 and would see production for over a decade with around 480 airframes built. The main customers for the Alpha Jet was the German Luftwaffe, French Air Force, Portuguese Air Force, and the Royal Thai Air Force. Other users included Belgium, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, as well as privately owned examples elsewhere in the world.
Two major variants were produced by Dornier/Dassault: the Alpha Jet E trainer and the Alpha Jet A close air support aircraft. Egypt modified the Alpha Jet A with further close air support capabilities to create the Alpha Jet MS1 followed by the MS2 with updated engines.
PJ Production has produced their first 1/48 aircraft kit - the Alpha Jet A close air support aircraft and it sure looks nice! While this subject has been done by Heller and ESCI in 1/48 scale in the past, those kits had issues with scale and accuracy.
According to the kit specifications, this model is comprised of 66 nicely cast resin parts, 8 clear resin lenses, 13, white metal parts, 6 photo-etched parts, and two vacuformed canopies.
If you look closely at the first image, you can see that the airframe goes together much like a plastic kit with tabs and slots to align and mount the wings and tail surfaces.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Choice of Stencil SIIIS or Martin-Baker Mk.10 ejection seats
- Photo-etched instrument panels with printed acetate instrument faces
- Rest of cockpit is nicely detailed
- White metal trailing link main landing gear nicely replicated
- Detailed main landing gear bays (though you won't see much as the doors all stay closed except for the main strut cover
- Choice of standard or Portuguese tail cones
- Positionable speed brakes
- Choice of early or late vertical stabilizer
- Three different antenna groups supported
- Four underwing pylons
- Two external fuel tanks
- Centerline gun pod
The markings included in this kit are for :
- Alpha Jet A, 40+43, JG 43, Luftwaffe, Oldenburg AB, 1983
- Alpha Jet A, 41+50, JG 41, Luftwaffe, Husum AB, 1992
- Alpha Jet A, 15229, 301 Sqn, Portuguese AF
- Alpha Jet A, ZJ646, RAF Boscomb Down, UK, 2009
Paint instructions are given in Humbrol, Mr. Color, and Tamiya paints with references to FS595 or RAL where appropriate. The decal sheet also provides a nice assortment of maintenance stenciling for each of the four subjects.
This is definitely the nicest kit of the Alpha Jet produced in any scale to date and will definitely stand out on the contest table. If you're wanting something interesting to park on your scale flightline, this Alpha Jet kit will likely be your only good option for this subject in 1/48 scale for the foreseeable future.
My sincere thanks to PJ Production for this review sample!