Wingman Models 1/48 Israeli Air Force Kfir TC2 Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Israeli Air Force Kfir TC2
|Styrene, Resin, Photo-Etch, Vacuform, Turned Brass
|Unique subject in this scale
The Israeli Aircraft Industry (IAI) took a major step forward when the flow of combat aircraft that Israel was buying from overseas manufacturers came to an abrupt halt in 1969. Israel's frontline fighter was the Dassault Mirage III and the Israelis had been working with Dassault engineers to improve the capabilities of the Mirage III as well as to develop a simpler fighter-bomber variant that would become the Mirage V. When Israel learned that an Arab attack was imminent, it conducted a pre-emptive strike to blunt the effectiveness of the Egyptian Air Force. This resulted in an embargo that saw the Mirage 5Js that were needed for combat duty held up in France.
The first major project for IAI was the Nesher (Vulture) - a copy of the very Mirage 5Js they'd paid for using Mirage III patterns and intelligence. The Nesher entered service in 1971 and saw combat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Wanting to develop an improved attack aircraft, IAI took the Nesher design and modified it to accommodate the General Electric J79 engine, the same used in their F-4 Phantom IIs and superior to the Atar engines in the Mirages and Nesher. The resulting aircraft became the Kfir (Lion Cub) and the Kfir C1 entered service in 1975. The Kfir C1 was followed by the C2 which featured canards on the intakes, dogtoothed leading edges on the wings. IAI developed an advanced two-seat trainer of the Kfir to help pilots transition into this advanced aircraft which was designated TC2.
Almost two years ago, Kinetic Models released the first styrene new-tool kit of the Kfir C2/C7 in 1/48 scale ( look here). Since that time, Kinetic followed up with additional variants of the Kfir including the distinctive F-21A adversary. Wingman Models developed an interesting business model by taking the basic Kinetic kits and adding creating the super-detailer's (AMS modeler) version of a given kit. In a few cases, Wingman Models has also rendered additional versions not available in the Kinetic boxes and here is another example.
In this release, Wingman Models has transformed the single-seat Kfir C2 kit into the very distinctive two-seat TC2 trainer. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts - that's the basic Kinetic kit. Wingman Models adds a whole new resin nose, two-place cockpit, dorsal spine, open J79 nozzle, new wheels and supersonic external tanks all beautifully cast in resin. The kit also include two small frets of photo-etched parts containing wing tank fins, ejection seat handles, mirrors, wing strakes, etc. Two turned brass parts are also included which provide the tip of the nose and the distinctive pitot-static boom. Two vacuformed canopies (one is a spare) and a set of yellow-tape paint masks round out the kit. Among the features and options of the kit:
- Nicely detailed all-resin two-place cockpit
- Resin ejection seats w/photo-etched details
- PE frame for the HUD
- Positionable canopy
- Resin wheels and detailed landing gear
- Positionable elevons
- Positionable speed brakes
This release has eight colorful marking options:
- Kfir TC2, 305, Arava Guardians Sqn, Hatzor AB, 1993
- Kfir TC2, 306, First Fighter Sqn, Hatzor AB, 1983
- Kfir TC2, 308, First Fighter Sqn, Hatzor AB, 1986
- Kfir TC2, 301, Valley Sqn, Ramat-David AB, 1992
- Kfir TC2, 309, Hornet Sqn, Hatzor AB, 1984
- Kfir TC2, 303, Arava Guardians Sqn, Ovda AB, 1982
- Kfir TC2, 303, Smashing Parrot Sqn, Hatzor AB, 1990
- Kfir TC2, 301, Arava Guardians Sqn, Hatzor AB, 1994
These decals are nicely done and include a nice suite of airframe stenciling. Painting instructions are provided using Revell and Humbrol RAL color equivalents.
This is another very nice release from Wingman Models and renders the only trainer variant of the Kfir series (in plastic).
My sincere thanks to Wingman Models for this review sample!