Wednesday, December 14

Build Guide Review Pt I: Bruce's take on Kittyhawk's 48th scale Super Etendard.

Bruce had been keen to get to building Kittyhawk's new 48th scale Super Etendard since we first looked at it here on TMN. Now it is time to put glue to sprue. See how the kit performs under the knife in the build guide of this kit...

Build Guide Review: Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard
From Kittyhawk models
1:48th scale
Code: KH80138
Plastic sprues with Photo etch included
Product link

Part II - Painting & Weathering the Super Etendard.

“Previously on The Modelling News…”

Adam previewed the then forthcoming Super Etendard from Kittyhawk. I have now completed the build of the kit and can report the fit was not too bad at all, I only encountered a few problems, and some of these were of my making.

The hardest thing for me with this kit was deciding on what to hang underneath! A decision made somewhat easier by a few mistakes in the decal sheet, as we shall discuss later.

Onto the kit. Out of the box Kittyhawk's Etendard most closely resembles a Standard 4 or Standard 5 Super Etendard Modernise. It appears KH may have got a bit confused though. Parts are included so as to model earlier antennae fits, other parts are included that are only applicable to Etendard IV. That Kittyhawk will most likely box either the IVM or P at some stage seems apparent from the breakdown of the fuselage and included bits that are not required for this boxing

Pieces are spread across 8 grey sprues and one clear, weapons choices making up four of the sprues. Pretty much everything that was slung under a "Super" during its life is there on the sprue, and a few things that were not!

A small PE sheet for the thinner details in this scale...

...and two decal sheets round out the box contents.

A close-up of the decal sheet shows the tiny print detail to good effect.

Kittyhawk’s model can be built with the canopy open or closed, wings folded or extended, rear fuselage section separated to allow the jet pipe to be displayed, speed brakes open or closed. Even a boarding ladder is included and the refuelling door can be modelled open. I like models that give you differing configurations. It creates talking points and allows your model to stand out from other similar models.

If you’re listening KH, FOD covers would also be nice, especially seeing as you don't include intake trunking in any of your jets! Trailing edge flaps can also be modelled down, but as we will discuss, the real jet was never seen in this configuration.

The box is adorned with some striking box art of a Super Etendard launching an Exocet missile whilst the side panels show the 8 marking options included in the kit. Sadly only 3 of them can be modelled from the box using the kit parts.

The marking options included in this boxing are indeed very colourful and they are a selling point of the kit.

Just before we set off the instructions are here, they are black and white on nice shiny paper in the booklet that also houses the marking choices.

The first step I take with any new project is a dry fit and tape mock up to check fit and see where any problems may lie.

I was actually surprised how well the various components of the fuselage fit together, given that it is made up of about 9 parts! A potential problem area was identified where the rear fuselage glues to the centre barrel of the fuselage, given the very small glueing surfaces. I decided to leave out the two engine bulkheads B13 and D14 and instead glue a sleeve of thin plastic card to each half to increase the glueing area.

The rear fuselage cowling halves, parts A49 and A50 were then glued to the respective fuselage centre sections, parts C1 and C36. I found this gave me a reasonable fit. The cross sections of the various parts still don't quite match, but I think this was a better way then mating the two completed sub-assemblies as the instructions would have you do. The wheel wells were then made up and glued into each fuselage half with no problem.

Whilst the glue was drying, I turned my attention to the engine, cockpit and front wheel well. Yep, I'm jumping all over the place, but this is normal for me!

The engine is made up of seven parts, and considering it will never be seen again, once glued inside the fuselage, does the job. There are a couple of annoying ejector pin towers that need to be removed from the inside of parts A47 and A49, then it glues together nicely.

Only the interior of the jet pipe was painted Alclad jet Exhaust. The two compressor fans were painted silver. I did not bother painting the rest of the engine as it will not be seen.

Onto the cockpit, which once assembled looks busy enough, given it will be painted black. I busied mine up with an Eduard Zoom set. This brought the level of detail up enough for me. Kittyhawk includes decals for the panel and side consoles, but make no mention of them in the instructions.

My cockpit was painted Tamiya rubber black, which in hindsight I wished I had lightened a bit. Light grey was then lightly dry brushed over the various parts to bring out the details. I replaced part GP20 with some thin acetate and found part GP9 too big for its intended spot so filled the indentation where it should go with white glue.

I would have replaced the seat with an aftermarket resin item, but none of the ones I had fitted, all being too large, so I just used the Eduard set and kit PE belts to dress the plastic seat up. Im not sure the included seat is an Etendard seat anyway. It does not match any photos I found. The nose wheel well was then assembled minus the gear leg at this stage and part C2 which pinged off into the carpet never to be seen again. Once upon a time I used to have a concrete floor in my modelling den. I found most parts I dropped. We've since moved and I have carpet. I don't end up finding many dropped parts. I miss my concrete floor.

The nose halves were then assembled trapping the cockpit and nose wheel well. Somehow I managed to induce a step to the bottom seam line. I think this resulted from the nose weight, I added kicking something out of alignment as dry fits had shown a nice clean fit.

I chose to leave out the IFR probe and glue part A35 in the closed position. The fit was better than the real jet!!

In step 9 note there is a rear bulkhead that fits in the rear end of the centre fuselage. part D14, it is not called out in the instructions. As I had made a plastic card sleeve, mine was not used.

I continue to find KH instructions poor in the extreme, with several examples of parts left out or misnumbered. Now is also a good time to fit the intake auxiliary doors, parts C26 and 27. They should be modelled closed if the aircraft is at rest. On mine, I backed the openings with plastic card and added them later. Don't do this!

The mid fuselage halves were then cemented together and the spine part B45 added, with only some minor gaps present. These were easily taken care of with Mr Surfacer 500

Before adding the centre fuselage to the nose, I added the intakes to ensure a smooth a seam as possible without steps. The belly plate A42 was added to the nose section, remember to drill out any required holes first!

A small shelf of plastic card was glued to the rear of the belly plate to aid alignment and increase the glueing area before mating the nose to the rest of the fuselage

If you take your time preparing each part, sanding mating edges square, removing mould seams and flash etc the parts will fit. That said, I needed to add a shim to the “shoulder” on one side, and all seams around the intakes required a smear of Mr Surfacer. Overall, though I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the kit was progressing, and the enjoyment I was getting from the build

When assembling the fin, which, annoyingly KH continue to mould separate from the fuselage- note that part A41 is only applicable to Super Étendard IV’s and should not be used. Would they should have included was the earlier bullet fairing.

Time to start winging it. Leading and trailing edge flaps are separate allowing you to model the trailing edge flaps lowered. Now, I love modelling my aircraft animated with lowered flaps, open cockpits, various panels etc, provided it is a configuration achievable by the real aircraft. On the Etendard, the flaps and slats operated in conjunction with each other, and only when the aircraft was powered up

I decided to model the flaps closed, so cut the angled flap actuators in half. Sanded the cut edges to 90 degrees then glued them to the wing and flaps. Leave off parts A33 &34 and Viola! closed flaps. Time would have been saved had Kittyhawk offered actuators for closed flaps. Talking about the leading edge slats, they have slight sink marks near the root. I chose to leave them to preserve the engraved detail.

By the way, the instructions show the actuator as one part. they are actually made up of two halves, good luck trying to find the locating hole in the flap, as there is none.

The interiors of the speed brakes are made up from PE, which adds some finesse and complexity to the kit plastic, very nice Kittyhawk.

Photo Etch is also used for the perforated wing spoilers and tailplane wear plates

By this stage, you should have an airframe that is pretty much complete. That just leaves the ordnance load to choose. After much mind changing, I went for an asymmetrical load of an AS30 missile and fuel tank coupled with chaff dispensers, magic II missiles and the ATLIS pod

Our next part will deal with painting decalling and final assembly - the paint is already going down so expect something pretty nice in Part II...

Bruce Anders

Part II - Painting & Weathering the Super Etendard.

Check out Kittyhawk's other models on their website. Thanks to them for sending this kit to Bruce for him to build