Sunday, January 29

Build Guide Review Pt II: Bruce finishes Kittyhawk's 48th scale Super Etendard.

Bruce has been fettling and shading Kittyhawk's new 48th scale Super Etendard for a while, now he has finished the kit, he can tell the tale of how he got there and what he thought about the journey. See how it turned out int he second part of 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

Pt.II - Painting, weathering & finishing guide.

Having just finished reading “Sharky" Wards account of his time in The Falklands War, I was looking forward to finishing this kit as an Argentinian jet armed with the ship killing Exocet missile. However the Argentinian jets were all early jets, pre Modernise upgrade, fitted with the early bullet type radar receiver mounted on the fin leading edge.
This also meant the Iraqi jet was out, as well as the low viz tiger striped example that appeared at RIAT 1997 
...and the Cambria Tiger Meet jet from 1986. 
Well, that's four out - which only leaves you the below schemes that can be made accurately from this kit.
Whilst the snow tiger scheme was tempting, I really think the black stripes could have been offered as decals. Sure you could paint them, but in my opinion, the precise placement and shape of each stripe on the real jet rules this scheme out unless you are a maestro with the airbrush. This goes for the other tiger striped jet as well. That's my take on it anyway, you may decide differently and model them regardless, as they are nice looking jets.
I decided to go with the two-tone grey camouflaged line jet, so after washing the completed airframe in soapy water. I applied a primer coat of Alclad grey microfiller, which revealed a few flaws. With these remedied, I moved on to applying the main coverage colours.

Mr Colour H305 Blue grey was applied overall to represent the lighter grey colour, this was then streaked and mottled with a lightened shade of the same colour to build up a mottled weathered appearance
Before adding the second colour, I masked and sprayed the wheel wells and airbrake bays. You’ll need a lot of tape!!
For the darker Grey, I used Mr Color Gunship Grey. Again I lightened and darkened the base colour and applied various mottles and streaks to build up a patchy appearance.
I gave this 48 hours to dry before gradually building up thin coats of future to achieve a glossy decal ready surface.

Kittyhawk has moulded the surfaces with some very fine rivet and panel line detail, both raised and engraved. Rather than risk filling this lovely detail with successive clear coats, I decided to apply a panel line wash now rather than after decalling and subsequent clear coats. I used AK Interactive Deep Grey which is a nice dark Grey/Brown colour that goes well with both greys of the scheme

The model was then given another thin coat of future to seal the washes in place.
Attention now turned to the decals. The first thing you will notice is the marking and paint like the instructions contain some silly errors For a start the artist has rendered every scheme with a french roundel on the upper wing regardless of user! Err, I don't think so Kittyhawk.

The decal sheet initially struck me as well researched due to the very complete suite of stencils provided for both the weapons and airframe. It wasn't until I started to apply them, problems became apparent such as the anchors on the roundels being out of register
The call numbers for the French jets are also rendered in black whereas they should be a grey.
They too were printed out of register with a thin white shadow effect.
This aside, the decals performed flawlessly and settled into all the detail using the microsol system. The carrier film was trimmed from the middle of the red Do Not Walk markings to minimise the chances of silvering occurring.

Finally, a sealing coat of future was added before a flat clear coat was applied

The Ordnance was painted up ready for attaching. I briefly thought of still mounting an Exocet, but to me, this load is only synonymous with Argentinian Etendards so in the end went for an asymmetrical load of fuel tank, AS30 missile with chaff dispensers and magic missiles
The magic missiles were done as training rounds, I couldn’t go past that orange colour!!
I added some brass pins to go into holes I had previously drilled in the pylons to strengthen their attachment to their respective pylons.

The nose undercarriage leg slotted firmly into position. The location holes for the main legs could do with being a little deeper though to provide a firmer glue joint. Retraction struts were added and she was stood on her legs.
Detail painting of radomes, antennae and the refuelling bay door followed. Well it would have if I was able to FIND the bay door! I dutifully scratch-built another from card and strip, then promptly swept it off the cutting mat again as I cleaned up. It was at this stage I gave up on adding the refuelling door. Hopefully, it turns up somewhere, so apologies for that!
The last parts to be added were the open canopy, ladder and the arrestor hook, the latter being glued in the lowered position as this seems to have been a common practice on parked jets. Finally, the clear navigation lights were added, the wingtip ones touched in with the appropriate colours.

I found this an enjoyable kit to build with the fit being slightly better than other 1/48. Kitty Hawk kits I have built.
That said, you still can't just snip the parts off the sprue and assemble them without first cleaning up the flash, moulding seams and ejector pin towers that mar a lot of the smaller parts. You also need numerous dry fittings. In hindsight, I should have filled the sink marks in the leading edge control surfaces as they are still visible on the finished model.
Take your time and you should be rewarded with good fit. I did use some filler on mine, but certainly not a lot.
The kit looks accurate in outline to my eye, although there are some Entendard IVM details present in the kit, and I see Kitty hawk have just released this version, so it looks like they have perhaps compromised to get the most out of the moulds.
Detail wise, cockpit and tyres could be improved on, trailing edges and splitter plates are moulded beautifully thin. Kittyhawk keep releasing kits of interesting subjects that continue to interest me, but they need to take a serious look at their moulding quality and improving their printed matter such as decals, marking guides and instructions if they want to step up to the next level
Bruce Anders

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