Heller 1/72 MD.450 'Ouragan'
|NOTES:||Not exactly a brand new kit|
“I want a warplane, not an experimental plane. I want it to be able to shoot down other aircraft with its 20-mm cannons and attack ground targets with bombs or rockets. We’ll squeeze in as much internal fuel as we can and add on wing-tip drop tanks at a later date. We’ll give it a Rolls Nene engine and a Martin-Baker ejector seat; the landing gear will be Messier, but you can call in British companies for the accessories if ours aren’t up to scratch. … It’s now February 1948, and I need this aircraft within a year at the outside. Both of our factories will build one prototype; in six months we’ll see who’s got furthest, and the winner will bear the designation ‘01’” So the remembered words (by Henri Déplante) of Marcel Dassault.
To evaluate this speech one should know that MD had in 1947 promised to Georges Grimal, head of the French Air Force’s procurement office and responsible for defining future requirements, that he (MD) will produce the prototype within one year at his own expense.
When Marcel Dassault talked to Georges Grimal he was not new to this business. Before and until World War 2 he was known as Marcel Bloch. Bloch built up some famous French airplanes like the MB.152 or the MB.174, but sadly he was arrested by Nazis and deported to Buchenwald; where he was offered to restore him to freedom if he agreed to work as a director at Focke Wulf Hannover. Bloch refused. Therefore it was planned to hang him, but with the help of some prisoners he survived the concentration camp and returned to France in 1945, where he changed his name to Dassault – the pseudonym his brother, resistance leader General Paul Bloch, had used during the war.
The Ouragan (hurricane) prototype MD450.01 made its maiden flight on February 28, 1949; it took 18 months from start of the construction to be airborne. To make this possible the basic construction of the Ouragan was adopted from the MB 152, one of the well known French fighters of World War 2. The first flight was a success; 3 prototypes and 12 preproduction machines were ordered. France then ordered all together 350 Ouragan. The delivery to Armée de l´Air began in 1952.
In 1953 France the first time since 1930 started to export aircraft; this time it was to India which has ordered 71 Ouragan, which they renamed Toofani (typhoon). This order was raised to 113 later on. In 1954 Israel bought 24 Ouragan which also was raised to 71, where the later were taken as used ones from French Armée de l´Air. Israeli Ouragan took part in the Six Day War that started on 5th of June, 1967. Somewhere in the 70ties France sold 12 Ouragan to El Salvador where they were still flying in 1984.
With the Ouragan began a story of success for Dassault in building jet powered fighters. The Ouragan also marked a process for Dassault what could be named a development of small steps. All began with the cell structure of the Bloch 152 adopted to a jet fighter and step by step led to the nowadays well known Rafale.
The Heller kit belongs to the old fashioned kits from the middle of the 80ies. Heller reissued this kit several times; as far as I know one of the last issues was in the combo box for Patrouille de France. It is for sure not comparable to modern injected kits with its raised panel lines. The parts are clean and there is almost no flash. The cockpit is quite simple as one could expect. The clear parts are a little thick however. The decals gave the choice of two versions; the French 12-YB (my choice) and an Israeli number 29.
I don’t have to say much here. It didn’t fall together like a Hastamga but there were less fitting problems. I had to use some filler for the joints between the wings and the fuselage and of course some sanding was required here. But this what one could expect, when looking at the sprues. As I was applying a natural metal finish I polished the parts with a fine sanding mat.
For the cockpit area I’ve done nothing but painting it as I wanted the cockpit being closed.
There are two things one should know about the construction:
First; the front landing gear is a little too long it should be shortened for about 2 millimeters (0.079 inch).
Second; There is an antenna on the left side in front of the cockpit. This you can hardly see on most reference pictures but it is there. I used a black hair of a brush.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
As stated above I’ve chosen the YB-12 of EC 1/12 Cambraisis, Cambrai 1954. This natural metal finish with its red color scheme is an eye catcher. Not only this, if you look at the history of the Patrouille de France, this particular color scheme of YB-12 and other Ouragan of the 12. Escadre de Chasse was the first scheme to dress the PAT in 1955.
To do this scheme the decals just offer some stencils, the YB-12 and the squadron insignia (the lion head and the wasp/hornet) – that’s it. The red color markings and the stripes on the rudder has to be painted … somehow …
I started with a black base coat (Createx Autoair base). After drying for some days I polished this with some wool. On this went Alclad II white aluminium. Also, after a drying time for some days the rudder stripes were painted. First the rudder was painted white completely. Then the blue and red areas were masked and sprayed. Now the complete plane was masked off so the red stripes could be sprayed. The red I’ve used is a combination of Createx Red as base and Vallejo clear red on top of it.
For the decals I used two Heller decals sheets (luckily I’ve got two kits), because in one the squadron insignia were misprinted.
The Ouragan for me is a plane which plays a historical role and therefore it should be part of a collection of early jets; it deserves it. As most of the French planes, it does look “sexy”.
As far as I know there are not that many choices you have if you want to build one. The Heller kit is the only one I’m aware of. It’s a good old kit and with this in mind go for it.
I really don’t understand why no company is building a good 1/48 version of this bird. It has a long European and Middle East history and I’m pretty sure it would sell.
The In-Flight image at the head of the article:
This is one of the original rare pictures I once bought in Paris showing the YB-12 of the Patrouille de France above the Rhone. ... J … No, sure it’s not. I guess you saw it with the first quick look. The landscape picture I’ve taken on a flight back home from Turkey. It’s somewhere near the Munich airport.
Dassault – The Corporation by Claude Carlier – Luc Bergér (Éditions du Chêne)
Dassault – The Programms by Claude Carlier – Luc Bergér (Éditions du Chêne)
Les Matérieles de l’Armée de l’Air, MD 450 Ouragan by Sébastien Guillemin (Histoire & Collections)
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