Revell 1/32 Alouette II
KIT: Drag
KIT #: ?
PRICE: 14
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES:  

HISTORY

The Aerospatiale SE313 Alouette II with 360HP Turbomeca Artouste II C shaft-turbine, first flew on March 12,1955. Of the total of 923 built, 363 were for the French Services and others for military and civilian customers in 33 different countries. These include 267 for the German services and 17 for the British Army. The French Army also operated SA318C Alouette Ii with 360hp derated Turbomeca Astazou IIA shaft-turbine giving higher performance and this version remained in production for some time. The Alouette II can carry Nord SS10 and SS11 anti-tank guided missile. The Alouette has a maximum speed of 127mph and a range of 447 miles.

THE KIT

 

The 1/32 scale kit of the Alouette II is a re-release by Revell and it comes out in a slightly different format as an attack helicopter armed with four Nord SS-11 missiles. The Alouette II comes in German Army markings, having six different markings to choose from, these being of a slightly different variety of markings between one and another. The variant to be made has to be decided at an early stage of assembly. This is because if the one chosen has the day- glow patches of the machine shown on the kit box art cover then one may find it easier to paint the square fuel tank situated aft of cockpit, at an early stage before this is fitted in place while the rest of the kit is dark yellowish- green. Besides there are differences in that the tail fins attached to the stabilizers are not carried by all types offered and may have to be left out.

 

  On the positive side, this kit contains many detailed parts to make a fully detailed interior, equally detailed engine, main rotor hub and an appreciable amount of panel details to other fuselage parts, tail rotor, missile pylons and also framing around clear parts perspex which makes it easy to paint. However in general I have found that this is not quite an easy and a straightforward kit to build in view of the many parts and manner of joining them together and the care required to pick and paint the tiny kit parts as you go along.

The kit contains a 20 page A4 size instruction book with the front page devoted to the history and performance data of the Alouette II along with a monochrome picture of the actual kit in complete form. Another page is devoted to the colour codes. Looking hindsight my suggestion is to make a copy of the page and highlight the language that you follow because I cannot count the number of times that I had to go back all the pages to decode the corresponding colour referred to on so many parts. The instruction book is divided into 67 stages with the last three of them devoted to colour charts and decal emplacement. There are 130 parts in dark green plastic, but there are additional parts, which are repetitions of rocket parts wheels etc.


CONSTRUCTION

 

Taking the kit a step at a time with several dry assemblies will improve matters. What seems to be new with this kit, apart from the different German Army Alouette II decals, is the addition of two twin missile pylons that are mounted on the side of the helicopter. These have twin pylons on each side and two SS-11 Nord missiles to go with them, making a fully armed helicopter if so desired.

The first 11 stages of construction are devoted to the assembly of the cockpit interior as well as paintwork detail of parts. I continued to follow up to stage 18 after which I went on to stage 22-33, which deals with the assembly of the main fuselage structure, fuel tank, skids, tail stabilizers, and all the parts that go with them. I have moved from stage 18-22 because the stages in between, deals with the clear plastic parts which by themselves offered a challenge to manage these later without ever thinking of the possibility of spoiling the crystal clear perspex.

At one stage there are three L shaped vertical control links that needs to be fitted at the rear of the cabin and adjacent to the square fuel tank and leads to the roof. The horizontal part of these links is intended to go inside the floor space of the cabin. This I decided to cut about from the front end as at an early stage I added a flat metal piece of 1x11/4x1/4 which I reckoned it will keep the model in its proper sit format at a later stage when placed on skids. Cutting the off the end of the links ensured that it will not foul with the metal weight further inside the nose floor.

Upon completing stage 51, I returned back to the stage dealing with the cockpit transparency assembly. This consists of fitting the five nose clear parts. The front clear paneling was fitted in place first. These were placed gently in position after first applying intermittent drops of Krystal Klear. In doing so this was a preliminary fit before applying liquid cement after this has set. In doing so I avoided any risk of spoiling the clear parts with excess glue while the panel was held firmly in its place. The next step was to put the side doors in position. This was not a straight forward job as these were slightly oversize and required the removal of just over 1/16 from the rear edge of the door to make them fit. The excess plastic was removed by scraping along the edge with a sharp Exacto blade until the desired fit was achieved. Sanding along the edge with wet and dry followed this and the perfect fit was obtained. Once more, Kristal Kleer allowed the parts to set secure in place, followed by application of liquid cement. The clear roof part was then gently glued on top of the assembled parts.

The following were other observations made as I went along with the assembly of the kit.

Part No 41 which is a zig-zag shaped frame piece had the first slanting channel missing which I added from a piece of stretch sprue of similar thickness and length made from same kit runner. Part No 50, which is a V shaped tail support needed to be pressed narrower at the open end in order to attach to the rear frame ends. The long thin channel kit parts on closer study contained mismatch, and this was easily removed by very careful scraping along with a sharp modeling knife. The Alouette II has two pointed antennae mounted under the lower fuselage. My kit only had one and I had to add the forward one made from plastic card. This was of same shape as the rear one but slightly shorter. These two antennae were joined with a wireless made out of thin metal wire. The central propeller bracket with integrally cast shaft, part 54, was found bent at 45 degrees to the vertical. Apparently this was bent when the plastic component was still hot while being ejected from the metal mould. I carefully cut this with a fine saw and repositioned and fixed the part vertically. The disc shaped engine part No84 needs to have the front part of the shaft to be filed down to a smaller diameter or it will not fit inside assembly 64-65. For ease of stowage on the shelf alongside other scale models the side-mounted pylons were not fixed with the model.

COLORS & MARKINGS

The decal sheet is very comprehensive and highly detailed. Some of the tiny decals were not included in the instruction sheet and I used my discretion in placing them on the model. There are six liveries to choose from. Apart from the Day-glow orange and green one mentioned earlier and which belongs to Heereflieger Waffenschule, Buckeburg, Germany, all the remaining schemes are in overall green finish and the only variation being the title HEER which can be in bold black or white. The registration is also either in black numerals outlined white or in white letters and numerals. These all come from German bases circa 1962-63 eras. Another minor variation, which must not be overlooked, is that, two out of the six Alouettes carry the vertical oval shaped tail fins mounted at the end of the tail stabilizers (part number 131 & 132) indicated at stage 6 of the instructions.

At times the colour chart may be confusing. For instance if one desires to do the one serialled 7588, the colour chart shows the tail stabilizer as orange while the box art is shown as yellow. Also the box art does not show the word HEER under the nose although it is indicated on the instruction views. For painting I used Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab mixed with a few drops of yellowXF-3 in order to get closer to the type of green used by the German Army and which Revell refers to as yellow olive.

CONCLUSIONS

In spite of being not as straightforward to build as many kits, I enjoyed making this Alouette. Adding the extra weight under the cabin floor really helped to produce the characteristic sit of the real Alouette helicopter. This kit would be most welcome to German rotorcraft enthusiasts.

Carmel J. Attard

July 2009

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page