Azur 1/72 Potez 633AB2 'French Light Bomber'
KIT #: A85
PRICE: $30.75 at GreatModels (35.00 MSRP)
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch, resin and vac parts


The Potez 633 B2 was designed to fulfill a requirement for a two-seated, light level bomber. The Potez 633 retained the fuselage, wings and engines of the 631 but the observer's position and cannon gondolas were deleted and a small bomb bay was added between the pilot and rear gunner. Front armament consisted of a single light machine gun in the nose. The bomb bay could house eight 50kg-class or two 200kg-class bombs. There was no bombardier position, as the rear gunner was supposed to direct the bombing run through a periscopic bombsight fitted ahead of him, a disposition that proved unworkable in the field. The first Potez 633.01 two-seat bomber prototype flew in late 1937. The Armée de l'air ordered 133 Potez 633s in 1938, but two months later decided all aircraft in the light level bomber category should be 3-manned, like the Douglas DB-7 and Bloch MB.175. The French order for 633s was converted into an order for more 631s. The 633 was however offered for export and attracted orders from Romania, China and Greece.


As is usual with current MPM kits, this one is molded quite nicely in grey plastic with crisply engraved panel lines. The kit is a bit different from the norm in having one piece main wheels. You'd expect a bit of flash and you get some, but it is minimal and will clean up easily. The basic airframe and interior floor are injected plastic while most of the detail parts are in resin or photo etch.

The resin listing is rather long and includes most of the interior detail bits, engines, exhaust, landing gear retraction struts as well as various scoops and intakes. Photo-etch is limited to flat items like the instrument panel, aileron actuators and balances and the bomb bay doors. There is no actual bomb bay, this pe bit just representing the closed doors. The canopy is vacuformed and well done with a spare provided. Also in vac plastic is a bomb aimer's window. The modeler needs to cut out the section of forward fuselage to install this and there is no internal detail. Since this is the standard 'use one set of molds to do multiple variants' kit, there will be parts from the fighter version that won't be used. The modeler will also need to drill some holes and perhaps stretch a bit of sprue, but this is generally expected from short run kits.

Instructions are well done and use Gunze paint references for both the acrylic and lacquer paint line. Markings for three planes. First is the Greek plane from 31 Sq in Green/Sand/Light Blue. Next is a French version from GBA 1/51 in the standard French four color scheme, but done in bands instead of the patchwork scheme seen on fighters. The third option is a Romainan AF plane from 1941. In addition to eastern front markings, it is painted in Dark Brown/Khaki/Dark Blue-Grey over SkyGrey Blue. The AviPrint decals are superbly done and should work very well indeed.  


Not only does this kit surpass the old Heller version in terms of detail, but it is a variant that Heller did not offer. Since both with require about the same amount of work to build, the MPM one should be the first choice.


January 2008

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