Fonderie Miniature 1/72 Nord 1500.02 Griffon II




$27.95 MSRP when new


one aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run multimedia kit


For a look at what is in the box and a historical background of this kit, please visit the preview.


I began work on this kit by first cleaning up all the plastic parts. They all had some level of flash and the sprue attachment points were a bit on the large size so that needed work as well. I then tried a touch of test fitting and found that the wing roots were too small for the wings. A lot of trimming and enlarging went on before I was satisfied with the future fit of the wings.

Then I started on the engine. It consists of two casings into which an intake compressor section and an exhaust compressor part fit. These are in resin and needed quite a bit of cleaning to get to fit properly. Once in place, the engine casing was glued shut. Frankly, this piece is a mess with huge seams that are impossible to fill thanks to the required resin bits. Over the outside of this are two bulkheads that are supposed to hold the engine in place inside the fuselage. Again, these two resin bulkheads need trimmed and much test fitting needed done to get them to properly fit.

Once I had this part in place, I glued the nose wheel well insert into one fuselage half. I also filled the nose with weight in hopes that it will keep the thing from tail sitting. The nose well insert is resin. The resin is very brittle and when I was fudging it around for a better fit, it cracked in half. I glued it back together and hoped for the best. The next step was to assemble the cockpit. I built enough of it up so that it would fit into the fuselage. At this stage I glued in the consoles and instrument panel as well as the control stick. These are all etched brass. The flat panels were 'cemented' in place with clear paint, which holds quite well. There is no clear acetate instrument backing to the instrument panel, a rather frustrating omission. The interior does fit well and with it in place, I then glued the fuselage halves together.

You may notice that I have said nothing about painting. Well, this is a bare metal plane so I'll basically be painting everything but the cockpit aluminum. Since there is no way this will ever be a contest model, I'm not too concerned about missing a small area here or there when I do get around to painting it. It is as much thanks to the very rough surface of the plastic as anything that this won't see a contest. With the fuselage together, I then attacked all the seams with sandpaper and filler. I also filled in the numerous sink marks that were on the fuselage. I ended up destroying all of the detail work on the underside of the fuselage. There just wasn't any way to save it.

With the fuselage together, I then attached the wings. Thanks to my previous efforts in assuring a good fit, they slotted right in. The fin was next and though it proved to be a bit narrower than the opening, it ended up fitting well enough. Next, the small 'braces' just below the cockpit were glued in place. These are about 1/3 too large to fit. I trimmed them down and filed angles on them so they'd mate with the fuselage better. Then the canards were cleaned up and attached. There is an engraved area on the upper fuselage that shows where these attach.

By this time, I had a pretty complete airframe. Enough so that I could take it on test flights around the room. With no guns, I couldn't properly strafe the 'enemy' but it did make all the proper sounds. Then as sometimes happens, the kit turned into one of those that gets worked on very infrequently. After sitting for a while, I got up the nerve to cut the very thin canopy. Fortunately, I managed to do a fairly good job of it and got it to where it would fit rather well. Then the seat was painted matte black and the kit languished again for several weeks.

I was really tired of it taking up space so set myself to finishing it (so something else could occupy the space). First, I installed the bang seat. The ejection handle on the top of the seat is way too wide for the seat itself so either bend it or find a substitute. I did the bend thing. Actually, it really matters little as the seat will not be very visible due to the design of the canopy.

Speaking of which, I got the canopy as trimmed as it was going to get and so glued it in place. Fit wasn't very good. I got out the superglue again to fill some of the gaps then used fillers to take care of the rest. Several filler/sanding sessions ensued until I got it pretty well done.

Time to work on the rest of the airframe. This meant the landing gear and the various probes and actuators. The landing gear are the usual mediocre castings and are in a 'Y' shape whereas they need to be in an 'I'. This meant cutting off one of the arms and sanding it down. Once that happened, it was glued into the holes in the wing and reinforced a bit with superglue as there is no indication of an actuating strut. The nose gear is very thin and quite easily deformed. It was cleaned up as best as possible and glued in place. The main gear doors were glued in place with little fanfare. The small etched nose gear door is too small for the opening it is supposed to fill, but I glued it in place anyway. Next, the wheels were cleaned up as much as I could and glued on. I had to drill them both out as the mounting holes were filled.

With that out of the way, I turned my attention to the various etched probes and actuators. There are two flap actuator arms that need holes drilled in the wing for them. There are little dimples showing where the holes are supposed to go, but beware as they are closer together than the etched pieced. The one on the fin seems to be the proper size, but that one won't be installed until after the rudder stripes are painted and the plane decaled. It seems as if two pitot probes go on the upper nose as there are two holes drilled there, but according to the instruction, they go on the lower part of the intake so new holes were drilled there. A small one goes on the underside of the nose and that was installed as well. Frankly I find that etched metal does a poor job of representing these things as the material is so two dimensional. However, I realize that FM doesn't have the mold technology to do them in styrene, though it could be done in cast metal.

Turning to the canopy, I masked it and tried my best to cut the clear parts as they are shown on the instructions. The canopy is not only incredibly thin (too much so in my opinion), but there are no guide lines for the frames, making the work even more difficult. I did manage to put up something that looks close, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.


With the canopy masked, the model was taken for painting. First thing was the rudder tri-color. It was first painted Floquil Reefer white. Then when dry, Aeromaster French Dark Blue was painted on, followed by Testors Red enamel in the small square bottles. Each step was masked, leaving a white stripe in the center, though the decal should cover this. It was then masked off and the rest of the airframe primered with Alclad II's gloss black primer. This primer is always a tad sticky so one needs to be careful after it is on and dry. The next step was to paint the entire airframe. I did so using Alclad II Duraluminum. A few light coats were all that it took to give full coverage. I then did a touch of masking for the darker exhaust area.

With the kit painted, it was time for the decals. These are quite thin, stick well, and are generally opaque. They are also not very crisply printed and I found all the roundels out of register. Thankfully, I had a Carpena sheet that had a goodly number of the proper size roundels so used them in place of the kit versions. The white stripe with aircraft data for the fin was properly opaque so there was no bleed-through of the underlying colors. I used Solvaset on the decals and the succumbed properly.


About the only thing that wasn't done prior to painting was the addition of the rudder etched control horn. I also took this time to paint the tires with RLM 66. The canopy was unmasked and the result wasn't as horrible as it could have been! I didn't even take the time to outline the control surfaces as I usually do.


Well, another F.M. kit done. Less gentler and kinder reviewers would lambaste this kit for a variety of reasons and many may not finish it at all, tossing it in a pique of anger. Easy to build they are not and anyone who buys one thinking that is the case needs to think again.

There are several things that could be improved. The quality of the moldings, especially the condition of the surface. There is no reason for that pitted surface. The Czechs have figured it out and I don't see why the French can't as well. Giving us some decent vac canopies that are properly thick and actually have the framework; something we could see. Improve the quality of the metal parts. Improve the register of the decal sheet. F.M. has been slowly getting better, but the pace is what I'd consider glacial.

Those of us who like the unusual, as this one certainly is, will continue to struggle through these kits to completion, though it would be nice if it wasn't such a painful struggle. Though I can't recommend this kit for most builders, for those of us who have the skills and the perseverance to tackle and complete these kits, will be rewarded with a most unusual subject for our modeling shelves and for others to wonder what in the world it is!

August 2003
#1276 in a series


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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page 2016