Heller 1/72 Alpha Jet E
Kit Number: 257
Decals : Two versions, one French, one German
Date of Review: 29 Nov, 1996
France's Alpha Jet is a response to Britain's Hawk. Both are used for fast jet training and both are of a similar layout, the big difference being the high wing of the Alpha Jet compared to the low wing of the Hawk. Both are used by the national aircraft display team, both have been around for over 20 years, and both have had success in the export market, although the Hawk still is in production where the Alpha jet line closed over ten years ago.
Heller's Alpha Jet has been around for quite some time, originally appearing in prototype markings. It offers the ability to make the German version with its pointed nose and underfuselage gun pod or the more rounded nosed French version. I have always liked the Alpha jet and have built several of the Fujimi kits. I had some trouble with the Fujimi kits in the underfuselage area between the engines and so thought I would try the Heller version (which is much less expensive). Alas the Heller version also has fit problems there so it must be endemic with the aircraft. The kit comes with a very basic interior consisting of seats, sticks and instrument panels. Considering the clarity of the canopy, there needs to be much more, but there is no aftermarket bits available for this kit.
Fitting the wings requires patience and precision as it is easy to mess up the anhedral of the wings, resulting in an awkward looking kit. The rest of the kit fits very well and despite its age and raised detail, looks very nice when completed. I finished mine in a standard scheme for French Alpha Jets. I used NATO green and grey from Gunze for the top surfaces and Testor's Metallizer for the silver undersides. The Day-Glo patches were cut from a decal sheet of that color and Modeldecal supplied all the other marks. I left the kit in a glossy scheme as Alpha Jets are not intended for battle and are normally very clean. Don't forget to add a bit of weight to the nose to prevent tail sitting. A nice kit that is recommended to all.
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