High Planes 1/72 Cheetah C 'Spotty'

KIT #: 7277
PRICE: $31.30 from GreatModels
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run multimedia kit


The Atlas Cheetah was a fighter aircraft operated by the South African Air Force between 1986 and 2008. It was first built as a major upgrade of the Dassault Mirage III by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation (later Denel)of South Africa (established 1965) in South Africa. Three different variants were created, the dual-seat Cheetah D, and the single-seat Cheetah E and Cheetah C. The Cheetah E was retired in 1992, and the SAAF had a mixture of 28 Cheetah Cs and Cheetah Ds in operational service until 2008, when they were retired as the SAAF accepted into service the first of 28 Saab JAS 39 Gripens (19C/9D) which replaced them.


When opening up the box, the first thing one sees is a very large set of decals. 'Spotty' is the 75th Anniversary special scheme plane for the SAAF and was painted up for the air show circuit in 1995. Since these are the first things one sees, I should cover them by saying that the markings are very nicely printed under a continuous carrier. They will need to be cut out and High Planes offers white sections for the darker decals to prevent see-through. Apparently they are very thin and cannot take much handling. The instructions provide a full color placement guide.

The plastic itself is High Planes standard light blue low pressure moldings with rather intrusive sprue attachment points that will need care in removing and cleaning up. Injection plastic provides the base airframe and fuel tanks. Resin is used for the intakes, interior, nose gear well, exhaust and wheels. Cast metal is used for the landing gear, struts and some small interior bits. Two nicely done vacuformed canopies are also included.

As you might expect, more detail is added with a photo etch fret. this covers things like the chaff/flare dispensers and various antennas and other sundry pieces. I'm thinking this fret is used on a number of Mirage and Cheetah kits as there seem to be a lot of bits that won't be used.

Those that think they will be in for a quick build will be surprised. A great deal of preparation and test fitting will be required for this one, and it is to be expected when delving into the realms of short run. A few pieces will  need to be cobbled together (such as the HUD), and High Planes offers considerable assistance in the instructions for these times. The instructions themselves are nicely done with basically exploded views, detail drawings and some written advice on construction. I've already covered the decals.


This is one of those instances where the only way to get what you want is to go the road less travelled. High Planes offers a variety of interesting subjects one can get no where else. They will require more than the usual amount of effort to assemble, but I have found that completing kits like this gives a great deal of satisfaction. More so than your usual 'together in a week' type of kit.



December 2008

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