Kitty Hawk 1/48 Jaguar A
|KIT #:||KH 80104|
|PRICE:||$39.99 on sale (69.99 SRP )|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet ground attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with several export customers, notably the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman.
Originally conceived in the 1960s as jet trainer with a light ground attack capability, the requirement for the aircraft soon changed to include supersonic performance, reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike roles. A carrier-based variant was also planned for French service, but this was cancelled in favour of the cheaper Dassault Super Étendard. The airframes were manufactured by SEPECAT (Société Européenne de Production de l'avion Ecole de Combat et d'Appui Tactique), a joint venture between Breguet and the British Aircraft Corporation, one of the first major joint-Anglo-French military aircraft programs.
The Jaguar was successfully exported to India, Oman, Ecuador and Nigeria. With various air forces, the Jaguar was used in numerous conflicts and military operations in Mauritania, Chad, Iraq, Bosnia, and Pakistan, as well as providing a ready nuclear delivery platform for Britain, France, and India throughout the latter half of the Cold War and beyond. In the Gulf War, the Jaguar was praised for its reliability and was a valuable coalition resource. The aircraft served with the Armée de l'Air as the main strike/attack aircraft until 1 July 2005, and with the Royal Air Force until the end of April 2007. It was replaced by the Panavia Tornado and the Eurofighter Typhoon in the RAF and the Dassault Rafale in the Armée de l'Air. India plans in the long term to replace its Jaguar fleet with the developing Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
Modelers of this aircraft in 1/48 are undoubtedly pleased to see this one. Well, that may not be totally true as we have had a rather nice Airfix/Heller Jaguar A for quite a few years, but then this one is considerably different in the way it is presented than the previous kit. First of all, one cannot do a Jaguar GR.1 with this boxing because it has a new sprue that includes new forward fuselage halves with the French rangefinder molded in place. It also has a pair of sprues that have typical French weapons to put on the aircraft's five pylons.
So looking at the parts in this kit, one notices that the engraving is quite nice and while it is crisper than that provided in the Airfix kit, it is also softer than what one would expect from Tamiya or Hasegawa. The panel lines are more like new Airfix in that respect, something that most modelers will not mind and pretty typical of what we get out of Chinese kit makers nowadays.
The kit comes with a nicely done photo etch fret that includes instrument panel faces, side console faces, a harness for the seat, a flame director for the exhaust as well as the detail for the inside of the burner petal section. The wing mounted speed brakes and some antennas are also done in photo etch. I have to say that I'm not impressed with the p.e. instrument panels. Unlike most which have holes drilled for the instruments and come with an acetate instrument sheet, this is no better than what would already be molded onto a plastic panel and actually pretty 'flat' in terms of detail. Personally, I'd prefer molded on detail with a decal to put over it. I am also not jazzed about photo etch antennas as on a model of this scale, I'd think that standard ejection molded antennas would be just as good if not better. The seat is fairly nice and there are p.e. belts for it.
Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. I find it interesting that you are supposed to completely build the nose section and the rear fuselage section with all the weapons attached before joining them together. I would hazard a guess that the person who developed the instruction sheet has never actually built a model. Markings are for two planes. One from EC 1/7, 7-HN in the 'Tchad' scheme of three browns in a wraparound and one from EC 3 coded 3-XI in the standard European scheme. EC 3 flew few Jaguars and only for a short time. I was able to find six slides of a 7-HN in my collection, but all six had different serial numbers from the one being kitted. Only had one 3-XI and it was also a different serial. So no accompanying photos. The decal sheet is well done and includes a lot of weapons markings as well as those for the two aircraft options.
After looking this kit over, I have to say it is very nicely done. However, it is also quite fiddly with all the open panels and the need to close up several of these unless you want one that is undergoing an overhaul. Those who do not want a fiddly kit should look into finding the Airfix/Heller version as you will get about the same level of detail without having all this stuff hanging out. The 'let's have everything open' crowd will be very pleased with this one.
Thanks to me for picking this one up on sale.
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