Aeromaster 48-455: Fighting Moranes, pt 2

Units: See review




Scott Van Aken

The French Morane-Saulnier 406 was to the Dewoitine 520 as the Hurricane was to the Spitfire. The MS 406 was a rugged aircraft, but was canvas over a tube frame vice all metal. In other words, it was a generation older and though it was a low wing fighter with retractable landing gear, it wasn't up to the standards of the D.520. Now this didn't mean that it was a sitting duck, as a well flown MS.406 could match the German's superior Bf-109Es and often the Messerschmitt was on the wrong end of the Morane's guns. However, it was approaching obsolescence and so was more often than not the victim in a dog-fight.

Once France capitulated, those in Vichy control were active in Palestine and French Indo-china, doing fairly well in air battles over those French colonial areas. Those captured by the Germans in 1940 as well as those taken in 1942 after the dissolving of the Vichy government were used in German fighter training schools and a few were given to Croatia, then a puppet government in Jugoslavia.

For kits you have two choices. One is the Classic Airframes kit and the other is the Hobbycraft kit. Not having built either, I have no idea which is the more accurate. However, I have heard complaints about the Hobbycraft version. The Classic Airframes kit is not only three times as expensive (as is the norm for a short run kit), but can also be difficult to find. 

As a note, the Standard French camo scheme of Dark Blue Grey, Green and Brown over Light Blue Grey. The upper camo pattern was not standardized and was different on every aircraft produced.

The first aircraft is in Vichy markings and was flown by EC 2/596 against the Japanese in Viet Nam, French Indo-China. It is in standard camo.

Next is another standard painted aircraft, this time from GC III/6 in late 1939.

A German fighter trainer is next. It is in RLM 74/75/76 with the undersides and entire tail section painted in RLM 04 yellow.

Two Croatian MS 406s are next. They are also painted in German colors of RLM 74/75/76 with different areas and styles of mottling.

A rather unusually painted French MS.406 is the next plane. It is mostly the light blue grey with soft areas of brown and green. This plane is one of several point-protection flights scattered around France during the Blitzkrieg.

The lower left aircraft is from GC 1/7 and is in standard colors with a blue fin.

Finally one that is a bit special being flown by General Pinsard. This has a black upper surface and light blue grey undersides. It also has a different propeller from the norm.

Any of these schemes will be better than what the Hobbycraft kit provides and will be a good option to what is in the Classic Airframes kit.

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