Matchbox 1/72 Mystere IV
KIT #: PK-47
PRICE: $10.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1987 tooling according to


The Mystère IV was an evolutionary development of the Mystère II aircraft. Although bearing an external resemblance to the earlier aircraft, the Mystère IV was in fact a new design with aerodynamic improvements for supersonic flight. The prototype first flew on 28 September 1952, and the aircraft entered service in April 1953. The first 50 Mystere IVA production aircraft were powered by British Rolls-Royce Tay turbojets, while the remainder had the French-built Hispano-Suiza Verdon 350 version of that engine.

France was the main operator of the Mystère IV and at the peak usage operated 6 squadrons. Most of the aircraft were purchased under a United States Offshore Procurement contract  and many were returned to US custody after they were retired. In April 1953 the United States government and the United States Air Force placed an order for 223 aircraft to be operated by the French.

The new Mystère IVs were used in the 1956 Suez Crisis and continued in use into the 1980s. The type was also used by India and Israel.


One thing about Matchbox kits is that they were never really fiddly; or highly detailed. They were basically designed for young modelers, hence the multiple color sprues. The simplest of the kits were the level one kits which had low parts count such as does this one. The colors in this kit are a silvery grey and a light blue. The clear sprue is very thick and while the windscreen and canopy are separate, the cockpit is as sparce as can be with only a seat to fill the void.

No indication of weight is shown but I'd put in some just to be sure. Once the fuselage halves are closed, construction moves to two drop tank/pylon shapes and assembling the upper and lower wing halves. The wings, one piece tailplanes, cockpit clear bits and intake are attached. There is no intake trunking. Landing gear is fairly basic but fine for a kit like this one. Gear doors are thick and it looks like they will fit just fine in the closed position. At one time Matchbox kits had a display stand, though this kit does not have the notch for it nor does it look like it ever had one. The drop tanks fit into depressions on the underside of the wings. The planes did not always carry these so you can fill those if you are modeling one without them.

Instructions are well done and in the Matchbox style with painting info separate from the construction sequence. Colors are generic. Two markings options are provided. The back of the box shows the color scheme and decal placement. One is the box art plane from EC 2.12 in 1955. The red spine will need to be painted. The other is an Israeli plane from 200 Squadron in 1967. It is in tan/brown over what looks like painted aluminum, but is probably a light grey. This kit was sealed prior to my opening it for this article, so the decals look very good and should be quite usable.


I had bought a set of aftermarket decals prior to starting this kit so I was pretty sure what markings the final product would have. With that in mind, I started with the wings. It is important that all the sprue attachment points be removed and that one check the inside of the wing sections for ejector marks that are a bit too high and might prevent the parts from sealing properly. Once the wing halves were done, I started filling the depressions for the drop tanks as my build would not include these items. Since I use super glue for a filler, this took several sessions.

Next, I painted the interior and seat with FS 36231, dark gull grey. The headrest was painted with a red brown color and the seat set aside. I painted the exhaust piece with Tinny Tin from Vallejo's game color line and installed this in one fuselage half. Some lead weight was added to the nose just to be sure and the other fuselage half was attached. When dry, the usual filler was added. The end of the fuselage spine on one side was slightly short shot so that had to be dealt with. The intake piece was next and fit is not good. This took a lot of filler applications followed by sanding to get to blend in properly.

With that done, the tailplanes were attached. I then moved onto the wings. For some reason, there was a small step between the upper and lower wing sections at the root. This meant that when the wings were attached to the fuselage, the upper section fit fairly well, but the lower section had a considerable gap. Not enough for plastic card, so it resulted in multiple applications of filler until filled. Then some sanding and more filler as the wing root was a bit thicker than the wings and a step there had to be dealt with as well. Fortunately, I have multiple grades of sandpaper and know how to use them. Once that was done, I glued the seat in place and attached the canopy and windscreen.

Since the airplane would be overall aluminum, I decided to attach the landing gear bits as well. The nose gear fit well thanks to its large attachment points. Main gear fit well but is a bit wobbly so one has to fuss with it a bit while the glue sets. Attachment points for the retraction struts are non-existent so one simply mounts them where it looks OK. I also glued the inner gear doors shut. Period photos showed them up more than down and it looks cleaner. Next were the gear doors, which are all butt fit. Then the clear parts. Thanks to the prominent frame lines, they are easy to mask and so that was done.


All French planes were in unpainted metal early in their career though looking at images of later planes shows a fairly solid silver color that indicates they may well have been painted. Just about all extant museum/display planes look to have been painted silver. As I'm doing a later plane, I sprayed everything with Tamiya AS-12. When dry, I masked the wing tips and painted them yellow. The area around the guns and an upper nose section were then painted black.

With that done, I attached the main wheels and set about adding decals. For all the common markings like insignia, I used the kit decals. Despite their age, these worked well. They have a lot of clear carrier so most of that was trimmed off prior to use. For the unique markings, I went with Berna Decals BD72-18 and chose the markings from EC 1/7.  The decals are thin and opaque but take forever to come free of the backing.

As mentioned above, this is very much a beginner's kit, being in their orange series. I've built quite a few Matchbox kits over the year and they are all pretty basic stuff and easy to built. They can also be made to look very nice with proper construction and painting. There are aftermarket decals out there if you don't like the kit option.

14 January 2022

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