Azur/FRROM 1/72 S.E. 535 'Mistral'

KIT #: FR0041
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes resin ejection seat.



 As part of a larger effort to build up the post-war French Air Force, a number of Goblin-powered Vampire FB.5s were delivered to France from 1949 onwards. This variant of the Vampire was subsequently manufactured under licence by Sud-Est at Marignane, the first 67 aircraft were assembled from British-produced components and were standard aircraft for the most part; these were followed by a further 183 Vampires, which incorporated a greater proportion of French-produced elements. The French developed the FB.53 model, a Nene-powered variant, which was named in French service as the Mistral after the wind of the same name. A total of 250 Mistrals were built, equipped with Hispano-Suiza built engines, French ejector seats and enlarged wing root ducts. On 2 April 1951, the first Mistral made its maiden flight. The Mistral was used extensively in North Africa, especially performing ground attack duties in the war in Algeria.  


As is often the case when there is a French derivative of a Special Hobby kit, that variant is placed under the Azur (now Azur/FRROM) label. Such is the case with this particular kit. The majority of sprues are dedicated to the standard Vampire with an additional sprue containing those parts specific to the Mistral. As the standard Vampire did not have a bang seat, the seat for the Mistral is provided in resin, which is a big plus thanks to all the detail on it.

The Vampire/Mistral is not a complex aircraft and this kit shows that. The cockpit has a new seat, back bulkhead and instrument panel produced just for the French version. The cockpit section, nose gear well and the engine face and exhaust are installed in the lower fuselage half. There is no indication of nose weight required, but you will need all you can pack in front of the main gear attachment points.

There is a new upper fuselage section included as the Nene was a larger engine than the Goblin. A new nose section is also included. When building up the wings, you will be provided with new intake parts. While the Vampire intake section is a single piece, each side for the Mistral is three parts. The rest of the airframe is standard stuff. The two boom assemblies slot into the back of the wings, trapping the horizontal stabilizer between them. Landing gear are very nicely done and the outer main gear doors have retraction mechanisms included.

A separate windscreen and canopy are provided with the canopy able to be posed open. For things under wings you have a pair of large fuel tanks and you can install four rockets (two on each side) on the inner wing sections.

Instructions are very well done with Gunze paint references. All three options are painted in high speed silver (not bare metal as these airframes were mostly wood). Markings are provided for three aircraft. One with the red bits is from EC 1/8 in Morocco during 1957. The EC 7 plane with the yellow bits was based in Algeria in 1958, while the unadorned EC 1/20 aircraft was in Algeria during 1959. I believe EC 20 was the training unit. A full stencil suite is also included and the instructions provide a nice placement guide.


It is nice to see this kit on the market as the last Mistral in this scale was the ancient Heller offering from the 1970s. To me this is welcome as I recently finished reading a nice book on the French Air Force in North Africa that has a lot of photos of these planes.


December 2018

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Thanks to Azur/FRROM for the preview kit. This should be available from various sources.

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