Revell 1/48 Rafale C
|PRICE:||$29.29 from an online retailer|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Dassault Rafale, literally meaning "gust of wind", and "burst of fire" in a more military sense) is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an "omnirole" aircraft by Dassault.
In the late 1970s, the French Air Force and French Navy were seeking to replace and consolidate their current fleets of aircraft. In order to reduce development costs and boost prospective sales, France entered into an arrangement with UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to produce an agile multi-purpose fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon. Subsequent disagreements over workshare and differing requirements led to France's pursuit of its own development programme. Dassault built a technology demonstrator which first flew in July 1986 as part of an eight-year flight-test programme, paving the way for the go-ahead of the project. The Rafale is distinct from other European fighters of its era in that it is almost entirely built by one country, involving most of France's major defence contractors, such as Dassault, Thales and Safran.
Originally scheduled to enter service in 1996, the Rafale suffered significant delays due to post-Cold War budget cuts and changes in priorities. The aircraft is available in three main variants: Rafale C single-seat land-based version, Rafale B twin-seat land-based version, and Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.
Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Several upgrades to the weapons and avionics of the Rafale are planned to be introduced by 2018.
The kit was originally released in 2000 as the Rafale M shipboard aircraft. Over the years it has also been released as the B two seat plane and the C single seat air force fighter. The kit comes in a large box and is typical of current Revell tooling standards, which is to say it is very good. One thing I noticed right away is that it comes with a very complete set of stores. Those who like to load up their jets with a ton of weapons will like having this option.
In the cockpit it is obvious that Revell does not believe in using decals for instruments as there aren't any for that purpose. Paint only. The bang seat is five pieces and has some belts molded in place. Early on you have to choose open or closed canopy as the canopy prop is added during the building of the cockpit assembly.
Fuselage is upper and lower halves with the cockpit assembly and gear wells going into their respective halves before closing up the fuselage. The canards are attached to each other and are trapped in the halves as well. The upper spine and fin are separate bits. It appears the burner cans could be installed later after painting so you may well wish to consider this. Intakes are basically two pieces per side and there is no trunking.
Wings are upper and lower halves with separate fairings for the flaps/ailerons. Landing gear is properly robust and you are provided a gear up option if you so wish to display your plane in this fashion. There are quite a few small inserts that will have to be added, some of which are clear so you may well want to forego installing those until after painting. The canopy is designed to be displayed open, but cutting the little hinges should allow it to be posed closed.
As mentioned, there are a goodly number of weapons included. Revell has pre-drilled the holes for the pylons so unless you want to fill them, you will need to choose something to put on them. You are provided with fuel tanks, LGBs and air to ground as well as air to air missiles. No load-out diagram is provided, which would have been helpful, though you can pretty well figure out what goes where.
Instructions have only Revell paint references. Two options are given. One is the dramatic box art scheme. The white areas will need to be painted but the black and grey areas are provided as decals. The other is a fairly non-descript aircraft from another unit. The large sheet is well done and includes a myriad of stencils for the airframe and weapons.
This isn't the newest tooling of this aircraft in this scale. Hobby Boss also does several. However, this is the least expensive and is probably more accurate as Hobby Boss generally has some sort of major glitch in shape or size somewhere. Easy to find and won't break the bank.
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