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Kinetic Super Étendard

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
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Kinetic’s all-new-tool 1/48 scale Super Étendard is molded in light gray plastic with more than 250 plastic parts on five sprues, one sprue of clear parts, and a small photo-etch (PE) sheet. The kit can be built either as a Super Étendard (SuE) or the modernized Super Étendard Modernisé (SEM).

Surface detail is mostly engraved with finely recessed panel lines. The kit’s detailed cockpit comprises 17 parts. The only thing missing that would really make the cockpit pop are seat belts for the Mk.4 ejection seat.

I like the full-length intake duct that goes all the way to the engine compressor. The wheel wells also are nicely done, with rib and structural details. Clear parts are thin and crystal-clear. The decals, designed by CrossDelta and printed by Cartograf, were thin and perfectly in register. Schemes for five aircraft and extra numbers let you build any aircraft the squadron flew. Kinetic also included the various underwing stores carried by the Super Étendard, including the Exocet missile of Falklands fame.

There are a ton of options to choose from, such as posable canopy, folding wing, posable speed brakes, refueling probe, and arresting hook. Trailing-edge flaps can be posed up or down; same for the leading-edge slats. You also have a choice of open or closed auxiliary-intake doors on the fuselage’s side.

The kit’s instruction book comprises 20 pages with 16 assembly steps and color callouts for GSI Creos Mr. Color paints.

Construction was straightforward, starting with the cockpit and moving on to add the full-length intake duct and exhaust pipe before gluing the fuselage together. I did deviate from the instructions after the basic fuselage assembly: the instructions would have you add the speed brakes and landing-gear retraction struts before the wings are attached to the fuselage. That made no sense to me, so I left those assemblies until later.

The kit’s instructions were hard to follow.

The CAD drawings, while technically accurate, failed to show what some parts looked liked from certain angles. Step 5 shows two sets of parts 47/48, but there’s only one set in the kit.

Overall I found the fits were good, though I did have to use some filler on the wing-to-fuselage joints. One of the tail leading-edge inserts was molded a little thin; there was no good way to fix it, so I just left it alone.

I painted my Super Étendard using Mr. Color according to the instructions. The decals matched the Mr. Color perfectly! Once the paint was dry, I applied Mr. Super Clear gloss coat. The decals performed flawlessly; Mr. Mark Softer settled them into the panel lines. I really have become a fan of Cartograf decals!

With painting and decaling done, it was time to add final details like the landing gear and gear doors. I discovered the main-gear retraction struts have locating pins on each end of the strut, but no corresponding locators on the main-gear strut or in the forward gear-bay bulkhead. A quick fix was made using a pin vise with a small bit to drill out the missing locating holes. On a more positive note, I really liked the sturdy locating hinges on the gear doors. It made attaching the doors super easy, and unlikely that they will fall off.

With all the painting and construction finished, I used Testors Model Master flat clear to dull the glossy finish.

I spent about 25 hours building my Super Étendard. I really enjoyed the kit once I got past the frustrating instructions. The kit scales out almost perfectly to published dimensions. The only thing I would do differently if I were to build it again would be to add seat belts to the ejection seat.

I do think this kit is for advanced modelers, due to the challenging instructions and some of the really small plastic and PE parts.
 


Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2016 issue.

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