A brief introduction on Portugal’s Alpha Jets
At the early 90’s it was urgent for the FAP (Portuguese Air Force) to find a replacement for their already obsolete advanced trainer fleet composed mainly by the T-33 Shooting Star and the T-38 Talon.
So it happened that by that time the Luftwaffe use of Beja’s airbase( based on lengthy renting period agreement under Nato’s umbrella) was coming to an end and one of the aspects foreseen in that contract was the payment to Portugal with armaments.
Since Beja was used by the Luftwaffe for the exact same purposes (having there a squadron of Dornier Alpha Jets posted for air-ground and advanced training) that Portugal was in looking for, 50 Alpha Jets A version were handed over to the FAP in 1993. 40 were delivered between squadron 103 and squadron 301, the remaining 10 airframes were kept for maintenance parts.
Wingman Models Kit
Untill now anyone looking to build a 1/48 Alpha Jet had to settle with Heller or ESCI’s old moulds, both demanding skills and effort from the modeler to become up to today standards.
Then in late 2013 Kinetic released a brand new Alpha Jet A/D version, offering good quality moulds but lacking an appealing decal sheet in my perspective. See HERE
Jessica’s review of this kit.
Then a rather new company, Wingman Models, advertise 2 new «super kits» of the Alpha Jet, one focusing on the Luftwaffe model and another focusing on the FAP model. Both are limited editions.
Since I’ve always wanted to build a wrap around FAP camouflage scheme I decided to order it even without having much info about the kit.
So opening the fairly large and sturdy box (that comes with a spectacular air photo covering 2 of the 3 schemes included in the decal sheet), it became clear that the kit is Kinetics mould- first point in it’s favour!
However where Kinetic stopped Wingman’s continues to deliver, and so included in the kit you’ll find:
• 3 Kabuki type masks meant for the canopies but also for the challenging acrobatic team «Asas de Portugal» scheme and for my favourite: the blue bird (103 Squadron 50 years celebration scheme)
• Master´s brass pitot tube and aerials (3 pieces)
• a super large decal sheet made by Cartograph with perfect registration and good colour shade and density
• a zip bag full with resin parts.
• A small photo-etched containing ejections cords, rear view mirrors and small handles
Also included comes a very handy A4 sheet full of colour photos focusing the ejection seats, instrument panel and cockpit tube. Some of the photos are taken outside in a typical portuguese sunny day while others are taken inside an hangar, not sure if this explains the different shade of blue seen on those seats…anyway RAL and Humbroll paint codes are pointed out quite clearly.
The resin parts
I must say that the perceived quality of the resin used on the parts is unlike any I’ve come across so far. Their grey surface is seems a bit grainy, though after a primer it should be just fine.
The detail quality goes from very good, such has the seats and bulkheads, to a rather shy as is the case with some details in the gun pod used on the under fuselage.
Also with a nice adequate detail comes the wheels, which are a good improvement over the plastic ones. The cockpit tube seems nice too.
2 different tail cones are supplied, specifically meant for the FAP and german models, something the plastic parts are oblivious. Also included are specific antennas used by the FAP version.
The main drawback here are the instrument panels. 2 types are supplied, and although with sharper detail than those supplied in the kit, no instrument dials are supplied, not even a simple decal, a real shame.
Pros & ConsPros
1. Kinetic moulds are the best offer in 1/48
2. Excellent choice of subject (ok I admit being partial over this)
3. Superb decal sheet, Paint masks and their instructions
4. Brass and etched parts are good and very helpful
5. Resin parts are an improvement over the plastic parts
1. Lack of instrument details
2. No paint maker reference is included for outside colours, only FS or RAL numbers are given
Despite the price tag I would recommend this kit to anyone interested in building a all-in-the-box superdetailed 1/48 AlphaJet , cause you get a good return from your investment… even more if you fancy underdog AFs such as the Portuguese Air Force, or commemorative/special paint jobs.
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