by: Tim Hatton [ ]
The SNCASESE 535 Mistral was a licensed built version of the Vampire FB.35. It was powered by the Nene engine also built under licence in France. As the Nene developed 61% more thrust than the original Goblin power plant of the Vampire, changes needed to be made to the air intakes to allow a greater volume of air into the engine. The British and the Australians solutions did not do any favours to the look of this petit fighter by attaching additional vents on the fuselage. The French simply and more elegantly increased the size of the air intake at the leading edge of the wing.
The contents are contained in a side opening box. Inside you will find:
3 x Grey coloured plastic sprues
1 x transparent plastic sprue
1 x sheet of decals.
1 x Instruction booklet
The artwork on the box cover is intriguing in that it appears to show four rocket projectiles mounted together on the left wing of the aircraft. This option is not in the kit.
All the grey sprues are bagged together. The clear plastic sprue, resin seat and decals are wrapped individually. The sprues will be familiar if you already have the earlier Special Hobby Vampire releases. Sprue A and B has MPM stamped on them. Sprue D is specific to the Mistral including a fuselage half and air intakes. The clear plastic sprue has MPM on it. The recessed panel lines are finely executed. There are helpful locating points on the fuselage, booms and wings.
The cockpit comprises of a floor [with rudder pedals], rear bulkhead, resin ejector seat, control stick, throttle, side console and instrument panel. The instructions indicate that there are decals to represent the instrument faces, but they are not on the decal sheet. The completed cockpit fits around the front undercarriage bay in the lower half of the fuselage.
The canopy and windscreen are separate so they can be posed open. The parts are clear and pretty thin.
The fuselage is split horizontally and there is some good detail including Hispano M 50 20mm cannon troughs and engine access panels. For this release the upper half of the fuselage is on sprue D. The cockpit and engine detail needs to be installed before joining the halves. The part representing the compressor fan is interesting in the way it’s been designed, not that it matters as it can’t be seen once the fuselage halves are joined and the wings attached. There is also a couple of curved pieces attached representing the rear of the air duct. The detail for the rear of the engine looks fine, but again little will be seen. The tail booms are each split in two; the rudder is an integral part of one of the halves.
Each of the wings is made up from two pieces. The cut off wing tips are created in clear plastic, so it’s a simple matter of masking out the navigation lights. Both air intake are made up from three pieces and replaces the smaller one piece intake of the Goblin powered Vampires. The internal detail of the main wheel well in the lower wing looks good. The tail plane is one piece and has separate horn balance. There are a couple of under wing fuel tanks that can be attached. Also there are four un guided rockets that fit close to the wing roots. The rocket tail fins are separate and they will benefit from some rubbing down to thin the fins and remove the only sign of flash on the whole kit.
The main undercarriage comprises of one piece wheels with nicely detailed separate hubs. The oleos are also one piece and fit snuggly into their locating holes in the undercarriage bay. The front undercarriage is a little more complex. The wheel is made from two parts and the distinctive tread of de Havilland tyres is represented. The oleo is created from two parts and fits on both sides of the wheel. The inside of the wheel bay door are nicely detailed.
The decals look beautifully thin with minimal carrier film, good colour registration and depth. Just be careful taking the decals out the protective bag as the adhesive seal seems to like taking the decals off the backing sheet. There is no manufacturers ID on them but they look fine nonetheless.
There are three marking options all featuring aluminium doped aircraft including:
●SNCASE SE-535 Mistral N°82, 8-PB, EC 1/8 ‘Maghreb’, Rabat-Salé, Morroco, 1957.
●SNCASE SE-535 Mistral N°195, 7-BC, 7 eme EC, Telergma, Algeria. Crashed landed 19/08/58. There are image of the unfortunate Mistral on Google.
●SNCASE SE-535 Mistral N°64, 20-LF, EC 1/20 ‘Ouarsenis’, Boufarik,Algeria, 1959.
The twelve page A5 format booklet features thirteen building stages. Black line drawings are generally clear and written instructions are in French and English. The four view paint guides are excellent as is the separate stencil diagram is a bonus.
With a bit of care and attention this will be a really good representation of the SNCASE SE 535 Mistral. Parts generally fit pretty well and some filling will be required in places. Detail is nicely executed and the three marking options are of interest, options one and two have a splash of colour.