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Azur-FrRom SNCASE SE 535 Mistral

Review of the 1/72 scale aircraft kit with clever molding points
One of the earliest jet fighter designs, de Havilland’s Vampire is pretty well-known and reasonably well-represented in the modeling world. However, the re-engined French version made by SNCASE, the SE 535 Mistral, is less well-known.

Azur-FrRom is known for re-boxing Special Hobby kits with new parts and decals for French versions. To make the Mistral, 11 injection-molded plastic parts were added to Special Hobby’s Vampire, along with a nice resin ejection seat.

All the marking options are essentially the same — silver overall — with either red or yellow trim. A nice sheet of decals with comprehensive stencils provide the major markings, but the builder is on their own for the trim.

The instructions were clear about which parts to replace for the Mistral, but they were less than clear in some cases about the placement of those parts. For example, the instructions suggest a vague position for a side console (Part B47) that ended up interfering with the instrument panel. I trimmed the bottom of the instrument panel to get it to fit the floor, a consequence of the Mistral specific parts I assume.

The instructions make no mention of removing the seat mounts on the floor of the cockpit. Left in place, they force the ejection seat up which pushes the canopy out of alignment. (I had to carefully remove them with a chisel after I discovered this late in the build.)

The separate nose allows the builder to add nose weight after most assembly is complete. You will need as much as you can pack in — maybe slightly more; adding some in the front of the included drop tanks may be a good idea.

The lower fuselage half has clever additions for the intake trunks that fit very well and prevent a see-through look.

The boom assemblies and stabilizer came together without issues. Squaring off the mating surfaces on the fuselage improved the booms fit, but filler was still needed. I didn’t care for the poorly fitting clear wingtips, but I appreciate the idea.

The lower left wing is missing a landing light that shows up in the painting instructions. I quickly formed a depression with a drill bit and filled it with Micro Krystal Klear to replicate it.

After painting and masking the yellow trim, I sprayed the entire plane with Testors enamel steel (not Metalizer) to achieve the painted silver finish of the real Mistral. I applied the decals using the placement guide in the instructions; much of the time was spent placing the many stencils.

Azur-FrRom has supplied modelers with a unique take on the familiar Vampire that’s easy to build and has very nice decals. Take care with fit and adjust for the missing information in the instructions and you’ll have a trouble-free build.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2019 issue.


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