1/72 Airfix Aerospatiale SA 341 Gazelle

Gallery Article by Majd Abbar on Apr 17 2010

  Syria Independence Day 2010 


Syrian Tank Hunters

During the 1982 war in Lebanon, the Syrians were proud with performance of their attack helicopter- and fighter-bomber-crews. Although flying well over 150 attack sorties, only two Gazelles were shot down by the Israelis (both crews were killed). Two other examples were badly damaged during the fighting and subsequently captured by the Israelis: one of these was rebuilt and test-flown in Israel. At least an additional SA.342 was badly damaged but flown back to Syria. In exchange the SyAAF claimed destruction of 95 ground targets by Gazelles, including 71 tanks, five APCs, three trucks, two artillery pieces, nine M-151 jeeps, and five tanker trucks. While these figures are usually considered as exaggerated, a closer examination of all known reports about IDF losses as published in the Israeli media, shows that the Israelis very likely did lose as many tanks, and certainly many more APCs and other vehicles. Besides, one should not forget that attack helicopters are considered extremely effective by most armies of the world, and that this fact was proved not only in a number of exercises, but also in several wars.

Overall it is sure that the Syrian Gazelles proved their worth during this war beyond any doubt. When they were pulled from the battlefield, in the wake of the cease-fire from 11 June, the SA.342s were badly missed by remaining Syrian troops in Lebanon. For the rest of that war the Syrian Army's anti-tank teams had to fight alone.

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The kit used was the Airfix model and came together very nicely with minimal need for filling any joints. I was pleasantly surprised how well the windows fit in place. Model was built out of box and painted Model Master Acrylics Duck Egg Blue 4748, Medium Green 4734 and Tan 4697. The usual coat of future, black Promodeller weathering wash and the Model Master flat coat. Decals were homemade.

Hope you enjoyed this and stay tuned for more to come!!

Majd Abbar

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Photos and text by Majd Abbar