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1/48 Revell Rafale M
Aeronavale - Flotille 12F

by Gary Wickham

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Yep, I'm back with more "Planes on Poles" :) Actually, its not my fault this time (well not entirely :) as I built this model on commission and the request was specifically for "in flight". The Revell AG 1/48 Rafale has been on my pending list for sometime. It looks great in the box, but as I found out, looks can sometimes be deceiving.

The basic model goes together nicely. Fits well. The only sections that caused trouble where the intakes and the wing roots. These did not fit particularly well and I was left with a rather obvious step. Nothing a piece of 600 wet & dry and plenty of elbow grease could not fix, but considering the nice fit of the rest of the kit, it caught me off guard.

I especially like the way that Revell have engineered the external fuel tanks and weapons. For example, the external tanks come in three parts. Left and right parts of the body of the tank and a third part for the very tip of the tank. This makes it a whole lot easier for the modeler to maintain a nice circular shape for the tank, especially at the nose where its easy to oversand the cross section starts looking like decidely egglike.

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Those of you with a keen eye (and probably have this kit already) will know that the 1700 litre tanks and Apache missiles fitted to the model, do not come in the Rafale M kit from Revell. They actually come from the Rafale B kit. The only other "part" that was not in the kit is the pilot. Once again I raided my Hasegawa Hornets for a suitable figure. A little surgery on the helmet and oxygen mask (notice how the hose comes out the side of the mask, not the front) was needed to get him looking right.

As there are no aftermarket decals available for the Rafale's (at least as far as I know), I used the kit decals. As fair warning to those of you who are inspired to run off and build your Rafale now, make sure you use plenty of gloss clear before you decal and get yourself a bottle of Daco or equivalent powerful decal softening solution, because the Revell decals are horrible.

They are thick and have a matt finish. Using normal Microscale solutions, the decals would not even bend, let alone conform to some of the more complex shapes found on the Rafale. Silvering was a constant danger and I was forced to use Future to bed the decals down in some cases.

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I used a variety of sources when trying to match the colour used on French Marine Rafales, with the best source being International Airpower Review #4. Of course as always happens, since I completed the model, I stumbled across an excellent set of walkaround shots at the French Fleet Air Arm website.

I consulted several reviews of this kit which suggested using FS36270 Neutral Gray as the color, but to my eye this seemed to dark (and perhaps not warm enough). After experimenting, I finally settled on a 50/50 blend of FS 36231 Dark Gull Gray / FS36440 Lt Gull Gray.

I like to use Humbrol enamel paints so the colors chosen where H140 & H129.

The remainder of the kit was pretty much out of the box. I do know that Eduard does a PE set for this kit, however its mainly for the cockpit and as I had the canopy closed, felt it was a waste of money and effort.

Anyway, I hope you like the result. My next project is likely to be one of the new 1/48 Airfix Hawks.

Gary

If you are interested in my previous ARC submissions, please check out the links below

F-5E Tiger II VFC-13 Fighting Saints A-4E VF-45 Blackbirds
EF-2000 Eurofighter - DA2 F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-102

or for a complete gallery of my models, visit my website www.scalespot.com

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Photos and text by Gary Wickham

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