1/48 Heller Rafale A

Gallery Article by Wael Fahmy on June 7 2010


This is a fairly old kit, but I started with it because I always loved the prototype look of the Rafale.  I built it out of the box, then again not really since I used copper wire and card to enhance the fit and look of the model.  My issue with the kit is the lack of detail in the parts and the general poor fit of the fuselage, but then again that is what modeling is about, overcoming the challenges in a build and making it look real.  I decided to drop the flaps, raise the air brakes and show the canards moved slightly upward.

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I scratch built the HUD display, painted all the red and blue stripes on the plane as it gives the scheme a more realistic look around compound curves and in this case gave me more control to keep a uniform white color width around the nav lights that could not have otherwise been achieved had I used the stripes on the decal sheet. I added rivets and panel lines where necessary which took most of the time. I also Detailed the landing gear with extra wire. I used a light grey sludge to detail the panel lines to avoid a greater contrast difference had I used a darker color.

I decided to display the model in a museum type setting and to that effect built a fairly simple diorama.  I used card, styrene tubes and wire to build the posts.  Those in turn were glued to a base that was painted grey and a final coat of future to give it a nice uniform sheen.  I ran a chain between the posts and built wheel chokes for the rear landing gear.  Finally, I built two signs one that describes the plane and the other for the manufacturer Dassault.  I would like to thank modelers Gary Wickham and David Aungst for sharing their modeling tips in their how to articles which were a great help.  I hope you like the pictures of my model.

Wael Fahmy

Photos and text by Wael Fahmy