Our May instalment of Special Hobby Newsletter brings you release details not only on two rather typical kits which are the Messerschmitt Me 163A with Scheuch Schlepper and the Vautour II "Cyrano Radar", but also features a new approach to a kit release named "Simple Set" where Mirage F.1 kit sprues are to be released only with their instruction sheet and packed very simply in a PE bag. It means no decals nor other alternative parts and accessories will be supplied to the modeller. It should be mentioned that we have decided for this Simple Sets on a request from the Czech modeller community, but we expect it may be well received also by modellers from abroad. The Simple Set conception philosophy brings one limitation though, each particular Simple Set model kit is to be available on the market for only a month´s time and for the same price for distributors and end customers alike.
Our 32nd scale Tempest kit is in the final stages now, we keep working very hard and doing our best to bring you this long-time anticipated model soon and you are warmly welcomed to follow the process either on Special Hobby blog (www.specialhobby.info) or via our Facebook. The release date is approaching, but unfortunately cannot be given precisely yet. A similar situation is with our Mirage F.1B project, but here we can tell you it has already been scheduled for a June release.
The Messerschmitt Me 163A was the world´s first rocket-powered aircraft produced in larger numbers. Production aircraft were used for testing as well as for the training of the pilots who were to fly later with the true fighter version known as the Me 163B. On October 2, 1941, German pilot Heini Dittmar, flying in the Me 163A V1, became the very first man to exceed a speed of 1000 km/h (in fact, he reached 1003.67 km/h). The rocket-powered Komet took off using a two-wheel jettisonable dolly and landed on a skid retracting from under the lower fuselage. However, having already landed, the Komet was not able to move using its own powers and therefore Scheuch Schlepper vehicles (originaly agricultural tractors) were used with trailers equipped with inflation bags for transporting the plane back. The kit comprises a frame with Me 163A plastic parts, an injected clear canopy part, detailed resin parts to enhance the cockpit area and a PE-fret. All these are accompanied with Scheuch Schlepper vehicle components sprue and again with a specific resin and etched parts. The decal sheet caters for three Me 163A machines, one of which is interesting to be the very machine to have exceeded the 1000km/h speed limit, and a machine used in under-wing rocket trials is also catered for in the sheet.
The all-weather Vautour IIN jet fighters were operated in France not only by AF units, they were used also as a kind of test-beds long time after being withdrawn from military service. Development work for radars to be used in various and more advanced Mirage III, F.1 and even Mirage 2000 fighters were carried out using these Vautour aircraft. In the French Centre d´Essais en Vol (CEV, or Flight Test Centre) several IIN Vautours of various serial numbers were flown, amongst them also the very first IIN Vautour to be produced, this one was handed over to the CEV on Feb 7, 1957 and was equipped with a Cyrano radar connected with Mirage fighters development. This machine was also used for trials with fixed armament, rockets and missiles. It was sold to Israel in 1964 and operated at Ramat David AB by No.110 tayeset (or squadron) since 1967.The plane was fitted with extra long range fuel tanks in its bomb bay and modified to carry a Thomson CSF ECM „Yabelet“ Pod and used to blind Egyptian and Syrian SA-2 Radar systems in the opening hours of the Six Day War. On return from one such mission, an u/c trouble occured, the machine ran off runway and was grounded for the rest of the war. In 1968, a K-38 camera pack was installed in the belly and another camera systems in the gun bay, AAM Shafrir I was also carried under the wings and the plane was used in a photo recce role until 1970 when it was put into storage. Now it is on display at the IAF Museum in Hatzerim.
The model comes on four sprues of plastic part components, and comprises also a clear parts sprue, a PE-parts fret and detailed resin parts which offer the modeller with a Cyrano radar nose section, external fuel tanks and several other parts typical for this highly interesting and unusual Vautour test-bed and ECM variant. The decal sheet was printed by Italian Cartograf in exquisite quality and supplies markings for two French planes, No 348 in natural metal finish, the other, No 337 featuring French national colours overall. There are of course also markings for the Israeli "Fantomas" named machine, this one interesting also for carrying two different liveries, the earlier being also the NMF, the other in the standard Israeli three-tone upper camouflage colour scheme.
A highly detailed resin set that contains new resin cockpit floor parts, side consoles, pilot seats, control column and other tiny parts. Accompanied by a PE-fret with an instrument panel, handwheel and seat belts.
The Blenheim Mk.II built under licence in Finland flew with wide-door bomb bay. That enabled them to carry bombs of either American or Swedish origin, these being much larger than the original British ones.
The highly detailed resin bomb bay part has been tailored to embelish the new Airfix kit. The set offers the modeller also the bomb racks, bomb bay doors in an open position and clear resin landing lights of the type used on Finnish Blenheims.
The Blenheim Mk.II was also licence-built in Finland and these aircraft benefited from enlarged bomb bay doors enabling them to carry bombs of US or Swedish origin which were larger than the British ones.
The set provides the modeller with a replacement part portraying the closed bomb bay doors intended to replace directly the Airfix kit part, and also a unique Finnish type of wing leading edge landing lights.