In 1933, the French Navy requested a new reconnaissance and light bomber seaplane able to serve aboard warships and launched using their catapults. Six companies offered their designs, the Loire 130 was the final winner. It was a shoulder-mounted wing monoplane with a pusher engine above the wing and was produced in two versions. The Loire 130M (for Métropole) saw service in home waters while the Loire 130 Cl (Colonial) machines were sent to the tropical areas. The latter airframe was built to withstand more demanding climate, it also got larger radiator and the crew was better protected from the elements. The Loire 130 began to be deployed on all catapult-equipped warships even before the outbreak of the war and also on shore bases in France, Africa and Indochina. The machines took part in the defence of France in 1940 and when the country was eventually defeated, they went on to serve with the Vichy forces. Several airframes were used by the Free French forces, too. The Vichy France even ordered further production. Some captured machines were evaluated by the German Luftwaffe. The Loire 130s which were operated from African bases struggled with the shortage of spare parts and in 1943, when French colonies in Africa were liberated and joined war effort with the Allies, as many as fifteen airframes were still airworthy and took part in war operations. Machines of the Loire 130 Cl version did their part in the French Indochina War against Siam and a handful of the machines flew till the end of the war, one of them was seen flying in Saigon as late as 1949.
The decals bring markings for four machines. One of them saw service in the Indochinese Union (commonly known as French Indochina) transporting French Navy commanding officers and the marking she wore underwent certain evolution over the course of her flying career, all these alterations have painstakingly researched and illustrated in the camouflage scheme and the decal sheet. The second machine with eye-catching livery and red and yellow Vichy stripes was operated by the French Naval Aviation in Africa. The third camouflage option brings a green-camouflaged Loire 130Cl machine with red empennage which saw service between 1943 and 44 also in French Indochina. The final option is a Free French Loire based at Fort-de-France, Martinique. The kit contains four grey styrene sprues, one clear plastic sprue and a set of detailed resin cast parts.
Mirage F.1C/ C-200 'Armée de `l Air' 1/72
The Mirage F.1C came about as a private venture by the French Dassault company while it had been engaged in a project designed to fulfil the future needs of the French Air Force (Armée de l´Air) for a modern jet aircraft capable of carrying out interception and tactical attack roles carrying conventional or nuclear armament. A variety of designs were put forward in order to replace the outstanding Mirage III family which were currently filling this role and these were originally designed the Mirage IIIT, Mirage IIIF, Mirage G and Mirage G8. The Armée de l´Air chose the most promising of these designs which was the Mirage G8 with a variable-sweep wing but as the military expected a prolonged development of this advanced (for the day) technology they also decided to go ahead with the simpler Mirage IIIF which could enter service sooner and help bridge the gap before the new G8A could be finished. Two prototypes of the IIIF designated F.2 and F.3 were ordered and these were to be powered by a JTF10 engine.
On top of these government contracts Dassault also decided to go ahead with their own simpler private venture design which featured a smaller airframe powered by an Atar 9K power plant. The first flight of the Mirage F.1 took place on 23rd December 1966 and production aircraft entered service with the Armée de l´Air as the F.1C single-seater fighter and F.1B two-seater trainer versions. During their service with France a number of these aircraft were upgraded by fitting of IFR probes which resulted in the designation F-1C-200. The Armée de l´Air also flew dedicated reconnaissance and a ground-attack versions of the MirageF.1 designated respectively as the F.1CR and CT, the latter being converted from the earlier F.1-200 airframes. A total of 246 Mirage F.1`s of all versions served with the French and Dassault also tried to offer the aircraft as the F.1E (E for European) version with a more powerful engine to Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway as a replacement for their F-104 Starfighter`s but these countries chose the F-16 Fighting Falcon instead and the F.1E remained only as a prototype. Nevertheless two other European NATO members did fly the Mirage F.1 with Greece and Spain ordering the type and it was also exported successfully further afield. In South America Mirage F.1`s were ordered by Ecuador (F.1JA and JE two seaters) for the Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana while in Africa and Asia the Mirage F.1 proved especially popular, serving with the air forces of Gabon, South Africa, Morocco, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait. Flying with these air forces this variant of the famous Mirage family saw combat action the world, including mock dogfights over the Aegean between Greek F.1`s and Turkish fighters, French aircraft saw action over Chad, Libya, Afghanistan, Mali, Ivory Coast and even stood up against Iraqi Mirage F.1`s during the 1st Gulf War, Ecuadorian F.1`s were used in cross border skirmishes with Peru and South African Mirages also saw extensive action as a ground attack aircraft and fighter during the long Border War with Angola and Mozambique, often coming up against Cuban flown Soviet Mig 17, 21 and 23 jet fighters. Libyan F.1`s alo saw brief action during the Civil War of 2011 when several of them defecting to Malta.
Although it is now quite an old aircraft the Mirage F.1 still sees frontline service with several countries including Libya which is bolstering its remaining fleet by buying some additional ex French aircraft, Gabon has bought six ex South African F.1AZ aircraft and Iran is believed to still fly some of the 24 ex Iraqi Mirage F.1BQ and EQ`s which defected here during the Gulf War.
Finely detailed model of the Mirage F.1C/C-200 comes on six styrene sprues and one with clear parts. The decal sheet offers markings for two French F.1C machines and two more of the later C-200 version witch were equipped with the in-flight refuelling boom. Three of them are greyish blue on the upper surface with silver painted undersurfaces and feature colourful markings of their respective fighter units. The fourth machine, operated over African Djibouti, sports a desert camouflage scheme and carries, along its underwing armament, also a centreline fuel tank with a shark mouth and eyes.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VC 'Overseas Jockeys' 1/48
The Supermarine Spitfire definitely belongs among the most famous warplanes of the Second World War, and the Spitfire Mk.V version was produced in the largest numbers. The Mk.Vc subversion was equipped with a strenghtened wing enabling the machine to carry various cannon / machine gun configuration and bombs beneath the wing too. The ongoing production brought enough airframes to equip not only British Isles based units, but also those in overseas, so the Spitfire Mk VCs‘ combat area reached as far as Malta, India and Australia. The units using this version also varied in the origin of their aircrews, the pilots fighting on the Mk.VCs came from various countries of the Commonwealth, from France, the USA, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and many other countries.
And that was just our aim to show this interesting diversity in the aircrew origin and different combat areas the Spitfire Mk.VCs were operated from. The kit’s instruction booklet and decal sheet offer the following scheme options – a machine of Polish ace Antoni Glowacki, named the cockoo with kill markings beneath the cockpit, an Australian machine flown by Wg Cdr. Clive ‘Killer’ Robertson Caldwell which bore serial number BS295 and famous CR-C fuselage code letters. The third machine wore rather unusual camouflage scheme and US star and bar insignias, the fourth of the kit’s options was a French machine as operated by GC1/7 ‘Provence’, marked White 4 and the final option is a Yugoslav Mk.Vc used by 1.(lovačka) eskadrila of the NOVJ (or also known as No.352 'Yugoslav' Sqn. RAF) with Yugoslav national markings and bomb mission marking under the cockpit.
The kit comprises of 10 grey styrene sprues, one sprue with clear canopy parts, resin cast details and a fret of photo etches.
UPCOMING MODELS 10/2018
P-40K-1/5 Warhawk 1/72
AJ-37 Viggen / Reissue 1/48
Fieseler Fi 103 / V-1 1/32 100-SH32071