Sud-Ouest Vautour II N
The Sud-Ouest SO 4050 'Vatour II N' began life in response to a French 'Armee de l'Air specification in 1951 for a multi-role aircraft. Initial design and plans were made for 3 versions.
The first prototype, completed in the Vatour 'N' configuration, first flew in October 1952 and was powered by 2 Atar 101B turbojets, each generating 5,290lb static thrust. 6 pre-production aircraft were subsequently ordered the following year including 3 aircraft in the Vatour 'N' configuration, with the last aircraft being powered by Rolls Royce Avon RA 28 engines which generated 10,000lb static thrust each. A large order for 140 aircraft followed in which 70 airframes were to be Vatour II 'N's.
The first 30 aircraft to enter service in 1957 were powered by the Atar 101E-3 engine developing 7,716lb static thrust each. The final 40 aircraft were powered by the Atar 101E-5 engine developing 8,157lb static thrust each. Armament consisted of four 30mm DEFA 552 cannons in the lower nose area with provision for a SNEB 68mm rocket launcher with 104 rounds aft of the cannon bay. The final 25 production aircraft, designated Vatour II-1N's, were fitted with an all-flying rather than variable-incidence tailplane.
Vatours stayed in service till the early 1970's when they were gradually phased out of service. However seven airframes were delivered to the Israeli Airforce and remained in service until the late 1970s.
Performance figures were impressive for a twin seat aircraft. 721 mph at sea level or Mach 0.95, rate of climb was 11,810 ft/min and an endurance of just on 4 hours.
Okay, enough research! What's the kit like?
Hi-Tech's Vautour is a multi-media feast comprising 26 parts in "limited run" injected plastic, 1 photoetch fret, 1 vacform canopy, 3 sprues of whitemetal parts, 18 resin parts.
The injection parts consist of fuselage sides, engine nacelles, all undercarriage doors and the mainplanes/tailplanes. There is a small amount of flash on some of the injection-moulded parts that will require cleaning up. Panel line detail is recessed and is very well done, however there is a rough surface finish on most parts that will require rubbing down with some fine wet & dry. Reference photos I was able to locate show the aircraft, being a fast jet, with a very smooth finish. The aircrafts flaps are modelled integrally with the wing moldings, so will need to be separated if you feel that way inclined.
A vacform canopy is supplied, but there is only one, so be careful. One slip with the Exacto and it is history! My canopy was nice and clear with no imperfections.
The etched brass set looks impressive, and is supplied by Eduard. It covers numerous details such as the wheel hubs, seat belts, ejection seat detail, instrument panel, side panels and much more. 'Tis Eduard, 'tis good!
The undercarriage parts are supplied in white metal and have a small amount of flash as well as a mold seam that will need to be cleaned up. A number of my parts were slightly bent, however they straightened out with a little gentle persuasion. Some undercarriage parts are not supplied, including landing lights and some of the hydraulic rams need to be fabricated by the modeller.
A large number of resin castings are provided. These cover the cockpit tub, ejection seats, rear cockpit detail, wheel wells, the main wheels and outrigger wheels. The design of this aircrafts undercarriage was quite unique for its time in that the main wheels were two sets of duals that retracted into the lower fuselage, very much like a Harriers', and smaller outrigger wheels retracted and lowered from the outer sides of the engine nacelles. Other areas such as the jet intake and exhaust detail are also supplied as castings. I could find no air bubbles in any of the castings and the detail provided is very good.
The decals appear to be Hi-Tech's own brand and look nice and thin. All the decals were printed perfectly in register and have good colour density. The proof however will be in the using. One choice is provided for an aircraft from ECTT 2/30 Normandie-Niemen as per the box top photo.
The kit instructions are provided on a number of small sheets and show detailed construction drawings for the undercarriage, as well as 2 drawings for the front and rear cockpits. Text is also included to assist in the construction of the engine nacelles, and areas to take care in. No colours for these areas are stated, so it will be up to the modeller to find this out. Some help here by the manufacturer would have been appreciated. A one page breakdown of the fuselage parts, and also the wing assembly is included. The instructions show the model finished with the canopy closed. It is a shame to hide the detailed resin cockpit under a canopy, so I'll probably model this area with the canopy opened. The canopies open in two parts very much like a Phantom. A one page drawing is also supplied showing the locations of the stencilling and national markings.
The aircraft were painted in an overall aluminium finish, with black nose and dialectric panels, with a grey spine, and red wingtips. A reference to FS or paint manufacturer colours would have been helpful but are not supplied. Reference to a publication published by Lela Presse Publications and authored by Alain Croniers is suggested when building this kit. If anyone can supply an address where this publication is available it would be appreciated .
Reference is made in the instructions that the kit was mastered from manufacturers drawings and blueprints, so I can only assume that the kit is to scale and correct in profile.
Hi-Tech's Vautour is a nice kit of an unusual subject. It is limited run production, and should not be beyond the more experienced modellers scope.
It is a multimedia kit, so don't expect Hasegawa or Tamiya fit, but then I would not think you would see those manufacturers doing this aircraft. The resin castings are very nicely done, but a little more effort by the manufacturer in the instructions and paint reference area would have appreciated.
I have no hesitation recommending this kit to the more experienced modeller. It should build into a nice addition to any display case. I am fairly impressed with this kit, and will do a build article for HyperScale later in the year.
Thanks to Squadron® for the review sample.
Review Copyright © 2001 by Dale