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Ray Theron
3 articles

Atlas Impala Mk 2 of the South African Air Force (Italeri 48th scale)

January 23, 2018 · in Aviation · · 32 Comments

This was the first of my SAAF builds and I was very happy with the result. It's pretty much OOB, apart from a after market ejection seat.

South Africa obtained a license to produce the MB-326M (similar to the 'G' model), as the Impala Mk I in 1964 with production starting in 1966. It received 40 Italian-built aircraft followed by about 125 built locally by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation, using them both as trainers and in an armed configuration. Seven examples of the MB-326K were also bought as light attack aircraft, with a further 15 assembled from kits, while around 78 were license-produced and known as the Impala Mk II. Licence production of the single seat version began in 1974. The Impala Mk II, locally manufactured and equipped with French armament, was also advanced with a South African ECM suite.

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

32 responses

  1. Ray, looks like it's ready to go on "externals". One that we don't see too often, great example of the trainer-to-warbird type, heir to the various colonial policing types, which somebody I can't remember said had" a range of roles, from transport to lobbing a rocket thru the local brigands back window"! Great to see one, and nicely done! Morne tells me one shot down something a great deal more potent, while inverted!

  2. Drat! Meant to ask, kit decals or MAG(?).

  3. Very nice build! and interesting back round info.

  4. Thanks for the kind comment, Bernard!

    Yes, the SAAF operated these lovely birds as trainers, as trainer/fighters and as light ground attack aircraft, but also as interceptors (in the case of the Mk 2s). They were used extensively in the war in Angola, along with Mirage IIIs, F1s and of course the SAAF helicopters.

    In several encounters in 1985 with Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, they shot down a total of six. This happened during a crucial phase of the ground war, when Angolan and Cuban troops were checked in an offensive against UNITA bases. This ended in disaster for the Angolan/Cuban alliance when their supplies were cut off by UNITA and the SAAF and front line troops ran out of ammunition. Helicopters were being used to supply the besieged troops and the SAAF cut off this link. Two Mi-24s were shot down in the first encounter while escorting Mi-17s. The MiG-21s that escorted them flew too high to react in time. Two days later the Impala Mk IIs struck again, downing two Mi-24s and two Mi-17s. Attacks on unsuspecting helicopters were carried out with only two guns per aircraft. The single seat Impala Mk IIs were also sometimes armed with Matra R550 Magic air-to-air missiles for self-defense.

    The decals used came with the kit. I ave bought a set of MAV decals for an upcoming Mirage F1 build, as the kits I have come across don't have the appropriate decals.

  5. Don't see this one modeled that often...nice job - I like it.

  6. Ray, your holding out on the eye candy. Could we get some more photos please? I like the article and the written comments and the single photo is a teaser. But, the table has been laid bare. More photos...

  7. Hey, Ray! Welcome to iModeler!

    This is a great model of a cool little trainer/warbird. Neat little plane!

    This is a great start here, as well. I've been lurking around this site for nearly a year but I STILL haven't completed anything to post here ... except my verbal (actually written) wanderings. Well done, Amigo!

    PS - Are you from Gautang?

    • Thanks, Jeff!

      Hehe I'm a slow worker; it normally takes me up to three months to finish a 48th scale bird! My current build has been taking even longer, but that's (a) because it's summer here and my workroom has no aircon, so it gets too damned hot in there, and (b) because I had a mojo slump a while ago... but now I'm getting stuck into the fiddly little jobs like canopy masking, weapons painting, etc.

      No, not Gauteng, I am from the best part of South Africa -- the Western Cape! πŸ™‚

  8. A very neat model of a good looking plane, welcome to iModeler, it'll help to keep your mojo working.

  9. Hello Ray,
    A neatly finished model. I appreciated the additional information in writing. This gives the reader in dept information. Interesting subject (SAAF).
    Question: Could you give some extra information on what is hanging under the pylons.
    I have seen these aircraft (Frecce Tricolori / MB339 PAN) starting up during Dutch airshow. I had to wear ear protection, unbelievable what a sound (decibels) these engines are generating. Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

    • Thank you, Dirk. The pylons are carrying a symmetrical load, from outboard: F95 targeting pod (Italeri did not get this quite correct, though), 227 litre wing fuel tank, 68mm SNEB rocket launcher. The Mk 2 had an even stronger (and louder!) engine than the other MB 326 models.

  10. Welcome to iModeler Ray, think you find this site an enjoyable experience. Nice model, keep them coming but as Stephen mention would enjoy seeing more pics of your work.

  11. Welcome Ray! Nice work on that Impala. What paints did you use? I have that one in the stash and enjoy SAAF subjects.

    • Thanks, John! I used Tamiya XF-52 and XF-51 for the camo and XF-54 for the underside, but the paint job was modulated by adding a few drops of XF-57 (to the dark earth) and XF-2 (to the green). The whole was then sanded back a bit with a Tamiya 2000 grit sponge before the weathering was applied, using my home-made "pigments" (scrapings off pastel sticks).

      • Thanks for sharing your painting method. BTW, if you’re doing the Esci/Italeri Mirage F.1, try to find a CobraCompany cockpit. It really helps that kit. Also check out my page. I have a SAAF Canberra from 2012 and a Rhodesian Canberra I built last year.

        • You're welcome. Yep, I'll be building the Italeri kit. Thanks for that heads-up! At the moment I'm still researching the subject. Will definitely have a look at your builds!

  12. Ray - an excellent job on the model - love the subtle weathering, and I always appreciate unusual subjects. Welcome to iModeler as well.

    • Thanks, Greg! I tend to go gentle went it comes to weathering my postwar jets πŸ™‚ -- but then again, I haven't yet built any Hellenic AF aircraft!

  13. Welkom Ray by die beste Modelsite op die www. Your Impala sure looks great. Always nice to see fellow South Africans on Imodeler even though you are in Oz. Hope to see more of your models in the near future!

  14. Hey Ray, great to have you on board, I love this build, great work and subject, indeed it does not matter where we live and work, the Cape is always in our hearts. Maybe I should look at doing one of these as a 1/32 scale scratch build...mmmmm, sounds like a plan. Sterkte daai kant. Keep posting, I look forward to the F1.

    • Jirre, Boet, that's an undertaking and a half! I would not dream of trying to scratchbuild an Imp in 32! Would love to see it if/when you do! Thanks for the kind words on my build, too!

  15. I have fond memories of these Mk2 Impala's. Used to see the Mk1 trainers at Langebaan before they were retired.

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