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Spiros Pendedekas
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Heller 1/72 Alpha Jet ”Patrouille de France”

Hi everyone!

This is my , finished as a ”” bird.

The Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet is a light attack jet and advanced jet trainer co-manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France and Dornier Flugzeugwerke of Germany.
It was developed specifically to perform trainer and light attack missions, as well as to perform these duties more ideally than the first generation of jet trainers that preceded it.

Both the French Air Force and German Air Force procured the Alpha Jet in large numbers, the former principally as a trainer aircraft and the latter choosing to use it as a light attack platform. As a result of post-Cold War military cutbacks, Germany elected to retire its own fleet of Alpha Jets in the 1990s and has re-sold many of these aircraft to both military and civilian operators. The Alpha Jet has been adopted by a number of air forces across the world and has also seen active combat use by some of these operators.

The Patrouille Acrobatique de France ("French Acrobatic Patrol"), also known as the Patrouille de France (PAF), is the precision aerobatics demonstration unit of the French Air and Space Force, officially commissioned in 1953.

Using the French Aerial Aerobatics (French: Voltige Aérienne Française) unit of the French Air and Space Force, the mission is to represent it and lead the ambassadorship role of French aeronautics overseas.

Stationed at Aerial Base 701 Salon-de-Provence in Bouches-du-Rhône, it is the oldest (active since 1931) and considered as one of the best in the world. Comprising 9 pilots and 35 mechanics, the patrol (La Patrouille) splits its time between winter season (saison hivernale) training and summer season (saison estivale) aerial displays.

I built this Alpha Jet wheels up and with a pilot in and mounted it at a cusom made base, as to represent it in flying condition.

The Heller kit is, as usual, a sweet little kit and, sans the canopy, has a good allaround fit, presenting no issues putting it together.

The paint scheme is striking in reality and I tried to represent it as best as I could.

The canopy proved to be a tad (but niticeable tad...) narrower than the fuselage. I tried to fair it with white glue and microtouchups.

I did some scratchbuilding improvenents at the cockpit, especially at the rear Martin Baker, as it would be quite visible, since usually only one pilot flies in aerobatics:

The base is an aeroengine gear, with a stainless steel wire welded on and bent accordingly.

This model is going to be packed, along with some "nutritious" traditional Greek goodies and be sent to a most beloved French friend and ex-collegue, as a Christmas present.

He's not aware of my build, so, I hope to surprise him! I already feel proud that he will have my model in his display case or his office!

Full build thread here, should you be interested:

Thanks my friend Allan @kalamazoo for hosting me in your GB and for commenting/supporting through my build. Also, thanks my friends Erik @airbum and George @georgeswork, for following along.

Some in-progress shots are below.

Happy modeling!

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. Wow Spiros ! you really took on a tough paint scheme there but you pulled it off brilliantly, well done mate .
    I'm intrigued about the tasty Greek treats! ,my idea of Heaven is sitting outside a taverna on a Greek island drinking Mythos and eating a Greek salad ,Feta cheese ,Olives, crusty bread...I can't wait for this plague to be gone.
    Oh! and Retsina , don't forget the Retsina.

    • Thanks Neil @neil-foster!
      Well, the treats are a selection of some traditional sweets, dried figs and some spices...things that are not that easily found in France.
      Yep, sitting in a Taverna, having all those food you mentioned, AND Retsina, is one of the good things you can do here!

  2. Hi Spiros.
    What a fun Good looking build. I love this small jet that replaced the Fouga Magister.
    Amazing that these can fly at all judging by the size of the reactors. They are so small that you could almost carry them!
    Technology, research and development made this possible. Let’s keep it going and well make the models !

    • Thanks Bernard @bernardbedeur!

      Yep, this is an amazing machine.

      Being "just" a trainer (ok, a light attack too), had not caught my full attention, till I read its amazing story.

      Among the things that stroke me were two facts:

      First, it was such a forgiving plane, that " French air force commanders of combat units did have one complaint against the Alpha Jet, in that it was a very forgiving aircraft to fly, resulting in a lengthier and steeper learning curve when assigned to fly combat aircraft which were not so forgiving...!

      Second, ...During the 1970s, Dornier claimed that the Alpha Jet outperformed aircraft used as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, LTV A-7 Corsair II, and Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II in the close air support role; the firms specifically stated that the Alpha Jet was smaller, faster, less vulnerable, more maneuverable, cheaper and had higher all-round performance than the A-10...! (well, still a claim, but how far from reality?...and we are talking about the humble Alpha Jet!...).

      Thanks again, my friend, for sparking a deeper conversation!

  3. One of my favorite planes.
    Very nice Spiros with a great finish and a nice looking base to hold it up.
    Thanks for posting the build, it was great to follow.
    That paint scheme is something else, you did a great job - and it's all paint!

  4. Very nice Spiros! Love the stand. What a great Christmas present for your friend.

    • Thanks Eric @eb801!
      I "got my hands" into some aeroengine gears, so, I figured out it would be a good idea to use them as bases. Being on the heavy side, also means that are reasonably stable with the model attached onto them.

  5. Superb work on a difficult paint scheme.

  6. Very pleasing to the eye, great work!

  7. A very impressive build my friend @fiveten
    Let me tell you that your paint scheme is as striking as in reality, no doubt about it.
    Your build is as nice to look at as the real "Patrouille de France".

  8. Really cool aircraft, super-cool paint scheme and a fantastic build - that's three in a row (hat-trick!)
    Well done, I'm sure that the gift will be appreciated!

  9. Very well presented good looking model Spiros, nicely done, I like it !

  10. Beautiful paintwork, Spiros, especially in this scale. I'm so enjoying seeing these models in non-camouflage colours, and a very neat way of making a display as well. I'm sure your friend will appreciate your kind gift, and, if you're lucky, send you some French goodies in return.

  11. Clean finish, Spiros. Nice!

  12. Nice job on a tough paint scheme, Spiros. After several yellow wings biplane builds, I can really relate to your "iterations" comment above! I don't even want to think about doing a complicated paint scheme these days!

  13. Wow - you really nailed the scheme! I really like the Alpha, though I've only built one so far.

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