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Spiros Pendedekas
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Heller 1/35 SA 321G Super Frelon

May 21, 2021 · in Aviation · · 41 · 2.8K

Hi everyone!

This is my Sud Aviation (later Aérospatiale) SA 321G Super Frelon, finished as an bird.

A large single-rotor three-engine heavy transport helicopter, it held the distinction of being the most powerful helicopter to be built in Europe at one point, as well as being the world's fastest one. Its maiden flight took place on 7 December 1962.

Whereas both civilian and military versions were produced, the type was predominantly sold to military customers. Production was terminated in 1981, due to a lack of orders. A total of 110 were built.

The Super Frelon was most heavily used by naval air arms, such as the French Navy and the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force. On 30 April 2010, the type was retired by the French Navy, having been gradually replaced by the NH90.

The Super Frelon was in use for an extended period within China, where it was manufactured under license and sold as the Harbin Z-8. A modernised derivative of the Z-8, marketed as the Avicopter AC313, performed its first flight on 18 March 2010.

This is the latest (2004) reissue of the venerable 1975 Heller kit, bought for around a sensible €40 back in 2006. Though old this kit looks very nice, with its raised riveted detail looking very realistic.

It was built almost Out of the Box (OOB), the only extra being the crew seat belts, made from masking tape.

The camo was freeehanded with my Revell Vario (essentially a Thayer & Chandler Vega 2000) and I use the kit decals. Apart from the prominent exhaust staining, only minimal weathering was performed, since Aéronavale Super Frelons looked pristine.

The front glazing presented a contour mismatch at its joint with the fuselage, this might very well be my fault.

Should you wish to read the full build review, please visit my beloved Modelingmadness:

Happy Modeling!

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

41 responses

  1. @fiveten Looks very good! Do you used masks to make camo on fuselage?

  2. Looks like quite a beast, neat camouflage work, and I love the droop on the rotor blades. Definitely liked.

    • Thanks my friend @chinesegeorge!

      Droop was “natural”, the blades were molded straight, but they drooped nicely, due to the Heller’s soft styrene. The same softness, though, will be responsible for the blades badly yielding with time, if the rotor is left pemanently attached: that’s why it is only attached (basically resting) for very brief periods of time (exhibiting to a friend, taking pics etc), as it resides under the Super Frelon at all other times, resting on the ground!

  3. She looks really nice, Spiros. Like the paint job.

  4. A very fine looking Frelon, Spiros @fiveten.
    Very precise free hand painting on this one.
    The curves in the rotor blades do look very realistic.

  5. That’s great, Spiros. This is the first one of those that I’ve ever seen built. Looks like a big model.

  6. 3 engines, one rotor ! Amazing machine and wonderful build Spiros.
    Probably a better Helicopter in the long run than the NH-90 whom is a flying computer with all the problems that come with that.

    • Thanks my friend @bernardbedeur!
      Yep, modern machines are amazing, but due to all these "automations ", which are prone to failures, no matter how great, you might see them spending more time " grounded" than flying.
      An interesting case is the "modernized" C-130s, vs the old "B" ones (yep, the ones that have RATO provisions): guess which type has less flight mission aborts...

      • Hi Spiros. Frelons and super Frelons are real workhorses
        The NH-90 is very expensive to operate and as you mentioned the C-130, I am partial to It but I hear you!
        As to the A-400 M which A lot of Europe selected to replace the “ Herc”, it’s not quite ready after all these years.
        Simplicity is the Ultimate sophistication !

  7. Good looking whirlybird! I really like many of the French schemes - and this one is a great one.

  8. Great paintwork Spiros. I imagine those rotor blades would droop to the ground if left to the effects of gravity. The nose radome certainly doesn't do its looks any favours!

    • Thanks my friend @haslam55!
      Yep, the blades will touch the ground at about a week's time if the rotor is left affixed!
      Thanks radar was to control the Exocet (among others...)
      I bet it would fry someone at a 50 mile distance!

  9. WOW that thing is huge . I really like the subtle scheme and this old kits looks prett good.

  10. Very impressive, this is big! Must look great on the table.

  11. Yeah, I'll bet that's big. Really nice work on it @fiveten.

  12. Spiros, that's a very nice build of a rare (at least in model world) machine. Excellent work.

  13. beautiful work Spiros .. and very little seen, congratulations

  14. Practically perfect in every way !

  15. Ditto on the many comments about the paint work. Very nice camo @fiveten !

  16. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    This is a very befitting model of the strong yet elegant SA 321G Super Frelon.
    Nice work on the camouflage, very good work Spiros.

  17. Wow Spiros ,you did an amazing job on this , really well done pal.

  18. Superb Spiros, it has been quite awhile seeing one of these built up. I happen to have 2 of these in the stash the original boxing in an Israeli scheme on the box and the other is the French Navy with the Exocet option. It is quite a large kit with extras some added details that Heller provides for the build. If there are any AM stuff most likely long out of production. Your skills really show on this build, the Super Frelon was pretty interesting helo for the time. Just as the CH-53 was also coming into service in 1964. Amazing that only 110 were built. The plan was to build one Isreali transport and an Iraqi Exocet version. Down the road when space becomes available. (Bigger house with a dedicated display room, cases. shelves, etc..) Thanks for sharing.

  19. Two thumbs up on the road less traveled Spiros. Three engine helos aren't modeled or manufactured often. I think the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion has three and the AgustaWestland AW101 or Merlin have three engines. Which goes against nature if you thinking in bilateral terms.

  20. Beatifull color scheme your choice, and very well built. Huge model.
    I have mine one which I built around 25 years ago.

    • Thanks my friend @boblucio! A big model indeed. The plastic was too soft and the main blades sag over time, so I have not attached the main rotor permanently: instead, I store the main rotor upside down and affix it in place for only brief periods of time!

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