Heller 1/35 SA 321G Super Frelon
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.
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