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Spiros Pendedekas
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ESCI 1/48 Atlas Impala Mk.1

July 19, 2022 · in Aviation · · 38 · 1.3K

The was a low-wing monoplane with an all-metal structure composed of light alloys. As originally developed, the MB-326 functioned as a refined but simple aircraft capable of covering the considerably wide range of performance characteristics required on both ab initio training and advanced instruction alike.

Other major characteristics of the type included the capacity to deliver a high rate of utilization in conjunction with minimized servicing and maintenance requirements. A high degree of safety was also intentionally built into it, including the adoption of Martin-Baker ejection seats.

The MB-326 was powered by a single Rolls-Royce Viper non-afterburning turbojet engine, which possessed multiple favorable attributes in par with the MB-326's philosophy of simplicity and robustness, with a somewhat forgiving nature to mishandling in the air by students.

Accordingly, the MB-326 was readily capable of performing relatively slow speed take-off and landing while retaining an excellent rate of climb.

The MB-326 was outfitted with a tandem cockpit configuration, this arrangement had been chosen to result in a slimmer and more aerodynamically efficient fuselage in comparison to the then more usual side-by-side arrangement.

A bubble canopy offered excellent visibility.

Though originally conceived as a two-seat trainer, there have also been single and two-seat light attack versions produced. It is one of the most commercially successful aircraft of its type, being bought by more than 10 countries and produced under license in Australia, Brazil and South Africa.

It set many category records, including an altitude record of 56,807 ft. More than 800 MB-326s were constructed between 1961 and 1975.

South Africa obtained a license to produce the Aermacchi MB-326M, as the Mk I in 1964 with production starting in 1966. It received a number (40 or 16, with sources varying) Italian-built aircraft followed by about 125 (135) built locally by the Aircraft Corporation.

The type was used both as a trainer and as a strike aircraft.

In the latter configuration, the aircraft had many advantages over more expensive fast-jets. Although slower, it could operate from primitive, short airfields and strike within minutes.

The flying school for Impalas was Flying Training School at Langebaanweg, while operational squadrons were 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Squadrons. The 85 Combat Flying School also had a small number of Impalas to supplement their Mirage trainers.

This is the venerable kit of the classic trainer, accompanying us from 1981.

Stil the only game in town, but nevertheless a good kit that will benefit a lot from some extra job, especially at the key areas of cockpit and landing gear.

The build was an entry to Michael Paquette' s Serving Under Another Flag GB. Thanks All who followed my thread!

Should you wish to read the full build review, you may do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness:

Happy modelling!
Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

38 responses

  1. Great looking Impala, Spiros @fiveten
    Beautiful looking South African scheme.
    The lowered flaps do give this build a much more attractive look.
    Your build thread was a pleasure to follow and the MM article is a pleasure to read.
    Well done.

  2. You did a great a job on what looks like a basic kit , you brought it up to date, well done mate.

  3. Nice work Spiros. I remember the Impala flying over my uncles house, daily on time, like clockwork in the Cape. That, and the ones destroyed by the FNLC a bit farther North

  4. Glad to see this one finished, Spiros! It looks especially great in silver.

  5. Beautiful work, Spiros! She looks great in silver and there's enough colours in South African markings to make it visually attractive!

  6. Nice looking Impala, Spiros @fiveten. I love the silver scheme with South African markings!

  7. Great job, Spiros (@fiveten). The NMF came out perfectly and it nicely covers the bright orange/red plastic (Wow). I have this kit floating around and eventually want to do the South African Impala with the brown and green camo.

  8. Nice Impala Spiros.

  9. Great looking Impala MK1, Spiros! Brings back great memories of my late Grandfather that worked with them at Langebaan Weg. I've got the same kit which I should pull out and build!

  10. Turned out very well. I’d never heard of this jet till now.

  11. Cool work! Is it a lead weight for a fishing rod in the nose?

  12. Looks great, Spiros. Nice job covering up the day-glo red. LOL

  13. Great build, Spiros, and excellent results with a very basic kit.
    It took me back to the eighties, when I had a great time flying these superb light attack/trainers while in the service.
    I'll start my own kit here, shortly, in Brazilian Air Force markings.


  14. Another nice one Spiros @fiveten. Well written. Wow, red styrene!

  15. I've had the same kit for years, not looking forward to trying to paint over that bright orange plastic. Wish there were some AM markings out there for some of the export aircraft (like Zaire or Brazil).

    Lovely clean build Spiros and nice write-up.

  16. I’m going to think of this as a non-military plane, how could you name anything with guns, missiles, or bombs “Impala”? Beautiful nmf on this Spiros, well up to your normal super standard, definitely liked.

  17. Very sharp build. You were brave to put an NMF scheme on an old kit like this, but it came out gorgeous! Well done.

  18. Well done as ever, Spiros. Another beauty - prolific and stunning!

  19. Another great metal finish - well done!

  20. Thanks my friend @rbungay! I love how the Implala looks in NMF!

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