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V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service

Azur, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Azur Kit No. A084 - V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Plastic, resin and photo-etched parts. three decal options.
Price: USD$58.50 available online from Squadron
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages:

Very high quality plastic parts, excellent resin by CMK, high quality injection moulded clear parts, Good decals and instructions.

Disadvantages:

 

Recommendation:

A very nice package from Azur


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly


Azur's 1/48 scale V-156F Vindicator is available online from Squadron.com
 

FirstLook


For the uninitiated, Azur kits are produced in the Czech Republic and the company tends to concentrate on producing limited run injection moulded kits of lesser known machines flown by the French Armed Forces.

To be truthful, when I saw the announcement that Azur were to release a Vindicator in 1/48 scale I asked my self why as there is already a superb kit on the market.  That kit of course being the one produced by Accurate Miniatures.

Nevertheless, being a fan of anything naval aviation I was keen to purchase one and I was curious to say the least to see if another kit manufacturer could better or even equal the Accurate Miniatures kit.  I was pleasantly surprised to say the least when the Azur kit lobbed in my mailbox and I discovered that, in the main, the box was filled with the same sprues that are in the Accurate Miniatures Vindicator kit less the wings.

 

  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
  • Azur 1/48 V-156F Vindicator in French Navy Service Review by Rodger Kelly: Image
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There were of course differences between the Vindicators operated by the U.S. Navy for which the Accurate Miniatures kit is modelled and those operated by the Aèronavale and (by default) the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm that the Azur kit replcates.  These differences were many and included:

  • underwing bomb racks
  • metric instrumentation
  • radio equipment
  • wing-mounted fence-type dive brakes
  • French 7.5-mm machine guns in place of the American .50 cals

To cater for these differences between the U.S. Vindicators and the French ones, Azur provides you with the alternative parts in differing mediums.  Firstly, in resin, the bomb racks as well as a pair of separate bombs to mount on them, a hand held rear-facing machine gun and its mount (there are also various etch metal additions for the gun on the etch metal fret) and a new and much larger tail hook mount and tail hook as well as what look to be a pair of blanking plates to be affixed in the wheel wells.

 

 

The addition of the wing mounted fence type dive brakes are taken care of by the provision of a new pair of injection moulded wings that have the wells for the brakes moulded into them.  The actual brakes themselves are provided on the comprehensive etch metal fret.  The new wings are just as detailed if a little thicker than the Accurate Miniature ones they are replacing but I venture you will not know the difference once they are painted.

The kit also includes a very comprehensive etch metal fret that, apart from the aforementioned items, holds seat belts and various tiny levers for the cockpit.  The metal used for the fret is reasonably soft which will make it easy to manipulate.

 

 

The deletion of the ranging telescope from the centre of pilot’s windscreen on the French Vindicator is taken care of by the provision of new windscreen sans the slot (you also get all of the Accurate Miniatures transparencies sprue in the box).

 

 

The differences in the instruments are taken care of by the provision of etch metal instrument panels for the pilot and gunner as well as acetate instrument films.

Assembly and painting/decaling instructions are via a 12 page A5 sized instruction sheet that provides a written history of the machine in both English and Czech languages.  It also shows a “parts map” as well as exploded view assembly instructions that rely on numbers as well as symbols to show you how to assemble and paint your kit.  Three painting options that show left and right hand side profiles as well as upper and lower plan views (in black and white) rounds out the instructions.  Whilst the painting options on the instruction sheet are in black and white, you can download colour ones for each option by going to the CMK website:

Markings for three Aèronavale machines are included.  The decals are by Aviprint they are thinly printed with an absolute minimum of carrier film – A word of warning here!  Whilst they are beautifully printed they are very fragile.  Use plenty of water to float them into position as dragging them tends to tear them! 

 

 

The individual options are

  • V-156F number 13, AB1-12 of Escadrille AB1, in an overall blue/grey scheme based at Boulogne-Alprech in the winter of 1939-1940.

  • V-156F number 7, aircraft number 6 of Escadrille AB1, also in an overall blue/grey scheme as marked during the carrier suitability tests on the French aircraft carrier Béarn in May 1940.

  • V-156F number10, aircraft number 9 of Escadrille AB3 at Hyeres in 1940.  This last option is in an overall blue/grey scheme with dark green and dark brown camouflage splotches.  This last option features in the gallery section here at Hyperscale http://www.hyperscale.com/2010/galleries/vindicator48ep_1.htm as built by Emmanuel Pernes.



 

Conclusion

 

All up a very nice package from Azur indeed.

A word of caution though.  The Accurate Miniatures kit whilst it builds up beautifully, is not for the novice.

Thanks to MPM / Special Hobby for the sample.


Review Text Copyright 2010 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 16 June, 2010
Last updated 16 June, 2010

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