August 2021

Dassault Super Mystere B.2

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Dassault Super Mystere B.2

EC 1/12 "Cambresis", Cambrai Air Base, (Greenham Common Air Tattoo) 1977.

Airfix, with Model Decal markings.

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Building the Airfix Super Mystere:

Sometimes it makes sense just to build something that you know little about, where you aren't going to be too worried about accuracy, simply in order to produce a good looking model that you can be pleased with.  And thus it is with this month's Dassault Super Mystere B2, which I hope you will agree has turned out well.

The Super Mystere kit first appeared in 1972, when Airfix were riding high as the world's most successful model kit company. This is a well engineered kit, with excellent precise fit (no filler used), slightly heavy raised panel lines (nothing that a little light sanding can't improve) and a choice of French or Israeli markings, both camouflaged and natural metal.  As a “Series 3” kit, it was always just out of my weekly pocket

money territory back in the 1970s and although I always wanted to build one, I never did.  Roll forward 50 years and a cheap e-bay buy, missing most of its decals. To replace them, I acquired Modeldecal set 46, which covers aircraft at the 1977 Greenham Common Air Tattoo, including an SM B2 of EC 1/12 "Cambresis" of the French Air Force, based at the former Cambrai Air Base in north-east France.

There is little I can say about the kit; it really is an easy build and sits on its wheels without the need for any added weight, although the undercarriage is a little fragile and I broke one main leg during painting. As you might expect from its age, it has little detail, with a bare cockpit, albeit with a nice head up display/gunsight and a good main instrument panel. I added some simple sprue side-consoles to fill the space. The ejector seat looks nothing like my reference pictures, but can't really be seen when built.  

The kit’s only major shortfall is the lack of nose engine intake trunking - not hugely obvious, but there if you look.  Underwing stores are also a little disappointing - two supersonic fuel tanks (possibly not right for a later machine) and two rocket pods with frangible caps (possibly not right for an interceptor).

The aircraft wears US SEAC-style 3 tone camouflage - I suspect that French colours don't match US ones exactly, but I used the normal Humbrol 116/117/118 trio for the top sides, plus a mix of Humbrol Metalcote and 166 grey for the bottom, some Klear to apply the decals (transfers!), then an overall Windsor & Newton acrylic matt top coat. Camouflage edges were softened by applying a 2nd thinned coat over the edges of the first before it had fully dried.

This is a good kit, typical of the better Airfix kits of its era and well worth building.   

Background - Mirage 2000s at the Royal international Air Tattoo

An earlier Mystere IV being restored at the Midland Air Museum

The Super Mystere B.2 was a development of the Mystere IV, adding a more powerful ATAR 101 engine and thinner wings for supersonic performance. It entered full production in 1957  and was the first European aircraft capable of exceeding the speed of sound in level flight.

180 were built, serving with the French Air  force, Israeli Air Force and Honduras Air Force. French aircraft, such as the one depicted, remained in service until 1977 in ground attack roles.