1/48 HobbyBoss Rafale C Fighter

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on July 25 2014

 

For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my 1/48 scale HobbyBoss Rafale C Fighter.

In October 1982, the French Defense Ministry announced that Dassult Aviation would build a technology demonstrator named Avion. The resultant Rafale A technology demonstrator was a large delta winged fighter with canards and a fly-by-wire flight control system. In April of 1988. the French government awarded Dassult a contract to build four Rafale prototypes, one Rafale C, two Rafale Ms, and one Rafale B.

The C model prototype (designated C01) made its first flight in May of 1994. The model here depicts the prototype C01. HobbyBoss neglected to mention that the model was a prototype Rafale C. The C01 differed significantly from the Rafale A. At a glance, it looked identical to the technology demonstrator. However, it was smaller and more stealthy with the addition of radar-absorbent materials (RAM). The prototype also had an extensive application of composite and other materials, which reduced the radar cross-section (RCS) and weight. Dassault also rejected variable engine inlets and a dedicated air brake, this reduces maintenance and saves weight.

 

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Construction
This was an out of the box build and an enjoyable one. The parts fit was pretty fair, although I did quite a bit of seam filling, but the external detail is excellent. Construction began with the cockpit that went together nicely. There is not a lot of instrument panel detail as the Rafale has a glass cockpit. The ejection seat is well detailed and has molded ejection seat belts. Note that the ejection seat slants back 30˚ much like the ejection seat in an F-16.

Construction went along smoothly until I reached Step 5, building and installing the main landing gears. The landing gears themselves are easy to build following the instruction guide assembly drawings. Installing them into the wheel bays was another story. The assembly drawing to install them into the wheel bays is useless. Some years ago I built a Rafale B. I used the Rafale B as a model to see how they were installed.

The first thing to note was the very tight fit. I did some serious sanding to get them in the correct position in the wheel bays. To get the gears into the wheel bays, you have to twist and turn the gears. The rest of the kit went together without any hassles. Two things of note; I installed a lead weight into the nose area to prevent any tail sitting. Two, in Step 6 the assembly drawing shows the canards as one assembly that you install when joining the top half of the fuselage to the bottom half. I would recommend against this as they will get in the way when installing the air intakes. I cut the canard piece (C22) so I had two canards that I glued into a fixed position.

Painting
Painting the Rafale C prototype model was a simple affair since the model is one color, Model Masters Flat Black. I toyed with the idea of painting it some other color until I discovered that the Rafale C prototype was painted with Radar Absorbing Material (RAM) like the retired USAF F-117 Stealth Fighter. The landing gears and wheel bays were painted with Floquil Bright Silver. The missiles were painted Flat Gull Gray. After the paint had cured and dried, I hand brushed two coats of Future on the model in preparation for decals.

Decals
The decals for this kit were excellent. They are well printed, easily placed on the model and snuggled down nicely with a light application of Solvaset. However, HobbyBoss was remiss in providing decal placement. for the missiles. After applying decals, I wiped the model with a damp cloth, then I hand brushed a light coat of Future over the entire model. To finish the model, I airbrushed the entire model with a coat of Model Masters Clear Gloss Lacquer.

Comments
To sum up, this was a nice kit to build. HobbyBoss has done a nice job with this kit. The external detail is good, the parts fit is good, and the decals were excellent. I recommend this kit to any modeler.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text by Burt Gustafson