The French aircraft industry produced several effective jet fighters after World War II. The Mystère IVA was the most advanced in the initial series of swept-winged improvements on Dassault’s original jet, the Ouragon. The high-performance Mystère was roughly equivalent to the late-model F-86 and the MiG-17. In the mid-1950s, Israel purchased a batch to counter MiG-15s flying with neighboring air forces.
Azur released three kits of the Mystère IVA — the same kit in French, Indian, and Israeli markings (the latter reviewed here). The model features excellent surface detail, a photoetched-metal fret (mostly for the cockpit), resin pieces that include a nice ejection seat, an acetate instrument panel, and a decal sheet with markings for three differently camouflaged Israeli aircraft. The instruction booklet takes you through eight construction steps and has a guide for painting and decaling.
Typical of a short-run kit, many parts must be trimmed for proper fit. Install the intake trunks, cockpit, wheel well, and exhaust before closing the fuselage halves. Pay close attention to the alignment of the intake trunks; they should be vertical in the fuselage halves so the separate splitter (Part A15) is vertical also. Disregard their locating holes inside the fuselage halves — they will lead you astray. Don’t forget to add ballast behind the cockpit bulkhead to keep the tricycle landing gear grounded.
With the wings in place, the instructions focus on the landing gear and doors. The attachment point for the main gear to the wings is just a dimple in the top of the wheel well. I reinforced this area with a small brass pin inserted into holes drilled in the top of the strut and the roof of the wheel well.
Fit of the main gear doors (parts B15 and B16) is problematic; they’re larger than the wheel well and do not close fully because the landing gear’s retraction arms get in the way. So, I decided to display them open. Since the main gear doors were down, I opened the forward nose gear door as well.
I also did some fiddling with the windscreen and canopy. The aft portion of the canopy doesn’t match the shape of the fuselage cutout. Instead of a lot of sanding on the clear part, I opened the canopy and sanded the area behind the cockpit until the canopy seated properly.
Azur didn’t provide a pitot tube for the right wing, so I fashioned one from a straight pin.
I painted my model with various Alclad II metallic paints for the natural metal finish. The decals worked really well: thin and opaque, they settled nicely into the surface detail, even over compound curves. The red stripe along the fuselage, though, dried with an orange tint rather than a deep red. Also, I was suspicious of the black and yellow “Suez” recognition stripes. However, research indicated some aircraft may have had this variation rather than the typical yellow and black stripes.
This kit is not a quick build, and it will test all your modeling skills to achieve a good replica. None of the fiddling I did was difficult — there was just a lot of it. I enjoyed the challenge and the 25 hours I spent on the kit. Most importantly, I like the way my Mystère IVA turned out. I would recommend Azur’s kit for the intermediate modeler or beginners wishing to step up their game.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2013 FineScale Modeler.