The Dassault Rafale ( "Squall" in English) is a French twin-engined delta-wing highly agile multi-role fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Dassault uses the "Omni Role" name as a marketing term in an effort to differentiate the aircraft from other "multi-role" fighters that have primary and secondary roles. Dassault also uses the term to indicate the Rafale's ability to switch from one role to another during a single sortie, although the term is mostly meant to encapsulate the fact that the Rafale is replacing seven specialised planes.
The Rafale is being used by the French Air force and also is used for carrier based operations by the French Navy. It has also been marketed for export, and while there are no foreign sales yet, several countries have expressed interest.
Initially the Rafale B was to be just a trainer, but Gulf War and Kosovo experience showed that a second crew member is invaluable on strike and reconnaissance missions, and therefore more Rafale Bs were ordered, replacing some Rafale Cs. The two-seat Rafale B has been designed to perform precision ground attack, reconnaissance and nuclear strike missions. It will replace current Jaguar, Mirage F1, Mirage IV and Mirage 2000N aircraft. The French Air Force requires up to 139 Rafale Bs through 2019 to replace aging aircraft.
This kit is the same as the Hobby Boss Rafale C that was reviewed by Rowan (Merlin) here ( http://www.aeroscale.co.uk/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=2545
) . The only 2 differences to the parts is an extra sprue set for the second cockpit station, and a revised canopy.
No flash can be found on this kit but there are a few pin marks to be found inside the nose undercarriage doors, but these are pretty small. There does look to be three pin marks inside each of the main wheel wells but I actually think these are locating marks for the undercarriage legs rather then pin marks. The cross cut tyres I believe are incorrect as the few photos I have seen show the normal tread-ed pattern tyres.
Detail is pretty good concerning the cockpit, but as pointed out by Rowan a set of decals for the instrument and side consoles would have been nice. The undercarriage system looks pretty good with several parts making up each leg.
The fuselage and wings have some beautiful recessed panel lines and access hatches that should look quite stunning once a wash goes on them. There is numerous embossed rivet detail all over, which on the real aircraft are very faint. The rudder and control surfaces are separate parts so positioning them a few degrees off center should be possible.
The external fuel tanks and weapon pylons are a bit on the heavy side detailing wise, but with the amount of external stores you get I will forgive them.
The external stores available are,
2 x Apache anti-runway missiles,
2 x Magic air to air missiles,
2 x Mica air to air missiles, with a choice of two seeker heads, imaging infrared homing (MICA IR) or the active radar homing (MICA RF, also commonly called MICA AR) .
The clear parts look very good with no distortion apparent. The double canopy can be modelled in the open position.
The instructions look easy to follow and are quite clear with internal paint numbers given along the way. A weapons load out diagram is there for all the modellers (me included lol) who haven't a clue which pylons the weapons are supposed to go.
Painting and Decals
Four painting and decal options, all for French aircraft, are given but at no point are you told what unit they signify, which is quite annoying. I believe they are all the same aircraft in different markings as the tail code "B 01" is the same. Two choices of colour schemes are given, one is an all over Gray with the other three sporting a nice Dark Compass Ghost Grey/ Gray uppers camo scheme with a Gray underside.
All the paint numbers are from the Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Hobby colour and MR Color range.
The decals look to be in perfect register with only a little carrier film around the edges. As with the C version of this kit, no clue is given for the decal placment on the weapons.