Kitty Hawk 1/48 Super Etendard
KIT #: KH80138
PRICE: $51.99 SRP
DECALS: Eight options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit (2016)


The Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard (Étendard is French for "battle flag") is a French carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft designed by Dassault-Breguet for service with the French Navy. The aircraft is an advanced development of the Étendard IVM. The Super Étendard first flew in October 1974 and entered French service in June 1978. French Super Étendards have served in several conflicts such as the Kosovo War, the War in Afghanistan and the military intervention in Libya.

The Super Étendard was also operated by Iraq and Argentina, who both deployed the aircraft during wartime. The Super Étendard was used by Iraq to attack oil tankers and merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq-Iran War. Argentina's use of the Super Étendard and the Exocet missile during the 1982 Falklands War led to the aircraft gaining considerable popular recognition. In French service, the Super Étendard is to be replaced by the Dassault Rafale by roughly 2016.

The aircraft undertook its final carrier launch with the French Navy on 17 March 2016, ahead of its withdrawal from service on 12 July 2016.


Though Kitty Hawk is not the first to do a Super Etendard in this scale (that goes to Heller a few decades back), this one is without a doubt the most detailed kit yet done of this aircraft. The box of grey plastic sprues is literally packed with bits as Kitty Hawk has provided us with more weapons than we shake a stick at. Also included is a superb set of markings and a useful photo etch fret.

Let me start with that fret. It includes a seat harness, the plates that go between the fin and the horizontal stab, the upper wing spoilers, a piece for the inside of the final compressor stage, and the inner metalwork for the speed brakes. All these items are appropriate for the material, and there isn't a lot of it.

If you look at the breakdown of parts, you can see that Kitty Hawk will be doing the Etendard planes some time in the future. The kit has a separate nose piece as well as a separate rear fuselage section. This latter is there because you can remove it to show the full engine that is included. The kit has a considerable number of inserts to ensure that the version you are building is correct. For instance, there are some antenna differences that occurred through the life of the airplane, and these are taken care of with the appropriate inserts, so you need to pay attention to the instructions and determine which markings option you want to do early in the build.

The cockpit has a nine piece bang seat on which one then places the p.e. harness. THe various side consoles are separate pieces to fit into the side panels and you ahve a two piece control stick and two rudder pedals. There are decals for the instruments should you so wish to use those.

All the gear wells are made up of separate sections with the required boxes one often sees in modern jet wells. These are either separate items or molded in place. On the nose section, one has a refueling probe that is modeled extended. One also assembles the complete nose gear assembly and then traps it and the cockpit in the nose section to be attached to the rest of the airframe as a complete section. There is no indication of any weight requirements, but I'd put some in just in case.

I mentioned a separate engine and one has to install it or there will be nothing on which to attach the tailpipe and last compressor stage. The main gear wells and speed brake wells are separate and fit inside the fuselage halves along with a small equipment bay. Before gluing the halves together, there is an upper spine section that needs attached. Once the engine and fuselage are together, the aft section can be glued on if one so wishes. Then one attaches the nose, a lower fuselage piece and the intakes. No trunking is provided for the intakes.

The fin and horizontal stabs are then built up using the appropriate inserts for the markings option you are using. This completed section is then attached to the upper rear fuselage. The wings are in right and left sides with individual slats, ailerons and flaps. Only the flaps can be posed lowered and there seems to be no neutral position option. One will also need to open holes in the lower wing for the various pylons and the flap hinge. Though the wing tips are separate, they are shown being built in the lowered position.

A separate windscreen and canopy are provided. There is also a boarding ladder with shallow recesses provided in the nose for its attachment. There are more 'things under wings' than you will use. In the mix are fuel tanks, a centerline recce pod, a buddy fuel tank, FLIR pod, chaff dispenser, ECM pods, Magic AAMs, Exocet, AS-30, GBU-12s, 68mm rocket pods and some other bits. Several of these have unique pylons and those are also included. A loadout diagram is provided.

Markings are included for eight planes that cover all the schemes worn by the Super Etendard. There are two that are not French and those include an Argentine plane from the Falklands War and an Iraqi aircraft used during the 'tanker war' portion of the Iran/Iraq war. Three of the French planes are Tiger Meet aircraft in various levels of complexity. One is an 80th Anniversary plane with the blue, white and red tail. Then there is the box art plane and one that participated in ISAF during 2007 in an overall light grey. The decals are nicely printed and have been shown to be VERY thin so one needs to be careful when using them.


Overall, an interesting choice of subject and one that should be quite welcome to those who have an interest in the type or just want something a bit different from the usual. Like all Kitty Hawk kits, it will probably take a bit to build it due to the sheer number of parts and the close tolerances, but it is not beyond any modeler with a modicum of experience.


July 2016 

Thanks to Kitty Hawk models for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.

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