1/48 Kinetic Dornier Alpha Jet A/E

Gallery Article by Gerd Wilcken on Feb 15 2018



The Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet is a light attack jet and advanced trainer aircraft co-manufactured by Dornier of Germany and Dassault-Breguet of France. Adopted by many air forces worldwide, the Alpha Jet continues to be widely used even after its useful service life was over for its primary operators, France and Germany.

The French Air Force decided to use the Alpha Jet primarily as a trainer, while the Luftwaffe used the type mainly in the light strike role, preferring to continue flight training in the south-western United States on American trainer types instead of performing training in Germany. Germany also used Alpha Jets based at Beja, Portugal and Goose Bay Canada for weapons training. All German Alpha Jet were retired in the early 90s. Some of these are still in Combat Air-to-Air-training with the "Discovery Air Defence Services" in Canada.

Other operators included Belgium, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, Thailand, Togo, and private contractor companies in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Alpha Jet was considered by the RAAF as a replacement for the Macchi 326 trainer aircraft that was due to retire in 1994, but it lost out to the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 127.

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At a German model building exhibition, I bought this kit from Kinetic. But in order to build the correct German version of Alpha Jet A, I had to fall back to Wingman Models for the necessary resin parts (weighted Wheels and the Gun Pod) plus the excellent decal set "Luftwaffe Alpha Jet A" with 29 (!) marking options. Sadly I forget the ejection seats, but to this later on.

Kinetic's 1:48 scale Alpha Jet comprises more than 172 light grey injection moulded parts, 20 clear parts and 7 etched metal parts. The fuselage is constructed from three main parts to which are added the nose cone, wings, intakes, and fin. The intakes have full intake ducting back to the engine compressor face. This is a big plus.

The surface detail is fine with recessed panel lines. The wings anhedral (downward position of the wings) looks correct, while wing panel detail is great and correct. Separate flaps are provided and can be positioned in the up or down positions.

The wheel wells look good but I decided to replace them by weighted resin parts. The cockpit has enough detail with nicely Martin Baker Mk.10 ejection seats and instrument panels with photo-etched harness assemblies being provided. The kit represents a late Alpha Jet A and E fitted with the Martin Baker Mk.10 seat. It does not contain the early Stencel seat so the modeler cannot build a German Alpha Jet A or Belgium Alpha Jet B or any other early version. I admit, that unfortunately I found this out too late and so I had to modify the existing seats as much as possible .or you can get the correct resin seats from Wingman! 

The transparencies are crystal clear and well moulded with three parts to allow the canopies to be positioned in the open position.

Alternate nose cones are also provided for the A (!) or E version, as are alternate in-fill panels, antennae and fuselage scoops for both the French and German versions of the aircraft.

4 underwing fuel tanks, Centre line small gun pod and the Centre line large gun pod for German Alpha Jet A. This one is not completely correct, so I replace this also by a resin part from Wingman.

Decals schemes:

  • Alpha Jet A of Discovery Air Defence Services - Canada (formerly Top Aces) finished in a wrap-around camouflage scheme of FS 35180 Gloss Light Blue, FS 36270 Gloss Medium Grey and FS 27874 Gloss White

  • Alpha Jet A of United Kingdom finished overall Gloss Black with Gloss White outer wings.

  • Alpha Jet E of the French Air Force finished in overall Grey.

As I mentioned above I chose the great Wingman German Alpha Jet Decal sheet.

One more word about my model presentation. For the first time I used a Display Base from the British Company   www.coastalkits.co.uk

Absolutely excellent model display bases in all common scales for almost all model making ranges. Dozens of topics like e.g. Air Force Insignia, Air Fields, Carrier decks, special Falklands War or British Bomber Command display. From Blurred surfaces for super flight presentations to Egg Plane Displays!!

Nice Kit, nice Display Base, both highly recommended

Gerd Wilcken

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Photos and text by Gerd Wilcken