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A Navy Rafale
gets airborne

Gallic Warrior
The Dassault Rafale

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he Dassault Rafale is a French, twinengined fourth generation


Ominirole aircraft, equipped with a
wide range of weapons for its roles of air
supremacy, interdiction reconnaissance,
and nuclear strike.

Everything down and coming in to land

Introduced in 2001, the Rafale has been produced for


both the French Air Force as the single-seat Rafale C and
the two-seat Rafale B, and for the French Navy as the
Rafale M. The aircraft has also been widely marketed for
export to several countries including the Indian Air Force,
the Egyptian Air Force and the Qatari Air Force. The Rafale
has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali
and Iraq, and several upgrades to its weapons and
avionics have been introduced or are on-going. The Rafale
was developed as a modern jet fighter with a very high
level of agility, and for this Dassault chose to combine a
delta wing with an active close-coupled canard to

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maximize manoeuvrability. The Rafale is an


aerodynamically unstable aircraft that uses digital fly-bywire to artificially enforce and maintain its stability. The
canards also act to reduce the minimum landing speed to
115 knots and allow the aircraft to take off using a skijump with no modifications. Although not a full-aspect
stealth aircraft, the Rafale was designed with reduced
radar cross-section and infrared signature, and
extensively uses composite materials in its airframe.
Rafale A - Technology demonstrator, flying in 1986
Rafale B - Two-seat version for the French Air Force
Rafale C - Single-seat version for the French Air Force
Rafale M Carrier version for the French Navy with a
a strengthened airframe, longer nose gear leg, larger tail
hook and other navalised equipment

In Combat
The Rafale was first deployed to a combat zone in 2002
when seven Rafale Ms embarked aboard the Charles De
Gaulle during Mission Heracles the French participation
in Operation Enduring Freedom. They flew from the
aircraft carrier over Afghanistan, but did not see any
action. In June 2002, while the Charles de Gaulle was in
the Arabian Sea, Rafales conducted several patrols near
the India-Pakistan border, and in 2007, six aircraft were
given the ability to drop laser-guided bombs, in view of
engaging them in Afghanistan. Three of these Air Force
types were deployed to Dushanbe in Tajikistan, while
the other three were flown by the Navy from the Charles
de Gaulle. The first mission occurred on 12 March 2007,
and the first GBU-12 was launched on 28 March in
support of embattled Dutch troops in Southern
Afghanistan, marking the operational dbut of the
Rafale. Between January 2009 and December 2011, a
minimum of three Rafales were stationed at Kandahar

A great view of the


weaponry and hardpoints!

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The Rafale was first deployed to a combat zone in 2002

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Dassault chose to combine a delta wing with an active closecoupled canard in the Rafale

International Airport to conduct combat operations in


support of NATO ground forces.
In March 2011, French Rafales began conducting
reconnaissance and strike missions over Libya in
Operation Harmattan, and their initial targets were
artillery pieces laying siege around the rebel city of
Benghazi. The Rafale was able to operate in Libya
without the support of SEAD aircraft by using its
onboard SPECTRA self-defence system. During the
conflict Rafales typically conducted six-hour sorties

The Rafale carries the Damocles targeting pod

A Rafale B during Operation Serval in 2013

Rafale Ms aboard the USS Harry S Truman

over Libyan airspace, carrying an armament of four


MICA air-to-air missiles, four or six AASM Hammer
bombs, a Damocles targeting pod and two drop tanks,
and these patrols required multiple aerial refuelling
operations from coalition tanker aircraft. Reportedly,

Rafale crews preferred to use GPS-guided munitions


due to greater reliability and range, and also Storm
Shadow SCALP weapons were deployed during one or
two sorties, including one against a Libyan airbase at
Al-Jufran. In January 2013, the Rafale took part in
Operation Serval, the French military intervention in
Mali, with the first mission being carried out on 13
January, when four Rafales took off from an airbase in
France to strike rebel training camps, depots and
facilities in the city of Gao. Subsequent airstrikes in the
following days by Rafale and Mirage fighters were
reportedly instrumental in the withdrawal of Islamist
militant forces from Timbuktu and Douentza. In
September 2014, Rafales began flying reconnaissance
missions over Iraq as part of Operation Chammal
France's contribution to the international effort to
combat the so-called Islamic State militants. Six, and
later nine aircraft were initially tasked with identifying
IS positions in support of US airstrikes, flying from Al
Dhafra Air Base in the UAE. On 18 September, Rafales
joined American operations in conducting attacks,
launching four strikes near the Northern Iraqi town of
Zumar destroying a logistics depot.

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Dassault Rafale C 113-BV of SPA.77 Croix de Jerusalem, EC 01.007 Provence, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base. The
aircraft is finished in overall Dark Compass Grey with a Dark Grey Radome

Dassault Rafale B 7-HW carries all the badges of the component units based at EC 01.007 Provence, Saint
Dizier-Robinson Air Base. The aircraft is finished in overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome

Dassault Rafale M 20 of Flotille 12F aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The aircraft is finished in
overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome

Dassault Rafale B HM of SPA.15 Heaume dArgent EC 01.007 Provence, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base. The
aircraft is finished in overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome

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Dassault Rafale C 113-IV of SPA.91 Agile Empietant une Tete de Mort, EC 1.007 Provence, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base.
The aircraft is finished in overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome

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Flotille Fighter
James Dickerson builds the 1:48 Revell Rafale M

must say I was absolutely delighted


to get my hands on Revells 1:48 kit of
the Rafale because Ive not built any
of the European fighters, and that
needed to change. This kit of the Rafale
was originally released in 2001, yet
despite its age, its still a wonderful
build. My initial inspection revealed
crisp moulded detail featuring panel
lines and some choice riveting detail,
and the only injector pin marks that are
of issue can be found in the intakes, but
will be easily handled. To start any
project, I prefer to browse through the
instructions and identify any subassemblies that I can get out of the way
before having to break out the airbrush.
Here, I was able to join the wing halves,
build up the ordnance I planned to use,
assemble the landing gear and add
other little bits here and there.
I must admit that when I began taking cockpit
pieces off the sprues that I was concerned with the level
of detail, and to complicate matters further, the entire
cockpit is finished off in a dark grey, which really eats
light and is fairly uninteresting. So a little dry brushing
and the use of some lighter shades made the interior
more workmanlike. However, even with some work the
cockpit is monochrome and frankly bland, so I decided
to close the canopy on this build! Before mating the
fuselage halves around the cockpit, I airbrushed the
gear bay inserts in Hobby Color Light Ghost Grey #308

Dassault Rafale M
Manufacturer: Revell
Scale: 1:48
Kit Type: Plastic injection moulded
Kit Number: 04517

and left them to dry before applying a dark grey wash


over a coat of gloss. My tip here would be to avoid
installing the canards, as they are moulded as one piece,
and fixing them later would make painting and
handling the model less troublesome. You are going to
want to paint the intake pieces before assembly to avoid
awkward airbrushing angles, and here I used Mr Color
Gloss White #156 and allowed them to dry. When
dry the intakes were masked so I could
paint the forward sections. Also,
its a good idea to paint the
section of the fuselage behind
the intake trunks at this point.
Now it was time to begin the
painting process proper, and if you
want a smooth and clean paint job,
then the most important step is to
clean the models surface before
getting out your
airbrush. I like to
wet a paper towel
with Isopropyl

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Work being undertaken


on the intake trunking

Even with some work the cockpit is a little bland

I chose to use a darker panel wash to pick out


the details

Alcohol and give the model a liberal wiping. With the


model clean, I sprayed on a coat of Mr Color Black #18 to
check for any flaws. Then I added a solid layer of Mr Color
Dark Sea Grey #331. This served as a base for my
blending technique, aimed at creating a worn paint
effect and adding depth to the model. When the
basecoat had dried I moved to adding what I call a
marbling coat. For this I use a mix of the lightened base
colour, by adding White to the airbrush mixing cup and
tinting it with a couple of drops of the Dark Sea Grey.
This is thinned significantly so I can spray at a pressure of
around 10 psi. The lightened mix was added in a
marbling pattern over the entire aircraft, and you may
want to vary the coverage, so that the next step leaves
you with some contrast.

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The model was


prepared with a primer
coat of Black
Just a touch of
filler was needed
on the wing joints

followed by a basecoat
of Dark Gull Grey

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Model Aircraft Choice


and a marbling coat of using a
lightened application of Dark Gull Grey

We Recommend
Mr Color Gloss White #156
Mr Color Black #18
Hobby Color Dark Sea Grey #331
Hobby Color Light Ghost Grey #308
The Hobby Color paints used in this feature are
distributed in the UK by Albion Hobbies and are
available to order directly from the SAM Shop
and from other UK modelling outlets and stores

www.revell.de/en
Since the aircraft was fairly dark, I
chose to use an even darker panel
wash to pick out the details

To blend everything in
thinned coats of Dark Gull
Grey were carefully added

COMBAT EDGE DASSAULT RAFALE

The final step in the painting process is


to tone down the stark contrast of the
previous step. For this the base colour was
heavily thinned in an 80:20 mix, again use a
low air pressure to slowly build up a thin
layer of paint and blend things in. Again,
vary the coverage. The next step
was to add a coat of
Gloss and apply
the decals, which
were then sealed
with another gloss
coat. Since the grey
was fairly dark, I chose
to use an even darker panel
wash to pick out the details, and allowed this to
dry for about half an hour before any excess was wiped
away with cotton bud, and if you do this in the direction
of airflow you get some subtle streaking. A final coat of
Satin completed the look.
Im immensely pleased to have this kit on my bench,
as the Rafale is a beautiful aircraft and Revells kit was a
very nice build. MA
Thanks to Revell for the build sample.

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