Dassault Super Mystere B.2 by AZ Model
Kit No. AZ 7564
Decals: Three versions – all Armee de l’ Air
Comments: Engraved panel lines and recessed rivet detail; resin cockpit tub and ejection seat; one-piece canopy
The Super Mystère B.2 was a development of the Super Mystère B.1 but equipped with the more powerful Snecma Atar 101 G turbojet preferred by the French Air Force. The prototype Super Mystère B2 made its 40-minute maiden flight at Melun-Villaroche on May 15, 1956, piloted by Gérard Muselli. During this flight it broke the sound barrier in level flight without using its after-burner, and was the first indigenous fighter in Western Europe to go supersonic. Earlier versions of the Mystere had achieved supersonic speed, but only in a dive.
The last of Dassault’s Mystere series of fighters, the Super Mystere was largely a completely new aircraft, bearing some resemblance to the North American F-100 Super Sabre, which also featured a large oval air intake. Super Mysteres were similar in performance to the F-100, but smaller.
The first production aircraft flew at Mérignac on February 26, 1957 and the type entered service with the Armee de l’Air in May 1958 when the first examples were delivered to the 10th Creil Fighter Wing. The initial order for 220 aircraft was cut to 178, and then finally 154 in a climate of successive defense budget cuts during the late 1950’s. The last Super Mystere B.2 was delivered to the French Air Force in 1959.
Armament consisted of twin DEFA 30mm cannon, and early versions could also carry thirty-five 68mm unguided rockets. This built-in rocket pack was quickly abandoned. The aircraft had two stores pylons, and could carry an external load of 900 kilograms (one US ton). External stores included drop tanks, bombs, unguided rocket pods, AS30 guided rockets, or AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
In 1958, Israel ordered 24 Super Mystère B.2. These aircraft took part in the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Prior to these conflicts, the B.2’s service with the Israelis revealed that it was similar in performance to the Russian-built MiG-17, which equipped the Egyptian Air Force. A series of dogfights provoked by both sides during the late 1950’s and early sixties failed to reveal which fighter was superior.
Two such encounters took place during 1960, one during February, one on May 26th and another on August 19th. A number of MiGs were damaged in these dogfights, but not a single one was downed, much to the disappointment of the Super Mystere pilots. Only after the arrival of the Dassault Mirage III in 1962 was the cause of these failures discovered. Both aircraft were equipped with the same 30mm DEFA cannons whose rounds were set for delayed detonation, suitable against Soviet bombers for which they were developed, but ineffectual against jet fighters. The solution had come too late for the Super Mystere, by this time surpassed by the Mirage as the IAF’s top interceptor.
In 1977, 18 second-hand Israeli models, with new American Pratt & Whitney J52 engines without after-burners were sold to Honduras. The Honduran B.2’s were involved in several border skirmishes with aircraft of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government during the 1980’s, and were finally withdrawn from service in 1996, when they were replaced by American Northrop F-5E’s. One of the B.2’s is preserved at the Honduras Air Museum. In France, Super Mystere B2s were relegated to the attack role after the Mach 2 Mirage III came on line, but remained in French service until the mid-1970’s (some sources say 1974, others 1977), being replaced by the Mirage IIIC and Mirage F1C.
AZ Model’s Dassault Super Mystere B.2 is injection molded in grey plastic and consists of 32 plastic parts, including a single clear plastic one-piece canopy. In addition, there are six resin parts, three wheels for the nose and main landing gear, a detailed cockpit tub with the control yoke integrated into the injection molding, an ejection seat and an oval plug to block the jet intake.
The main instrument panel is highly detailed and together with the resin ejection seat will make for an interesting cockpit display; unfortunately the one-piece canopy provides no option to open up the cockpit without doing some scratchbuilding. The instruction sheet is in color, is clear and well laid out, providing a choice of powerplant, either the ATAR turbojet favored by the French Air Force, or the less powerful Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet with the longer, more tapered exhaust nozzle.
The landing gear and their doors are well detailed, as is the nose wheel well, but the main gear wells are shallow and offer the barest of ribbed detail. The resin wheels will add a measure of crisp detail and realism. There are parts for two underwing pylons, but the kit includes no ordnance of any kind. Unless you are going to resort to aftermarket add-ons, it seems modelers are being invited to build the kit in a clean configuration.
This is a highly interesting kit of an important member of Dassault’s Mystere family, fulfilling a need for a badly needed update to the old Airfix kit. Its only drawbacks are the lack of underwing stores, not even a pair of drop tanks, and the fact that the manufacturer did not contemplate an open cockpit. Even still, highly recommended if you have an interest in French fighters of the Cold War.
- Kit Instructions