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Cheetah D SAAF Fighter

Kinetic, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Item No. Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter
Contents and Media: 359 parts in grey plastic; 11 parts in clear; markings for four schemes.
Scale 1/48
Price: USD$39.99 plus shipping available online from Lucky Model
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Hgh level of detail inside and out; crisp and consistent surface textures including recessed panel lines; accurate detail; Attractive Cartograf decal sheet
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation:

A lovely kit of this Delta wing South African jet fighter.

Reviewed by Brett Green

Introduction

 

Background

The Atlas Cheetah is a South African fighter aircraft designed and produced by the aviation company Atlas Aircraft Corporation (later Denel Aeronautics). It was developed at the behest of, and principally operated by, the South African Air Force (SAAF).

The Cheetah was developed amid the Border War of the 1980s as a major upgrade of the French-built Dassault Mirage III fleet operated by the SAAF. The programme integrated technology from the Israeli-built IAI Kfir,[2] which had been derived from the Mirage 5/IAI Nesher. The upgrade programme, which was known as Project Cushion, produced three variants; the two-seat Cheetah D, the single-seat Cheetah E, and the single-seat Cheetah C. All three models were inducted into the SAAF, functioning for a time as the service's most capable fighter and strike aircraft. A single Cheetah R, intended for aerial reconnaissance, was built as a prototype, but this variant never entered service.

 

 

During 1992, the Cheetah E model was withdrawn from SAAF service; both the Cheetah Cs and Cheetah Ds were retired during April 2008, having been being replaced by the Swedish-built Saab Gripen. Since its retirement by the SAAF, a limited number have still operated in South Africa as flight test aircraft. Some have been exported, such as to the Ecuadorian Air Force (EAF) as a source of spare parts. The privately owned company Draken International intends to use the Cheetah as an adversarial aircraft for combat training services in the United States.

Historical summary sourced from Wikipedia.


 

Kinetic Mirage III / V Kits

Kinetic released their first 1/48 scale Mirage IIIE kit early in 2015 followed by a Mirage IIIE/5 in 2016.

In his initial detailed in-box review, Mirage expert Mick Evans was very impressed with the kit, stating that it was accurate, well detailed and one of Kinetic's best kits to date.

In 2017 Kinetic added a two-seater Mirage kit to their lineup from which a Mirage IIIB, IIID, IIIDE, IIIDS or IIID2Z could be built straight from the box.

This was followed by a Mirage IIIEBR/IIIEA/V South America, single and two-seater IAI Nesher and additional variations on the theme by Wingman Models based on the Kinetic sprues.

Now it is the turn of the Cheetah.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Kinetic's 1/48 scale Cheetah D comprises 359 parts in grey plastic with 11 parts in clear plastic and markings for six schemes. There are many parts that do not apply to this version and many more optional parts, so the parts actually used for the build will be substantially fewer than 359.

 

  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48081 - Cheetah D SAAF Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
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Surface textures are very crisp and fine. Panel lines, vents and fasteners are delicately and consistently recessed.

 

 

Many of the parts are common with earlier Mirage kits but the new parts are included to deliver the characteristic drooping snoot. The result is an aircraft that looks like the love child of a Mirage and an F-4E Phantom II!

 

 

Other characteristic of the type such as the small fixed canards, drooping leading edge and dog-tooth incision on each wing are included too.

 

 

New instrument panels, ejection seat and refuelling probe are also present on the new sprues.

 

 

The detail in the all-plastic cockpit is very nice, but you will have to bring your own harness straps.

Flaps may be posed lowered or raised, and the wing air brakes are also poseable.

The clear parts were first seen in the 2017 two-seater boxing. They are thin and free from distortion with no centreline seam to remove.

 

 

A new windscreen is provided on Sprue H.

 

 

Ordnance includes two wing drop tanks and two Matra rockets.

 

 


 

Markings

Four marking options are offered on the Cartograf-printed decal sheet.

Three of these are South African and one is Ecuadorian.

 

 

They have been designed by FCM and printed by Cartograf.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Kinetic has delivered a lovely 1/48 scale kit of this Delta wing South African jet fighter.

The Cheetah D is a great looking aeroplane and Kinetic has certainly done it justice.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Lucky Model for the samples


Review Text and Images Copyright © 2022 by Brett Green
Page Created 6 July, 2022
Last updated 6 July, 2022

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