The Aérospatiale SA 321 Super Frelon, (frelon is hornet in French) was a three-engine heavy transport helicopter produced by Aérospatiale of France. It was Western Europe's largest production
helicopter with a Sikorsky-designed rotor system of and a watertight hull suitable for amphibious operation. While both civilian and military versions were built, the military variants were the most
numerous, entering service with the French military as well as export versions used by Israel, South Africa, Libya, China and Iraq. The transport version, which had its inaugural flight in 1962, was able
to carry 38 equipped troops, or alternatively 15 stretchers for casualty evacuation tasks. An anti-submarine warfare (ASW) version was developed for the Aeronavale which were put into service in
October 1965. The Naval anti-submarine and anti-ship variants were usually equipped with navigation and search radar and a 50 meter rescue cable. Some were later modified with nose-mounted
targeting radar for Exocet anti-ship missiles. By 2009, only 4 Super Frelons remained in service with the Aeronavale and the last carrier landing was done aboard the
Charles de Gaulle April 28, 2010.
Two days later the Super Frelon were removed from active service by the French military. The helicopter is still in use in China where the locally produced version is known as the Z-8.

L’Arsenal has produced a 1/400 scale version of this helicopter as part of its line of Marine Nationale accessories made specifically to detail and upgrade the variety of French Navy kits made by Heller.
Resin and brass parts are provided to build two of these helicopters. The resin casting is well done with excellent detail. The large cockpits windows are reproduced nicely as is the base for the main
rotor, the engine air intakes engine and the distinctive nose radome. A little bit of cleanup is required to remove some resin film from between the fuselage and the side landing gear sponsons as indicated
in the assembly instructions. Apparently having this bit of resin made the casting process easier. Wisps of extra resin film will also need to be removed in spots as well. The remaining resin parts are the
landing wheels of which 12 are provided as each helicopter needs six. The photo-etch parts comprised of the main and tail rotors, stabilizer, landing gear and support struts for the wheel sponsons and
stabilizer. The photo-etch is will done with excellent relief-etching. A simple instruction sheet is provided on the back of the label showing the location for all parts. No painting instructions are provided
which would have been helpful to describe the two-color scheme used by the Aeronavale. Markings are also not provided but these are sold as a separate decal sheet by
L’Arsenal. Reference photos
on the Internet will help with the two-color scheme and placement of markings.
The Super Frelon is a nice addition to L’Arsenal’s 1/400 scale line and will look good sitting on the flight decks of the Heller kits of the Charles de Gaulle, Foch, Clemenceau and Jeanne d’Arc.
Felix Bustelo
Sultan of Soho
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