The Eurocopter SA-365 Dauphin has been a very successful helicopter design. Originally built by the French firm of Aerospatiale, a twin engine version was announced in 1973. This version was known as the Dauphin 2 SA-365 C and first flew in 1975. Deliveries started in 1978. Production of the SA-365 C ceased in favor of the much improved SA-365 N1, which provided more powerful engines, retractable tricycle landing gear, larger tail surfaces, new rotors and a redesigned tail shroud. First flown in 1979, deliveries started in 1982. Subsequent upgrades have introduced the SA-365 N2 and SA-365 N3. Eurocopter, which is a consortium of Aerospatiale (70% ownership) and Daimler Aerospace (DASA)(30% ownership) still produces the Dauphin 2.

The military version of the Dauphin is known as Eurocopter Panther. In addition to various army versions, there are two naval versions. The Panther is a version of the twin engine As-365 N and is given the number AS-565. The AS-565 MA/MB is a navalized search and rescue (SAR) version. An antisubmarine version was produced as the AS-565 SA/SB. The United States Coast Guard purchased 99 copies of another variant, the SA-366 G1 Dauphin, optimized for their requirements. The People’s Republic of China also produces a version of the Dauphin 2.

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Now L’Arsenal has the Dauphin SA-365 available in 1:350 scale. L’Arsenal set AC350-32 includes resin and photo-etch parts for four aircraft. The bodies with wheel wells open, are one-piece resin parts. They come attached to casting blocks along the bottom of each piece, however these are easily removed. As usual, L’Arsenal packs a lot of detail into the castings. The windows and doors are delicately done, as are the exhausts of the twin engines. The Dauphin uses the Fenestron rotor system, in which a small, many bladed tail rotor, is located within a shroud to counteract the natural torque of the main rotor. With the L’Arsenal Dauphin the area inside the shroud is open, after flash is removed, for a photo-etch tail rotor. This type of design adds great detail to these models. The stainless steel photo-etch fret contains all of the other considerable number of parts. In addition to the tail rotors, there are the main rotors. Two main rotors are with extended blades (one-piece) and two with folded blades (three-piece) for storage. Six sets of wheels, two side and one nose, are included so you’ll have some spares in case you loose one. Lastly there are four photo-etch pieces for each helicopter tail assembly. 

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