Kinetic's 1/48 scale
Mirage IIIEBR / IIIEA / IAI M5 Dagger South America
by Mick Evans
Mirage IIIEBR / IIIEA / IAI M5 Dagger South America
Revell's 1/72 Shackleton is available online from Squadron for only $35.99!
Kinetic Models 1/48 scale Kit No. 48052
USD$39.99 plus shipping available online from Lucky Model
This kit from Kinetic is a follow on to the first Mirage IIIE/O kit released early in 2015. Previously there had been some releases of the Mirage by various manufacturers with the Mirage IIIC being released by Heller and Esci which were good kits for their time but were totally superseded by the Hobby Boss release and the excellent Eduard releases of the Mirage IIIC. The Mirage IIIE in 1/48 scale was serviced by the ordinary Academy kit and the reasonable Esci/Italeri release. The best kit on the market was the Multimedia Fonderie Miniatures kit which used the Heller Mirage IIIC kit as a basis with a new IIIE fuselage and multiple resin parts to make an accurate and very good looking Mirage IIIE. When Eduard first released the Mirage IIIC the modelling community was buzzing with rumours that Eduard would go on to complete the entire Mirage family but nearly 10 years on and no further progress.
The Mirage is one of my favourite aircraft as it was the first aircraft that I worked on after my initial apprentice training in the RAAF and I continued to work on it for over seven years from 1980-1988. I got to learn all the little nuances of detail of the Mirage over the years so I was keen to see how accurate the releases from Kinetic were. I had previously spent many hours looking at the accuracy of this kit as I had a pre-production version of the Mirage IIIE/O kit sent to me by Kinetic in November 2014 for a review check. I was able to check detail and accuracy against various Mirage kits and plans and against the excellent Mirage IIIO publication by Darren Mottram and Paul Mason.
Kinetic has not let us down. I would rate this kit from Kinetic to be very accurate and has excellent detail and now having built six of these kits I find it very easy to build.
The surface detail is fine and restrained and represents the panel lines of the Mirage that I am used to without being overdone and trench like. My only comment on surface detail is the fine rivet detail. The Mirage is constructed using flush countersunk rivets which are not really visible on the full-size aircraft unless it is in its early bare metal schemes, while Kinetic has done a great job with very fine rivet lines they really could have left them off, particularly in 1/48 scale.
The kit contains over 270 light grey injection moulded parts and 15 clear parts. The fuselage is basically two one piece halves to which is added the nose cone, wings and intakes. One important detail that all kits of the Mirage III/V manufacturers miss but Kinetic have included are the rear radio hatch bulges located just below the pitch dampers on the lower rear fuselage, big plus for this. The intakes are very good having full intake ducting back to the engine compressor face, another big plus. This assembly is easy and locating lugs in the top fuselage seam ensure positive location.
The wings are spot on, the anhedral is correct, panel detail is also superb and correct. Most importantly every vent around the gun troughs and gun bay have been moulded, something missed on all Mirage models. The small air scoop on the front of the gun bay is included and this is only fitted to the gun pack and not the gun bay fuel tank so check your references for this and remove it if you are not modelling an aircraft fitted with the gun pack. This would also mean removing the gun barrels from the gun troughs and the gas vents on the gun bay panels. The Mirage rarely flew with the gun pack fitted instead opting for the extra 72 gallons of fuel that could be fitted in the gun bay fuel tank. The only disappointment is the air scoops under the wings and fuselage have no recess moulding. During construction I drilled these out and opened them up to the correct shape. This takes about 10 minutes and is relatively easy.
The main wheel wells have good detail but they are missing all the hydraulic pipework that is very evident in the main wheel well. Separate speed brakes are supplied and is a big plus for any Mirage kit and is greatly applauded as most of the time when a Mirage is on the ground the speed brakes are slightly cracked open. The speed brakes are used by the pilot to bleed the hydraulic pressure after the engine has shutdown, and depending on the skill of the pilot was to how far these were cracked open. The best pilots got them back to streamlined or almost.
The nose wheel well detail is great as are the undercarriage legs and doors. Optional leg doors are supplied for the different versions so check your references prior to installing them. The cockpit has sufficient detail with alternate ejection seats and instrument panels being provided. A Martin Baker Mk4 ejection seat is provided for the early Mirage versions. Some Mirages were also fitted with a Martin Baker Mk6 seat so you will need to source this from the aftermarket world if you need one to build a later model Mirage. The alternate Mk10 seat is provided for the Mirage IIIRD version.
Four alternate instrument panels are supplied for the different versions.
Alternate upper equipment bay hatches for just behind the cockpit are provided. Alternate pitot probes for just in front of the windscreen are provided to cater for all versions as are the alternate Doppler panels for underneath the forward fuselage. For the Mirage V/Dagger all options of the nose cone are supplied to cater for all variations.
Kinetic also provide separate elevons and pitch dampers along with elevon actuator covers for either the streamlined or drooped position. Now if the pitch dampers were deselected as normal prior to engine shutdown, the pitch dampers will be streamlined, rarely are these drooped, this can only occur if someone had the pitch dampers selected with hydraulic power on and was moving the flight controls when the hydraulic power bled down. The elevons are totally different; these will always be in the drooped position unless there is hydraulic power supplied by the engine, emergency hydraulic pump or external hydraulic cart for maintenance.
To cater for the various configurations of the fin, Kinetic have engineered a series of drop in parts to allow all versions to be built. The only kit surgery required is the removal of a small spike antenna on the leading edge of the fin for some versions.
The upper fuselage heat exchanger intakes are moulded separately which gives them a nice hollow look when fitted.
The stores supplied for this kit is extensive with the following supplied:
AIM 9B Air to Air Missile
Matra 550 Air to Air Missiles
Mk82 Retarded Bombs
RP19R (110G/500L non-jettisonable supersonic tank)
Matra JL-100 (rocket launching tank)
Matra RPK10 (bomb launching tank)
LAU-32 (rocket launcher pod)
Nord AS30L Air to Ground Missile
RP30 - 1700L tank
Both the AIM 9B and Matra 550 air to air missiles make up from multiple parts and are very accurate.
The large 1700lt/450G tanks supplied are used by some Mirage III/V operators. . The tanks fit very close to the under surface of the wing whereas the more common Mirage III tanks are normally carried on a much larger pylon which has them standoff the wing surface by a few feet. I would have thought a good addition would have been the 1100lt/286G or the 1400lt/374G subsonic fuel tanks.
A 286G tank would have allowed for either a wing pylon fit or a centreline pylon fit and both of these options are supplied in the Kinetic Kfir kit. The only other option would have been the centre line dual inline PM-3 bomb pylon. As I was building an IAI Dagger used by Argentina in the Falklands war, this bomb beam was a necessity so I scratch built one from two Kfir centre line fuel tank pylons which start out a bit short and a bit deep. I had a Isradecal resin PM-3 as a master to refer to but I had already used it on a Mirage IIIO.
So how does it build? In all of my model building there are only a few kits in 1/48 scale that I would rate to be equal or better to the engineering fit of this kit and those are the 1/48 Tamiya F-16 Falcon kit and the new Kinetic F18C kit. Almost every join is a panel line and if assembled correctly they represent as panel line. I needed minute amounts of filler on the spine area in front of the fin, the lower rear engine cowl and just in front of the windscreen. I rate this as exceptional in fit.
On earlier builds I was having some issues getting the forward lower wing to fit around the nose wheel well and inside the intakes and was ready to start trimming. On second thought I applied a lot of pressure and suddenly the area snapped into place. The engineering in fit is so precise it actually makes this point of assembly an issue, but once it snapped into place, I could not tell where the actual joins were. I just advise patience and lots of pressure in trial fitting. I tried a different approach on my second kit by not actually gluing the nose wheel well into place first but just sat it into position. The wing went in much easier and then I just pulled the wheel well into place and glued with capillary action glue. On this build of the IAI Dagger I removed the small panel attached to rear of the wheel well and glued it into the front of the wing achieving a perfect fit, this made the whole assembly so much easier. The wing fit is excellent; just make sure you sand any raised knock out pin marks off the surfaces near the leading edge. I add the lower wing to the fuselage first and then slide the upper wing into the fuselage after removing the vertical retainer part of the upper wing to fuselage assembly tab. This makes the upper wing to fuselage join perfect.
Make sure you add some weight to the nose as the kit borders on being a tail sitter.
As I was building an Argentine Dagger of the Falklands war I spent many hours searching for photographs of fuel tank and weapons loads. I really wanted to fit the RP30 1700L/450G tanks that fit close to the wings with two Mk82 bombs fitted to the centreline and one each to the outboard pylons, but most of the photographs that I found were fitted with either no weapons or air to air missiles on the outboard pylons. I did find some lithograph prints with Mk82 bombs on the centreline pylon and RP30 tanks. The most common tank fitted was the 1100lt/286G tank or the RP19R 110G/500L supersonic tanks. I used some artistic license and fitted the RP30 1700L/450G tanks that fit close to the wings with two Mk.82 bombs fitted to the centreline and one each to the outboard pylons and will seek forgiveness from the critics.
The kit was completed using Xtracolor paint in the scheme for an IAI M5 Dagger FAA C-415 - Grupo Aéreo 6 de Caza San Julian air base - Argentina - 1982 (Malvinas / Falklands War). Dark Green, Light Brown and Medium Green upper surfaces with Light Grey below.
The decals were the kit decals and these went on very well.
A superb kit of the Mirage and very little that I can criticise with the actual kit after now building many of them.
Big kudos to Kinetic for this excellent kit.
Thanks to Lucky Model for the review sample.
Kit available online from Lucky Model.
Model, Progress Images and Text
2017 by Mick Evans
Images of the Completed Model Copyright ©
2017 by Brett Green
Page Created 6 February, 2017
7 February, 2017
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