Special Hobby's 1/48 scale Model 339-23 Buffalo will be available
online from Squadron
To further demonstrate that the French had thrown off their pre-war ugly design stage, the pretty Mirage F1 was first flown in 1965 as a private venture. Some 730 examples eventually flew although only 246 of these entered service in the Armee de l’Air, and refits for role changes affected quite a few of them - 55 F1CR-200 fighters were rebuilt as F1CT ground attack aircraft. Nearly 500 were sold to many overseas customers, many seeing active combat action, and more were sold on by the French after they were retired in the mid-1990s. The resulting different equipment up-grades and the vast range of user markings make this a very worthy model subject, especially when one considers the French penchant for spectacular end of service schemes. Of special interest is the fact that most operators have used this plane in active combat in the African and Middle East areas .
Mirage F.1 in 1/72 scale
Certainly not the first kit of the Mirage F1 this new one seems to bring the the modeller an up-to-date moulding and one that is available in a variety of versions and decal options. Previous kits have been produced by Heller (of course) in 1978 and Airfix in 1979 - both of which featured raised lines and simplified construction, and were re-released a number of times in different boxes, the latter by MPC. Hasegawa gave us a nice kit of the F1C in 1983 and in typical Hasegawa style gave us repeated reissues with new decals, often spectacular anniversary ones as late as 2016, also released by Revell in 2007. Esci released a kit in 4 versions in 1988 and 1989.
So we now have the Special Hobby version, promised at least four years ago but first seen in 2016 and then regularly and in rapid succession released with new parts and decals as an F1CE/EE/EDA (Spain) F1CH/EH ( Morocco), F1C and F1B (bagged, no decals), F1B/BE ( France and Spain) and this kit of the F1CR. Preview shots showing F1CG ( Greece), F1AZ, F1C-200, F1C and F1CT , all promised last year but not seen yet.
Differences between the versions are mainly restricted to equipment provisions laid out by the operators except that the ‘B’ versions are all two-seaters and any aircraft with a fixed refuelling probe will be 8” longer than the standard F1C - 2mm or so in the ‘one true scale’. Note that the later SAAF version, the F1AZ has a retracting refuelling nozzle and a a different nose and longer intakes cones to all other versions - an accurate model cannot be built from any existing kit despite the inclusion if SAAF decals in one Airfix version for an earlier F1CZ.
Top opening with a nice rendition of an eye-confusing sand and brown finished F1CR with an F-15 in a Red Flag event in the USA, the kit is in the usual self-sealing plastic bag containing seven mid-grey sprues, one clear one, an 8 page set of coloured instructions and a nice decals sheet. No PE or resin but on page 5 is a guide to a mass of CMK resin add-ons that could enhance the model. Suffice to add that Eduard also do masks and an interior and exterior and a Big Ed set in PE, while Pavla do a cockpit for both the F1CT and F1C, and Reskit do a set of resin wheels.
This kit will add a lot to your spares box as a large number of parts are not to be used for this model. There are extra seats, canopies, weapons, fins and tanks all of which are designed for other versions as mentioned above - the instructions ‘ghost’ out the not-to-be-used parts in the sprue guide. This boxing uses the IFR nose parts, but an F1 CR-200 could be built (I believe) using the alternative plain nose provided.
Parts are nicely moulded and surface details are refined and not overdone.
I have dry-fitted major components such as fuselage and nose halves and the fit is excellent, hopefully they will go around the interior fittings just as nicely.
However there is one area that needs attention - I had read elsewhere that there were issues with the insert in the lower wings and specifically tried these parts. There is indeed a mismatch in the depth of the insert resulting in a step of almost 1mm in what is meant to be a flat surface. The modeller has to judiciously sand the inner surface of the insert so that a smooth transition with the lower wing surface can be achieved and then carefully fill a chord-wise joint that results , while protecting the surface details with tape. Once this is done the rest of the kit looks fine.
The decal sheet is nicely printed and has the correct French blue in the cocardes. There are a large number of stencils and weapon markings and three Armee de l’Air examples are provided:
Two in the sand/brown/aluminium.
a. the box-top illustrated Red Flag participant from ER3/33 ‘Moselle’, 1990
b. an ER2/33 ‘Savoie’ example from the sampaign in Chad, 1988-9, and
c. a green/grey/pale grey example from ER1/33 ‘Belfort’ in 1999 over Kosova.
Overall a lovely kit with just one minor error to correct.
Thanks to MPM / Special Hobby for the
kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers
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Page Created 11 January, 2018
11 January, 2018
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