by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HistoryThe Mirage III series of aircraft was one of the biggest successes of the French post war aircraft industry. The delta wing designed light interceptor became a very effective multi role aircraft and gave Dassault fame for producing delta wing aircraft.
More then 1400 airframes were built covering all the types, and a host of different versions, many of which were exported and saw combat successfully in varied corners of the world.
The Mirage III and its variants are still in operational service over 50 years after the prototype first flew.
The first major production model of the Mirage series, the Mirage IIIC, first flew in October 1960. It was a single-seat interceptor, with an Atar 09B turbojet engine, featuring an "eyelet" style variable exhaust, which gave it a top speed of 2230km/h (Mach 1.95) and a range of 2500km.
Armed with 2 x 125 round DEFA cannons, fitted in the belly with the gun ports under the air intakes, it also had 5 wing pylons on which it could carry a wide range of external stores: Sidewinders, Matra R-511, R-530, AS.20, AS.30 missiles, MK 82 bombs or JL100R rocket launchers.
The KitAs with all of the Eduard "Weekend Edition" kits you don't get any Photo Etched parts, paint masks and only one decal option. Most of the kits don't come with any optional extras but with this kit you get optional weapon load outs.
Upon opening the box you get a 167 parts spread over eight sprues of dark grey plastic parts, packed in two bags of three sprues and one bag of two, with another separate bag containing the one sprue of clear parts. One set of decals and a instruction booklet make up the rest of the contents.
All the parts look to be nice and sharp in detail with no apparent flash present. Ejector pin marks look to be in places that won't be seen. The only pin mark that might need attention is on the inside of the fuselage where the tailpipe is located.
The ejector seat is made up of six parts and looks fairly detailed, but unfortunately no harnesses are included, not even as moulded on to the seat. This is not all that surprising when you consider that when this kit was originally released by Eduard there was P.E parts included.
The rest of the cockpit has some nice moulded on detail for the side consoles and the instrument panel. Eduard supply a set of decals for these parts which to tell the truth look a bit bland.
The undercarriage bays are nicely detailed with some very fine rivets and piping. The main undercarriage legs look to quite good with separate oleos to attach, but don't have any brake lines moulded onto them. The nose leg looks pretty good but care will have to be taken removing it from the sprue as it is all in one piece and looks quite fragile.
The engine air intakes have no ducting as such to lead to the engine fan but has a part installed at the back to stop the "empty fuselage" look. The engine internally does look good as the pipe is made up of several parts, starting with the fan and ending with the "eyelid" style exhaust.
The fuselage and wings have very nice recessed panel lines and very fine embossed riveting. The lower wing section is one piece and also forms part of the fuselage. The control surfaces are separate pieces and don't look to be movable much, but you should be able to model them slightly dropped.
The fuselage has the tail moulded onto it on one side as one piece. The rudder is moulded onto the tail so surgery will be required if you wish to angle it different.
The weapons supplied with the kit are as follows:
- 2 x JL 100R Rockets
- 2 x AIM 9D Sidewinder missiles
- 2 x Matra 530C,K missiles
- 2 x Matra 530E,M missiles
- 2 x Matra ATM9 D missiles
- 2 x 500L external fuel tanks
- 2 x 625L external fuel tanks
All the weapons are nicely moulded, but do suffer a little from "thick fin" syndrome.
The clear parts are undistorted with the canopy being just the right thickness for a crisp, clear look into the cockpit. The canopy can be modelled in the open or closed position.
To top the kit off Eduard has supplied a boarding ladder and a unhelmeted pilot which stands holding the ladder. The pilot is very well moulded and should look good next to the finished aircraft.
InstructionsThe instructions are black and white line drawings and are printed in a booklet form with the build spreading out over 10 pages. The build sequence is clearly drawn and defined in a logical easy to follow fashion. Interior decal and paint numbers are given along the way.
Painting and DecalingFor all "Weekend Edition" kits the painting and decal guide for the aircraft is on the box lid. Top and underside guides are on the face of the box with the side profiles on the side. Interior parts to be painted are found in the instructions. Paint colour names and numbers are given for the Mr Color range of paints.
The markings supplied for this aircraft are for a Dassault Mirage IIIC No31 from the EC 2/10 "Siene" squadron based at Creil, France during May 1978. This aircraft was lost at the end of 1979.
The colour scheme of this aircraft is for a blue upper surfaces and aluminium undersides which the "Siene" squadron started to use from 1975.
The decals are in register and well printed with very little carrier film around the edges. Having used Eduard decals on previous occasions, I find they don't need long to soak before they come off the backing paper and they respond well to decal softeners.
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