Italeri 1/32 Mirage IIIC Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2015||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||2505||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice details and options||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$119.99|
After World War 2, Marcel Bloch, the famous French aircraft designer prior to the fall of France to Germany, adopted the covert name used by his brother in the underground and became Marcel Dassault. He developed a number of combat aircraft designs exploiting captured WW2 German aviation research (as did British, US, and Soviet engineers), Dassault turned to the challenge of developing a Mach 2 interceptor that would keep France in step with aircraft developments in Britain, USSR and the United States.
The result of the Mach 2 design effort was the delta-winged Mirage III which first flew in 1956. Since that successful milestone, the Mirage evolved into a capable fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, and more. The Mirage IIIC in particular was designed as an all-weather interceptor that could perform ground attack missions in daylight.
While the Mirage III saw service in a number of air forces around the world, the Mirage gained its fame while in service with the Israeli Air Force, proving more than a match for the latest Soviet designs. While some recognized the Mirage for its operational potential, the real sales were generated on the Israelis' combat record with the type.
Here is Italeri's latest new-tool masterpiece, the 1/32 Mirage IIIC. When I saw the size of the box, I was concerned that the model might be over-engineered/complex construction, but opening the box revealed a nicely designed kit that offers nice detailing without the complexity of similar kits. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. Among the features and options:
- Detailed ejection seat w/photo-etched pilot restraints
- Detailed cockpit with nice relief detailing
- Positionable canopy
- Optional boarding ladder
- Full-length intake ducts to engine compressor face
- Detailed Atar 9B engine and afterburner chamber
- Engine can be displayed on included engine stand
- Rear tail section is positionable to reveal engine or display engine removed
- Detailed landing gear and wheel wells
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable elevons
- Optional ventral strake
The kit provides some nice external store options including:
- 2 x 500L RP18R external fuel tanks
- 2 x 1300L RP62 external fuel tanks
- 2 x JL100R rocket pods/external fuel tanks
- 1 x Matra R530
- 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder
- 2 x Matra R550 Magic
Markings are provided for seven subjects on two large decal sheets:
- Mirage IIIC, 44, Escadron de Chasse 3/10 'Vexin', Armee de l'Air, Djibouti, 1980
- Mirage IIIC, 16, Escadron de Chasse 10/1 'Valois', Armee de l'Air, Creil-Senils, France, 1978
- Mirage IIIC, 17, Escadron de Chasse 2/5 'Ile de France', Armee de l'Air, Orange Caritat, France, 1967
- Mirage IIICZ, 805, 2 Sqn 'Flying Cheetahs', SAAF, Waterkloof AB, Pretoria, South Africa, 1982
- Mirage IIIC, J-2201, Swiss Air Force, 1962
- Mirage IIICJ, 259, 101 Sqn, IAF, Hatzor AB, Israel, June 1967, Six Day War
These decals are very nicely done complete with an extensive set of airframe, pylon, and weapons stencils. Since these were printed by Cartograf, you shouldn't have any problems with decal performance. The selection of subjects provide three bare metal examples as well as four camouflaged airframes to choose from.
You'll love these instructions - Italeri is using their CAD drawings to illustrate the assembly steps and while there are 44 pages and 39 assembly steps, each step contains a limited number of parts to make the process move along steadily. The instructions do note that ballast is required in the radome to keep the model from becoming a tail sitter. Since no recommended weight is provided, I would suggest putting the radome on after you've added the landing gear (usually after painting for many of us) so you can find the right weight for your configuration.
A few years ago, I had declared the Eduard 1/48 Mirage IIIC as the best kit of this subject at that time and nothing has challenged that position until now. I think Italeri has produced a winner with this kit and we'll declare this to be the best Mirage IIIC in any kit scale.
My sincere thanks to Hobbico for this review sample!