Italeri 1/32 Mirage IIIE/R Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Nice details and options
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.
Even as the Mirage IIIC was entering production, Dassault was planning a true multi-role version of the Mirage III by adding a 12 inch extension behind the cockpit to house additional avionics. The Mirage IIIR was the reconnaissance version which was based upon the Mirage IIIE airframe, Mirage IIIC avionics, and the radar nose replaced with a recce nose.
Here is Italeri's latest masterpiece, the 1/32 Mirage IIIE/R which is based upon the Mirage IIIC kit with a new-tool fuselage. 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
- Choice of fighter or recce instrument panels
- Detailed cockpit with nice relief detailing
- Positionable canopy
- Optional boarding ladder
- Choice of Mirage IIIR or ZR noses
- Both recce noses have positionable access doors and detailed interiors
- Choice of under-nose doppler antenna fairings
- Full-length intake ducts to engine compressor face
- Detailed Atar 9C engine and afterburner chamber
- Engine can be displayed on included engine stand
- 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
- 1 x Phimat pod
- 1 x Barracuda 1 pod
- 1 x Barracuda 2 pod
Markings are provided for six subjects on two large decal sheets:
- Mirage IIIE, 529, Escadron de Chasse 2/3 'Champagne', Armee de l'Air, Nancy AB, France, 1988
- Mirage IIIR, 319, Escadron de Chasse 2/33 'Savoie', Armee de l'Air, Strasbourg AB, France, 1974
- Mirage IIIO, A3-24, 75 Sqn, RAAF, Darwin AB, Australia, 1966
- Mirage IIIZR, 838, 2 Sqn, SAAF, Waterkloof AB, South Africa, 1980
- Mirage IIIRS, R-2101, Fliegerstaffel 10, Swiss AF, Dueberdorf AB, Switzerland, 1965
- Mirage IIIEE, C11-21, 111 Sqn, Spanish AF, Manince-Valencia AB, Spain, 1978
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 52 pages and 44 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.
Italeri's Mirage IIIC kit is not only the best kit of the subject in 1/32, it is the best in any scale (< 1:1). This follow-up release of the Mirage IIIE and Mirage IIIR gain the same distinction as well.
My sincere thanks to Hobbico for this review sample!