Italeri 1/48 'Bye Bye Mirage F.1' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2019||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||'Bye Bye Mirage F.1'||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||2790||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Classic kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$65.95|
The Mirage F.1 was designed as a follow-on multi-role fighter to the Mirage III/V family and powered by the Atar 9K used in the Mirage IV. While similar in size to the Mirage III/V series, the F.1 had significantly better performance, air refueling, and armament options. In addition to extensive service with the French Air Force, the F.1 has also equipped the air arms of Ecuador, Gabon, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, South Africa, and Spain. In service with the Libyan Air Force, the French-trained pilots were able to easily keep the F-14 Tomcats at bay during their peaceful 'skirmishes' over water.
The Mirage F.1CR is the reconnaissance variant of the F.1 designed to carry special pods in French Air Force service. The Mirage F.1CT is the multi-role strike version adapted from the upgraded Mirage F.1C-200 when these had been replaced in the air superiority role by the Mirage 2000. The C-200 version was itself an upgraded Mirage F.1C that incorporated an air refueling capability.
ESCI first released this kit in 1978, and over the next decade, the kit would be updated with new parts and decal options. When Italeri began releasing this kit in 2002, the kit was again updated with new parts through its last release in 2012. After a five-year lapse, Italeri has returned with this Mirage F.1kit commemorating the retirement of the F.1 from French Air Force service in 2014.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options of this kit:
- Spartan cockpit
- Positionable canopy
- Intakes down to blank plates (typical of this era)
- Basic afterburner nozzle
- Air refueling probe
External stores include:
- 1 x centerline fuel tank (choice of two types)
- 2 x R550 Magic missile
- 2 x vertical ejector racks
- 4 x bombs
This kit comes with markings for four aircraft:
- F.1 CR. 611, 118-NM, EC 2-33, Mont de Marsan AB, France, 2014
- F.1 CR. 653, 118-CV, EC 2-33, Mont de Marsan AB, France, 2014
- F.1 CR. 660, 118-CY, EC 2-33, Mont de Marsan AB, France, 2014
Despite the kit molds' age, this kit has been kept relevant as far as external stores and certain external details are concerned. I was surprised to see this kit feature scribed panel lines since so many of the other ESCI toolings sported raised panel lines, a standard back in the day. Nevertheless, the cockpit is indeed Spartan, though there are aftermarket updates available such as the resin cockpit from Neomega.
While Kitty Hawk released a new-tool Mirage F.1 CR/CT and Mirage F.1B kit in 1/48, you'll note that the kits can be a bit of a challenge to build. What surprises me is that this release is actually more expensive than the Kitty Hawk kit for 40+ year-old molds. Street prices will be less, but ouch.
All things considered, the Italeri kit will be an easier build and the three decal subjects provided in the box represent three classic camouflage schemes used by the F.1 though its service.
Thanks to MRC for the review sample.