Kitty Hawk Models 1/32 Mirage 2000C Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Kitty Hawk Models
|Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin
During the Cold War, many folks would think of two major players in the development of fighter aircraft: the United States and the Soviet Union. While for some years after the end of World War II this was true, Marcel Bloch rebuilt his own fighter company after the war as Dassault Aviation (named for his brother's codename who had perished during the war fighting the Germans). Dassault was able to get access to captured German engineering after the war and began a path to develop relevant fighter aircraft. By the end of the 1950s, Dassault had caught up with the introduction of the Mirage III, bringing France into the Mach 2 fighter world at the same time as the other two nations. In those days, combat aircraft were fairly specialized with the F-104, MiG-21, and Mirage III all being initially developed as fighters/interceptors. Dassault developed the derivative Mirage V for air-to-ground capabilities and this design was as successful as the Mirage III. By the end of the 1960s, Dassault had developed the Mirage G-series as a multi-role aircraft with variable geometry wings while the Soviets ironically produced the MiG-23 about the same time. While the MiG-23 did enter production, the French Air Force wanted a fighter that could perform air-to-ground missions, not an air-to-ground aircraft that could do intercept missions. Neither the Mirage G series nor the MiG-23/MiG-27 were very maneuverable in a dogfight. We won't even talk about the F-111. By the end of the 1970s, Dassault had introduced a new family of multi-role aircraft with the Mirage 2000.
The Mirage 2000 was a light-weight single-seat, single-engine fighter that was equally comfortable in a dogfight as well as putting iron on target. Dassault had also developed a larger, twin-engine version as the Mirage 4000, but there was little interest in the design unfortunately. Nevertheless, the Mirage 2000C has been seen combat operations in a variety of coalition actions in the middle east and Europe and has proven itself. The type is also very adaptable with the two-seat Mirage 2000N which replaced the Mirage IV in the nuclear strike mission, and the two-seat Mirage 2000D which mirrors the F-15E Strike Eagle and F/A-18D Hornet (USMC) in their precision strike capabilities. By the time production ceased in 2007, over 600 Mirage 2000 variants were produced, many of which have been updated with glass cockpits, improved avionics and weapons under the Mirage 2000C-5 program.
Here's a kit that many have anxiously awaited from Kitty Hawk, the Mirage 2000C in 1/32 scale making this the first production kit of this subject in this scale. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on 13 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, one fret of photo-etched parts, one resin afterburner nozzle and one resin pilot figure. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit and ejection seat with photo-etched restraints
- Positionable canopy
- Detailed port and starboard gun bays
- Positionable gun bay access panels
- Detailed landing gear and wheel wells
- Nicely detailed M53 engine with resin afterburner nozzle
- Nice doppler radar antenna under a positionable radome
- Choice of radomes: with and without lightning arrestors
- Wing slats are posed open
- Positionable trailing edge flaps
- Positionable flaperons
- Positionable rudder
- Choice of four vertical stabilizer tips with different EW antenna configurations
- Positionable speed brakes
- Optional pilot figure (resin)
External store options include:
- 2 x CC 630 gunpods
- 2 x RP 541/542 2000 liter external tanks
- 2 x RP 522 1300 liter external tanks
- 2 x SCALP/APACHE cruise missiles
- 2 x AUF-2 vertical ejector racks
- 2 x R550 Magic 2
- 2 x R550 Magic training rounds
- 2 x MICA missiles
- 2 x Super 530 missiles
- 2 x AS-30L laser guilded missiles
- 2 x LRF-4 rocket pods
- 1 x ATLIS II targeting pod
- 1 x PDL-CT targeting pod
- 1 x PDL-CTS targeting pod
Markings are included for eight options:
- Mirage 2000C, 118-AX, French AF
- Mirage 2000C, 5-OP, French AF
- Mirage 2000C, 103-KV, French AF, Tiger Meet scheme
- Mirage 2000C, 330-AS, French AF, Tiger Meet scheme
- Mirage 2000C, 4949, Brazilian AF
- Mirage 2000H, KF101, Indian AF
- Mirage 2000EG, 239, Hellenic AF
- Mirage 2000C-5, 2027, RoCAF
As you can see in the decal image, There is a nice set of airframe and weapons stencils provided with the various subject options.
- The kit itself looks really nice out of the box, but you'll need some good reference photos to make your kit. The weakness in this kit is the instructions - they tell you how to build the model well-enough, but they don't tell you which parts to use for a given decal subject/aircraft version.
- Only one instrument panel is provided though there are visible differences between the eight versions provided on the decal sheet. Again, use some good photos of the subject you're building and the panel can be revised using Airscale decals to render the right instruments versus glass displays.
- While there is a weapons load-out table in the back of the instructions, there is no indication of which external stores apply to which of the eight subjects, and I suspect some of the stores are more likely found on the Mirage 2000D coming later on. Again, check your references.
- The kit provides the AUF-2 two-bomb vertical ejector racks but no bombs.
- The color call-outs are all Gunze/GSI colors though there are some interesting errors here: Mr.Color C42 is called for Mirage blue-gray though C42 is really Mahogany. It really meant Mr.Hobby H42 Blue-Gray. The brown color for the desert camo subject (5-OP) calls for Mr.Color C66 though C66 Bright Green. This should be Mr.Hobby H66 Sandy Brown which can be found in the Mr.Color range as C19. The color call-outs in the kit are shown below.
Aside from the minor issues above, this is a great-looking kit with lots of interesting options in the box plus I'm sure we'll see some nice aftermarket decals and details coming soon. While I've seen the Mirage 2000 (along with the Mirage 4000) at the Paris Airshow, as well as seeing them on the ramp during one of the Red Flag exercises we flew in, I am by no means an expert on the subject, so like you, I'll be digging through my own references to get the right combination of details together for my own chosen subject. Check out our modeler's online references for photos of many of these subjects!
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!
Here is a list of paints Kitty Hawk identifies for use with this kit and the equivalent colors from other brands: