Kinetic 1/48 Mirage 2000B/D/N Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||January 2011||Manufacturer||Kinetic|
|Kit Number||48032||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit with three variant options||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$64.95|
The Mirage 2000 arose from the French Air Force requirement for a Future Combat Aircraft (ACF) to replace its aging Mirage III. With the defeat of the Mirage F.1 by the General Dynamics F-16 for the NATO tactical fighter requirement, Dassault developed two designs, the twin-engined Super Mirage and a single-engined design based on the Mirage III. The French Air Force turned down the Super Mirage as too costly and development of the single-engined variant ensued and dubbed Mirage 2000.
Development of the Mirage 2000 proceeded very quickly given that the airframe was essentially a Mirage III that was modified to accommodate the SNECMA M53 Super Atar engine and much of the airframe volume used for older avionics and traditional flight control systems were recycled to accommodate advanced fly-by-wire systems as well as state-of-the-art avionics. First flight of the Mirage 2000 was 27 months after program start. In contrast, the P-51 Mustang took only four months, the F-16 about two years, and the X-35 (F-35 prototype) took about four years.
The Mirage 2000 was originally developed as a single-seat fighter-interceptor to replace the Mirage III, with the two-seat Mirage 2000B developed as the trainer variant. The Mirage 2000B design was further modified for sustained low-level flight and delivery capability of the nuclear ASMP missile to replace the aging Mirage IV, this variant was designated as Mirage 2000N.
The Mirage 2000D was a further development based on the Mirage 2000N to provide precision strike capability with conventional weapons. Like many air forces around the world, the Mirage 2000D makes use of the second crewman to provide that extra pair of eyes as well as manage the weapons and guidance systems while the pilot deals with sustained low-altitude flight in a hostile environment.
Kinetic Models has really jumped into the midst of the scale model world by boldly going where few model companies have dared to go before. Their first kit was the 1/48 F-84 Thunderstreak which was followed by the 1/32 F-86F Sabre. These were followed by a wide range of F-16 variants in 1/48 which are now being released in 1/72 scale as well. The recent EA-6B Prowler has taken the market by storm with easily the best Prowler kit developed in any scale. Of course there are also the first and only 1/48 E-2C Hawkeyes produced to date including the really nice Hawkeye 2000 variant. With the modeling community still buzzing about these last few subjects, it was a bit of a surprise to see the announcement and test shots of their 1/48 two-seat Mirage 2000 and even an announcement of a 1/48 S-2F Tracker (STOOF) that will soon follow the Mirage. Wow!
This Mirage 2000 kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. While the design of the kit is modular to support the three different aircraft types, you can see from the fuselage and wings that these differences are not significant enough to cause assembly challenges. The instructions clearly show you which parts are needed in each step to render the variant you are interested in building.
Among the features of the kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpits
- Separately molded tires and wheel hubs for easy painting
- Positionable flight control surfaces (except rudder)
- Three different tails
- Positionable canopies
- Parts to render the Mirage 2000B, 2000D, or 2000N
Among the weapons and stores in this release:
- 2 x Magic 1
- 2 x Magic 2
- 1 x centerline tank
- 2 x wing tanks
- 2 x AS-30L
- ATLIS targeting pod
The ASMP is not provided in this kit, but I suspect Skunkworks will release modern French weapons that might include ASMP, Apache, Scalp, and AASM.
This release has four colorful marking options:
- Mirage 2000B, 5-OK, French AF
- Mirage 2000D, 3-JS, French AF
- Mirage 2000N, 4-BB, French AF
- Mirage 2000BG, 202, Hellenic AF
These decals are nicely done and include a nice suite of airframe stenciling and weapons markings. Painting instructions are based on GSI (Gunze) paints.
This is really a nice looking kit and I would expect that LuckyModel will be carrying some color photo-etched sets for this kit as they did for the recent EA-6B and E-2C kits, so stand by for some nice looking cockpits for this gem.
My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!