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Cheetah D Kit

Kinetic 1/48 Cheetah D Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2022 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject Cheetah D Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48081 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $24.99

First Look

Cheetah D Kit
Cheetah D Kit
Cheetah D Kit
Cheetah D Kit
Cheetah D Kit

As a result of an arms embargo against the government of South Africa during the 1980s, the Air Force was unable to acquire new airframes to fulfill its operational needs. In addition. the South African Air Force (SAAF) was faced against growing threats in their Border War including the Soviet-built MiG-23 Flogger. While their fleet of Mirage F1 fighters could have been updated. the SAAF souldn't afford to loose their only remotely capable fighter, so they drew upon their Israeli allies to help update their Mirage III fleet into the Cheetah configuration. Many Cheetahs were reengined with the Atar 09K50C-11 in place of their previous Atar 09C and given strenghened airframes. The aircraft also received improved avionics including a multi-mode pulse-doppler radar, navigation suite, data link, HUD, and HOTAS controls. The Chetahs entered service with the SAAF in 1986 and served through 2008. As the Cheetahs were phased out of active service with the SAAF, the Ecuadorian AF acquired 10 in 2009 while another contingent also adopted a number of examples for adversarial duties in the United States.

Kinetic first released this kit a number of years ago as an installment of their growing Kfir series and has evolved over time accordingly. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is rendered on eight parts trees plus three trees of clear parts.

Among the features and options of the kit:

  • Nicely detailed cockpits
  • Positionable canopy
  • Full-length intakes down to compressor face
  • Full-length exhaust duct
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable flaperons
  • Positionable dorsal and ventral speed brakes
  • Landing gear hubs are molded separately from tires for ease of painting
  • Fixed canards
  • Air refueling probe
  • Optional underwing weapons pylons
  • Optional Python 3 AAMs
  • Optional centerline fuel tank

This release has four marking options:

  • Cheetah D, 2nd Sqn, Makhado AFB, SAAF, 2007
  • Cheetah D, Test Flight and Development Center, Overberg AFB, SAAF, 1993
  • Cheetah D, 2nd Sqn, Petersburg AFB, SAAF, 2007
  • Cheetah D, Escuadirion de Combate 2112, Taura AFB, Ecuador, 2009

These decals are nicely done and include a nice suite of airframe stenciling - painting instructions are provided using Mig numbers.

This is another very nice release from Kinetic and fills another gap in the armed trainer subject list.

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!