Eduard 1/48 Mirage III C Profipack

By Randy Fields

The Mirage III C

Famous French aircraft designer Marcel Dassault looked to develop a Mach 2 inceptor designed to keep pace with the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union. His result was the delta-winged Mirage III, which first flew in 1956. Since its inception, the Mirage III has evolved into a capable fighter, fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.

The Mirage III C was designed as an all-weather interceptor that could perform ground attack missions in daylight and has seen service in many air forces around the world. However, it gained the most fame in Israeli service flying against Soviet designed fighters in the Middle East.

The Eduard 1/48 Kit #8101

All I can say after opening the box was WOW! The Eduard Mirage kit is impressive. It contains eight sprues molded in light gray styrene with nicely engraved panel lines. The clear parts for the canopy and windscreen are thinly molded and very clear. A dip in Future made the canopy crystal clear.

Also included in the kit are two photo-etched color parts, a set of Eduard Express painting masks, a cast nose weight, a four-page full-color marking and painting guide detailing markings for six aircraft (3 French, 1 South African and 2 Israeli), two colorful decal sheets and a 16-page detailed set of instructions…outstanding!

The kit also provides a boarding ladder, and even a pilot figure to stand next to the aircraft.

Building the Kit

In my opinion, this is the best Mirage kit on the market. That being said, I found the kit in some areas to be complex to assemble but in the end, everything went together and the fit was good with the exception of the lower intakes and lower wings. The engineering may not be on the same level as latest Tamiya kits but it is not bad.

As usual, I started with the cockpit. The kit’s cockpit is highly detailed consisting of both delicately cast plastic and photo-etched parts. The ejection seat alone is comprised of 13 pieces and the instrument panel consists of seven photo-etched and plastic parts. The rest of the cockpit assembly went together problem free and when finished is very impressive. The instructions provide accurate painting details including matches for Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell and Testors paints. Take your time and the results will be worth the time and effort.

The rest of the fuselage was assembled following the instructions. Take your time and dry fit the exhaust and you will not have any problems. The pre-cast nose weight was mounted using super glue, saving the time needed to conform lead fishing weights to the area.

The rest of the assembly is straight-forward. The only areas where I found the fit to be unsatisfactory was the upper and lower wing, parts B1, B2 and B3 and the intakes parts E5 and E8. The wing fit left a gap just aft of the leading edge on both lower wings. This took several coats of Mr. Surfacer 500 and sanding to fill the seam resulting in the loss of some of the fine engraved detail. The same was true of the bottom sides of the intakes where they were fared into the fuselage. Some additional time spent dry fitting these two areas could save time filling and sanding.

The wheel wells are very nicely molded in this kit, and another interesting Eduard innovation is a set of ducts that go inside the fuselage to fool the eye into seeing depth within the intakes.

I finished the main assembly by adding the all the correct antennas, actuators, flaps and ailerons. However, I left the pitot tube on the nose off until final assembly.

I then assembled and painted the landing gear and gear doors leaving them off until the final assembly. They are very detailed and delicate. Make sure you pay attention to the proper fit and alignment of the gear doors when gluing in place.

The kit provides a number of armament options including rocket pods, Matra ATM-9Ds, Sidewinders, Matra 530s and external fuel tanks. I chose to have my Mirage III “clean and mean” until I can research what types of weapons the Israeli Mirage IIIs carried.

Finishing

Being a fan of IAF aircraft, I decided to finish my Mirage III as a Mirage III CJ from the 101st Tayaset in the summer of 1970. It was painted in the traditional three-tone sand, earth and green upper surface over the light blue lower surface. The majority of time spent on finishing the aircraft was spent placing the myriad of decals in place. The kit decals were printed flawlessly and were easily applied using a bit of Solv-a-Set.

I used the Express Masks to paint the canopy and proceeded to attach the landing gear and doors, attach the nose pitot tube and position the canopy in the open position.

One word of caution when painting your model, wash the sprues thoroughly to rid the parts of any mold release agent before applying paint. I did not and when I applied an acrylic paint finish, it did not adhere to the plastic. I ended up having to strip the base color and prime the model with a coat of thinned Mr. Surfacer 1000. I went back to my tried and true Model Master enamels and had no further problems.

Conclusion

Outside of some fit problems between the upper and lower wings, this kit was a joy to build and easily is the best Mirage III C on the market. It measures out very accurately when compared to published information and will make a great addition to my IAF collection.

Thanks to Eduard for the review kit.

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