Building Heller's 1/48 Mirage IVP
By Jeff Smith
The Dassault Mirage IV was a strategic bomber developed from experience obtained from the Mirage III fighter. First flying in October 1964, the Mirage IV formed an important part of France's nuclear deterrent forces. Despite updates in the 80s, the type was made obsolete by advanced surface to air weapons, and the Mirage IV was retired from the nuclear strike role in 1996. The plane soldiered on in other roles, though, until finally being removed from active service in 2005.
The old Heller kit is my most recent completed model: the very sleek, cool looking Mirage IVP. I was inspired to build this kit after stumbling upon the superlative Syhart decals for the commemorative markings. It is an early 80s kit, with raised panel lines and a serious shortage of what we today would consider appropriate detail.
I purchased the NeOmega cockpit set and aftermarket exhausts, tires, and wheels, with SAC metal landing gear legs. These were all incorporated in the build and increase the overall look considerably. The gear bays are scratch built using a liberal application of "imaginative gizmology".
The kit provides for building either the IVP or the plain IV. The "P" indicates the penetrator version with its standoff weapon and belly blanking plate. It also has the freefall variable yield fission device as well. Drop tanks round out the underwing possibilities.
The crew figures are CMK Euro pilots and all of the ground carts including crew access ladders were made with Plastruct or Evergreen styrene. Not that it really matters, but with the initial cost of the kit itself, and all the aftermarket add-ons, including the decal sheet, the price to add one of these to the collection was a little over 100 dollars.
Total construction time was about 3 1/2 months. Since I'm retired, I usually averaged about three hours per day of build time, less the odd day when I was just "burned out" on the whole thing. It was a blast to build, and what's not to like about a sexy Mirage on steroids?