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Dassault Mirage IIIC

by Chris Bowie



Dassault Mirage IIIC


Eduard's 1/48 scale Mirage IIIC is available online from Squadron.com



The Mirage III has long been one of my favorite aircraft, but alas, the choices for modeling in 1/48th scale were pretty poor. Probably the best kit was the older Heller Mirage kit, but this had raised panel lines and a weak interior. Then out of the blue comes this fantastic new kit from Eduard, which gives a whole new meaning to the “out of the box” kit.

The model comes with sprues of delicately molded plastic with perfectly engraved panel lines, two decal sheets for five different aircraft, decal and painting instruction sheets printed in color, a detailed assembly manual with excellent painting instructions, a photo-etched sheet of ejection seat hardware and seat-belts (painted), a weight sized to fit the nose to eliminate tail sitting, and a set of painting masks for the canopy, markings, and dialectric panels. The latter allows you to paint sections, mask them off accurately, and then spray the main color coats. All of this is truly marvelous. If only every other kit offered this full range of features. Eduard also sells a kit for the Mirage III CJ variant, which has a number of colorful Israeli schemes.





I painted the interior dark gray and washed it with a black wash to highlight the details—in Mirage IIIs, the interior is black, which turns into a black hole if you use flat black as the base coat. The kit provides excellent decals for the instrument panel and side consoles (along with some additional side panel markings) that went on well and snugged down tightly with an application of Microsol. The seat looked great after adding the photo-etched seat belts and ejection handles.

This is without question the best Mirage kit there is on the market. That being said, I found it fairly complex to assemble—in the end, everything went together and the fit was quite excellent, but I can’t say that the engineering was as good as the latest Tamiya kits. In particularly, I found the intakes quite complex; they required some careful sanding and etching to make everything fit. But I guess this indicates that I am getting truly spoiled when I start to complain that the kit is too complicated!


Natural Metal Finish and Markings


Once it was all put together, I primered the model, then sprayed appropriate areas gloss red (on the intake exterior), gloss white (on the top antenna panel), and grey (for dialectric areas on the tail). When dry, I masked these off using the pre-cut masks and sprayed the whole aircraft gloss black using Tamiya X-1 (thinned on a one to one paint to rubbing alcohol ratio).

The image belowshows the model after painting with the gloss black (and the radome and top of the fin dialectric panel masked off.


After drying overnight, I masked off the nose and sprayed the whole model with two coats of Alclad II Chrome (see first thumbnail below). When dry (about 15 minutes), I began masking off panel areas and sprayed with Alclad II Polished Aluminum (see second thumbnail below). I have found Alclad II Chrome and Polished Aluminum to be true miracle paints—it seems like I dipped the whole model in vat of liquid metal. And durable as well! For me, these paints have revolutionized the duplication of natural metal finishes—I now look forward to spectacular paint schemes with shiny aluminum surfaces.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

I then removed the pre-cut masks and then gave the model a wash of acrylic gloss black (one part Tamiya X-1, 5 parts water, one part dishwashing liquid) to make the panel lines stand out. When dry, I removed the excess with water and, where stubborn, a little glass cleaner (the Alclad is very durable). I then began applying decals. The instructions were outstanding, while the decals were exceptional: thin and in perfect register. To duplicate the blue circular wing lights, instead of the kit pieces I used my Waldron punch press to cut a circle out of a blue splangle purchased at a local craft store (see Figure 4). As mentioned in HyperScale, these spangles make great CRT displays in cockpits and HUD combining lenses as well.



I then attached the landing gear, various exterior probes, and the kit-supplied boarding ladder. And with that, I had a lovely delicate Mirage III to add to my collection. I’m ready to buy the Mirage III CJ now!

I can highly recommend this kit.

Text, Models and Images Copyright © 2004 by Chris Bowie
Page Created 02 December, 2004
Last Updated 01 May, 2005

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