Mirage F1 CT/CR
Sincere appreciation goes to Kittyhawk for providing IPMS USA another of their kits for review… although the company is relatively new, the kits so far have been great efforts and I look forward to what is next...
This kit is a re-release of Kittyhawk’s F-1 kit released a couple of years ago. I remember reading of “fit issues” noted by a reviewer (from another site).... I experienced no major fit issues on this build. The kit did require a bit of filler to be used, where the forward fuselage mated with the aft section, and the intakes. That is pretty well a given on most jets, so I consider them non-issues.
The only aftermarket I added involved an Eduard cockpit PE upgrade; the kit seats, (early and late type are provided, I believe they are Martin Baker) proved more than adequate for my purposes. The basic kit comes with everything needed out of the box to finish a late-model Mirage l, including a PE set incorporating the over wing roll control spoilers, an instrument panel, side panels, and a basic harness. The aftermarket pre-painted seat harness along with a color instrument panel were an improvement, but you could have just as much success with the kit-provided items.
Construction is the standard route: Build the cockpit, construct the engine augmentor section, cement in place, then begin the fuselage assembly. No surprises. Same for the wings; upper and lower halves, with the aforemenioned spoilers glued into wells on the upper wing surface. Make sure you have the slots on the lower wing for the external pylons fully opened up, or you’ll be verbally unhappy your lack of foresight later.
The stabilators are one-piece items with a “one time only” installation bearings; these are split down the center with round extended tabs on the end; you push them in to the pivot point on the aft fuselage, and they won’t come out. I left these off until the end of the build to ensure I didn’t break them off.
The engine augmentor exhaust section is a beautiful piece of work, both inside and out… and the intakes are deep (and dark) enough that you won’t have to worry about full intake length to the compressor. The landing gear, even though of multiple part design, ends up being robust, with just enough flex to ensure all four main tires meet the tarmac. The tires are two-part radial split halves; I painted the wheels aluminum first, then painted in the black tire portion; cement together when dry, clean up the seam, and finish painting. In particular, the nose tires are very tiny, and I had difficulty painting them, but kept at it and won in the end. Clear parts are very transparent, and fit well both in closed and open position.
Gear doors all fit in place without fuss, and incorporate robust locating tabs to assist in holding everything in place. A cockpit boarding ladder is included, but in this case as I have the canopy closed, I did not use it.
Weapons abound; half of the kit box contains free fall, guided, and specialized munitions. Air-to-air missiles are also part of the mix, from AIM-9L to Python. This kit boxing includes the “banana” centerline fuel tank, designed for Iraqi Mirages, and carried in the Kosovo conflict.
Paint schemes are provided for three different aircraft: One French desert tan/brown over dark gray, one standard French Medium Sea gray and Green with Tigermeet markings, and a Spanish example. The decals worked great; I used kit decals plus a Zotz set for Mirage I’s operated by the French in Kosovo. Thank you my wallet.
The appropriate pods, weapons and markings all came together at the end for a very nice, clean build. I used a Master model Pitot and outside air temperature probe, provided by Master and IPMS USA for this build, which are part of a companion review on this site. The last items added were the various antenna and air data probes, Testors’ Dullcoat ® to finish, and then it was “remove the canopy mask and we are done”.
I really enjoyed this build, and it rounded out my Kosovo conflict Armee de l’aire collection. Thanks again to Kittyhawk for an outstanding kit!