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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Shachak Limited Edition -- 1:48 Scale



The political and military struggle to establish and then defend the emergent Jewish state of Israel represents one of the most dramatic post-WWII chapters of 20th century history.  Airpower represented an essential component of this effort extending into the present day.  The French Mirage was a pillar of Israeli airpower particularly during the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War.  In this limited-edition release, Eduard has dusted off their 1990s-era molds for the 1:48 scale Mirage and included cast resin and photoetched metal detail parts, and new decals for the Israeli Mirage IIICJ.  Let’s check it out.

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With an eye towards foreign sales, Dassault invited the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to fly their new Mirage in the late 1950s.  As MiG-21s started to populate Arab air force inventories, Israel purchased its first batch of 24 Mirage IIICJs in 1959 followed by another order for 48 jets.  They had provisions for additional drop tanks and DEFA cannons.  The first IAF Mirages arrived in Hazor Air Base in April,1962 and entered service with the 101st Tayeset (fighter squadron).  Israel also received two photo reconnaissance (PR) Mirage IIICJ(R)s which entered service with the Atalef squadron.

The Mirage IIICJ Shahak (Sky or Heavens, in Hebrew) was the first IAF fighter equipped with air-to-air missiles: the French Matra 530 and the Israeli Shafrir I.  The Israeli Mirage's first engagement involved two jets taking on a pair of eight enemy MiG-17s that resulted in one partial kill.  In late 1964, the Shahak conducted its first ground attack mission against Syrian artillery in the Golan Heights and also saw their first encounter with the MiG-21.  Over the following years, limited skirmishes led to the downings of several MiGs, but in April 1967, the Six Day War erupted.  IAF Mirages spearheaded the decisive pre-emptive strike against Arab airfields in Operation MOKED that devastated Arab air forces on the ground.  In the air, IAF Mirages shot down 48 Arab fighters.  Shahaks accumulated additional kills during the subsequent “War of Attrition.”

During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Shahaks served in as air superiority fighters and scored numerous kills, from Su-7s, an AS-5 Kelt missile, and Egyptian Tu-16 bombers.  The Shahak was at last retired 1982, superseded by the F-4 Phantom II and F-15 Eagle.

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Eduard’s 1:48 scale Shachak – Mirage IIIC in Israeli Service Limited Edition kit comes on eight injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 154 parts (33 are not used here).  10 clear parts come on one sprue.  Fifty-four photoetched metal parts are included on one partially pre-painted fret along with another 21 PE metal parts on an unpainted fret.  Four cast resin parts are also included.  There’s a die-cut self-adhesive masking set and one decal sheet.  The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 13 pages.  Markings for five airplanes are provided:

Strengths:  This kit might be based on older 2004-era molds, but Eduard did very good work back then as well.  It is a great kit of the Mirage and is still quite impressive.  The kit itself is fairly simple and the parts breakdown is pretty straightforward, with left and right fuselage halves, upper and lower wing halves, and so forth.  I find it to be accurate.

The parts are well known for their good and trouble-free fit.  Surface details are all excellent.  This includes really nice recessed panel lines, fasteners, and rivets on the fuselage.  There’s also an injection molded standing pilot figure, too, though the instructions dictate that it is not to be used in this build of the Shahak.

Building options include an open or closed canopy, positionable flaps and ailerons, and a boarding ladder.  External store options span a pair of 500-liter drop tanks, 625-liter drop tanks, two Matra 530 missiles, and two AIM-9Ds.  The markings options are all outstanding, from a desert camouflaged Shachak with the large yellow identification triangles on the wings, to natural metal and overall gray schemes.  Furthermore, the Cartograf decals are outstanding.  The masking set will also save a lot of time and effort masking the clear parts, wheel hubs, and various airframe markings on markings options B and E.

The really impressive elements in this Limited Edition boxing (nice touch with the subtle David and Goliath worked into the box art!) involve the cast resin and photoetched parts.  They add a great deal of detail and visually interesting features to the kit, such as the pre-painted instrument panel and side consoles, great ejection seat details including pre-painted harnesses (complete with simulated stitching details), face curtain ejection handles, and the afterburner flame holder.  The kit’s ejection handles are in fact rather poorly done, so these PE parts are really welcome.  The resin parts all contribute towards different parts of the afterburner section of the engine as well as the exhaust nozzle – the latter is rich with eye-watering detail.  It’s a gorgeous example of very high-level resin casting.  

Weaknesses:  I cannot offer any substantive critiques of this kit.  The only potential oddity is that the intake ducts terminate in a central, smooth, curved wall.  I suspect this is because that this piece provides the visible ducting surfaces, but since you cannot see the engine face from any angle, that detail was omitted.  However, I don’t have a 1:1 scale Mirage nearby to check with and test my supposition.

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Eduard continues to get mileage out of their solid Mirage III CJ kit.  Here, the great photoetched and cast resin parts really enhance the already high quality of the kit, and these are then complemented perfectly by a great set of markings options and decals for the Israeli Shachak.  Fans of the Mirage, the IAF, Middle Eastern air force subject matter, and jet modelers more broadly will really enjoy this issue of the kit for its relative simplicity, great details, and outstanding markings options.

Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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