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KIT REVIEW


Eduard Mirage IIIC ProfiPACK Edition -- 1:48 Scale

The Dassault Mirage III was one of the most iconic European fighter jets of the 20th century.  The sleek, delta-winged design was also the first Western European combat aircraft able to exceed Mach 2 in level flight.  Recently, Eduard re-released their venerable 1:48 scale injection-molded Mirage IIIC kit and have added photoetched metal parts, extensive painting masks, and tons of decals in this ProfiPACK edition.  Let’s see what we’ve got.

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The origins of the Mirage IIIC go back to 1952 when the French government issued a request for a lightweight all-weather interceptor.  Dassault’s design, the MD.550 Mystère-Delta won the contract and soon became the Mirage I.  Further development work gave rise to the progressively larger, heavier, and faster Mirage II and III.  The Mirage III became the first production version of the aircraft.  The Mirage IIIC first flew in October 1960 and deliveries commenced in July of the following year.  The jet featured an Atar 09B turbojet engine, twin 30 mm DEFA cannons fitted in the underside of the fuselage, and the jet could be fitted with up to five external hardpoints for drop tanks, bombs, the AIM-9B Sidewinder, Matra R550 Magic, and Matra R530 air-to-air missiles.

Some 95 Mirage IIICs were purchased for the French Air Force and they continued to fly with the French until 1988.  The nimble and fast Mirage IIIC was also purchased by many export customers such as Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Israel, and others.  The Mirage IIIC accumulated an extensive combat record particularly with the Israelis.  During the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars War, IAF Mirage IIICs were used as multi-role air superiority and strike aircraft.  Their high kill-to-loss ratio against MiG-17s and MiG-21s was quite notable.  Israel’s famous top-scoring jet ace, Giora Epstein, accumulated his kills in either the Mirage IIICJ or the IAI Nesher, which was an Israeli derivative of the Mirage III/V lineage.  South African Mirage IIICs played key roles in the South African Border War, though performance shortcomings of the radar limited some aspects of its performance in that conflict. 

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Eduard’s 1:48 scale Mirage IIIC ProfiPACK kit comes with eight injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 150 parts.  Another 10 clear parts come on a clear sprue.  Fifty-five photoetched metal parts are included on one fret (a little under half of them are pre-painted).  There’s also a pre-cut self-adhesive masking sets and one decal sheet.  The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 13 pages.  Markings are provided for five airplanes:

Strengths:  The lineage of the plastic parts in this kit go back to Eduard’s original 2004 released Mirage IIIC, and the kit has been re-boxed and reissued by Eduard about a dozen times.  The kit itself has developed a very strong reputation among scale modelers for its accurate overall configuration, great detail, and various construction options.  I would still consider this one of the last “early-era” Eduard kits, and it has withstood the test of time quite well.  They did very good work back then, too.

Parts breakdown is fairly traditional and straightforward.  There are not a lot of parts, either.  Fit is quite good, and surface detail is excellent.  This includes really nice recessed panel lines and rivet/fastener details on the fuselage and wings.  There’s a pilot figure, too (though in this version of the kit, you are not supposed to use him), and a boarding ladder.  The trailing edge flaps are separate parts.  The mounting tab has them going straight in, but to position them dropped, just remove the tabs.  External stores options include rocket pods, AIM-9Ds, Matra 530C/Ks, - 530E/Ms, Matra 550 training rounds, and 500 and 630 liter drop tanks.  

The really impressive elements here are the ProfiPACK items and really make this an outstanding and attractive offering.  The photoetched parts add a great deal of detail and visually interesting features to the kit.  Frankly, the injection-molded cockpit details are underwhelming.  In that sense, Eduard does seem to want to push most builders towards using their PE parts.  While the kit plastic comes from the 2004 molds, the PE parts are all-new.  The pre-painted instrument panel and side console parts are gorgeous and do the Mirage justice.  The dial faces are treated with Eduard’s raised glass effect.  There are also beautifully and subtly pre-painted parts for separate shoulder harnesses and lap belts.  The face curtain ejection handles, and other interior and exterior details are also really well made.  The masking sets will save a lot of time with masking the clear parts, wheel hubs, and the red intakes, fuselage bands, and white chevrons in Markings Option B.  

The Cartograf printed decals are awesome in terms of their quality and technical printing attributes.  The markings options capture a representative range of Mirage IIICs from the French, Israeli, and South African air forces.  You can’t really go wrong here.

Weaknesses:  Just a few things to consider:  the missiles feature simplified surface details and thick, over-scaled fins.  As noted, the kit cockpit on its own is simplistic and poorly detailed, but that’s easily overcome with the kit’s great PE parts.  While the gear well details are nice, they are also rather simplified.  Personally, I see that as an invitation to add more detail.  Also, the speed brakes are integrally molded into the wings and cannot be built extended.

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Eduard continues to get high-quality mileage out of their 2004-era Mirage IIIC kit, especially when combined with contemporary-quality photoetched metal parts, masking sets, and decals.  Fans of the Mirage will certainly enjoy this issue of the kit along with a much wider range of scale modelers given this kit’s quality, nice 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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