Heller 1/72 Mirage 2000N
|PRICE:||$4.00 at swap meet|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Similar in that the US developed the two seat F-15E Strike Eagle, the French developed the Mirage 2000D from the two seat Mirage 2000B trainer, though there are a lot of differences. Also developed at the time was the Mirage 2000N nuclear strike variant which was intended to carry the Aerospatiale Air-Sol Moyenne Portee (ASMP) nuclear stand-off missile. Initial flight tests of two prototypes began on 3 February 1983, and the Mirage 2000N entered operational service in 1988. A total of 75 were built, replacing the obsolete Mirage IV bomber.
The fighter had strengthened wings for low-altitude operations, as well as low-level precision navigation/attack systems, built around the Dassault/Thales Antilope 5 radar, which was designed for the strike role and featured a terrain-avoidance capability.
The ASMP missile is 5.38 meters long with a kerosene-powered ramjet that allows it to cruise at Mach 3 to a maximum range of 100 km carrying a nuclear warhead with a yield of 300 kt.
This is what you'd call 'old school' as well as modern in terms of kits. By that, I mean that the kit is based on their raised panel line Mirage 2000C kit, but the new fuselage has engraved panel lines. Now I know that there some raising eyebrows about this, but it not the first time this has been done as I seem to recall ESCI doing this with their A-4 Skyhawk. Those modelers who wish can engrave the wings, though most of us will just leave things as they are.
The kit has a cockpit tub into which two seats, a control stick and an instrument panel fit. There is a decal for the panel instruments, but nothing for the consoles. The side intakes are in three pieces and in my experience with the 2000C, will be fiddly fits. There is no trunking. The exhaust is also a single piece as is the canopy. A refuelling probe is provided for the nose.
Main gear wells are boxed in but have no detail. The nose gear fits to the bottom of the cockpit section and the instructions recommend fitting this in place before closing the fuselage halves as the opening is quite small. Main gear are sturdy looking and should not be an issue as with some other kits (Matchbox, for instance). For things under wings there are Magic short range dogfighting missiles as well as the ASMP that fits on the centerline. One will need to open holes for this in the lower wing. Also included are the huge fuel tanks required to give the plane its range. These and the ASMP are newer tool so have engraved detail.
The instructions are typical Heller offering several construction steps and all paint information in Heller/Humbrol numbers. Some colors will need to be mixed, but it is the standard European scheme of green/grey over a greyish silver. Marking for one unit, EC 2/4 Lafayette, are provided. The decals are quite matte and the insignia are off register. I'd suggest replacements if you can find them. Many years back (as in well over two decades ago) I built one as participated in Red Flag in a desert scheme using several Modeldecal sheets to glean insignia, codes and such.
As far as I know, this is still the only 1/72 injected kit of this aircraft. The kit is not difficult to find if one looks and while not exactly the most detailed kit around, will make into a nice model for your collection.
Thanks to me for the preview kit.
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