Special Hobby 1/72 Mirage F.1CE/CH

KIT #: SH72289
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: I'm going to guess new tool


In June 1975, with tension growing with Morocco, Spain decided to strengthen its Air Force and bought 15 Mirage F1C that were allocated to Albacete AB. In mid-1976 there was still some tension with Morocco and Algerian and Libyan MiG-25 flights on the Mediterranean, which would lead the Spanish Air Force to purchase ten more Mirage F1C and two years later order 48 Mirage F1C and F1E. They have also bought 12 F1EDA/DDA's from Qatar. In Spanish service the F1CE was known as the C.14A, the F1EE was the C.14B and the two-seater F1EDA as the C.14C.

They served as Spain's primary air defence interceptors until they were superseded by Spain's EF-18A Hornets. They served with Ala 11 (11th Wing) in Manises, Ala 14 in Albacete, and Ala 46 at Gando in the Canary Islands. In October 1996 Thomson-CSF was awarded a FFr700 million (US$96m) contract to upgrade 48 F1C/E single-seaters and 4 F1EDA trainers to Mirage F1M standard (see below). As well as a service-life extension, this improved the avionics and added anti-shipping capability with a modernised Cyrano IVM radar and Exocet compatibility. By 2009 there were 38 F1M's in service with Escuadrón 141 (141st Squadron) "Patanes" and Escuadrón 142 (142nd Squadron) "Tigres" of Ala 14, but they left Spanish service on 23 June 2013 as Spain built up its fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon. In 2013 it was reported that Spain may sell sixteen F1M's to Argentina but it seems they now have the budget to buy new Kfirs instead. The deal went through and Argentina bought the Spanish Mirages in October 2013, but the deal was scrapped in March 2014 after pressure from the United Kingdom on Spain to not assist in FAA modernization over tensions between the countries over the Falkland Islands.

Spanish Mirage F1 were deployed to Lithuania, during NATO Baltic Air Policing from July 2006 to November 2006, and were scrambled twice to intercept undisclosed intruders. On 20 January 2009 two Spanish F1s from the 14th Wing crashed near their base, during a routine Spanish Air Force dogfight training mission, killing all three crew members. The wreckage of the two jets, including the remains of the aircrew, was found about 3 km (1.9 mi) apart.

The Spanish Air Force retired its fleet of Mirage F-1 in 2013, replacing it with the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Royal Moroccan Air Force received 30 F1CHs, 14 F1EHs & 6 F1EH-200s. 23 are still operational and 27 have been upgraded to ASTRAC.
A while back, I reviewed a pair of SAC metal landing gear for this kit. I was unaware that it had been released so when the opportunity came to add a kit to an order, I picked this one. Now this isn't the first Mirage F.1C version to be kitted. It has been done by Airfix, Heller, ESCI and Hasegawa (and possibly more, but those are all that come readily to mind). The only one I can recall building was the one by ESCI, and ironically, it was a Spanish version.

However, all those are not exactly new tool so seeing this one from Special Hobby, I think most of those will be relegated to the sales tables. The detailing is excellent and Special Hobby provides pretty much all the bits you'd need to do any version aside from the two seater. For that, you'd need different fuselage halves as you get the extra seats and clear bits. As you can see from the parts layout, there are a lot of blank spaces shown. Well those are filled with bits when you open the kit bag. So you get the different fins and weapons loads and other pieces.

There are a lot of inserts to enable different versions to be kitted. The cockpit is nice enough with seat, instrument panel, control stick and uses decals for instruments. There are two different seats depending on the aircraft you are modeling. Two different noses are included, one having a refueling probe attached. I really like that the intakes are a single piece. First I've seen of this and hope it catches on. Wings are in upper and lower halves with the upper section including the outer wing and control surfaces.

Landing gear is appropriately complex so most will be happy here. There are resin parts included to help match the version you are doing as apparently these were different as the airframe was upgraded. The only things under wings shown are the centerline fuel tank and the two wing tanks. There are enough other weapons on the sprues for you to properly arm this aircraft. Those include both air to air and air to ground missiles. There are also some ESM pods though these may well be designed for the French boxing. I suggest photos of armed planes to get the load-out  correct.

Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. There are five color options and these take up over half the instruction booklet. Three of these are Spanish planes. One is in a brown, green, sand over light blue scheme, another in the air superiority scheme of blue-grey over silver, and a third in sand and dark brown over a shade that looks like PRU blue. This latter plane has reduced size markings. For the Moroccan planes, both are in brown, green, and sand over light blue and differ in serial number. The second option has the air refueling probe and there are other differences as pointed out in the instructions. The decal sheet is superb and offers all the require stencils and other markings.

It is nice to see model companies bringing out newer tooling kits of old favorites. This one certainly seems to offer all one would want in a modern kit, and without resorting to photo etch to do it. Those who know Mirages would probably be able to do any single seat variant from this kit so it is well worth getting.



November 2016

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My thanks to, well, me for purchasing this one.

November 2016

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