Revell 1/72 Mirage IIIE/R




? Long OOP (July 2003)


Four aircraft


Scott Van Aken


1976 boxing


France's premier interceptor/fighter for the 1960's and 70's was the Mirage III. A very similar aircraft, the Mirage 5, was initially built for Israel, but embargoed due to the 1967 war.  Versions of both the III and 5 were widely exported in large numbers allowing the modeler a vast number of possible paint schemes for this aircraft.  While no longer in service with most countries, the legacy lives on in the Kfir and South Africa's Cheetah.




Revell's kit has been around at least as long as the Heller kit. For many, it is the better of the two, though its availability has been a lot more sporadic than that by Heller. Molded in dark green plastic, there are two large sprues and a smaller clear one. The clear bits are not bad at all and are a separate canopy windscreen. This is to allow you to display the rather sparse cockpit which is basically a tub, seat, stick and instrument panel. The instruments are a decal with no detail for the side consoles. One gimmick is a full engine that is removeable. Unfortunately, you can't build the kit without it so that only adds to the tail-heavy aspect of the model.

Optional noses are provided for the recce and standard Mirage III. Unusually, the recce nose is not clear plastic which makes it difficult to simulate the camera windows. A variety of under wing stores are in the kit which includes the slim supersonic fuel tanks as well as the larger ones with the bomb racks molded on. I'm going to assume this is for the Swiss version as I don't recall seeing a French Mirage IIIE with these features. That was left for the Mirage VF.  Landing gear are much more detailed than on the Heller kit.

Because it is an older mold, the detail work is raised and there are the usual ejector pin marks on the inside of gear doors and on smaller parts. This one has some flash, but not on the parts themselves. A few sink areas were also found, but none too large.

Instructions are well done with colors given in both generic and FS numbers. There are several well drawn construction steps denoting the difference in variants. Markings are for four aircraft; two French, two Swiss with one each regular and recce bird. Both of the French planes are in the European scheme of green/grey uppers with silver undersides (painted, not natural metal). Both are early schemes with the rudder stripes and the unit codes on the mid fuselage. The Swiss planes are both in overall natural metal with the large red intake flashes. The decal sheet is fairly well done, but the reds and blues are too bright for my liking and the French roundels were a bit off register. Fortunately, there are aftermarket sheets around for the 1/72 Mirage IIIE.



The availability of this kit is spotty at best. I don't see them at swap meets very often as the Heller one is more prevalent. A really decent and upgraded 1/72 Mirage IIIE by a mainstream company is sorely needed, but the outlook is not good. If you can find one, I do recommend it over the Heller and Matchbox Mirage IIIs.

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