|DECALS:||Four Belgian options|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Injected kit with resin and photo etch parts|
The Dassault Mirage 5 is a supersonic attack aircraft designed in France by Dassault Aviation during the 1960s, and manufactured in France and a number of other countries. It was derived from Dassault's popular Mirage III fighter, and spawned several variants of its own.
Mirage 5BA : Single-seat version of the Mirage 5 for
Belgium, fitted with mainly US avionics; 63 built, 62 under license by SABCA.
Mirage 5BR : Reconnaissance version of 5BA for Belgium; 27 built, 23 in Belgium.
For years PJ Production has been well known for its superb resin kits. Now, in conjunction with High Planes models, PJ Production has offered its first multi-media kit that is basically injected styrene.
It only makes sense that their first kit is of a subject that has been previously released in resin, the Mirage. In this case, it is the Mirage 5BA, a version built specifically for Belgian requirements. These planes replaced the F-104 in the strike role and so were not built with the big air intercept radar. These aircraft were also provided with a recce nose as the Mirage 5BR.
It is pretty obvious when looking at the sprues that these are intended for all the different Mirage versions. You get a bunch of different noses and different fuel tanks along with other bits and pieces like a fin fillet radio antenna not used on the Belgian version and the lower nose doppler antenna mount, also not used on the Belgian variant. In other words, there are a lot of bits you will not use on this version, but save what you do not use as perhaps they will allow you to use up some of those Heller kits you have squirreled away. Or, if you are brave, you can build this boxing into another variant of either Mirage III or Mirage V, assuming you have markings for them.
But returning to the current boxing, the injected parts are actually rather well done. The engraving is a tad on the 'soft' side compared to Hasegawa, for example, but is still quite acceptable to most modelers. The wings are pretty standard as Mirage kits go and the fin is a separate item. Also separate is the forward fuselage. This is to allow the two seat version to be kitted later. The clear sprue includes both the two seat canopy as well as two windscreens; one of them unframed.
Of course, there is resin. There are two different clear resin noses for the Mirage 5BR version. Also in resin are two different bang seats, two different sets of underwing tanks, an instrument panel, control stick, and chaff/flare dispensers. A photo etch fret includes a boarding ladder, sensors, antennas and canopy mirrors.
Instructions are quite well drawn and let you know which of the optional bits are to be used for which set of markings. Color information is also provided during the build. There are four markings options, all of them in either SEA or SEA wrap camouflage. When the fleet underwent upgrade in 1980 or so, the camo switched to the SEA wrap and part of that upgrade was a different seat and a few other things. That is why you need to know which markings option you will be using.
The full color four view concentrates on BA 64 which was used during Desert Storm, flying out of Turkey. Other options are BA 43 of 2 Squadron before 1981, BA 19 of 8 Squadron, also before 1981 and BR19 and BR 27 of 42 Squadron, one before and the other after 1981. The decal sheet is nicely printed and provides all the markings needed. To my eyes, the red is a bit light, but perhaps it will darken up when applied to the kit. There are also several special schemes on various Modeldecal sheets to cover Belgian Mirages. Some of them are quite colorful.
If you like the Mirage III/V as do I and have been waiting for a modern injected kit, then this is a very good one, especially with all the resin and the photoetch adding just that much more detail and being something you do not have to buy later.
Thanks to PJ Production for the preview kit. You can find this kit at this link.
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