Italeri 1/48 Mirage IIIEA

KIT #: 2674
PRICE: 82$
DECALS: Nine Options
REVIEWER: Francisco Santoro
NOTES: Condor Decals 48054


"With 43 years of service and 131,000 flying hours, in the afternoon of 29th November 2015 in front of a crowd in Tandil's VI Air Brigade, a performance was done for the retirement of the Mirage III system, the last supersonic interceptor in the Argentinian Air Force.

"The story of the Mirage III in the Argentinian Air Force dates back to the beginning of 1960, when the FAA was in a dire need to replace their Gloster Meteors Mk.4, and with the objective of complementing their F-86F-40s. A supersonic interceptor was requiered, one that could have a pathfinding radar, and the possibility of the aircraft to use air to air missiles.

Even though several aircraft were considered, the decision to buy the Mirage III was due to the aircraft's performance in the Israeli Air Force during the Six Day War.

Malvinas: In the actions of May 1st 1982, the "Sección Dardo," formed by Captain Gustavo García Cuerva and 1st Lieutenant Carlos Perona engage a formation of British Harriers. As a result, Perona is shot down, but manages to eject from the aircraft nearby Borbon Island. Due to the heat of the battle, García Cuerva's Mirage end up with the minimum fuel level to retreat back to the continent, so he decided to land at Puerto Argentino. Nevertheless, due to a mistake by the Argentinian AAA, his aircraft is shot down, Cuerva dying as a result.

During the first actions of the conflict, it is revealed that the Mirages have a weakness in low level fights, and lack enough fuel to reach the islands and go back to the continent. Because of this, it was decided that the aircraft would remain in continental Argentina to protect the air bases. The aircraft also participated as escorts for the C-130s and Canberras Mk.62 in their incursions to Malvinas. The Mirages were also used as bait for the British Combat Patrols, facilitating the attacks of the fighterbombers to the area where the British fleet was located."


This kit is not new, and by a long shot. According to Scalemates, the original release of the kit under the ESCI brand dates back to 1980, so the kit is 32 years old. Before the release of the Kinetic Mirage IIIE (and several other variants), the ESCI 1:48 kit was the only tooling of this famous French supersonic fighter. The ESCI kit was re-released by Revell and Italeri during the life of the kit, the most recent release being the Italeri Mirage Nesher/Dagger of 2013.

The boxing of the Italeri kit I got dates back to 2009, which came with 9 decal options for a Mirage IIIE of the French Air Force. However, the kit also includes the parts to make it as a Mirage IIIEA of the Argentinian Air Force (such as the empennage extension).

My kit came in a side opening box, with all the parts being divided in four bags. There're three bags with grey sprues, and one small bag with the clear parts. Instructions are on the simplistic side, with 9 construction steps, and being a bit vague in some areas (such as the placement of the landing gear).


I didn't start this kit by building the cockpit. I began by gluing the wings together. These are a single bottom piece and two upper halves. Once they were dry, I added the flap/aileron fairings and left this assembly to dry.

The cockpit is very simple, consisting of a tub, seat, control stick, and flat panels. The instruments are provided as decals. I first painted all the cockpit pieces in Light Grey (Revell 76). The instruments were painted black, and the seat was painted black on the sides with an Olive Drab cushion. Once the paint was dry, I applied the instrument panel decals. These decals were then matt coated with Revell's 02 Matt Varnish. Once the decals were dry, I glued all the cockpit pieces into the tub, and then glued the cockpit tub to the nose gear well. I then glued the cockpit to the fuselage, and added a 60g weight as close to the nose as I could, to avoid ending up with a tail-sitter plane.

I then decided to test fit the wings to the fuselage. Two, big, steps was the result of this test fitting. Luckily, Pablo Calcaterra provided a simple solution to eliminate the issue. He added some spreader sprues to the wings of his Mirage Dagger. I followed suit, and thanks to him, I had a much more presentable Mirage.

Once the wings were in place, I added the exhaust can to the rear of the plane, and added the intakes to the front.


I had Condor Decals's 48054 set for six Mirages in Argentinian Air Force service, but none during the South Atlantic conflict. I had to choose between I-011 or I-007. Both were similar, with I-011 having a yellow rudder and I-007 having the Mirage emblem on the empennage. In the end, I chose to paint the Mirage as I-007. I used RLM 79 (Revell 17 Afrika Brown), RLM 70 (Revell 40 Black Green), RLM 71 (Revell 39 Dark Green), and Revell 76 Light Grey for the the camouflage. In then glossed the aircraft for the decals, which behaved perfectly. After letting them dry for some hours, I matt coated the aircraft. I also painted the 500 litre supersonic fuel tanks with these colours. Luckily, Revell Aqua paints dry quickly, so I was able to pass to the final assembly stage in little time.

The final step is always the most time consuming moment. I glued the landing gear in place (which have very shallow mounting holes), wheels, fuel tanks, gear doors and clear parts. I would have liked to add missiles to the external hardpoints, but the ones included weren´t correct for the Argentinian aircraft.


The kit builds into a decent Mirage IIIE model, the only issues being the lack of detail in the cockpit, shallow landing gear mounting points, and the poor fit of the wings. Granted, we have the new tool Mirage IIIE in 48th from Kinetic, but I've read that the Kinetic plane has issues of its own. I'm now thinking on buying and building the Kinetic kit as a what if machine in NMF for the Fuerza Aérea Argentina.


Francisco Santoro

25 March 2022

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