|KIT #:||KH 32022|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed in the late 1970s as a lightweight fighter to replace the Mirage III for the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air). The Mirage 2000 evolved into a multirole aircraft with several variants developed, with sales to a number of nations. It was later developed into the Mirage 2000N and 2000D strike variants, the improved Mirage 2000-5 and several export variants. Over 600 aircraft were built and it has been in service with nine nations.
In regards to the Mirage 2000D, it was realized that a two seat attack aircraft would be a useful addition to the service. It was fairly easy to develop as it was based on the 2000N which was itself based on the 2000B trainer. Of course there were upgrades to the avionics as well as the addition of hard points to carry the various weapons. This latter operation required some beefed up structure. In reality, the 2000D was the result of delays in getting the Rafale in production. The 2000N was purchased to be a replacement for the Mirage IV in the nuclear strike role.
This latest release from Kitty Hawk comes in a huge box. Not surprisingly, half of the grey sprues are weapons, pylons and other stores. You are also provided a resin afterburner can. Photo etch is used for the seat harness, chaff/flare dispenser, some small interior bits and for some bits on stores.
The kit's molding is superb as is the norm from Kitty Hawk. The cockpit is very nicely done and includes decals as well as raised instrument detail for both compartments. The seats are particularly well done with a lot of additional bits to add detail. This same high level of detail goes into building up the nose and main gear wells. In line with other Kitty Hawk kits, you have a full engine to build up. All of these parts will eventually fit into each of the fuselage halves.
With that done, the intakes, which are ten pieces on each side are built and installed. A nicely done radar antenna is provided for the nose and this is covered with a one piece nose cone. No indication of nose weight is provided, but a wise builder will add the nose near the end so there is easy access to placing nose weight if needed. As a note, the kit includes a resin burner can, which is nicely done.
Each wing is an upper and lower half with a multi-piece outer gear well. Flaps and elevons are separate with the slats having individual slat tracks to glue on. There are also separate control actuator housings. In addition to the extended slats, you can pose the flaps and elevons lowered.
Once the wings are done, those as well as the various parts for the fin are attached. There are various optional fin tip arrangements, but as expected with all optional pieces in Kitty Hawk kits, there is no indication of what bits go with what option. One will have to check with the painting and markings guides as well as web images for that info.
The underside still has a lot of pieces to go that includes speed brakes, landing gear, gun access panels and a host of other smaller bits and panels. Note that all of the nose gear doors have separate hinges to attach. You have a separate windscreen and canopies so you can see into the cockpit.
The kit comes with a wide variety of things under wings including fuel tanks, air to ground rockets, bombs, missiles and targeting pods. More than enough stuff to have the plane look totally loaded. It would have been nice to have some iron bombs, but there it is.
Instructions are superbly drawn and provides Gunze paint references. You are provided with three sheets that offer a selection of some pretty incredible special schemes. Now, some of these schemes have large underfuselage markings. However, these markings will need to be applied over closed doors and then cut as they don't come already cut apart. This will limit the options for those who don't want to go through the additional work.
The majority of the options are in the standard European scheme of dark green/grey over light grey. One aircraft is in a desert scheme and another is in an overall light grey. All the options are with the two wings that operate these types; EC 3 and EC 4. One has the newest code markings that are for the base rather than the wing. Decals are superbly printed and are probably quite thin.
Many of us think that the two seaters are nicer looking than the single seat variants and now we have the chance to build one. Something I'd like to have seen would be some French iron bombs for the D version as it has a lot of pylons, but perhaps these will be available in aftermarket. It will take patience and perhaps a few modeling skills to complete, but the end result will be fabulous.
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Thanks to Glen Coleman and Kitty Hawk for the preview sample. You can
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