Kinetic 1/48 Mirage 2000 B/D/N
|PRICE:||$40.00 delivered 'used'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Mirage 2000N is based on the Mirage 2000B two-seat trainer, but features considerable changes. The airframe was strengthened for low-level flight and fitted with an Antilope 5 radar, which is used for terrain following, navigation and ground mapping, and which can follow terrain at 1,112 km/h (691 mph). Other avionic features are twin INS units and moving map displays for both the pilot and weapon systems officer. The Mirage 2000N can carry one ASMP medium-range nuclear missile, and can also carry two MATRA Magic AAMs for self-defence. Other protection features include the Sabre jamming system and the Spirale chaff system. Because the extra seat decreases range, a pair of drop tanks are carried. Since the Mirage 2000N's standard weapon was the ASMP, which was carried on the centerline pylon, this meant that it could not carry a centerline tank, but a distinctive big 2,000 litre (530 US gallon) underwing drop tank with a bulbous nose was developed to more than compensate.
The first batch of 30 aircraft for the French Air Force had a sole nuclear capability, and these were designated Mirage 2000N-K1. These did not have the Spirale chaff system, and carried a pair of AN.52 free-fall nuclear bombs before the ASMP was ready. The later batch of 44 aircraft were designated Mirage 2000N-K2. These had both a nuclear and conventional capability, and a full defensive fit. The K1 aircraft now have a limited conventional attack capability.
Dassault has also developed the Mirage 2000D, which is a development of the Mirage 2000N designed for long-range precision strikes with conventional weapons. This aircraft is exactly the same as the Mirage 2000N, but introduces support for conventional attack missiles such as the Apache and Scalp missiles, as well as the AASM weapons. The first aircraft, converted from the Mirage 2000N prototype, flew on 19 February 1991, and the French Air Force ordered a total of 86 aircraft.
The Mirage 2000N is not licensed for export. The French Air and Space Force has 62 in its inventory.
Like the Mirage 2000N, the Mirage 2000D had variants. The Mirage 2000D-R1 does not have the full weapons capability of the Mirage 2000D-R2, which features the Apache and Scalp missiles, the ATLIS II laser designation system, and the Samir self-protection fit. France has since retired its Mirage 2000 fleet. I have to assume that many of these airframes went to overseas operators.
Very much like other Kinetic kits I've seen, this one is very nicely done with engraved panel lines that some think is a bit over-done. I think it looks just fine. The kit provides a fair number of optional parts as there are differences between the B, D, and N variants. For instance, the B radome is different from the D/N. There are multiple variations on the antennas on the fin and the D/N version has a different spine configuration. Same goes for the wing tips and the antenna housing just above the exhaust.
The kit's cockpit is nicely done with two adequate bang seats, though replacing them with resin versions will give a greater amount of detail as the kit seats have no belts. Unlike some other kit companies, Kinetic does not provide instrument decals for this one. The nose gear well fits under the cockpit floor and this then gets installed in the fuselage halves. Unlike some of their later kits, this one does not have full intake trunks, though that isn't much of an issue as there is little space to see what's in there.
The lower wing and an insert closes off the lower fuselage. Note that the area next to the fuselage and elevons has different parts depending on variant being built. The elevons can be attached either raised or lowered. Looking at photos of the real deal on the ground, there were a variety of angles from barely to fully deployed to full up.
Landing gear are very nicely done and you are provided door linkage and actuators as well. There is a four piece set of cockpit transparencies. The two canopies can be posed open if you so desire. Note that the aft canopy opens to a greater angle than the front. The front canopy has what looks like a molding defect in it, but that is the detonating wire for when the pilot has to eject through the canopy. For things under wings you have three fuel tanks, a choice of Magic missile variants, an Atlis pod and an AS-30L missile. No nuclear cruise missile is provided for the 2000N, which is a shame.
Instructions are well done and provide markings for four aircraft. The French and Greek 2000B are in the two greys scheme while the 2000D/N are in the green/grey camouflage with the 2000D having a wrap around scheme. Decals are very nicely done and provide full stencils along with the wing walk markings amd markings for the missiles.
Based on my experiences with previous Kinetic kits, this one will probably require a bit of care when building. I've often found some places have fit issues while others are perfect. As I've not built any of their Mirage 2000s, time will tell how this one will turn out. I'd like to thank the internet for some of the images as my kit was not treated well by the postal service.
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