Mirage III BE/BD/DS/D2Z Kit and Detail Set for IIIS/RS/DS Versions

Published: May 27th, 2014     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Chris Smith - IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/72
Company: PJ Production
Price: $41.00
Product / Stock #: 721029 (Kit)
Product provided by: PJ Production

Introduction

The Mirage III's history has been well covered in numerous other places, so I won't dwell on it. Suffice it to say, it was introduced into service in 1961 and proved its worth in the hands of the Israeli Air Force in the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kipper War. It's been used by 20 of the world's air forces, and it is, quite frankly, one of the most elegant fighters ever designed.

The Kit

PJ Productions' two-seat Mirage kit can be built in one of four versions. I also had the opportunity to update this kit with a conversion set from PJ that builds a better Mirage IIIDS or two other Swiss variants. The base kit is very nice. You get the standard sprues in grey plastic and some resin replacement parts, which include all the cockpit details (panels, control sticks, and ejection seats). There is also some PE frets with antennas and two really nice boarding ladders. The canopies are nice, clear castings. The injected parts have engraved panel lines which are slightly heavy for the scale; however, they don't detract from the finished model once it's painted and decaled. Speaking of which, my kit was missing the decal sheet. The IPMS Reviewers' Corps administrators assisted me in getting a replacement from the manufacture. They are printed in perfect register and provide markings for four versions:

  1. Mirage III BE 271ZN of the French Air Force
  2. Mirage IIIDS 012 of the Swiss Air Force
  3. Mirage III 5 BD 205 of the Belgian Air Force
  4. Mirage IIID2Z 851 of the South African Air Force

Four-view color drawings of each version are provided along with color charts listing Humbrol, Gunze, Tamiya, and FS paint numbers.

The Conversion Kit

This conversion kit allows you to build three Swiss AF variants. The DS version is a two-seat Mirage with canards. There are parts included in the base kit to build a DS, but this set refines the kit's vertical stabilizer and canards, and adds some missing details like the RWR sensors on wing tips and the chaff/flare dispenser under tail. A PE fret has antennas and air flow vanes for the nose cone. The other two conversions are both for single-seat versions, and I believe you can use either the base kit in this review or the other single-seat kit, number 72026. The first single-seat option is the IIIS fighter version. The IIIS conversion gets new resin parts, including a nose cone and airflow vanes, a new cockpit tub, nose gear leg, nose gear door, and the same RWR sensors, chaff/flare dispenser, and new vertical tail. The IIIRS (recon) version gets all the same parts as the IIIS, except the nose is a clear resin casting to depict camera windows. There's a PE fret with various antennas to suit the version you decide on. A single two-sided instruction sheet lays out where everything goes on each version. There are no decals included, so if you're building the IIIS or the IIIRS you'll need to find your own decals and references.

The Build

Like all the delta wing aircraft models I've done in the past, this one went together fast. There's some minor plastic cutting required in the cockpit tub to fit the resin replacement parts. The beauty of this kit's design is that all the cockpit parts can be installed after the model is assembled and painted. Same for the afterburner can. The resin seats are really well done. My only issue with the build came when I joined the top wing sections to the bottom. There was a step on the underside of the leading edges of the wings that had to be puttied in. If I had to do it again, I would shim them with some plastic card to level the joint. There's nice detail in the wheel wells, and the landing gear parts are really well done for this scale. The vertical stabilizer was replaced with the conversion kit's part, which is really thin and saves you some surgery to remove a sensor from its leading edge.

Painting/Finishing

I chose the Swiss AF Mirage IIIDS version. The colors scheme was light ghost grey with a dark ghost grey pattern over it. I airbrushed both colors. The gear wells were done in Alclad Aluminum and masked before the greys were applied. After a few coats of Alclad Aqua Gloss, I was ready for decals. There are not a lot of decals on this version. They came off the paper easily and went on without any special treatment. The dielectric panels on the tail are provided as decals, which saves some delicate masking or hand painting. Be careful where you place the ejection seat warning decals, as mine ended up under the canards. Once the decals dried, I toned down the gloss with some flat varnish via airbrush. Then the cockpit parts where dropped in, including a nice clear part to represent the blast shield behind the front seat. The canopy was easy to mask, and some nice PE mirrors are included. The landing gear looks tricky but goes in very well. Some scale drawings are included to show their positions. Check the resin conversion set canards, as mine were slightly different sizes. The burner can goes in from the back. The last additions are the fine PE boarding ladders that look tricky but come out great with a little patience.

Conclusion

If you've never delved into the world of mixing plastic and resin, this is a great combination to start with. The resin parts are drop-in quality. I'm tempted to get another base kit and build the conversion set's recon version. The tiny PE parts are the only thing that could prove difficult. However, the kit does provide most of those parts in plastic, if you prefer. This kit rates 9 out of 10, losing a point to the build issues with the wing joint. I would, however, give it a perfect score for build enjoyment, as I really did have fun with this one, which is the point of this hobby, right? The only caveat to the conversion set is a lack of marking references or decals for the single-seat versions. The combined price of the kit and conversion set falls in the $60 dollar range, but if you build more than one using the conversion parts, it's not a bad deal.

Many thanks to the folks at PJ Productions for the sample kit and conversion set and, as always, to IPMS/USA for sending me some cool stuff to share with my fellow modelers.

  • Conversion Kit Contents
    Conversion Kit Contents
  • Conversion Kit Installed - Top
    Conversion Kit Installed - Top
  • Conversion Kit Installed - Underside
    Conversion Kit Installed - Underside
  • Finished Model
    Finished Model
  • Finished Model - Top View
    Finished Model - Top View
  • Finished Model - Cockpit Closeup
    Finished Model - Cockpit Closeup

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