The Eduard Mirage IIIC is a well-known kit, first released in the mid-2000s. Despite being 15-yr old molds, they hold well the pass of time and it is nice to see it re-released. It sure builds into a nice replica of the French interceptor.
The kit comes molded in light grey plastic, with a total of 167 parts in 8 sprues, plus a small sprue of clear parts. The decals are printed by Eduard, they are opaque, shiny and in register. This boxing also includes pre-painted photoetch and pre-cut masks. As an add-on, this kit also includes resin parts for the upgraded airframes which used the ATAR 9C engine.
Construction, as usual, begins with the cockpit. The side consoles and instrument panel have raised detail and bode well for drybrushing. There is also the option of a decal for the instrument panel if you like. However, I choose to use the photoetch detail which meant to sand off the raised detail on the side consoles and to use the flat-version of the plastic instrument panel, on top of which I applied the photo-etch instrument panel which consists of 4 main parts, plus a few extras for switches and such.
At the same time, you are assembling the cockpit, you need to assemble the nose wheel well. Ensure good alignment of those parts or they could throw off the alignment of the fuselage halves and lower wings.
There are two other subassemblies needed before closing the fuselage: a “backing” to the air intakes to prevent see-through into the fuselage and the tailpipe assembly.
The engine and tailpipe assembly look nice when assembled but there are two prominent seams that need to be filled down the tailpipe. Instead of dealing with those two seams, I choose to line the interior of the plastic pipe with a copper pipe of the proper diameter and I painted it aluminum. Finally, I added the end parts (plastic) to each end of copper pipe for a seamless tail exhaust.
I have built this kit before and I knew the fuselage was a tiny bit too slim relative to the wings, so this time I added some plastic sheet to the top fuselage seam (an easy area to sand) as a spreader. It worked quite well, as I needed virtually no filler along the wing-roots. I also added a thin piece of plastic to the base of the rudder, as I knew there was going to be a gap.
I did find a small ridge along with the rudder. It seems like the mold was slightly misaligned when the part was injected. I was able to remove the ridge by simply sanding it off but still, the panel lines did not match on the left and right parts of the rudder. It is very hard to notice unless you know where to look and what to look for.
Another modification I’ve made was to remove the bottom of the air intakes from the lower wing (that is how it is molded), glue the bottom to the “D” shaped air intakes, sand off the seam -before gluing the air-intakes in place) and then treat the whole “D” air intake as a new part. I ended up needing some plastic sheet at the join of the fully integrated “D” air intake and the bottom of the wing, but that is an easier area to sand, plus I got a better fit of the air intake to the fuselage sides.
With those 3 sub-assemblies (Cockpit and nose well wheel, tailpipe, and air intake backing) you have a small jigsaw puzzle for alignment while closing the fuselage. Don’t forget to add weight to the nose to prevent a tail-sitter, even more, if you choose to use a copper pipe in the tail, as I did.
The wings are a simple affair, with a single bottom piece to ensure the anhedral of the Mirage wing. Make sure you sandwich the landing gear bays before you glue the wings together. If you are going to add any weapons or drop tanks make sure to open the holes at this point.
The model was moving really quick towards the painting stage, which was accomplished using enamels and careful masking. I did have some issues in the painting stage, with some of the paint ‘cracking’ probably due to the solvent on the later layers re-activating the paint underneath. In the interest of time (this is a review model) I decided to move on. Normally I would have stripped the paint, wash the plastic, let it air dry and re-paint.
After a coat of Future, I’ve applied the decals, which were really good quality. Thin, yet strong, with good color density and in register. They conformed to the surface without the need for any solvent. Notice I said, “good color density” and not ‘perfect’. The yellow triangles have good color density, but I’m still able to notice the different paint colors underneath, given the large dissimilarity between the brown and the sand color.
I did have another issue while I was decaling, and it was not because of the decals, but because of the lack of a warning in the instructions. Even when I could have figured this out on my own, it would have been nice to have a heads-up, so here is your heads up: if you are building the model with the large yellow triangles decals, do not glue the missile pylons and the drop tank pylons until after the decal was applied. I didn’t and then it was not possible to apply the decal because the pylons were in the way. Clearly the decal was designed to be applied before the pylons are in place.
The landing gear was assembled without any issues and painted. In a previous review of this kit, I said that the landing gear was flimsy. Well, I have to say that it was my own fault the landing gear was flimsy. This time around the landing gear is not flimsy and that is because in the previous build I forgot to add parts “C8”, which add strength to the landing gear. My apologies to Eduard for having mischaracterized the nature of the parts. I would still say that the landing gear is delicate, but it is not flimsy.
For things under the wings you get two types of drop tanks and a selection of missiles (Matra 530, AIM-9D, plus some other training missile listed as “not for use”). I choose to arm my model with Sidewinders plus two subsonic drop tanks.
The last step was to mask the clear parts (using the provided pre-cut masks that were a breeze) and to glue the windshield to the fuselage. I decided to leave the main canopy unglued to better display the interior.
In summary: This kit requires some modeling skills to fix some of the minor fit issues however it is not above the skills of the average modeler to fix (or prevent) those issues. My sample seemed to have some misaligned mold issues in the rudder area. Some sanding partially corrected the issue, but still, there is some mismatch on the panel lines between the left and right side of the rudder. Overall, this kit is really nice, goes together with minimal fuss and it looks great when finished
This particular boxing has the added value of the resin parts that can be used to model the upgraded Mirage IIICJ with the Atar 9C engine. Notice the added image of that resin part being used on another kit -from my personal collection- which will be finished using the upgraded engine. Be on the lookout for another article describing that model.
I have to say I am very pleased to have added this kit to my model collection. I like the lines of the Mirage and I like this particular kit Eduard has released as it provides the option for the upgraded engine.
Recommended to modelers that have a few kits under their belts. The average experienced modeler should have no problem assembling this kit.
I would like to thank Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review sample.