This release from Kinetic is a joint project along with Isracast,
a company well respected for its releases of indigenous Israeli military hardware. Two versions of the Kfir are offered: the C2 and the later C7. The top opening box contains nine plastic sprues of various sizes as well as one clear plastic sprue. The sprues are individually bagged for security.
The Kfir is a heavily modified version of the Mirage V manufactured by Israeli Industries first entering service in 1975. It was built in Israel due to an arms embargo prohibiting Dassault exporting the Mirage V to Israel. The rear fuselage was heavily modified and shortened to fit the wider but shorter J79 engine similar to that fitted to the Israeli F-4J Phantom [Kurnas]. It replaced the thirstier and less powerful French Atar 9 engine. Noticeable differences to the Mirage V were the addition of canards and extended leading edges which provided much improved aerodynamics. The avionics of the Kfir were upgraded and the nose was also modified: featuring strakes which further improve handling. The Kfir was capable of carrying an extensive suite of weaponry and fuel tanks. Like any good design, the Kfir evolved into a very capable attack aircraft, which was also exported to a few countries.
The Cockpit tub has some fine raised detail on the side consoles. There are two choices of instrument panels depending on which version you want to portray. Kinetic has included some useful cockpit photos of the C2 on the side of the box lid. There are two deep ejector marks on the inside fuselage in the cockpit that need eradicating. Kinetic provide two choices of ejector seat and both are made up from four parts. They do look very good but there are no seat harnesses. A head up display, rudder pedals, a control stick, plus a rear bulkhead with plenty of detail make up the rest of the items in the cockpit.
The canopy and windscreen are beautifully clear and thin. The rivet detail on the frame of the windscreen is worth noting. The canopy can be displayed in the open or closed position.
The fuselage almost extends the full length of the model, the two piece nose are separate parts. There are two different noses, each being two pieces. At first glance they look identical, so you need to put in your “spot the difference” eyes to see the subtle dissimilarities. The fit of the inner part of the starboard fin needs a little attention to achieve a flush fit with the surrounding area. It does sit slightly high. The rear fuselage will require some pressure when gluing to get a tight fit. The detail of the nozzle and the one piece jet pipe is pretty good. The reheat fuel matric and the interior of the pipe are nicely represented. I do like the look of the air intake on the fin extension. The air intake recess is just deep enough to look very convincing. The recessed detail is generally very good although there are a couple of panels with slightly wavy lines. The rivet and fastener detail is spot on. There are a few shrinkage marks around the wing root to be aware off. Kinetic provide parts to create intake ducts with a representation of the primary compressor and spool, great stuff. The recesses for the 30mm Rafael cannons are separate parts that are attached into the slots in the air intake. The muzzle guards are superbly done and look very convincing and they fit the slots very well indeed.
The wing is built from three parts, the lower wing being one piece. Kinetic has managed to capture the lovely curved shape of the leading edge and wingtips. The undercarriage bay moulded on the lower wing has some good raised detail. The fit of the wing to the fuselage is a tad tight. Some carefully considered swipes with a sanding stick will result in an excellent fit. There are some shrinkage marks along the leading edge of the wing that may need some attention. The flaperons are moulded separately and feature sharp trailing edges. There are two sets of flaperon activators that allow you to display the flaperons dropped or raised. The air brakes [speed brakes] on the upper and lower wing are separate parts. There is no internal detail though.
The front undercarriage bay looks very good with some fine raised detail. It’s definitely worth spending time painting and highlighting the detail. The detail on the inner surfaces of the gear doors is nicely rendered.
Kinetic has provided an excellent suite of things to hang from pylons, including:
-2 x Python-3 Air to Air Missile
-6 x Mk82 Retarded Bombs*
-6 x CBU-10 Rockeye dispensers*
-2 x Griffon Laser Guided Bomb
-1 x Laser Designator
-1 x AGM-45 Shrike ARM**
-2 x Subsonic fuel tanks with fins.
-2 x Subsonic fuel tanks with fins and fences.
-2 x 110 Gallon Supersonic fuel tanks.
*The instructions state there are seven bombs or dispensers but there is only six of each on the sprues.
**Not used with this release.
The weapons pylons look very good and are far from simple slabs of plastic. The wiring and pipework looks very convincing.
Decals, instructions, painting
Markings include two C2’s and three C7’s.
-KFIR C7 number 553 ‘Venus’, The ‘Arava Guardians’ squadron, Hatzor AF Base, 1988.
-KFIR C7 number 539 ‘Venus’ (Hebrew version), ‘The Arava Guardians’ squadron, Hatzor AF Base.
-KFIR C7 number 521 ‘Pluto’, ‘The Arava Guardians’ squadron, Hatzor AF Base, 1994.
-KFIR C2 number 805 ‘The Valley’ squadron, Ramat-David AF Base, 1983
-KFIR C2 number 861 ‘Venus’, ‘The Valley’ squadron, Ramat-David AF Base, 1985.
Both the C2’s are painted light ghost grey overall with dark ghost grey areas on the upper surface. The C7’s are painted light ghost grey beneath and a three colour disruptive pattern of dessert brown, dessert tan and sky on the upper surfaces.
The decals have been designed by Ra’anan Weiss of Isradecal and are printed by Cartograf. As you would expect from Cartograf the quality looks excellent. There are lots of stencils on the sheet, including ones for the ordinance.
The instruction booklet uses black line drawings and symbols to help you build the Kfir. The painting guide is printed in colour. Be aware that some of the part numbers in the instructions don’t tally with the parts on the sprues. In fact one part was on a completely different sprue as suggested in the instructions. Some of the lines indicating where parts are fixed are very vague in parts.
The build was fairly straightforward. The fit of the wing to the fuselage is very good. The worst fit was the air intake into the fuselage. The profile of the two parts don’t quite match so some filling and sanding is required. This has a knock on effect when attaching the canards. If the intakes are not lined up properly, then some filling and blending of the root of the canards will be necessary. The bullet fairing at the base of the tail fin will also require a little filler. Once the cockpit is painted and the air ducts for the engine and forward undercarriage bay are fitted, the build is very speedy. An oddity in the instructions is the addition of an electrical box in the rear cockpit. The instructions suggest fitting it in stage 6 after you have painted, detailed and fitted out the cockpit. Not an ideal time to glue an additional part. One of the electrical boxes on the bulkhead to the rear of the cockpit needed trimming; otherwise I found that the canopy would not close properly. One thing to watch out for is the very sharp flaperon actuators. They will pierce the skin very easily if you are not careful. Yes I speak from experience!
Liquid glue is all you need to put this beauty together.
The most complex part of the build is constructing the main undercarriage. The instructions are a very vague about the location of the actuator rods.
The three colour camouflage scheme is challenging, but well worth the effort. Three coats of Pledge Multi Surface Wax was brush painted before the decals were applied. This is the alleged improve formula Klear, which I must admit works pretty well. The decals are exceptional, particularly when used in conjunction with Microsol. Do be careful with the wing walkway lines. I ended up cutting them to more manageable lengths for ease of fitting. Some light weathering was applied using thinned down oil paints.
This is a tremendous release from Kinetic and by far there best to date. The kit demonstrates sophisticated moulding and the sort of detail and modeler expects nowadays. The build is pretty straightforward and should present few problems to anyone with a few kits under their belt. The overall shape of the kit looks very good indeed. The distinctive anhedral of the real thing is reproduced. It will certainly make an interesting addition to my other delta winged aircraft on my shelf.
Very highly recommended.
How about a Kfir CE or a TC2 please Kinetic?