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In-Box Review
148
Mirage 2000-5 with Tow Tractor
ROCAF Mirage 2000-5EI with Tow Tractor
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by: Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

Background
The Mirage 2000 is the fourth generation jet produced by Dassault. Stinging from the selection of the F-16 over the Dassault Mirage F1 as a primary fighter for a number of European Air Forces, Dassault developed the Mirage 2000. By the late 1980s, the Mirage 2000 capability was lagging somewhat compared with the latest models of U.S. F-16. So Thomson-CSF began work on a privately funded update of the Mirage 2000C which was to be named the Mirage 2000-5. The Mirage 2000-5 is capable of carrying the oversized drop tanks developed for the Mirage 2000N, greatly extending its range. Dassault further improved the Mirage 2000-5, creating the Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2. Enhancements to offensive systems included a data link for the targeting of MICA ER missiles, the addition of the Damocles FLIR targeting pod, and the Thales RDY-2 all-weather synthetic aperture radar.

France announced in 1992 that it would offer Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighters to Taiwan. The number of aircraft considered had been rumoured to be 120, but the deal was finalized as 60 aircraft (48 single-seat 2000-5Ei and 12 two-seat 2000-5Di) on November 17 of the same year. ROCAF also obtained 960 MICA medium-range and 480 Magic II short-range air-to-air missiles from Matra.

Contents
The top opening box is literally packed with twelve light grey plastic sprues and one clear sprue. There are around 180 for the aircraft and there are 50 parts for the tow tractor. All the plastic demonstrates some fine recessed panel lines.
Mirage 2000-5

The cockpit The instrument panel looks a pretty close match to the Mirage 2000-5. There are no painting details at all, so some good reference photos will be essential. The head up display looks good and is built from clear plastic parts. Unfortunately the instructions do not provide any information suggesting colours. The SEM MB Mk10 seat is made up from six parts and looks very usable, the only thing lacking are any harnesses. There is a second seat for your spares box. The one piece tub has some fine raised detail on the side consoles, well worth picking out carefully when painting. Again there are no hints about colours in the instructions. To finish off the cockpit detail there are a couple of rudder pedals, a rather oversized control stick, a partial rear bulkhead and hydraulic ram for the canopy. The rear bulkhead has some convincing raised boxes moulded on it. There is an ejector pin mark on each side of the cockpit wall to remove which should take a few seconds to do.

The canopy and windscreen are separate parts and look very clear and thin. The canopy can be displayed in the raised position if you wish. Be very careful separating the canopy from the sprue as the attachment points are very close to the areas left clear and any damage would really spoil the look. The canopy does not have the blown look of the real thing, but still looks pretty good. Kinetic probably weighed up the practicalities of producing a blown canopy and decided not to go for it.

The fuselage is a new moulding and not an adaption of the two seat Mirage 2000 B/D/N that was released earlier. There are two choices of nose radome in this kit: one is for the 2000C and the other slightly longer and more pointed nose is for the 2000-5. The one piece vertical tail is separate and although Kinetic has included four different styles only one [part A8] is used with this build. The tail varies with the development of the “2000” so Kinetic seem to be covering all bases. So expect a few variations on the theme in the future. Oddly this is not mentioned in the building instructions, but the profiles in the painting instructions give you some idea of the configuration of the antennae. As always check out references, there’s plenty out there on the Web. As a whole the tail fin looks a little wide chord wise, but I have no plans to verify this. It is always difficult to judge against photos, but it does look wide. The trailing edge of the tail is razor sharp. There are separate parts representing the Dassault Sabre RF jammer, a pod below the bottom of the tail fin. The Matra Spirale dispensers in the trailing edge of the wing roots are also separate parts. The air intakes are each made up from two parts. There are a couple of recessed ejector pin marks inside the intakes that need sorting out. A blanking plate is moulded to the fuselage to prevent you seeing too far down the intakes into the fuselage. There is a clear plastic window that fits into the port intake. The two distinctive strakes attached to the air intakes are separate parts. The shape of the wing root does not look quite full enough, but it’s a pretty close attempt. There are two air inlets on the spine of the “2000” and these are represented with recessed lines. For a more authentic look these should be opened up. The gun troughs under the fuselage are nicely done, though you might want to open up the separate gun muzzles. The large access hatch on the upper fuselage behind the cockpit is a separate part and fits very well. Kinetic has thoughtfully supplied two jet nozzles. The nozzle with the open petals is moulded integrally with the jet pipe. The separate nozzle has the petals moulded in the closed position. The inside of the jet pipe is detailed and includes the re heat fuel matrix, engine spool and the walls are ribbed. The instructions suggest using the in-flight refuelling probe, but I have yet to see images of any ROCAF “2000’s” having it fitted.

The delta shaped wings are made up from eight pieces. The one piece lower wing does not appear to have the slight anhedral, a characteristic feature of the Mirage 2000 family. There is a separate part just forward of the main undercarriage bay where the guns are located. Although this part creates extra work for the builder it is a good solution for Kinetic in creating the two very different kits: the Mirage 2000 B/D/N bomber and the fighter version. The four flaperons are separate and each is one piece and has sharp trailing edges. They can be positioned lowered for a more interesting appearance. A really nice touch from Kinetic is that there is a set of actuators for either the raised or dropped flaperons. Worth noting are the beautifully thin trailing edges of not just the wings. The four leading edge slats are moulded in the closed position. The wing tips are finished off with Radar Warning Receivers [RWR] pods. Holes are pre formed for the location of the belly and wing pylons. If you are intending to use the pylons for the MICAS then locating holes need to be drilled. The position where to drill is marked on the inside of the lower wing parts.

The undercarriage looks pretty good, the two nose wheels are each one piece. The hubs of the main gear fit between the two piece tyre, which makes painting relatively easy. The nose bay is one piece and fits beneath the cockpit tub. There is a little detail in nose gear bay, but the three prominent ejector marks spoilt the look a bit. The main gear bay is devoid of any detail. The instructions would have you fixing the inner main gear doors open. The inner doors only open when the undercarriage is cycling. Even with power off the inner doors remain closed. So this will partly address the lack of detail in part off the bays. Ironically Kinetic has gone to a lot of trouble detailing the inside of the doors. The inner doors are a tad too big for the opening; a quick swipe with a sanding stick soon remedies the situation.

Under wing stores includes:
    -4 x Magic II R 550 2 AAM’s
    -4 x Mica AAM’s.
    -1 x 1300 litre centreline fuel tank*
    -2 x 2000 litre wing fuel tanks*
    -2 x 2000 litre export version wing fuel tanks
    -4 x AS-30L Laser Guided missiles*.
    -2 x ATLIS targeting pod*
    *Not used with this release.

The three different type of fuel tank look particularly impressive. The instructions only mention using the pair of export 1700 litre under wing tanks. The instructions suggest using the pylon numbered D14. Ignore this and use Q1 as they have much better locating pins. A single centreline tank and two shapely 2000 litre fuel tanks are also included. There is plenty of photographic evidence that the centreline tank is used on ROCAF “2000-5’s”. I intend to use it on my build. The Magic and Mica missiles look pretty good; the Micas [Missile d’interception et de combat aérien] each have two alternate seeker heads to choose from: an Active Radar or Infra-Red. Some of the stabilising fins on the missiles are separate, the leading and trailing edges are thin.

Marking options
It is suggested on the box top that marking options include aircraft from 41st TFG, 42nd TFG, 48th TG, and 499th TFW. Sounds like a wealth of different marking options, except in reality all the aircraft will look exactly the same except for the differing serial numbers. One aircraft “001” is featured in the instructions. In theory all of the 48 Mirage 2000-5 of ROCAF could be depicted as there are plenty of spare numbers to create the serials. But there are no squadron badges for anything other than for “001”. A quick look at images of ROCAF “2000-5” reveals that there is little if any evidence of any squadron markings, so Kinetic have correctly followed this. There is an intriguing badge featuring a cow and some tools on the sheet, but no indication on its placement. I suspect it might be intended for the tractor, but there is no reference to it in the instructions. Kinetic use Vallejo Model Color and Model Air as well as Mr Color and Italeri paint references. Overall colour is light grey with a disruptive pattern of grey on the upper surface. The grey is not available straight out of a jar so Kinetic provide advice for mixing paint to achieve the correct colour. It is worth noting ROCAF “2000’s” are generally very clean. Just a little soot residue aft of the vent at the base of the tail.

Towing tractor
As noted above the Harlan towing tractor is built from just over fifty plastic parts. The parts fit pretty well with minimal cleaning required. I do like the separate pin for the tow bar: detaching and re attaching the tow bar will provide hours of entertainment. It’s worth noting that the wheels are seen on top of the boom when aircraft are being towed. Overall colour is bright yellow so it will provide an interesting contrast to the grey jet.

decals
The decals are designed by PMa and printed by Cartograf. There are many stencils to apply, so many you may well be seeing them in your sleep. Wing walk ways and some other areas that would be tricky to paint are included on the sheet. There is a lot of duplication particularly for the tow tractor so don't be to intimidated by the number decals. The colour depth of the decals look excellent as does the registration of the multi coloured prints. Carrier film is kept to an absolute minimum. Definition is exceptional and if you’re Mandarin and eyesight is up to it you should be able to work out the instructions on the fire extinguisher. I've found in the past that Cartograf decals have always been a pleasure to use and react very well with Microsol and Microset.

instruction manual
The 18 page instruction manual feature black line drawings to aid construction. Some oddities though such as the two styles of fin shown without any information about which one to use. Watch out for the odd mistake with part numbers. There is no colour guidance for the detail in the cockpit, the undercarriage and bays. The stencil guide is very good.The grey scale colour guide is not the best way of trying to figure out which colour goes where.

Fit of parts
The kit builds up very quickly and easily using just liquid glue. The upper wing root and air intake joins does need filling and blending. For the larger gaps I used a combination of stretched sprue and liquid paper. The stretched sprue gives the joint a lot more increased strength compared with fillers out of a tube. Some care is required trimming the cockpit parts to allow the forward fuselage to fit together. There has been some thought put into the breakdown of parts and how the parts support each other to achieve a stronger build. You will certainly minimise the amount of filler used if you take your time and achieve the best fit for each component. The inner main gear doors only needed a tiny amount of trimming to achieve a very good fit. One area that needs attention is improving the look of the interior of the air intakes. Even though there is a blanking plate moulded on the fuselage halves, this does not completely prevent you being able to see into the fuselage. If you are fitting the MICA missiles, don’t forget to drill out the holes before assembly.
Building the kit does confirm some of the shape inadequacies of this kit, particularly if you know the aircraft well. The lack of anhedral, the shape of the upper wing root and the cord of the tail has not been represented that well. The canopy although not looking blown looks acceptable. At the end of the day it still looks like a Mirage 2000-5.

Useful references
http://www.airliners.net
http://www.taiwanairpower.org/af/mirage.html
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/cdspit/tags/mirage20005/

Conclusions
The kit certainly builds up into a handsome looking Mirage 2000-5. The level of detail is just right and the parts breakdown is pretty sensible. There are questions about the shape in some areas, but this is currently the best looking 1/48 Mirage 2000. The towing tractor is a real bonus; its inclusion does not seem to have put up the price of the kit. This is a fine effort from Kinetic and they should be congratulated for producing a kit of this very attractive fighter.
SUMMARY
Highs: Generally a good looking kit, not overly complicated with plenty of ordinance. Excellent decal sheet.
Lows: A few shape issues. The upper wing root joint and air intakes need some careful filling. The painting instructions.
Verdict: Even though there are few negative issues, there are many positive points. The bottom line is that it will look like a very good representation of the Mirage 2000-5. The tractor is fun to build despite a minor nose bleed at the thought of tackling it.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: K48045
  Suggested Retail: £18.13 from Lucky Model
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 02, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Taiwan / 台灣
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.86%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.80%

Our Thanks to Lucky Model!
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About Tim Hatton (litespeed)
FROM: ENGLAND - NORTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

Aeoplanes are my primary interest from WWll to present day.

Copyright ©2017 text by Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]. All rights reserved.


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Comments

I can not judge the accuracy of the shape yet this shapely fighter is still a beauty and it looks like Kinetic has kitted a sharp model!
SEP 01, 2013 - 11:09 PM
Somebody just put this one on there Christmas list
SEP 02, 2013 - 02:29 PM
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