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Dassault Mirage IIIE

 

Fonderie Miniatures

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Stock No. FN6035
Scale: 1/48 scale
Contents and Media: 28 parts in low-pressure injection moulded plastic; 23 parts in high-quality resin; 34 parts in white metal; entire Heller Mirage IIIB/C kit
Price: USD$62.97 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Important subject; effective use of multi-media and elements of older Heller kit; excellent resin details; recessed panel lines and vents on new plastic parts; ample ordnance; four colourful marking options
Disadvantages: Modelling skills required; flash on many parts; some sink marks; no seat harness supplied.
Recommendation: Recommended to experienced modellers.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Fonderie Miniatures' 1/48 scale Mirage IIIE is available online at Squadron.com

FirstLook

 

There are two Mirage III kits available in 1/48 scale - the Heller Mirage IIIB/C and the ESCI Mirage IIIE/O.

The Heller kit is certainly the pick of the two, being more accurate. However, both kits suffer from their fairly old age.

Fonderie Miniature has now released a 1/48 scale Mirage IIIE which is almost new.

This model includes a brand new injection moulded fuselage and ordnance, plus resin cockpit, afterburner can, wheels, wheel wells and white-metal landing gear legs, gear doors and other details; all combined with the wings and some minor detail parts from the older Heller kit. Despite only a small percentage of the Heller parts being used, the entire kit is included in a separate bag inside the box so you will have plenty of spare parts!

 

 

Plastic parts are typical of FM's recent improved efforts. Surface detail is by way of finely engraved panel lines and recessed vents. Some of this detail is a little soft on the starboard side fin of my review sample, but this will easily be corrected after a few minutes' attention with a scribing tool. Subtle rivet lines are also present in appropriate places. The surface texture is slightly rough to the touch and will benefit from sanding and polishing before assembly, especially if your Mirage is fated for a Natural Metal Finish. Flash is present around most of the main plastic parts.

Resin detail is excellent. FM has gone above and beyond the call of duty with truly terrific resin wheel wells.

 

 

The forward gear bay is cast as two separate parts to guarantee deep, authentic detail on the sidewalls and the top of the well. The cockpit, burner can, wheels and Matra missile body are equally well done. My only complaint is that the seat has no harness - neither cast in place nor supplied as a separate part.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


White metal landing gear will ensure adequate strength for this area of the model.

The quality of the Heller plastic parts is quite good. Most of the surface detail is recessed on the wings, including the speed brakes, vents and large access panels. It will be up to the individual modeller's discretion whether to sand off and rescribe the remaining finely raised panel lines.

Lots of ordnance is supplied. In addition to the underwing supersonic tanks in the Heller kit, FM has added two big 625 litre ferry tanks, two Sidewinders and a MATRA R 530 missile for the centreline.

Four colourful decal options are included. All four options are for French-operated Mirages.

Instructions are typical Fonderie Miniature fare - three folded black and white A4 pages, with one sheet dedicated to construction, one sheet to camouflage and the final sheet to background.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Fonderie Miniature's 1/48 scale Mirage IIIE represents a big improvement over the ESCI and Heller kits in terms of detail. The inclusion of full interceptor fitout plus ferry tanks is also very gratifying, and the interesting markings are worthy of this interesting package.

I am also pleased at the prospect of being able to build any one of many colourful RAAF Mirage IIIO subjects almost straight from this box.

However, as is the case with earlier Fonderie Miniature releases, modelling skills are required - this is not a "shake and bake" proposition. Patience, planning, parts-cleanup and plenty of test-fitting will be the best formula for approaching this model.

The inclusion of resin and metal pieces will lift the finished product to a very high standard if adequate preparation and effort is applied. You will not have to spend a cent (or should that be a centime?) on aftermarket accessories to obtain a beautifully detailed result

Recommended.

Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample


Review and Images Copyright 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 24 July, 2003
Last updated 15 August, 2003

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