Kit No. D18
Decals: Two versions
Comments: Crisply detailed French fighter of the 1970’s and 80’s
The Mirage F.1 succeeded the extremely effective Mirage III/5 jet fighter series. The prototype F.1 took its maiden flight in December 1966, and although it crashed, its performance was so promising that in September 1967 the French government ordered three pre-production aircraft for further evaluation. The F.1 was a fitting successor to the Mirage III, with its emphasis on a large payload, easy handling at low altitude, and a high rate of climb. Like the Mirage III, it had a swept wing, but it differed from its predecessor in having the swept-wing mounted high on the fuselage, sort of a “shoulder mount” that provided the F.1 with short take-off or landing (STOL) capability. The F.1 had a higher maximum speed (Mach 2.2, compared to the Mirage III’s Mach 2) and three times the Mirage III’s endurance at high Mach speeds, three times the patrol time, and twice the range of the Mirage III at sea level, owing to the F.1’s 40% greater internal fuel capacity due to the elimination of bladder-type tanks in favor of integral fuel cells. Finally, the F.1 had an improved Thomson-CSF Cyrano IV mono-pulse radar with a range 80% greater than the Mirage III’s Cyrano III unit.
The F.1C variant took its maiden flight in February 1973, around the time that the F.1 entered service with the French Air Force. It remained in front-line service with the French Air Force, tasked primarily with high-altitude interception and ground attack, until it was replaced by the Mirage 2000 in November 1982. It served with the air forces of France, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, South Africa and Spain.
Powerplant: SNECMA Atar 9K50 afterburning turbojet of 15,870 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: Mach 2.2 (1,450 mph) at 39,990 ft.
Maximum combat radius: 400 miles with 3, 520 lb. load
Endurance: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Time to Climb to Mach 2 at 39,990 ft.: 7 minutes 30 seconds
Stabilized Supersonic Ceiling: 60,695 feet
Wingspan: 27 ft, 8 in.
Length: 50 ft.
Height: 13 ft. 9 in.
Weights: 16,315 lbs. empty; 25, 350 llbs. operational (loaded guns, internal fuel, and air-to-air missiles)
Armament: Two 30mm DEFA 553 cannon, 125 rounds per gun; two Matra Magic R.550 missiles or two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles; up to 8, 818 lbs. of ordance on seven underwing hardpoints.
Hasegawa’s Mirage F.1C is molded in grey and consists of 50 injection molded parts. It has a basic cockpit with a seat, control stick and a decal for the main instrument panel. The kit has mostly raised panel lines, but there are precisely machined indentations along the surface of the dive flaps, which are molded into the upper surfaces of the wings. There is some ribbed detail in the wheel wells on either side of the fuselage just below the wings, . a 1200-liter belly tank, and for armament, two AIM-9 Sidewinder and two Matra Super 530 air-to-air missiles. There are also dive brakes which extend from the lower fuselage just beneath the leading edges of the wings — the odd thing is that the holes are mere depressions, but a pin vise can be used to fully perforate them, which would be worthwhile since they are intended to be displayed in the open position. The two-piece canopy can be cemented open or closed, and there is a boarding ladder along with a separate, well-molded pilot figure standing with his helmet off, who appears to have his hand on a rung of the ladder. Finally there is a paint guide for the pilot and the Sidewinder and Matra missiles.
The decals offer a choice of any one of three French F.1C interceptors: E.C 1/5 Vendee at Solenzara BA, aircraft code 5-NJ, bearing pennant decals on the tail, one which appears to be a knight, the other a swan; the second is an aircraft of E.C 1/12 “Cambresis” at Cambrai BA, aircraft code 12-YH, with twin red tridents on the either side of its tail, one bearing a hornet in a circle, the other a tiger; and finally a Mirage F.1C of E.C 1/12, aircraft code 12-YE, bearing the same squadron tail markings as 12-YH but with its tail in black and yellow stripes for the 10th “Tiger Meet” in June 1979 at Cambrai BA.
Although an older mold from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, this is a fairly well detailed kit of a successful interceptor of the late Cold War period. Highly recommended.
- Encyclopedia of World Airpower, Crescent Books, New York, 1981