The Eagle that was not to be.

Mirage 4000

Modelsvit 1/72, Ref. 72053

The Mirage 4000 was designed at the same time as the lighter, smaller, and far more successful Mirage 2000 using the same delta wing and fly-by-wire configuration. First flown in March 1979, the Mirage 4000 proved to be an outstanding heavy fighter-bomber that could have proved to be a formidable opponent to the F-15 Eagle, and a painful thorn in the side of the US economy. So much so that Dassault was to greatly suffer from undercover politics and big business dealings that eventually killed the whole project.

I never had laid my hands onto a Modelsvit kit but the sex-appeal of the aircraft proved too strong for me… Modelsvit is an Ukrainian company producing high quality short-run kits. The Mirage 4000 kit was originally released in 2018 as a limited edition but was more recently (2020) re-released with a different box-art but above all three extra sprues carrying a lot of bombs, missiles and fuel tanks.

Although not really a new kit, I felt it was important to put it under the spotlight since distribution is limited and shows, where one could have had a chance to look at the contents of the box, have been few and far between ever since the start of the Covid crisis.

The new box-art is rather impressive, kind of portraying the raw power of the real machine. 233 parts are making up the kit, all parts spread over twelve light grey and one clear sprues. A set of masks, a photo-etched set, two decal sheets and a professional-looking instruction booklet complete the offer.

‘Short-run’ usually implies a few constraints ; indeed there are no fixation plots to be seen anywhere, meaning extra care being required during assembly and possibly the need to strengthen the way some parts are attached to others. A little bit of flash can be seen in places but nothing that will be a chore to remove.

In fact, it must be said that the parts are well molded and easy to remove from the sprues (no thick gates to deal with), which will be handy since the kit includes several small and fine parts. Details are sharp and the recessed engraving ‘just right’.

As mentionned earlier, a lot of underwing (and under-fuselage) stores are provided in this new edition. The set of masks is, obviously, mainly aimed at the canopy, both inside and outside ; additional masks will ease the painting of the red on the main air intakes on the ‘white bird’.

Two canopies are provided, one for a closed cockpit, the other for an open cockpit. The clear parts are thin and transparent ; we could not ask for more.

The decals appear commendably thin, with no carrier film outside the markings ; the French roundels are perfectly centered. Two schemes are offered, the well known ‘white bird’, star of the 1981 Salon du Bourget, but also the two-tone sand and blue camouflaged aircraft seen at the same event but in 1987.

A first for me, this kit from this Ukrainian company, but a real nice surprise altogether. It remains to be seen how all those nice parts will fit together, but everything seems to point at a very enjoyable build and a very nice and impressive model.

Review by Daniel Clamot ; pictures by Modelsvit & Daniel Clamot.

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