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Special Hobby Mirage F.1CE/CH

Say what you will, but I think modern French fighters are sexy — and Dassault’s Mirage F.1 is no exception. It is a sleek machine with clean lines that ooze high performance.

Special Hobby captures that look in 1/72 scale nicely. I built the F.1CE/CH; the suffixes designate export versions for Spain and Morocco, respectively.

Exquisite surface detail marks the parts, quality that extends to wheel wells, doors and the cockpit. These are the best moldings I’ve seen in any Special Hobby kit.

The excellent engineering makes for a straightforward build. I stuck with the instruction’s assembly sequence, but left off pitot tubes, canopy, and exhaust for painting.

The exception was the nose pitot molded integrally with the radome; it’s begging to be knocked off or bent during construction. I suggest removing it cleanly before it breaks and reattaching it later.

I used a little filler to eliminate seams on the airframe, but a couple of areas need more work. Styrene shims between the intakes and fuselage smoothed the contours, and I trimmed the vertical stabilizer tabs to clear  the interior exhaust bulkhead (Part 42).

The horizontal stabilizers should be parallel to the ground, but because of the fuselage curve they have anhedral. Trim the posts or open the holes in the fuselage to correct the angle. Finally, check the lower wing sections. If the ends near the fuselage aren’t flush with the upper halves, the wings won’t fit into the fuselage.

The clear parts are excellent, but some small parts had minor fit issues.

The beautifully printed decals went on without problems.

Special Hobby’s Mirage features good detail, decals, accuracy, and external stores. It’s a straightforward build, but I recommend having a few kits under your belt because of the small parts. I enjoyed my 29 hours making this model so much, I purchased Special Hobby’s two-seat F.1B/BE!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2017 issue.


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