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Dassault Mirage IV A
Supersonic Strategic Bomber



Escadron de Bombardement 1/91 'Gascogne
Mont de Marsan, 1988
Strike Force - Force de Frappe
French Air Force - Armée de l'Air


Heller

This model added to kgwings.com on April, 2019

Dassault Mirage IV Heller

The Mirage IV entered service with the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) in October 1964. For 32 years it served as a vital part of France's nuclear deterrent striking force. It's primary objective was to sortie from French bases, refuel in the air, then attack major Soviet cities and bases including Moscow and Murmansk. The aircraft was designed to send the message that "France is not a prize worthy of ten Russian cities".

Dassault Mirage IV Heller

Alert status consisted of 36 active Mirage IVs. At any one time 12 aircraft would be in the air, with 12 aircraft on the ground ready to take off in four minutes, and another 12 aircraft ready to take off in 45 minutes. Each aircraft would be equipped with a functional nuclear weapon.

Dassault Mirage IV Heller
The Mirage IV resembles the Mirage III for good reason, they share many design features and in some ways it is a scaled up version with double the wing surface, two engines instead of one, twice as heavy, with three times the internal fuel.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller

This old Heller kit has raised panel line detail, not my favorite, but they are well molded and look descent after I accented them with a dark gray Prismacolor pencil. I've only attempted to re-etch an entire kit once and the result was not fun so I decided to work with the kit as it was cast.

Dassault Mirage IV Heller
The Mirage IV is powered by two SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojets which allow it to reach a restricted maximum speed of Mach 2.2 (1,454 mph, 2,340 km/h) at an altitude of 40,000 ft (13,125 m). The kit's afterburners are pretty good so I left mine stock.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Nothing says "Bomber" quite like 10 wheels! I was worried about getting the main gear aligned properly but they went right in place without any shimming or bending at all.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
The Mirage IV was retired from the nuclear strike role in 1996, and the type was entirely retired from operational service in 2005.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller

The pilot and navigator cockpits can be positioned opened or closed. Sadly it's difficult to see the inner details because the crew sit so low in the fuselage. Visibility for the crew must have been pretty limited which is common for many jet bombers of the era.

Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Starting in 1975, Mirage IVs were painted in this green/gray camouflage scheme. Photos suggest that the paint would be heavily faded by the late 1980's so I sprayed base coats of dark green and grey, then sprayed a lighter green and a lighter gray avoiding the outed edges of the panel. I think it represents the state of older aircraft fairly well.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Looking at this dart-like profile, it's easy to understand how this aircraft could climb to 36,100 ft (11,000m) in a little over 4 minutes. Even on the ground it looks fast!
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
With the high magnifaction of the camera lens I can clearly see where I got sloppy with my Prismacolor pencil in accenting the raised panel details. It looks much better through my tired old far-sited eyeballs.

Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Pavla Models makes several excellent upgrades for this kit including a full resin cockpit, MB.Mk.4B ejection seats, and the CT-52 sensor pod to convert this kit into a Mirage IV P strategic reconnaissance aircraft, these are all fairly easy to find. Other manufacturers have produced decals and other upgrade parts but they proved to be difficult for me to find here in the United States.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
A total of four pylons can be mounted under the wings of the aircraft. Heller includes the common early Mirage IVA configuration of two inboard mounted 660 gal (2,500 litre) drop tanks. Later models would often carry ECM and chaff/flare dispenser pods on the outer pylons (not included in this kit).
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Here is my Mirage on the workbench just before mounting the landing gear. I added brakelines made of stretched sprue and did some minor carving/sanding/drilling to add a bit more detail to them. As far as I can tell, French roundels would not have the outer yellow ring during this period but this is all I had to work with at the time so I decided to let it slide.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Most of the details in the Heller cockpit are very good right out of the box, like the raised instrument panels and basic shape of the ejection seats, however the rear bulkheads are not convincing at all. I used sheet styrene and copper wire to simulate the correct bulkheads details. I used masking tape to create the missing seat harnesses.
Dassault Mirage IV Heller
Although this is an old kit with raised panel lines, it's easy to build and the end result is a very good representation of an aircraft that served on nuclear alert duty for more than 30 years. I'm very happy to have spent my time on this kit.



Heller AMD Mirage IV A 351
Heller
Kit: Heller #351
1/72 scale


Scale: 1/72
Value:

The molds for this kit were cast in 1979 and although Heller has updated the packaging and box art several times, the kit and decals remain the same as with the original release. Price ranges from $10.00 to $20.00 (US) which is a good deal considering there are no other options for a Mirage IV in this scale.
Decals:

Decals are provided to build one of 6 aircraft:
  • Forces aériennes stratégiques 4 / AC
  • EB 2/91 Bretagne 25 / AX
  • EB 2/91 Bretagne 54 / CA
  • Forces aériennes stratégiques 56 / CC
  • Forces aériennes stratégiques 58 / CE
  • EB 2/91 Bretagne N61 / CH
My decals were produced between 1979 and 1983 so they had some yellowing and were difficult to separate from the backing paper. Suprisingly they held together and adhered well using MicroSol.

Assembly:

The kit is comprised of approximately 86 parts molded in dark green with 3 transparent canopy parts. One small decal sheet and a large black and white double-sided instruction sheet are included.

My instruction sheet was printed in French only although I didn't have any troubles following the well drawn exploded and profile views and numbering. Standard camouflage paint scheme is indicated for top and left side but not for the right side so you'll need to do some online research or guess. I found that this scheme did not vary much from aircraft to aircraft.

Most parts are cleanly molded with only slight bits of flash.

Panel lines are raised and very fine, I decided against spending the time to etch them.

Fit is fairly good overall althouth filler was required in places, mostly at the wingroots.

Landing gear doors are too thick and intake splitting plates are too thick for scale so I thinned them down with careful sanding.

Paint:

Tamiya XF-50 Field Blue - as a base coat of gray.
Tamiya XF-82 Ocean Gray 2 - as a highlight (fade) of gray.
Tamiya XF-13 J.A. Green - as a base coat of green.
Tamiya XF-81 Dark Green 2 - as a highlight (fade) of green.
Aftermarket Parts:

None
Scratch Additions:

Sheet styrene was used to create new cockpit bulkheads and instrument shroud. Drafting tape was used to make seat harnesses. Styrene strips used to create structure in landing gear bays. Chrome sequins and clear epoxy was used to make optical lenses and lights. I used stretched sprue to create brakelines for the main landing gear.

Recommendation:

For a kit that was originally cast over 40 years ago, I found the level of detail and accuracy to be fairly impressive. The kit is easy to build and if you choose to make a few simple improvements the final result is a very good looking Mirage. I recommend this kit for any fan of cold war aircraft, especially those interested in the Nuclear Deterent.


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