Dassault-Mirage 2000-N Escadrille 2/4 Lafayette. 1/72 Heller
As I wanted a relative strait forward build in between the groupbuilds, so I started working on this old Heller kit which I picked up second hand during one of the modelshows I visited in recent times.
I have a soft spot for French aircraft and specialy for the Dassault products. And as it happens this year celebrates 40 years of Mirage 2000 service, not only with the French airforce but in many countries where the Mirage found it's users.
After finishing my Mirage 2000-C for the Year of the Cat group build, the 2000-N is the next one.
Introduced in active service in 1988 this version of the Mirage 2000-N was specialy developed for Nuclear strike missions.
The Mirage 2000-N carries a nuclear stand-off missile built by Aerospatiale in France. The missile is powered by a liquid fuel ramjet and can fly speeds in between Mach 2 and 3 with a flight range after launch between 80 km and 300 km depending on it's specific flight profile.
Another striking feature are the specialy developed underwing fueltanks. Each tank hold 2000 liters or 530 US gallon fuel, which not only gives the plane a long range, but is also needed to carry the extra weight of the missile, which is around 860 kgs.
In-flight refueling is offcourse another feature.
For self defence two air-to-air MATRA R550 Magic missiles are carried under the wings.
The model shows the aircraft from 2/4 Escadrille "Lafayette" based at Istres in France 1989.
Of special intrest are the squadron logo's in the tail of the aircraft, both originating in the First World War.
The Sioux head and the flying Stork. The stork has 4 other variants used by various pilots during WW-1, this one is the version used by pilot Romamet in WW-1 and used since 1918.
It was nice to build an older kit allmost straith from the box. I only added some small details and straps in the cockpit. The antenae under the front fuselage are also scratchbuild. And the damage with the natural metal and fuelstaines on one of the underwing tanks was replicated from some pictures I found of a real machine. It makes a change as otherwise these Mirages are kept spotless.
I hope you like it.