Dassault Mirage 4000
Mirage 4000 first flew in March 1979, just a year after it’s smaller brother Mirage 2000. And while the latter became a backbone of French Air Force fighter force and a highly successful export product, the 4000 failed to reach any sales – in French service as well as outside. The aircraft was designed to supplement the 2000 as a bigger multi-role fighter similar in a way to F-15E. The aircraft was approximately 30% bigger than Mirage 2000. After it failed to win the Saudi fighter-bomber acquisition (for which it even received temporary desert camouflage), the Dassault, which was privately funding the 4000 project, decided to retire it. Mirage 4000 represents an important step between the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. The sole prototype is now on display at the Paris Air and Space Museum.
This model is made by Modelsvit exclusively for the French store Bassin Maquette, as were the previous VSTOL versions of Mirage III. The kit ain’t cheap by any means, but in terms of details, accuracy and ease of building, it surpasses the resin edition from Anigrand by miles.
As for the kit itself, it is another masterpiece from Modelsvit. The panel lines are even more refined on this kit than they were before and if I am not mistaken, it is the first time, they added rivet details. Being a short run kit, it means that some modelling experience is required as well as some more time for parts preparations. I’ve only had two areas that proved a bit troublesome – engine exhausts are very thin and the plastic started to crack when I inserted the inner part of the exhausts. The major problem I had was when trying to close the one piece canopy. I’ve decided to build my Mirage with canopy closed as it looks much better this way. But when I tried to close the one-piece canopy, I simply couldn’t. The solution was to cut away the entire avionics bay behind the cockpit as well as a part of turtle back behind the ejection seat. Not a lot of work but a minor setback. The only other critique would be the lack of weapons – you can only add 6 Matra Magic missiles, while the prototype carries quite interesting loadouts during the trials – just look at the above photo. Other than that, the kit is really nicely engineered – PE parts add a nice touch where appropriate, decals perform excellent and the overall fit is very good.
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-004 White, MRP-005 Basic Black, MRP-041 Red, MRP-173 Tire-Rubber Matt)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-413 Hotmetal Blue)
14 additional images. Click to enlarge.