Here are two Mirage kits in 1/48 scale, the Heller 2000C kit
80426, and the Italeri 2000C kit 2614.
I caused myself a spot of trouble with the wing root joint on the
Heller kit as I didn't join the upper wing sections to the fuselage
sides first and then add the lower wing section later. I didn't make
this mistake with the Italeri build.
I found the overall fit of the Italeri kit to be somewhat better
than that of the Heller - the molding is much crisper and the
plastic much smoother, although the panel lines on the Italeri may
be a bit too deep for some tastes.
The cockpit and seat of the Heller look much more accurate than the
Italeri kit, which hasn't changed at all since a pre-production
version was issued in the early 1980's; at the very least a new seat
is needed for this kit.
Model Master paints were used on both builds: for the Hellenic
Mirage Dark Ghost Grey is the ligher color, and Intermediate Blue
lightened with Classic White, the bluish hue.
The Gulf War Mirage was done using Radome Tan and Dark Tan; I added
some Dark Tan to the Radome color to get that light Sandy color; and
added some Classic White to the Dark Tan to get a sort of
Intermediate Tan. [all eyeballed from color pics].
The respective kit decals were used throughout the finishing-only
the Hellenic roundels were borrowed from the Italeri sheet. The
Heller/Airfix decals (although extensive) are concomitant with the
overall quality of the plastic-they just don't quite make it! But I
used 'em anyway; Heck, modeling is probably the least risky thing I
do in my life !
The Italeri sheet is well-printed and go down nicely on a good
glossy surface. 'Nuff said !
I added a bit of [spurious] detail to the Italeri cockpit-the
consoles and front panel are decals.Also a HUD from scrap PE.
There is a Black Box cockpit set for the Heller 2000C, but according
to Lin, Bo Shiun (Stephen) whose fine article[ Modeling Madness] on
a Taiwanese 2000-5 was the inspiration for my -5, the resin tub
needs lots of sanding and dry fitting to get it right.
It should also be noted that I anacronised my Gulf War Mirage 2000C
by simulating the Spirale [chaff] dispensers at the rear of the wing
fairings; I had not originally intended this build to be an
'Operation Daguet' aircraft. The dispenser (decoy) shortcomings of
the Mirages appearing over Bosnia and Kosovo were corrected by these
As with so much in the area of modeling esthetics, the beauty (and
the beast) is often in the eye of the beholder. I didn't do any
measuring or such but to me the Heller/Airfix kit is probably more
'accurate', i.e. from the many Mirage 2000 pics I've looked at, it
appears more 'proportionately correct'. The Italeri/ESCI fuselage
looks to be too thin in cross-section; but in profile the model
looks just right.!
What I'm left with is the feeling that the Heller kit is one of
those 'Could-Have -Beens'; the look and proportions are all right
but the molding and the plastic are sort of rough which throws the
fit off...etc. If Pro Modeler from Hong Kong had done the same kit
from the same specs we might have had a first class model...A
l'autre main, the Italeri/ESCI kit is quite well-done; crisp molding
and smooth plastic-but looks, so to speak, a bit
undernourished-perhaps like one of those svelte runway models from
The alternative for the 1/48 scale builder is the old Monogram kit,
now out of production but still showing up here and there. Some have
called it a tad on the plump and short side [too many Big Macs ?!],
but if given a new radome and seat it looks just fine.
There is no definitive Mirage 2000 in 1/48 scale (or any scale as
far as I know). There may never be. The major modeling firms have
never produced one, maybe for any and all of the reasoned theories
that we see discussed on HyperScale about such things.
References for this project came from two Air Forces Monthly
articles; The New Mirage 2000 [Feb. 2000]; Gallic Warriors-The
Mirage 2000N and 2000D [July 2001], and the Concord Publication,
Operation Daguet-French Air Force in the Gulf War by Eric Micheletti