This kit is the now hard to find offering by Aeromaster. It
was actually a nuclear strike Mirage 2000N, with the injection molded portion by
Heller. The kit included a resin cockpit, nose gear well, shock cones, and
exhaust. A photo-etched fret had a superb exhaust nozzle, antennae, and
strakes. Also included were white metal landing gear and a crystal clear
vacuform canopy. Additionally, the kit detailed instructions and fantastic
The D model Mirage is the conventional precision strike variant. Recently,
these aircraft have seen combat in Afghanistan. Although labeled a D, the
Italeri offering is actually a hybrid. Inspired by a feature in World
Airpower Journal and excellent walkaround pictures from the web (including ARC
and French Air Wings) I chose to convert the Aeromaster kit into a 2000D
with the most recent ESM and ECM equipment and weapons. The Italeri kit
was also used for key parts.
I was dissatisfied with the thin and poorly detailed vertical tail.
Choosing to replace it with an Italeri tail, I cut the original from the
fuselage. Dry fitting the resin exhaust revealed that the rear fuselage
also required thinning and that the rear portion of the wing fillet needed to be
chose to replace the poorly detailed main gear bays with sheet styrene, strip,
and copper wire. Although only the main strut doors remain open when the
Mirage is on the ground, the wheel bay is visible beneath the closed wheel door.
I boxed in the portion of the gear bay which is covered with styrene, adding
some solder hydraulic tubing. Dry fitting the wings and bays, I cut
the fuselage beneath the wing fillet to accommodate the new gear bays.
images below to see larger images
Clearly the wings of this kit were from an older mold than the fuselage.
The wings had raised detail, while the fuselage lines were engraved.
I re-scribed the wing detail. Next, I painted the gear bays light gray.
Finally I enclosed the gear bays, carefully checking the wing fit.
Significant thinning of the upper wings with a motor tool ensured that the wing
profile was not distorted by the deepened gear wells. The wings were glued
together. After a day of drying, I carefully cut away the flaperons for
repositioning at final assembly.
Before taking on the cockpit, I first decided to address the air intake ducts
and nose gear bay. Although not strikingly visible, I wanted to look into
the intakes and see the compressor face. I made a home made resin copy of
a compressor from the spares box. The compressor face was glued to a piece
of brass tube. I carefully trimmed the fuselage sides to center the tube
assembly and then glued the tube and compressor in place. Next, using
Milliput and a moistened fuel tank from the spares box for smoothing, I faired
the fuselage sides to where they meet the splitter plate. I also faired
inside the forward intake ducts, carefully checking the shape with the shock
cone to maintain a symmetrical appearance. After a few days of drying, the
Milliput was further smoothed with sanding. Imperfections were puttied
with Squadron Green and sanded again.
Next, I assembled and detailed the cockpit. This was one of the easier
tasks of the kit due to the excellent resin parts. The finished cockpit
was painted and installed in the fuselage. The intake ducts were also
painted and the compressor was given a wash to accentuate the detail. At
this point, I also added sheet styrene to seal each fuselage side's intake
I carefully glued the exhaust duct into the fuselage. Then, I glued the
fuselage halves together with liquid cement. Before that cement had set, I
fit the wing to the fuselage. By gluing in this rapid succession, I was
able to get a relatively good joint and fit. That said, there was still
filling and sanding to be done! This kit was not cooperative on fit--all
the modifications did nothing to aid that situation. It took considerable
work to achieve the correct profile where the exhaust duct meets the variable
nozzle. Once everything was dry, I also added telescoping tubing to align
and strengthen the new vertical tail. The tail was installed and blended
with Squadron putty. The canopy was masked, glued, blended, and then
painted black (for the inner frame color).
The D model Mirage 2000 can be distinguished from the N by a lack of a nose
pitot, green rather than black radome, wrap-around camoflage, and a new
comprehensive ESM/ECM fit. For the chaff/flare dispensers, I photo-etched
the 8-round units to be installed in both dorsal and ventral locations.
I also photo etched the low-light formation light frames. Using styrene
and Milliput, I build up the dorsal launcher assembly, embedding the
photo-etched parts in the Milliput before it was set. This launcher has a
hot air exhaust at the back, which was simulated with 0.010' sheet wrapped
around a paint brush for shape and then embedded in the Milliput. The
inner wing trailing edge was also modified to include the Spirale
countermeasures launcher using Milliput. The actual Spirale was made with
sheet styreen and semi-circular styrene rod. The ventral launcher was cut
into the belly, boxed in with sheet, and the brass pieces glued in place.
Using styrene rod and sheet, further ESM/ECM antennae were added to the tail.
The weapons came from Hasegawa and Heller sets. The Atlis targeting pod
came from an Italeri Jaguar A kit, with a styrene sheet pylon added. The
large fuel tanks came from the Italeri Mirage.
The kit was air brushed with Tamiya acrylic paints, hand mixed.
First, Neutral Grey was used as a primer. After some more filling,
sanding, and restoring panel lines, Neutral Grey was again used, now as the base
color. Darker and lighter blends of Grey were used for panel line shading
and fading. Next Olive Drab was painted using the same shading techniques.
Detail painting was performed with Polly-S acrylic. The whole model was
sprayed with Future to prepare for decals.
The tail squadron insignia (yellow and black flag) was designed on the computer
and printed on decal film. Other decals came from a combination of the
kit's set and others scavenged from spares. The kit was then dulled using
Testors Acrylic Dullcote.
Surprisingly, to date no manufacturer has produced an accurate D model Mirage.
This is a fun and relatively easy conversion. If you can't find one of the
Aeromaster kits on ebay, this could be done with a Heller or Italeri 2000N or D
kit (you would have more work in the cockpit and with the exhausts).
images below to see larger images