by: Sean Langley [ ]
Mirage 2000 cockpit (C 48027) - £15.40Having released a cockpit set for the Heller Mirage 2000C, Pavla has followed it up with a similar set for the Kinetic kit. Many of the parts are similar if not identical; the main difference is the provision of a vacformed canopy (also available separately as V 48-15, and reviewed below).
There are 19 resin parts, plus four spares, and a small sheet of acetate marked with outlines for the HUD glass. Basic construction is conventional: cockpit tub, one-piece seat, two sidewalls, control column. Smaller parts include some protruding switches for various panels, the throttle quadrant, rudder pedals, and a mirror and two grab handles to attach to the canopy bow.
The detail is extremely fine at all points. Highlights include the texture on the coaming, the pilotís oxygen hose hanging beside the seat, and the minute add-on switches. Thereís a little bit of flash but nothing to worry about. Painting instructions are comprehensive, although colours have generic names rather than the exact shades.
The instrument panel is strictly for a Mirage 2000C, not one of the later versions - it has only one multi-function display and a lot of traditional dials. This means that itís not strictly a replacement for the kitís cockpit, as thatís a 2000-5, but it does allow you to back-date it to the earlier model if you want. Having said that, the finish is that little bit sharper, so itís nice to have anyway.
A few points are slightly off. The bottom corners of the panel arenít quite flared enough and some of the switches on the side consoles arenít quite accurately laid out. The back of the seat is missing the catapult tube - this is hard to see, of course, but other aftermarket seats do include it. Overall these are minor points and they donít detract from the overall high-class effect.
NeOmega offer a cockpit set for the Mirage 2000C as well. Itís for the old Esci kit, but itís still worth making the comparison. Thereís not a lot to choose between them. In NeOmegaís favour are some of the switch layouts and the detail behind the seat. But Pavlaís sidewalls have better structural details and the seat is better in both its side frames and the proportions of the head-box. And the coaming is a better match to the shape of the real thing, as well as having that fine texture that NeOmegaís omits.
The seat is available separately as S 48042 - billed as for the Heller kit, but no reason why it shouldnít fit the Kinetic.
Mirage 2000 canopy (V 48-15) - around £3So, to the vac canopy - again, for the Kinetic kit. Itís a conventional item in acetate with the windscreen and canopy moulded as separate parts. The acetate is a little finer than the kit parts, giving the traditional advantage of the vac canopy, but not so thin as be flimsy and risky to cut out. Clarity is generally pretty good and any small imperfections are likely to come out readily with a coat of Future or some gentle work with toothpaste.
The profile is generally accurate, capturing well the way the top of the canopy is level at the rear and dips towards the bow. However, as is common with vacforms, the sides are dead straight, so the slight bubble shape of both canopy and windscreen is missing. Two other features are missing as well. One is a row of screws along the windscreen bow, which is present (and correct) on the Kinetic part. The screws on the front end are well-rendered, though. The other is the canopy breaker on the top of the canopy. This is absent on both Kineticís and Hellerís single-seater kits, although Kineticís two-seater does have a full set. Itís fairly easy to remedy this with good references and careful painting - but it would have been nice to have it on a canopy thatís supposed to be an improvement. One other small glitch is that the lower left frame of the windscreen is slightly pinched halfway from front to back.
Mirage 2000 wheels (U 48-43) - £4.40These four wheels are applicable to either Heller or Kinetic kit. Esciís (now Italeriís) isnít mentioned but they might fit there as well.
Detail is again very fine and even. Theyíre streets ahead of the slightly blurred Heller offerings and slightly sharper than Kineticís. All the wheels are one-piece, tyres integral with hubs. One common feature of all is that the sidewalls have characteristic radial seam lines - theyíre possibly a little proud, but they can be trimmed easily. Another is that thereís no weighting. The Mirage 2000 uses fairly high-pressure tyres, so the lack of a bulge is bearable and the bottom can always be filed flat.
On the mainwheels, the standout feature is the brake mechanism. All the elements of the actuator are present and correctly spaced. If I were quibbling Iíd want the valve to be present too, so that the wheels could be handed as well, but that really would be gilding the lily. The tread pattern is a good rendition of the real thing. The shoulders of the tyre may be a little too square - Hellerís are more rounded, with Kineticís somewhere in between - but this can be dealt with through some gentle sanding if itís a bother. One odd feature is that the rims stand quite proud of the sidewalls, and this is hard to remedy. It may be OK to rely on the dark colour of the tyre to disguise it.
The nosewheels have better rendered rims but no tread pattern - there should be two small grooves out near the shoulders. Effort hasnít been wasted on the inner sides where the wheels meet the axles and are nearly invisible. The outer hubs are lovely.
Mirage 2000 control surfaces - Kinetic (U 48-44) and Heller (U 48-45) - £7.80 eachThese two sets are identical with one exception; and the description is a little misleading, but in a good way. Thereís 14 parts in total. The two main ones are one-piece elevons. These are accompanied by four actuators on each side, plus a separate trailing-edge fillet and an RWR antenna for the wingtip.
The actuators are in the down position and are at the correct angle for the way the Mirage 2000ís elevons droop slightly at rest. Attaching them to the wings first, and then the elevons to them, makes getting that angle very easy. Moulding the elevons together also makes it easy to droop them at the same angle, which is very noticeable on the real thing.
Very faint incised lines on the lower skins show you where the actuators attach. The holes in both kitsí wing parts will need filling as there are no location pins on the resin replacements. (Youíd need to do this anyway, as the kitsí holes are all a little too large for their pins.)
The RWRs are mounted side-by-side on a single casting block but should be easy to remove. On both my samples they were slightly bent, but not fatally so. There are only single antennae - some Mirages have two superimposed antennae in this position, so check your references, as always.
The trailing-edge fillets are direct replacements for the kitsí parts. Those for the Kinetic kit are slightly longer at the forward end than the Heller ones (the Kinetic ones are the lower ones in the picture). This is to reflect the two kitsí slightly different wing root breakdowns. The RWRs are drop-in replacements as well, but for Kinetic only; youíll need to a bit of sawing for the Heller kit. The same applies to the elevons themselves, which are attached to the wing parts. On Kineticís itís a simple matter of replacing the kitís separate surfaces. One thing to note: in both cases, these are the plain fillets without chaff dispensers.
As ever, the surface finish is good (I found my only pin-hole on the whole batch here) and the fine detail an improvement on the kits, especially Heller. This is particularly apparent at the elevon hinges, which Heller depicts as simple panel detail without the recesses that should be there. A nice touch is that the flare on the inner section where the elevon meets the Karmann fairing at the fuselage side is deeper than the kitís parts, which solves one small problem for you. (On the Kinetic kits this isnít really a problem.) However, a slight disappointment is that the outboard end doesnít have the faint camber of the real thing. Neither kit quite captures this; it would have been nice to have it on parts sold as improvements. Fixing it yourself could be tricky, as the RWR fairing is in the way. Another missed opportunity is that the RWR antennae, which include a small section of wingtip, donít have the navigation lights moulded in.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.