by: Russ Amott [ ]
SummaryExtra weapons are always a nice option to have for aircraft kits to ensure you can get the proper load-out for specific deployments. France has taken an active role in combat operations in Afghanistan and Libya, and export versions of the Mirage fighters are currently being operated by several nations. Skunk Models Works has released a set of French weapons for 1/48 scale aircraft, including the export version wing fuel tanks, to help provide some variety for the modeler.
Kit ContentsThe set includes the following items.
4 GBU 12 Paveway II laser guided bombs
4 GBU 22 Paveway III (500 lb Mk 82 bomb with a GBU-24 Paveway III guidance kit, produced by Raytheon for export use. )
4 ASSM-2 (250kg dumb bomb with modular guidance and range extension kit)
2 Rafaut AUF-2 dual bomb pylons
4 MICA IR air to air missiles
4 MICA radar seeking air to air missiles
4 Mirage 2000 export version wing fuel tanks
front and rear pylons for the MICA missiles
The kit comes in an end opening box all sprues packaged in one single bag, but sub packaged in separate bags by item type. The front of the box serves to indicate load-out options and the rear serves as a painting and decal marking guide.
The parts are all numbered but the sprues are not lettered. Considering the size of the sprues this is not an issue. All parts appeared to be cleanly molded and very well detailed. I did not see any flash. There were some minor molding issues with the small fins for the MICA missiles. The instruction sheet consists of a single page, printed front and back. Two decal sheets are provided, printed by CrossDelta. The decals are very sharp and clear, with good color.
AssemblyAssembly is very simple, consisting mainly of mating bomb halves and adding extra fins, then cleaning up the seams. On the wing fuel tanks there were small gaps along the tail fins. The AASM bombs have separate external body parts for the center bomb to improve detail. The GBU 12 has a separate nose guidance module. The AUF-2 pods are multi part pieces and needed some trimming after dry fitting to get the sides on as the upper and lower body parts are slightly rounded in the corners and there was not a snug fit. The only real issue that came up was with the MICA missiles. The body is molded in a single piece, with separate nose cones, allowing you to choose which type (IR or Radar seeking) you want to make. Small guidance fins are additional parts. There is a small rectangular panel that is molded onto the fins in delicate detail, but the fins were rounded on the corners. It would appear the plastic did not reach the corners of the mold at this point. The nose cone fits into a "v" type block on the end of the missile. This left a small gap on one half of the missile, and getting the nose to line up was a little tricky. Other than this there were no fit issues. Paint colors are provided with numbers for GS Mr. Color, with the FS number also provided.
ConclusionThe rating is as follows. Appearance was very good, fit very good, molding good, decals excellent and usefulness excellent. The instructions are clear and simple.
If you are looking for a simple, nicely detailed weapons set to dress up your Mirage or Rafale fighter, this set is an excellent option.
The price listed is from Lucky Model with shipping included. That was the lowest price I could find online,but as always, shop around to find the best deal for you.