Heller 1:48 Mirage 2000RAD 715 United Arab Emirates Air Force

The Story

In 1989, the United Arab Emirates began accepting delivery of its Mirage 2000 aircraft it had ordered. Amongst the order were 22 single-seat Mirage 2000EAD, 8 reconnaissance Mirage 2000RAD, and 6 Mirage 2000DAD trainers. Not long after accepting these aircraft, Iraq invaded Kuwait and the UAE air force would be flying in combat operations. Based at Abu Dhabi, Mirage 2000EADs flew their first defensive patrols on February 16th. By the end of the war they had flown 58 sorties. Six reconnaissance missions were flown with the Mirage 2000RAD, on 23/24/25 February.

The Kit

The Heller Mirage 2000C kit was used as a basis for my Mirage 2000RAD build. Various aftermarket resin sets are available for the Mirage 2000 but the only resin set I used was the Neomega cockpit. I did not like the Neomega ejection seat so it was replaced with a True Details Martin Baker Mk10 seat. Eduard photo-etch from a ruined Eduard Mirage 2000 kit was also used. The kit flaps where cut off and reattached to represent a flap-down configuration. This meant the hinges for the control surfaces on the underside of the wing also had to be cut. The Mirage 2000EAD and Mirage 2000RAD look similar externally. The only deviation from the kit instructions was to change the antenna arrangement. UAE Mirage aircraft have a large blade antenna on the underside of the nose. The EAD variant shows the Italian defensive avionics suite but the RAD aircraft I was modeling did not show this feature. Loadout configuration consisted of the kit Matra R.550 Magic missiles, 2 export version fuel tanks from the Skunkworks Mirage Weapons Set, and a center line fuel tank. I would have preferred to use a recon pod on the center-line station, but the Dassault AA-3-38 HAROLD recon pod (which is what I believe they used) is not available in plastic. Neither did I have enough information to scratch build one. Airbrush work was done with Gunze Sangyo acrylics. The instructions called for FS 3622 on the underside, FS 33531 for the lighter brown, and FS 30279 for the darker brown. For the light brown I sprayed the Gunze equivalent which was H313. However, I was not satisfied with the result so the paint was removed. For the second attempt I mixed H313 and H321 and kept that color. For the darker brown I ignored the instructed color and used FS 30219 mixed with gray. Most of the decals are from the kit sheet except for the national specific markings. For the UAE markings I used Carpena 48028 which includes a UAE Mirage 2000EAD. To represent the Mirage 2000RAD I was building I changed the serial to "715".