Italeri 1:48 Mirage F1CK-2 722 Free Kuwait Air Force

The Story

In 1974 Kuwait ordered the Mirage F1 as their new air defense fighter. The initial order was designated the Mirage F1CK which was operated by No. 18 Squadron. The later order, Mirage F1CK-2, was operated by No. 61 Squadron out of Ali Al-Salem Air Base. When Iraq invaded on August 2nd, the Kuwaiti defense forces were caught off guard and were quickly overwhelmed. Kuwaiti air bases were eventually overrun which forced surviving Kuwaiti aircraft to flee to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Eventually, the Mirage F1CK force would be stationed at Dhahran along with surviving A-4KU aircraft. While there the aircraft were maintained by French contractors and remained operational to support the liberation of Kuwait.

The Kit

To build a Kuwait Mirage F1CK2 I used the Italeri boxing of the Mirage F1C which is itself an improvement of the ESCII mold. Most of the improvements from the ESCII kit are for the Mirage F1CR and CT variants. Therefore only five of the additional Italeri parts were used to build the F1CK2. The kit cockpit was replaced with the Pavla cockpit set. This set provides the Martin Baker Mk4 ejection seat but the Kuwaiti Mirage used the Martin Baker Mk10. A seat was obtained from True Details which uses the Black Box mold. A problem arose with the cockpit and the seat; the True Details seat would not fit with the Pavla cockpit as the seat sat too high. To make it look acceptable to my standards, I removed the portion of the seat below the cushion. I have used the Cobra Company and Neomega Mirage F1 cockpit sets and did not have this problem before. Though the Pavla cockpit looks the best in my opinion, the seat issue would make me hesitant to use this set again unless I build an early Mirage F1. The kit intakes were also replaced by the Pavla corrected intakes set which also includes the small intakes on top of the fuselage just in front of the engine exhaust. The right intake searchlight was filled with putty and the left searchlight filled with KristalKlear. Loadout consisted of: two fuel tanks, the kit only provides one fuel tank so another had to be procured from another kit, two Hasegawa Mk.82 Snake-eye bombs attached to a resin Skyraider Model Designs AUF-1 bomb rack, and a scratchbuilt Remora ECM pod. For decals, the "FREE KUWAIT" marking and Kuwaiti flag are from Carpena 48.99 "Gulf Air Power". This sheet depicts a Mirage F1BK but I used them for my F1CK-2 regardless. The Arabic numerals were put together from a left over decal sheet. Most of the other decals are from the kit decal sheet.