Italeri 1:48 Mirage F1CR 632/33-tm French Air Force

The Story

Part of the initial French deployment for Operation Daguet in September 1990 included four Mirage F1CR aircraft. These aircraft deployed to Al Ahsa in Saudi Arabia alongside French Mirage 2000C and Jaguar A aircraft. This Mirage F1CR force would be augmented by further deployments. Although the war started in mid-January, it was not until January 26th that they were first used in combat. Planners had wanted to minimize the risk of confusion with Iraqi Mirage F1 aircraft. During the conflict, Mirage F1CR aircraft performed bombing and reconnaissance sorties. They finished the war without a combat loss.

The Kit

Having completed the Eduard Mirage 2000C and Heller Jaguar A in Operation Daguet, the last aircraft to build for this Operation Daguet group was the Mirage F1CR. In 1:48, the only option is the Italeri kit. The Italeri kit is an upgraded ESCII kit with Mirage F1 CT/CR parts, new stores, and engine exhaust. The cockpit is still bare with decals so I replaced it with the Neomega cockpit set. Some minor improvements were done such as reshaping the small intakes near the rear of the plane. Otherwise, the kit was a fairly quick build. Painting was done using a color mixture of Model Master or Gunze Sangyo paints for the two brown colors. When the Mirage F1CRs deployed to Al Ahsa, they originally had their old "Chad" paint scheme and were repainted in theater. Some aircraft had the areas around their codes unpainted; 33-TM was such a plane. To represent this, I made some measurements of the decal I was going to use and then painted a piece of decal paper with the appropriate pattern and color. Then both decals were placed on the model. I used a combination of kit decals and Carpena 48030 which has markings for 33-TM which is also included in the kit decal set.