Mirage F.1B
kit no: 80112
build time: January 3 2015 - May 8 2015

Well, time to start off with good news. First off, I received my new canopy from Hannants,and it's mighty fine. Second, I managed to locate the wingtip launch rails (I think). I found a picture of the C-wings with them installed, measured them, looked at their shape, and decided the two thingies on sprue H right above the #3 items should be them. Right shape and right size. Now all I have to do is think up whether I wanna put the AIM-9L on them, or see if I can find some Matra 550 missiles.... Those would be nice.

Anyways, construction has begun!

One of the first things Kittyhawk would have you do in construction is this:

Yeah right. Not gonna happen, even it's because I'm still thinking of doing this one wheels up. That will depend heavily though on the fit of the doors.... That G30 part is one I'm going to forget though.

So we move on and start with the pit. That is, the bang seats.  Kittyhawk offers you two choices: the Martin Baker Mk.10 (left) and the Mark.4 (right). Of course, actually telling you which one would be best suited isn't something they did, so we went to our best friend again (yes, that'd be google). Apparantly, the B version has the Mk.10, and the C-version has the Mk.4.  So we buiild the Mk.10. Twice. Because it says "make two", and this is a twin seater. To do so however, we need 2 pieces of PhotoEtch material. Per seat that is. Note the drawing telling you to glue on PE3 and PE4. So I cut off both pieces off the fret.

Both. As in two.

That's not right. Should be 4. Not to mention - these are not two different pieces, but the same. What I have is 2x PE3, and no PE4. The fret isn't butchered, but it doesn't match the one on the box:

Something tells me I have a bad box of goodies. First the canopy, and now an obviously bad PE fret. I searched the net, came up with several reviews of this kit, including photo's of the PE fret, and all those photo's had a different fret: a fret with 2x PE3 and 2x PE4. Definitely a bad fret in my kit then. And since the Mk.10 doesn't really look all that well without the two braces, I decided to go the easy way and just put in the Mk.4 bangseats. I could email Hannants of course and see if they'll send me a correct PE fret, but I wasn't in the mood for another week of delay. After a little work, they look like this:

While I was working on them, I noticed the speedbrakes. They're gonna need some work, as they look like this:

Definitely not up to modern day specs. Are all Kittyhawk kits like this? Fortunately, the flip side looks better and can be used to fix the problem.

And if I want these deployed, I'm gonna have to get rid of those ejector pin marks too.

Anyways - on with the pit. As in, time for the instrument panel.  The plastic parts have NO detail whatsoever:

Which is rather nice since it saves you having to sand them flat to make room for the PE that Kittyhawk has provided:

Fits like a glove! As do the side consoles.

So we paint the pit black (tire black to be more precise), spray in a little dark grey to liven it up a bit, and then some drybrushing to bring out the detail on the PE

Now honestly, I'm not too impressed with the PE parts here. On the photo's it looks pretty decent, but after I drybrushed the whole thing, the detail is still barely visible. The difference in height between the surface and the raised detail is not enough I think. Either that or I just screwed up the drybrushing, which is a possibility.

Then - sidewalls. There are four of them (2 per pilot), and it looks something like this.

As you can see, Kittyhawk has thought it through - if you look close enough you can see 4 locating pins on the fuselage side, and each side panel has two locating holes. It fits precisely. There's only one problem. Kittyhawk would have you glue the sidepanels onto the tub, and then glue it into the fuselage halves. I'm not too sure about that, it's easy to misalign the side panel, and then it won't fit onto the fuselage.

So you can flip it around: glue the panels to the fuselage, and then glue the tub in. Which can also very easily cause a misalignment. As such, I think I'll again make it easy on myself: I will simply remove the locating pins on the fuselage, glue two panels onto the tub, and then glue it onto the fuselage. That will ensure a good fit on one side. The other side I'll have to think about some more, but actually testfitting that is going to be a lot easier since the tub's already stuck to the fuselage, so I might leave the pins in on the other side.

And last for today is the engine.  It comes in two halves, and unfortunately, the side that sticks out at the end that you could actually take a flashlight in to check, looks like this:

That's one nasty ejector pin mark that you're never gonna get rid of without destroying the detail. Fortunately, it's going to be very dark in there, and so I'm gonna leave them (the other half has one too). I don't expect you can see them when the kit's done, even if you do take out a flashlight to check...

Compressor blades and goodies are all painted, the inside is painted and then the two halves are glued together. All the goodies inside never to be seen again.

Now, have no fear. There's a seam all along the side. You can of course clean it up and add some detail on the outside, but why bother. I'm not even going to paint the outside....

Nothing to see here folks....

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