The Most-Lethal Mirage

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The Dassault Mirage III C/J (French for Juif or "Jewish") was the Israeli Defense Force's most-lethal air frame, and #159 is the most-lethal Mirage. Flown by several aces, the aircraft racked up 13 confirmed kills. The sleek, maneuverable Mirage III C was the tip of the spear for Israel's air arm, and presumably would have remained the major fighter jet indefinitely. Then in 1967, Arab oil producers pressured France's Charles de Gaulle into suspending the 50 additional Mirages on order.

But in a case of disastrous "unintended consequences," Israel turned to the United States for relief, who immediately began selling them the F-4 Phantom II, the first of a generation of US-made fighters sent to the Middle East, including the F-15 and F-16. The Phantom II proved to be an even more-deadly opponent to Egyptian and Syrian attackers due to its ability to fly at supersonic speeds, dogfight at subsonic speed, and deliver punishing loads of ordnance.

And if "imitation/appropriation is the sincerest form of flattery," then Israel showed immense regard for French aircraft design by copying the Mirage V as the Kfir, bolstering its own aerospace industry.

Mirage IIIs flew both as bare metal and with tricolor camoflage. However, when Libya came to the support of its Arab brethren during the Yom Kippur War, Israel had to differentiate Libyan Mirages from their own.

Previously the Syrians and Egyptians used Soviet-made MIGs).

Their solution was large, colorful air recognition triangles painted in black and yellow on the wings of IDF planes. This build of the Italeri kit in 1/32nd scale attempts to capture that look on #159 at the height of the YKW.

The build was "challenging" with many fit issues, and was enhanced with a resin ejection seat, Master Models pitot tube, Eduard photo etch for the cockpit, Isracast resin exhaust nozzle and Isradecal stencils and national markings.

About the Author

About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.


Thanks for making this one "live" Kevin!
DEC 14, 2018 - 04:19 AM
Hi Bill Lovely job! Really impressive! Maybe I missed it in the Feature's text, but what kit is it? All the best Rowan
DEC 15, 2018 - 08:27 AM
Hi guys Bill, if that's the Italeri kit, then I know getting your great result needed a fair amount of remedial action to the plastic. Congratulations, its lovely build and a great scheme. All the best, Steve.
DEC 19, 2018 - 12:09 AM
Hi Bill.Very nice work!Christos
DEC 20, 2018 - 07:51 AM
Hi, Rowan, thank you for the compliments. I think I had a Freudian moment and completely blotted-out the details about the kit (which I have subsequently added). It's the Italeri, which Steve has correctly identified and for which he gets three of the buggers as a prize! The fit issues on the fuselage halves and the nose landing gearp panels cost me a lot of putty and rescribing, but the results in the end were satisfying. Steve, it sounds like you have experience wrestling this pig to the ground! Thank you for the kind words. And the same to you, Christos! Merry Christmas gang!
DEC 21, 2018 - 11:23 PM
Hi Bill Once again - Great job! - and I've no doubt we've all had those Freudian moments! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and here's to great modelling in 2019. All the best Rowan
DEC 22, 2018 - 09:18 AM
Excellent job Bill! I've always considered the Mirage to practically scream "Israeli Air Force" and was very excited that Italeri chose to do it in 1/32. As you probably picked up in my review, that excitement was quickly dashed. You did a great job on yours, Mazel Tov! Michael
JAN 08, 2019 - 04:45 AM
Thank you, Rowan, I hope you had a Happy Christmas and a joyous New Year. Thank you, Michael, תודה. I have always admired the IAF and their underdog role, and like you, I was very excited when Italeri released the IIIC. The Mirage is a beautiful plane, and I look forward to building another-- just not an Italeri.
JAN 10, 2019 - 09:36 AM