Dragon Models
Dragon Models 1/144 IDF/AF Kfir C2 + C7
Kit Number: 4608
Reviewed by  Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209

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MSRP: $10.95 (2 kits)
Review kit(s) courtesy of Dragon Models USA (www.dragonmodelsusa.com)

The Aircraft

Israel has sometimes had trouble getting all the weapons they want from their suppliers. This happened after their huge successes in the 6-day War of 1967 and the October War of 1973. So the IDF/AF (Israel Defense Force / Air Force) decided that a fighter aircraft could be built in Israel, albeit based on current designs. They had Mirages, which had done well in '67, and the F-4 Phantom IIs had proved useful in '73, so why not build a fighter using the Mirage as a basis, but with the more powerful J79 engine from the F-4. The result was the Kfir.

Fortunately for the IDF/AF the United States provided them with F-15 Eagles in 1978 when they went into Lebanon. When the Syrian AF sent 8 MiG-21s against an IDF/AF bombing mission, they lost 5 of their MiGs in about 45 seconds. 4 were shot down by F-15s, the other by a Kfir. And this is the aircraft I wanted to do.

The reason for the interest in this particular Kfir is that the aircraft seems to have inherited the maneuverability of the F-4 and the speed of a Mirage III. That Syrian MiG-21 is the ONLY air-to-air kill ever claimed by a Kfir. And I love that kind of "historical footnote" stuff! And you get the decal for that aircraft in this kit.

The Kit

[review image] You get two of everything except the decal sheet. The C2 is the grey one, the C7 is camouflaged. Externally there's no difference that you can see in this scale. The parts are in grey plastic with 2 nice thin clear canopies. I'd recommend care, as I've destroyed a Dragon canopy while masking by crushing it between my thumb and forefinger. All parts are flash free, as befits a new mold. The panel lines are recessed, although getting them fine enough to really be to scale would also render them invisible in 1/144.

The pilot figure is not up to Dragon's standard. He does look human, but they have excellent crew members for their carrier deck kit, and this pilot is not up to that standard. And then I look back a year, when "paint the top of the fuselage black and put the canopy on" was state of the art.

Building the Kit [review image]

There are only 2 steps in the construction portion of the instructions. It's pretty straightforward, with the pilot and interior (a single part) going into the fuselage halves, add a weight, and stick them together. Fit of the fuselage halves was very good, with only a tiny amount of scraping and sanding to get a good looking seam. The wing and fuselage mated pretty well, although there was a bit of work needed to get them to meet smoothly. There was a bit of a seam at the wing root (When isn't there a seam there?), but my buddy Mr. Surfacer smoothed over this problem nicely.

[review image] The intakes were not as good. When you're working in this small scale, 1/12 inch is a foot. And there was a gap at the bottom of the fuselage where the fuselage, wing and intakes meet. Fortunately these gaps were easily filled with Blue Acryl putty, and things moved onward.

The underwing tanks and missile pylons fit perfectly in the holes in the bottom of the wings. This may not sound like high praise, but when you build a kit in any scale where the pins and holes fail to line up, you run into problems with fragile joints and faulty alignment.

Paint and Decals

[review image] Painting was not a problem with this aircraft. The IDF/AF used the Compass Ghost colors, 36320 gray and 36375 gray on the Kfir C2, which are pretty close to each other. This scheme is really easy to paint, as it uses a soft demarcation between colors.

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The decals are Cartograf, and that pretty much says it all. Everything's in register, the colors are good, and the decals are easy to work with. They're even placed on the sheet so that when you finish one aircraft, you have a contiguous sheet of decals for the other, in case you want to put it in the stash until the spirit moves you again to do a Kfir. The only downside that the red lines on the top of the wings are wider than they should be. On the other hand, if they were scale width, you probably couldn't see them. When we go out to build in this small scale we must accept compromises. Sigh.

Overall Assessment

[review image] Highly recommended. This kit is nicely done for 1/144. The fit issues are minor and are not hard to overcome. The aircraft certainly looks good, and the subject is certainly neither pedestrian nor uninteresting. I am not sure Dragon's decision to do this particular Kfir C2 was driven by the aircraft's history, but I certainly do appreciate that they did such an interesting and significant Kfir. Now they just need to do markings for the other air forces which have used the Kfir, Colombia, US Navy, Sri Lanka and Ecuador.

Thanks again to Dragon and IPMS/USA for this build.

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