Sunday, April 8

Read n' reviewed: Mirage 2000 Under the Skin from Eagle Aviation

"Walk around" reference books are something of an invaluable commodity to the modelling world, & although a lot can be gleaned from the internet now-days, that book in your hands you can take anywhere & read at any time still holds a place in modeller's hearts. See what Gary thought of Eagle Aviation's latest title that exposes the "Mirage 2000 - Under the Skin."
Read n' reviewed: Mirage 2000 Under the Skin
from Eagle Aviation
by Ionnis Lekkas &, Ilias Gkonis
Published: 2017
Reviewed: April 2018
Available from: eagleaviation.gr
Price: EUR30.00

Eagle Aviation is a Greek-based publisher specializing in highly detailed photo manuals designed by modellers, for modellers. Today I take a look at their latest book, Mirage 2000 Under the Skin.

All photos are taken by Ioannis (John) Lekkas, an aviation photographer and publisher. He works closely with the Hellenic Armed Forces and is a frequent flyer with Air Force, Navy and Army. Being accredited by the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense he supports and promotes all military aviation matters for Greece and the southeastern Mediterranean. He is also in close collaboration with the United States Air Forces in Europe frequently visiting USAFE bases in the broader area of the continent flying within front USAFE fighter squadrons.

Described as "The most comprehensive photo manual for the world's famous delta fighter, presented in 108 pages with more than 500 photos and will satisfy the most demanding modeller and reveal the Mirage's secrets to the serious aviation enthusiast.". This is the fourth book published in the "Under The Skin" series, previous titles include F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-4E AUP and RF-4E
All systems of the venerable Mirage 2000 are pictured down to the last detail, from cockpits to landing gear, from radar to engine, from airframe to weapons. All key variants are covered including the Mirage 2000E, Mirage 2000-5 and Mirage 2000D and -N.

The first thing that struck me as I leafed through the pages for the first time was the extremely high quality of the images. Without exception, each picture is sharp, well exposed (properly lit) and thoughtfully composed, clearly the work of a professional photographer and not just an enthusiastic amateur. The paper used in the 108 pages is of a heavyweight, with a glossy finish and this certainly makes the images pop. Another thing that's worth mentioning is that they have not tried to cram too many images on each page. This careful editing and layout results in decent sized pictures that even those of us with failing eyesight can still enjoy.
The coverage looks into every nook and cranny of the Mirage 2000 and is certain to satisfy even the most detailed of modellers. With over 500 photos dedicated to just this one type of aircraft, you would hope so. The book is logically divided into colour-coded sections that allow the reader to quickly navigate to images of each and every part of the airframe and weapons.
Being a "Photo Manual" you would expect very few words and once you get past the first couple of pages that's exactly what you get. I liked that where appropriate annotations have added to the photo to show you the orientation (FWD) so its clear which angle the photo has been taken from. The book works from the nose to the tail of the Mirage, stopping here and there to dive under the covers, with plenty of photos of interior detail including cockpits, wheel wells etc.

I mentioned before that I found all the photos to be very clear and well lit. These pictures of the main landing gear are an excellent example of this as so often photos of this nature are underexposed and hard to get all the detail.
For those who desire to open up panels on their model, you will have a field day with the depth of information provided in this book. Clearly, the authors have obtained security access with the Greek Air Force to allow them to take many of these internal photos.
It's not just the aircraft itself that is covered, weapons are also provided in detail. Interestingly it's not just inert practice rounds are shown, which indicates John must have been around when the live ordinance was loaded (perhaps for bombing range sorties).
Modellers (myself included) just love close up photos of cockpits. This book delivers in spades with no less than 16 pages dedicated to both single and dual seat Mirages. As you can see the images are fantastic, more than enough to help us paint and detail up our models.
Some of the Mirage 2000 variants covered in the book are not operated by the HAF and so images of French jets are included. These are mostly flying images taken from a distance but as with the rest of the book are super sharp and helpful.
My recommendation for this book is simple, if you are interested at all in the Mirage 2000, buy it. This book delivers in spades exactly what it set out to, super high-quality photos of the Mirage 2000 and all its systems. I love this style of book as they are perfect for modellers. I'll be adding the other titles in the Under the Skin series to my shopping cart. Many thanks to Eagle Aviation for sending me the book to read, it will be put to good use when I start my Kinetic Mirage build. Now, where did I put those HAF decals ...
Gary Wickham

Thanks to Eagle Aviation for sending this book to Gary to read and review.