Roo 3 Squadron Mirage III decals and Pete's Hangar
Mirage Undercarriage set
For David Harvey's "previews" see
the decals and here for the undercarriage.
RAAF Mirages are an all time favourite of
mine, so a decal sheet ripe for reviewing provided the perfect
excuse to build one. The choice of subject matter
was compelling too, as this 3 Squadron insignia hasn't been
To provide something to stick the decals
on, I used an Eastern Express moulding of the old Frog Mirage
IIIE/O. While I feel this kit captures the shape of
the real aircraft very well, it is light on for detail and
the moulds are suffering with age. To address the
first shortcoming Brian Kerr donated a set of resin tailpipe,
cockpit and nose wheel well from the Highplanes kit, and
I added a spare canopy from the same company. Choosing
this path made the build harder than it needed to be, and
I would've been better advised to use just about any other
kit. Highplanes for me in future!
After much filling and sanding, I scribed
panel lines for the gun bay, tail cone and rocket motor bay. In
1/72, not many other panel lines are obvious on such a clean
skinned aircraft. A can of cheap auto primer provided
a good undercoat and I was ready for the airbrush.
Red Roo suggests upper surface colours of
Dark Sea Grey and Dark Green. These will look absolutely
fine on your model, but I went with Extra Dark Sea Grey from
Humbrol and BS Olive Drab from Extracolour on the basis of
various references. A brush coat of "future" got
me ready for decaling.
As expected, the decals went on very nicely
indeed. I chose the overall grey scheme with green
disruptive uppers, which meant that I had to chop up some
serials for the nose wheel door. No great drama and
something that's not required for the schemes with light
grey undersides. There are enough stencil decals provided
to keep most modellers happy, though I left a couple off
thanks to not bothering to check my reference photos.
Once decaling and a spray of dulcote were
complete I masked off the leading edges of the wings and
fin for another brush coat of Future. Most Mirages
wore a coat of anti-erosion gloss polyurethane on these areas
and while it's not that noticeable on the semi gloss three
colour schemes I did want to capture it on this otherwise
very matt finish. For a bit more variety, I painted
the front fibreglass section of the nose cone in a satin
very dark grey and the aft metal section in matt black. The
little leading edge nav lights scored a coat of silver followed
by Tamiya clear red and green and I slapped a dab of aluminium
on the brake chute housing.
Another plug for Highplanes here – Steve
has a very nice set of etched metal antenna, etc which is
well worth using. I made do with card for the dorsal
TACAN antenna and a pin for the nose pitot tube.
Peter from Pete's Hangar was very kind in
providing a set of his brass undercarriage legs. These
are designed to fit the Revell and Heller kits to provide
some much-needed strength to otherwise rather flimsy components. I
used the nose gear upper yoke and strut plus the main gear
retraction struts with the kit parts for a huge improvement
in the latter items.
The end result was another model that will
pass muster in the display cabinet thanks to an excellent
decal sheet from Red Roo and a nice upgrade to the undercarriage
from Pete's Hangar. Many thanks to Gary and Peter for
these, as well as Mr Harvey for passing them on!