Mushroom Model Publications
Mirage IIIO Colour and Markings in RAAF Service
Review by David Harvey
In my stash I have a couple of the Red Roo conversions for the RAAF Mirage, both the single and dual seat aircraft. Up till now I have only had the Red Roo publication on the modeling the Mirage in RAAF Service to assist in this conversion. The Red Roo book is a good tool to help, but with this new publication from Darren Mottram and Paul Mason the information now available to the Modeller and general Mirage buff has increased greatly! The words quantam leap could be thrown in there somewhere as well.
I have read the limited edition publications, signed by the main players in the production of the book, from cover to cover. This book is a soft cover publication of A4 size and containing 312 pages. There is a reasonable amount of writing in this book, but the rest of the pages are a huge amount of photos of the Mirage, around 800 aparantly. These photos comprise all colour photos of the Mirage during it's service in Australia interspersed with colour profiles and line drawings by Juanita Franzi, with only around two Black and White photos included in the whole book.
The breakdown of the book is as follows:
a. Page 5 - 6 is a forward by Dave Halloran, a pilot who has had 3121.8 hours flying the Mirage.
b. Pages 9 - 19, an introduction to the Mirage including the acquisition and manufacturing of the aircraft.
c. Pages 20 to 35 covers the Naked (French) Ladies - the natural metal era.
d. Pages 36 to 54, Protective measures - The silver scheme (allover silver paint).
e. Pages 55 to 72, Lizards - The wraparound camouflage scheme.
f. Pages 73 to 105, Standard fare - The three tone camouflage scheme.
g. Pages 106 to 124, Ageing gracefully - The standard Grey scheme.
h. Pages 125 to 210, Fancy dress - Non standard colour schemes. This covers the ARDU, Jubilee and unusual grey schemes and is broken down by tail number and it's colours.
i. Pages 211 to 223, Body paint - Identification markings and temporary camouflage.
j. Pages 224 to 247, Temporary tattoos - zaps and unusual markings.
k. Pages 248 to 290, Walk around. This is broken down into various areas including the armament for the aircraft. This is something that you don't often see modeled on Mirages. I was most impressed by the bomb racks on the side of the fuel tanks, I might have to add that to one of the models that I intend to build in the future.
l. Pages 291 to 305, By the Numbers. This is an unusual feature of the book, it's a section that covers every Mirage tail number with a photo of each aircraft during it's service and where it ended up eg. A3-2 Delivered 22 Apr 64, retired Feb 89. Sold to Pakistan 1990.
m. Pages 306 to 312 are a series of line drawings in 1/72 for the different versions of the aircraft including the different nose profiles.
The different pages that cover each different colour scheme are broken into the same format as follows:
a. a brief history of the scheme and why the aircraft was painted that colour,
b. a breakdown of the markings for the aircraft including maintenance and data stencils, Squadron markings etc.
c. Variations and notes for each scheme,
d. The standard colours for the scheme in a table format including approximation of the colours and their official colour numbers, and
e. Then there is a plethora of photos to illustrate the scheme and any variations to it.
The colours and their approximations are accomplished by not only photographic evidence but also by somehow acquiring a look at original pieces of the aircraft and comparing them to known colour standards where possible. Not all colours are achieved in this manner but I for one am impressed by the fact that the authors have gone to this extent to find the correct colour for the aircraft.
The authors have gone to a great deal of investigation into the Mirage and it shows by the extent of the stories they have uncovered and the photos that they have bought to light in their investigations. I especially like the story of Air Vice Marshall "Hannibal Crunge" and his demise in an Exercise in 1985. You will have to buy the book to read about it, but I found it quite funny!
In summary I feel that this book is required purchasing if you are a Mirage buff and a comprehensive reference for anyone making a model of the aircraft. It shows the vast array of discrepancies to the official policies and covers them with photos to back up any conclusions drawn. I doubt that anyone will manage to out do this book in coverage of the Australian Mirage in the future. My review cannot do justice to the obvious hard work that has gone into the investigation and preparation that has gone into this book - all I can say is BUY IT!!!!!!