Red Roo 3 Squadron Mirage III decals and Pete's Hangar Mirage Undercarriage set

by David Edwards


For David Harvey's "previews" see here for 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 covered before.

The kit

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! 



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