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Dassault Mirage IIIO

by Mick Evans


Martin-Baker M.B.5

images by Brett Green

Fonderie Miniatures' 1/48 scale Mirage IIIE is available online at Squadron.com




This is Fonderie Miniature's 1/48 Scale Mirage IIIE converted to RAAF III0.

The Fonderie Miniature kit is the best representation of the Mirage IIIE in 1/48 scale to this date. FM has included a full Heller 1/48 scale Mirage IIIC kit with a new limited run injection moulded IIIE fuselage, and a host of super detailed resin and metal parts.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Having built all of the kits and conversions for the Mirage IIIO that have been available over the years, converting this IIIE to a IIIO was not only easy it gave the most accurate kit in one box that I have seen so far.





Brett Greenís in-box review elsewhere on HyperScale details all the parts, but I will go further to say that the cockpit is almost perfect for a IIIE, and the wheel wells, and engine afterburner nozzle have every piece of detail possible. The only extra detail that I added was the brake lines to the main undercarriage legs, and a prominent electrical cable to the nose leg.


The main difference between the IIIE and IIIO cockpit is the PHI indicator on the right hand instrument panel, a few scrapes of the knife, and the addition of some detail, and the conversion was complete.

Assembly of the kit requires the wheel well detail to be removed from the Heller wings and then some serious thinning of the inner surface of the top and bottom wing halves to allow the resin undercarriage bays to fit.

I elected to remove the speed brakes so that I could display them in the cracked open position. This position is common as the pilot exercises the speed brakes to bleed the hydraulic power off the systems after every flight, to render the aircraft safe to work around. The Heller wings have raised panel lines while the FM fuselage has recessed panel lines, so some time was spent re-scribing the wings. The elevons and pitch dampers were removed at this point, because without hydraulic power the elevons droop down to the limit stops.

The instructions show small wedges of plastic that are required to be removed on the fuselage inlet mounts, this was obviously a limitation in the moulding process. This proved to be a delicate task.



Next my attention was drawn to thinning down the cockpit and nose wheel bay area to allow a good fit. Constant trial fitting is a must throughout the entire build process. The rear end around the afterburner outlet is the other area that requires thinning also. The afterburner was trial fitted, with some support mounts being made from scrap sprue to allow the afterburner to be fitted late in the assembly.

The fuselage was cleaned up on a sheet of wet and dry paper taped to a flat surface and then assembled with the cockpit and nose wheel well installed and left to dry. The fuselage area near the cut out for wings had to be spread later using some scrap sprue as kept collapsing inwards, a problem caused by the moulding process. The spreading process was continued until the wings mated with the fuselage perfectly. The scrap sprue spreaders were then superglued into place.

The upper wing to fuselage join was so good that no filler was require, but there was a 2mm gap at the lower rear wing to fuselage join. This was solved with strips of plastic card and filler.

The rest of the build was straight forward from this point.

The bulbous antenna housing under the nose for the doppler system was replaced with a scratch built flat panel made from plastic card. All the antennae and probes were scratch built using plastic card and rod.



I chose to model the IIIO in the early 1980s, this meant that the model would have the MK4 seat and AIM 9B Sidewinder missiles provided in the kit fitted rather than the MK6 seat and Matra 550 Magic Missiles fitted post 1981/2. The seat is quite representable but has no harness moulded or supplied, and the AIM 9B missiles are simply awful. The missiles were replaced with Hasegawa AIM 9Bs.

The seat was modified by making the parachute pack look more like the horseshoe shape that it is, and the harness was made from lead foil. This involved making the shoulder harness from four layers to represent the real seat and parachute harness with the soft padding layer.

The Matra R530 missile supplied in the kit is a very nice rendition and makes up to be an accurate replica.

Even though FM provide the large 374 gallon ferry tanks I chose to model the kit in the interceptor mode. The supersonic French 110 gallon tanks are provided in the Heller kit and these suit the purpose. An alternative is to use the Israeli area rule (coke bottle shape) 110 gallon tanks that were commonly fitted to RAAF Mirages, but these are only available in the old Esci Kfir kit.



Painting and Markings


The kit was painted in Xtra Color paints and the decals are from Roo Decals.


The finished kit represents A3-39 from No 77 Squadron based at Williamtown in 1980 with Wing Commander L Naylorís name and flag stencilled on the side. I thought that this was a fitting scheme as No 77 Sqn was my first posting in the RAAF were I spent 7 enjoyable years as a maintainer.

Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample.



Additional Images

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model and Text Copyright © 2004 by Mick Evans 
Images Copyright © 2004 by Brett Green
Page Created 18 January, 2004
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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