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Cold War (1950-1974)
Discuss the aircraft modeling subjects during the Cold War period.
Hosted by Tim Hatton
Italeri 1/32 Mirage IIIc
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
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Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 - 12:02 AM UTC
Thereís usually a stage in my models where I think ĎWow. Its coming togetherí. Getting the wings joined to the lower fuselage is just where it has happened with the Mirage. More of that in a moment, but first a light interlude.

The underside of the Mirage has what looks like a landing light to my inexpert eye. The kit offers a clear lens but nothing behind it. I rummaged in the spares box and found an unused part (from an old Tamiya 1/48 scale T34 as it happens) that had roughly the right shape to simulate a light. A hole in the part was filled with an odd bit of plastic card and then the interior was washed in a few layers of white and yellow paint. Its not exactly an exact replica, but its good enough for this part of the kit, and definitely better than a hole.





With that little job done it was back to some serious engineering. The wings and lower fuselage align quite well but there is a gap. I had a gluing plan (at least in my head), which started with the areas most aligned and with least gap, then moved outwards. That meant cementing the wheel wells first and then working back towards the trailing edge. Then I cemented the join from wheel well to leading edge. I got one wing fixed this way, and then did the other, leaving about five minutes between each section for the glue to set a little. Some squashing and squeezing of parts softened by the cement filled a few gaps with the best results being at the rear. There is some filling to do but its not as bad as I feared it might be, and in fact thereíll be no filler needed in places. Well done Mr Italeri, this bit works well.





A quick test fit of the upper fuselage onto the complete underside showed that everything was as good as it could be. There appears to be a step where the parts join, but that might be just because I am holding it all together in these shots.







Now Iíll let the glue dry over night. Tomorrow the fuselage will meet the wings and underside properly. Hopefully they will get on and it will be love at first sight.
Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
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New York, United States
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Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 - 09:42 PM UTC
Steve,
Hopefully, those nasty steps won't be an issue once you glue the wings to the fuselage.
Joel
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
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Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 02:55 AM UTC
Hi Joel

Well, here are the results of the evening's gluing and holding. I managed to close the gaps and minimise the ridge but its going to need some sanding to remove it completely.

The fuselage area around the cockpit isn't glued yet but might present a few problems, and there's a big gap at the rear. However, it has all come together better than I feared, and although there will be a good deal of filing and sanding it shouldn't be too tough.

At least its stuck...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohRa9lsx0Q

Here is the evidence:









Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
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New York, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 03:36 AM UTC
Steve,
The glue phase seems to be coming along pretty well. Some filling, but no major surgery from what I can tell.
Joel
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, June 01, 2016 - 02:42 PM UTC
Hay Joel

Yes, progressing nicely with no need for too much Evel Knievel style canyon jumping so far. When the wings are set fully and filled and sanded I'll turn my attention to the fuselage.

Happy modelling

S
GazzaS
#424
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Queensland, Australia
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Posted: Thursday, June 02, 2016 - 02:31 AM UTC
Steve,
Glad to see it's finally taking on it's final shape. The Mirage definitely has pleasing lines.

Gaz

Your landing light is a nice innovation, too!
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 05, 2016 - 12:57 AM UTC
Hi Gaz

Yup she's starting to look like a Mirage, and there's more to come...

Happy modelling

Steve
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 05, 2016 - 01:31 AM UTC
If yoga isn't your thing, you could try filling and sanding. I found myself drifting into a dream like state as I dealt with the join between wing and fuselage. It was only broken by the occasional need to return to earthly pleasures and do a bit more assembly. So, I drifted out of Nirvana, and the tail was put together, complete with a little scratch building to add some detail to the arm that moves the rudder.





The tail comes in two parts - a larger rear part and a smaller front part. Italeri have thoughtfully put the join where the angle changes. The larger parts went together well and needed minimal filling, most of the seam lines being taken care of with just pressure and glue. However the small front part wouldn't keep the angle required to match the profile of the rear part. Some sanding on the inside to remove what seemed like excess plastic did the job and the parts fitted. I filled the interior with Milliput just to make sure the parts stayed the right angle, and to add some strength.



The rear fuselage also came together today. Again it fitted nicely and only needed minimal filling and sanding. Thereís a clear part supplied to taper the area under the tail, but none of my references show it as clear at all. Thatís just as well because the fit wasn't good and this little blighter did need some rougher attention and then some t.l.c. before it was flush.



With those jobs done my trusty Iwata HP-C was hooked up to the compressor, and the interior of areas hard to get to after assembly were airbrushed in AKís Extreme Metal Black Base. This is a lovely thin enamel that - applied in very light coats - adds a gloss black sheen without losing any detail. Its a great base for the dark aluminium Iíll apply next.





Have fun with plastic guys (but not too much).

Steve
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2016 - 01:33 AM UTC
Test fitting. With most kits its a good idea. With this kit its essential. Once the interior parts where sprayed in AK Extreme Metal Dark Aluminium, I tried a little assembly without glue. Surprise surprise, not one piece fitted neatly. If youíre following this and intending to build the kit hereís a list of what to expect:

The front section of the rear fin sits proud of the fuselage, and doesn't have the same width as the rear part (although that could be an assembly error by me). The best fix is to sand away material from the bottom of the fin, checking fit until it sits flush.

The same applies to the large rear section, except it is also too wide for the slot it is meant to fit into. Sanding away a lot of material from the underside and sides of the lower part of the fin eventually leads to a reasonable fit. Again keep checking because you don't want to go too far and give yourself a different set of problems. This could also be an assembly error, but there's nothing to guide the fit and too many interdependent parts to fully test fit alignment before the fin halves are brought together.

The part covering the jet nozzle is a tight fit and rubs against the nozzle itself - after a couple of test fits the paint is rubbing away on the inside. In addition the groove on top that should slide into the bottom rear of the tail fin is not deep enough. More sand-test-sand on the tail fin (easier to get at that the groove in the rear fuselage) fixes it.

The front fuselage halves only want to meet part way along their length. This might be a self inflicted problem because I assembled the cockpit and front wheel well out of sequence earlier to ensure a good fit between the tub and fuselage.

None of the fit issues are awful but they do mean time spent fixing basic assembly flaws that other kit makers would have taken care to avoid. I decided the best approach is to do as much assembly as possible and then reach for the filler, sanding sticks and Mr Surfacer. Iíll be reaching for tools to re-rivet and re-scribe the inevitable loss of detail in some places.

Despite these irritations I have to say the overall look is getting more and more like the classic delta winged lovely with every step, and every once in a while I glance at some nicely represented panel lines or watch an old video of the Mirage in action, and I feel she might be high maintenance but sheís worth it.









GazzaS
#424
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Queensland, Australia
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Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2016 - 03:29 AM UTC
"She might be high maintenance, but she's worth it."

Steve,
That phrase, in a nutshell, covers what model building is all about. We all have a human need to express how we feel about about the kit we are building, but we should all be thankful that the kit makers have done most of the hard work for us already.

Without them and the research they've done, and the parts they'd cast, we'd all be trying to feed our creative appetites scouring the net and books for images and line drawings and trying to scratch build ourselves.

I tried to build a 1/72 scale warship from scratch in the 1990's from 2 line drawings and less than a dozen period photos. From a distance, it was convincing. But up close, detail was lacking. It was a disappointing result after so much care and effort.

So, while I might bellyache abit about raised detail, poor fit, and what-were-they-thinking-ism's, I'm very happy that these styrene beauties (no matter how ugly they might be) have been created to busy my hands and exercise my brain.

Keep up the good work, mate!

Gaz

Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2016 - 07:29 PM UTC
Steve,
The last picture sums it up pretty well, as your efforts has reached the point where the kit is really starting to look like a miniature Mirage IIIc.

I'll 2nd what Gary said. We take for granted the tremendous strides that the kit manufactures have collectively made. With the advent of the internet, computers, and all kinds of CAD programs, today's kits are so much more advanced then anything we could have imagined back in the 70's when I 1st returned to the hobby for a 10 year span. What we complain about today as shoddy, we would have begged for back then. Times sure have changed.

Our expectations are just so much higher then even before, and we're more then willing to pay for those details as today's kits sell for prices that were inconceivable back then.

In any event, I'm really enjoying both your build blog, and your most entertaining style of writing.

Joel
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2016 - 09:19 PM UTC
Hi Gaz and Joel

I hear you, and yes all that lovely plastic is a joy. This particular joy has also exercised more of my modelling skills than the ten last kits I have built, and its requiring a lot of time correcting what I would call errors by the manufacturer. Now, I can forgive some inaccuracies but I must admit when basic parts don't fit I feel short changed, especially given today's prices and opportunities to get things right.

Having said that there is a good deal of satisfaction in making the fixes, in a sort of British stiff upper lip kind of way. It reminds me of a road here which winds up into the mountains. They say its a good place to practice steering your car because you'll either get it right, to you won't be around to care. I suspect finishing this one might have the same effect on me.

Anyhow, I'm happy to share the triumph and the tragedies, and glad that the whole saga is providing some entertainment too. I must admit its fun, and all the more so for having you guys along (and anyone else looking in).

Maybe I should have looked in the dictionary before starting:

Mirage. Noun. An optical phenomenon... by which the image of some object appears displaced above, below, or to one side of its true position...
spaarndammer
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
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Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2016 - 10:27 PM UTC
Although I am a 'silent follower' of this build I would like to say that I like your work on the Mirage very much Steve. Your perseverance is exceptional and it really pays off.

I will follow with great interest!



Jelger
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Monday, June 13, 2016 - 02:28 AM UTC
Hi Jelger

Thanks very much. It really helps to get the encouragement of the folks here. Its also fine if you just want to watch. I do the same on some builds - its just fun to watch the progress.

Happy modelling

Steve
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Monday, June 13, 2016 - 02:58 AM UTC
Maybe Iíve been moaning too much? Perhaps this whole fit thing is all about attitude. Maybe, Iíve just been framing the problems badly, and I just need to adjust my way of thinking. So, Iíve decided to rename fit problems Ďskill enhancement opportunitiesí (SEOs). After all if some well known on-line video modellers can get away with mangling the English language then why canít I use the same to erÖ re-imagine Italeriís motivations.

Equipped with our new way or looking at old problems. Here are a few shots of SEOs. In particular there are going to be opportunities to sand parts that aren't flush, re-scribe, and fill or even bridge some larger gaps - particularly around the lower put of the air intakes where there is a big gap. This might be because I concentrated on getting the upper parts as aligned as I could. Obviously it would deny me some lovely SEOs if both top and bottom parts met (Tamiya take note please). The upper parts also had a gap but by gluing in sections and using a rubber band to keep the parts pressed together, Iíve got rid of that one.

Here are a few pictures to illustrate the point.







Iíve got a work trip coming up so things will go quiet for a week or so. It should be enough to let the glue dry.
Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
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Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 02:26 AM UTC
Steve,
I've been at scale modeling on and off for more then 50 years, and never heard a better coining of a phrase then: Ďskill enhancement opportunitiesí (SEOs). It has that certain sound, or should I say panache to it, that makes one glad that their current build is far from perfect.

Most of those SEOs look very manageable for a modeler of your skill level. BTW, my brother has a build Blog on LSP on this very kit, and he's having fit issues galore.

Joel
GazzaS
#424
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Queensland, Australia
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Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 03:29 AM UTC
Hi Steve,
Interesting turning of an annoyance into an...opportunity. Your posts are fun to read!

Those SEO's I find most challeging are those where a panel line and a gap and a raised detail coincide like that one near your Mirage's taillight.

Looking forward to your next!

Gaz
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Friday, June 24, 2016 - 01:03 AM UTC
Hi guys

Yup its all about attitude eh. Joel maybe your brother and I can form a support group? Gaz, there's going to be a fair amount of detail lost and then rescribed I reckon.

After a detour via London and Prague Iím back at the bench. The first order of the day has been to fill those great big gaps. As usual I reached for the trusty home made filler and started applying. You can silly see the areas worked on. They look like welds in the shots below. Once dry Iíll mask off the surrounding area to protect the detail and start sanding.

By the way, the home made filler I use is a bit translucent when it dries, so I think and hope those areas that look like they aren't done actually are. I'll check once dry and sanded.

No great mystery to this bit, just good old fashioned modelling.





GazzaS
#424
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Posted: Friday, June 24, 2016 - 03:35 AM UTC
Steve,
Glad to see you back! You'll have to enlighten us about composition and properties of your home-made putty.

I'm always happy to have another filler.

Cheers,

Gaz
Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2016 - 11:44 PM UTC
Steve,
I'm impressed at how neatly you laid down that home made filler. Unfortunately, I'm never that neat.
Joel
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016 - 12:56 AM UTC
Hi guys

That filler is spare sprue melted in Tamiya extra thin cement. Its a real old school solution that I was reminded of watching other modellers on Youtube. With the integral little brush in a pot of extra thin its easier to get a neat line. Even so read on for the next instalment.

Happy modelling.

S
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016 - 12:59 AM UTC
Iím not sure if I should continue this build. Now the land of my birth has decided to float off into the Atlantic mists, happily waving goodbye to decades of peace and prosperity as part of the EU, somehow building a French jet seems a little erÖ forlorn? Well, I guess the beauty of plastic is it takes no sides so as I recover from the biggest shock to the UK political landscape in my life the sanding sticks and sponges are working as well as ever.

And, they need to be working. Sand-fill-sand is getting results but it is a long job. You can see the progress in the shots below. So far Iíve been concentrating on getting the general shape back after the filling. I start with some fairly course sandpaper (240 grit) and work up to a 600 grit sanding sponge. Once the seam lines are completely gone and any irregularities from the filler are removed Iíll switch to finger grades and eventually polish.

There are a few places where the filler didn't penetrate deep enough and some small gaps are still left. They will need filling with a few drops of super glue and re-sanding. As the process goes on Iíve tried to protect detail using Tamiya masking tape, but in places the sanding has to simply take out detail that will be replaced later.

Letís hope lots of things in life are as easy to replace as a scribed panel lines. I wonder if weíll still be allowed in the Eurovision Song Contest?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCs7iZGvK4s&list=PLFE5AC1851675D896



GazzaS
#424
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Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016 - 02:03 AM UTC
Hi Steve,
After such progress, we shouldn't let something as silly politics control our passion for models. I imagine you could find decals to de-Francify your Mirage.

I'm impressed that you start sanding with 240 grit. Lately I tried with 400 grit and found myself trying to get rid of unwanted scratches.

Keep it up!

Gaz
redcap
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Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016 - 02:55 AM UTC
Steve,

Your humour and wit is as enjoyable as this masterful build (S.E.O. - priceless!)

I have one of these kits in the stash however I am having second thoughts after your epic 'adventure' with it; so kudos for keeping going.

Keep it up mate!
Gary
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Friday, July 01, 2016 - 11:08 PM UTC
Hi guys

Thanks very much for the encouragement. There's not much to show right now just sanding and more sanding. I'll post some pics when there's something to see.

Yup, you do have to be careful with the rougher grades of sandpaper. I use it lightly and try and mask off areas around. Even so the odd deep scratch gets in that will be dealt with by a wash of Tamiya Extra Thin and finally (I hope) the primer.

As for Brexit, well at least we won't have to build a fence - we already have a watery one.

Happy modelling guys.

S