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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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Posted: Friday, December 25, 2015 - 08:40 PM UTC


Italeriís new tool 1/32 scale Mirage IIIc attracted me from the moment its release was announced. Iíve recently shifted my modelling focus from armour to aircraft and in the process decided that 1/32 is the scale for me. Having completed kits in smaller scales, Iíve been disappointed at how detail is lost to all but the closest inspection. Iím hoping that a larger scale will leave more of my work visible to viewers not equipped with a magnifying glass, including me. The Mirage is an iconic fighter and one that Iíve loved since I was a boy. All in all, the combination of scale, subject matter and a few good reviews was enough to start me off.

Except that I nearly didnít. I love making kits, but my track record as a blogger is a bit mixed. Frankly, the making takes over from the sharing and Iíve dropped a few blogs, but inspired by others Iíve vowed to keep this one going. I guess thatís my way of saying, please stay with me if things stall a little over time.

The Italeri kit is a mixed bag. Thereís some beautiful detailing alongside very poor moulding. A few examples of both are included in the shots below. Check out the great panel lines and rivet detail...



...and the 1970ís style melted-cheese look at the top of the ejector seat halves.



I expect aftermarket companies are racing to make replacement parts. From the beginning I decide to make the most of the kit and scratch build what I thought needed improving. I enjoy scratch building and while my skills aren't up to those of the after market suppliers, I wanted to test myself and take a Ďgood enoughí approach.

Work started with that cheesy ejector seat. After cleaning up the parts I started researching photos of the real thing to help me improve it. Thereís lots on the internet but it isn't always clear, and different sources don't always agree. I decided to keep one good reference to hand and choose the photo below. By the way, there are already some great blogs out there with links to excellent references, especially on ĎLarge Scale Planesí.



I decided to improve the very basic seat pads, and made a start by constructing some additional padding from plastic card. I glued it in place and added a little detail by cutting and sanding a few folds. The material in my reference looks like leather and foam, so I didn't add fold lines.



In contrast the headrest has clear folds and is very thick. The kit part needs attention, so I increased the size and added those interesting folds using Milliput. My technique is to roll small sausage, place it on the part and then work it into shape using tooth picks and paint brush handles. Once Iím happy I run a wet brush over it to smooth out the shape. Next it will need sanding to blend the filler smoothly to the plastic.





Thatís it for the first instalment. I hope itís enjoyable. Any offers of advice are grateful accepted.

Thanks for looking in, and Merry Christmas!

More work on improving the seat resulted in some lead wire being added to the cushion edges This simulates the piping on the lower seat padding. In addition I added a new slot for the ejection handle made from plastic card, and started enhancing the padding on then back of the seat, this time with soft metal foil. Some left overs from a previous project did the job, which I think started life as a tomato paste tube. You can see the results below.

Happy modelling.

Steve



SteveAndrews
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 04:20 AM UTC
At this stage the ejector seat is starting to take on the characteristic jumble of straps and buckles look. What you see in the shots below is a combination of some of the kit supplied photo etch and scratch built additions. A few of the straps need further work to give them a more natural sag. I took the shots while the glue was drying, so that will be a next step.

As well as the work on the straps I used a modelling chisel to add some detail to the top of the seat where there appears to be folded canvas.

There are more kit parts and a few scratch built items to add. I'll be raiding the parts bin as well to see if I can find unused photo etch from other kits to add the final details.





Thanks very much to everyone dropping in to take a look.

With best wishes

Steve
litespeed
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 04:52 AM UTC
Looking forward to seeing your progress with this interesting release from Italeri Steve. One of my favourite aircraft also. Nice touch with the restyling of the headrest.
tim
redcap
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 05:01 AM UTC
Excelllent work on the bang seat and look forward to following your progress and how the kit builds as my Mirage kit arrived just yesterday.

Gary
raypalmer
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 05:38 AM UTC
Carrying on from your beaufighter thread Steve I'm certainly watching this one! Please do take photos and document. I read your last post about techniques on the beau with interest. There were things I thought you had done differently and it's very interesting to read how you had actually done it.
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 05:43 PM UTC
Hi guys

Thanks very much for dropping in, and for the encouragement. It's always great to get some response to blogs.

Tim, I'll do my best to keep it interesting. I'm back to work soon so the pace might slow a little, but if I can build it in less man hours than it took to make a real one I'll be doing well.

Gary, so far its been fun and I've abandoned (er, I mean postponed) other projects to focus on this lovely French lady. I mean who wouldn't? Take a peek and you'll be flirting with her too.

Ray, thanks for following this one. I'm pleased that little bit I wrote on painting the Beau has been helpful. I'll try and get as much down as I can when it comes to adding colour to the Mirage.

Thanks again guys for taking the time to drop me a line. It's a pleasure to have you along.

By the way. This might get you into the Mirage mood. The music alone takes me right back to 1967 (I was three).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnd77CsoB-o&list=PLXwb5NFVC_7maVovpNk81puqI5Pg6qohe

Bon Anee!

S
MichaelSatin
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 08:12 PM UTC
Steve,

I'm following this one as well. I am building the kit for a build feature here on AeroScale and have just started. Mine will be out of the box so everyone can see how it looks without modifications (well, maybe with some instruments and something about that landing light in the nose) but it's good to see how you're adding some things on your own!

Michael
redcap
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Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 12:02 AM UTC
Nice trip down memory lane Steve but I missed or certainly don't remember this particular series.

I recall though another French series (prob early 70's) based around flying Mirage IIIs called 'The Aeronaughts' or something similar?

Anyway......look forward to seeing how the kit develops and progresses.

Gary

Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 12:09 AM UTC
Steve,
A most impressive start with the upgrades and additions to the ejector seat. You're being way to modest with your evaluation of your modeling skills.

Joel
litespeed
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Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 02:13 AM UTC

Quoted Text


By the way. This might get you into the Mirage mood. The music alone takes me right back to 1967 (I was three).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnd77CsoB-o&list=PLXwb5NFVC_7maVovpNk81puqI5Pg6qohe




Steve I vaguely remember this series. I seem to remember it was broadcast on the BBC around about the time the Beeb were showing such other classics as the "Flashing Blade", "Robinson Crusoe", "Belle and Sebastien", "White Horses" etc. Thanks for the link.
tim
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 03:15 AM UTC
Hi guys

Thanks again for the kind words and even more encouragement. The last of the photo etch is on the seat now, although I haven't photographed it yet. A crucial piece went pinging out of my tweezers and it's taken me fifteen minutes of heart in mouth searching to find it. In my desperation I thought it might have got tangled in my clothes. Luckily my girlfriend isn't here or she might have wondered why I was sitting very still and shining a torch into the crotch of my jeans.

Michael, I'll be delighted to follow your build when you start. I have mostly out of the box intentions too, but the corrections to the seat seem to have taken on a life of their own. I'm sure it can build into a wonderful looking piece either way. Please feel free to post share and compare shots here too if you want to.

Gary, yes, that was it. 'Les Chavaliers du Ciel' was shown in the UK and called the Aeronaughts.

Tim, oh yes! All those greats were part of my childhood too. I can still whistle the theme tune to the Flashing Blade if provoked, and the tune to Robinson Crusoe makes me feel instantly lonely.

Joel, thanks very much. I guess too many years spent peering at plastic and too much much money spent on books and videos has paid off in some small way. It helps that I love this hobby too, and I get a real buzz from making and painting things. Except when pieces of photo etch go ballistic and I'm in a cold sweat trying to find them. Then its love/hate.

Have a great day guys.

Warm wishes

Steve
GazzaS
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Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 03:29 AM UTC
Hi Steve,
I just noticed this blog. I really like what you've done with the ejection seat and appreciate that you explan what you've done. I'll be following now. I really like the Mirage fighters.

Cheers,

Gary
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Monday, January 04, 2016 - 02:53 AM UTC
Hi Gary

Welcome aboard. Its great to have you looking in. Thanks very much for your compliments about the seat. Its nearly done now, and there's more below.

With warm wishes

Steve
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Monday, January 04, 2016 - 03:06 AM UTC
Hi guys

The shots below show the seat almost finished. I've added the final pieces of photo etch from the kit, including the one that nearly escaped. It is now held prisoner with superglue. The top of the seat has a few parts added from the spares box and a little bit of stretched sprue. I'm not sure its entirely accurate, but it seems close enough. I need to remember the goal here and not add detail that can't be seen with the naked eye. Actually on reflection I think its probably gone beyond that already, so, apart from making the final cushion that sits between the headrest and seat top, the focus will shift to the rest of the cockpit interior soon. I hope the shots below tell the story so far.

As always let me say a big thanks for looking in, and have a great day.

S.





Joel_W
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Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2016 - 12:42 AM UTC
Steve,
I'm speechless

the bang seat looks absolutely incredible.
Joel
litespeed
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Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2016 - 12:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Steve,
I'm speechless

the bang seat looks absolutely incredible.
Joel



Steve I agree with Joel. Excellent work
tim
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2016 - 04:09 AM UTC
Hi Joel and Tim

Well, so am I now. That's high praise indeed. Thank you both for your very kind thoughts. Getting to this point has tried my patience at times but mostly it's been a labour of love. The single biggest problem has been trying to identify the right version of the ejector seat to model. My single reference is good but it doesn't show all angles. I've also had to remake pieces from time to time when they didn't look right or didn't fit, and that's meant pulling off super glued bits occasionally. I just made that final cushion from Milliput, and its drying now. Hopefully the final shots will go up in the next day or so.

Thanks very much again for keeping me company and fuelling the enjoyment of this build.

With best wishes

Steve
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 - 02:24 AM UTC
The final piece of padding and its fastening strap are added, and that's the bang seat done. With all those different materials it will get a coat of good primer before painting, probably Alclad's Grey Primer and Micro Filler. I want something with bite.

The ejector seat has come a long way from the standard kit parts, and taken about 12 hours of modelling time and more in research I reckon. Is it worth it? You'll have your own views, but I have a smile. It was fun to make, tested my modelling skills, and finally got me a result I like. What's more in this scale I have hope that some of that work will be seen and perhaps appreciated by people who view the final result. You can see it below before the primer goes on.

Happy modelling

Steve





Joel_W
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Posted: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 - 02:57 AM UTC
Steve,
As I keep on saying, it's really quite impressive. Almost separate build by itself. Should really look just that much better after being painted and weathered to some degree.
Joel
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2016 - 03:35 AM UTC
Hi Joel

Don't stop. I'm enjoying it! :-)

Modelling can be a solitary affair (not that that is a bad thing), so its always great to get some conversation going. Whatever anyone might say, its also only other modellers who really understand the delightful obsession we all have, and why it feels good to create small things from plastic and metal. So, thank you again for looking in and for taking the time to drop a line.

Happy modelling.

Steve
GazzaS
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2016 - 03:46 AM UTC
Hi Steve,
I agree, self-satisfaction is what it's mostly about. It's also good to have a community with which to share our journeys in model building.

Keep up the good work! I like watching what you're doing.

Gary
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2016 - 04:08 AM UTC
With the ejection seat complete (or is it ejector seat? Iím never sure), attention turns to the rest of the cockpit interior. The parts are the same mix of attention to detail and poor moulding. For example in the shot below you can see Italeri have gone to the trouble to replicate the curved panels of the upper cockpit side wall, even including a tiny representation of what I assume is a hook to fasten the canopy. At the same time, the edges of the moulding suffer from some ugly flash and a little distortion, as well as some rough edges where they join other parts.



I took other shots part way through cleaning them up and they do respond to some careful sanding and scraping. Take a look over and spot the good, the bad and the ugly.



I damaged the rear cockpit wall trying to correct a hole that should have been round and was egg shaped. Fried egg shaped. That's why the plastic card is there. Its not an extra detail, its a self inflicted mess-up that I fixed. Yes Italeri I know, what goes around comes around.

A rough test fit showed the parts seem to fit together well enough, but with a number of them to align and then the front wheel bay to add, those moulding imperfections might cause trouble. Iíll be moving cautiously and doing a lot of test fitting. I have the Mr Surfacer range on order just in case my Milliput isn't sufficient for all those nooks and crannies.



It is possible to add a lot more detail on top of the good work Italeri have done. I chose to add just a little more to liven up some of the places where references showed panels that arenít moulded, especially on the lower cockpit side wall. I didnít try and replicate everything, just gave a hint by attaching some pieces cut from plastic card and metal foil. There are a couple of scribed lines as well. I might have done more but it was difficult to get a tool in the cockpit tub.





By the way, thereís debate about the accuracy of the instrument panel. My reference showed it is a bit like at least one example - check the reference photo below with the panel in the parts shot above. However thereís such a large number of variants flown by different airforces, and I'm relying on what I find on the web, so I'm not saying this is definitely right or wrong. It is good enough for me. Talking of facts on the internet, did you know that a race of 12 feet tall people once lived on the moon?



One thing that is not up for debate is the lack of decals for the instrument dials. At this scale I think they should be there, and Iíll be shopping around to find some.

Thatís all from this instalment. Advice, thoughts and opinions are all very welcome.

Vive la France!

S



SteveAndrews
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2016 - 05:04 AM UTC
Hi Gary

Thanks for the company. I hope the next instalment is interesting, and keeps you onboard.

With best wishes

Steve
redcap
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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2016 - 06:30 AM UTC
Thanks for a comprehensive assesment Steve and the high quality pics to accompany the text. I am taking notes for my own eventual build.

Cheers mate and keep it up!

Gary
SteveAndrews
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Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2016 - 01:02 AM UTC
Hi Gary

It's a pleasure, and great to get encouragement. Thanks again for taking the time to look in.

With best wishes

Steve