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South African Mirage F.1AZ Italeri 1/48 scale

by Giovanni Galvan


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The release of the old Esci mould with some improvements from Italeri inspired me to make one my beloved subjects: the fantastic scheme of the South African attack Mirage F.1AZ, now available thanks to an unbelievable sheet from Albatross.


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The kit and improving

The Italeri kit has some new item, such as the recessed exhaust on the rear, even if I had to add the interior details of the petals and the ring of the afterburner. The seat is also new, but it's still incorrect, anyway I had to scratchbuild it completely with plasticard because the South African examples have the old Martin Baker Mk.4.

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There is a new sprue with upgraded weapons and doubled wing pylons, but I made another choice, cutting the belly tanks of the Italeri and of an old Esci example, and mounting them under the wings, with adapted pylons. On the belly, I scratchbuilt with plasticard the typical long "Y" shaped double pylon, under which I attached four Hasegawa Mk.82 iron bombs.
For the nose I used the "A" version cone and the IR sensor on the bottom, all present on the box, even if the cover says that the kit is for the C / CR version. On the nose cone I scribed the panels of the retracting refueling probe.


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The South African Mirages "en fleche" have a peculiar RWR ball shaped antennas under the nose and on the fin, so I scratch built them, deleting the French gear. I added the big blade antennas on the top of the fin too.
The interiors of the cockpit were detailed from scratch, using metal wires and paper seat belts. The color of the main part is flat Black, with Green cushions and seat belts.


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The impressive color scheme is composed by irregular areas on the upper surfaces of Dark Earth FS. 30118 (Gunze H72) and Dark Green FS. 34098 (Gunze H303) with the undersurfaces in Blue Gray FS. 35164 (Gunze H56). All the colors were lightened with a 20% of White to render them more realistic.
My example has also White tail planes and nose, this one with the "Cheetah Eater" script, adopted during exercises few years ago. I gave before and after the application of the decals a gloss coat of Future wax (50% alchool) and finished the model with the same mixture, this time adding the Matt acrylic from Gunze. Albatros decals were great, and helped a lot to obtain the final result.

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