Jump to content

As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Giorgio N

Gabon Mirage F-1AZ, Esci 1/72

Recommended Posts

One of the builds I've planned for this GB will be trying to get something decent out of the Esci 1/72 Mirage F-1 !

This is a kit that some liked because of its recessed panel lines in an era when all the competition had raised lines, however I've never been a big fan of this kit. It's quite inaccurate and I remember a not so great fit when I built mine many years ago (I was in the Army when I bought the kit, that means something like 26 years ago).

Then I took part in this discussion...

 

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234956669-esci-172-mirage-f1/

 

And I thought why not try and improve the look of the Esci kit ? The whole fuselage is not great but the most visible problem is the windscreen, something that can be sorted using the Pavla vacform part made for the much more accurate Heller kit. With the Esci kit costing me a tenner (in euros...) at a swap meet, it made sense. Then Special Hobby announced and issued their new kits so there's no need to go this route anymore, however with the kit in the stash I'll build it anyway.

 

Special Hobby has also announced an F-1A but this has yet to appear. In my stash however is the LF Models resin conversion set, with decals for the Gabonese Air Force. Now this is something exotic ! The set is meant to be used on the Hasegawa kit so I don't know if it will fit the Esci kit properly. In any case, I'll be doing surgery on this kit anyway so why not trying to make the set fit ?

Gabonese aircrafts are former SAAF F-1AZs and carry the last scheme worn by the type in South African service, IMHO very interesting. The addition of the little known Gabonese roundels should make for an exotic model.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's start with some picture to better illustrate what I'm going to use...

First of all there'a box of the Esci kit. This is not a recent kit at all and unfortunately was issued in the last few years of Esci, when the quality of their new kits sharply lowered. Had they issued a kit of the F1 in the style of their tin wing Harriers we'd have had a great kit of this aircraft almost 30 years ago.., but we didn't. More on this when I'll show the sprues.

The Esci kit was issued in 3 boxes, one for the C, one for the CR and one with an Exocet missile and some exotic markings (Iraq, Jordan and South Africa). It's the latter box that I found a few years ago at a swap meet.

 

IMG_4462_zpsnssqaajo.jpg

 

As said before this kit is not particularly accurate, with the overly wide windscreen its worst problem. This will be taken care by a Pavla vacform replacement. These Pavla canopies are very cheap and quite effective, they are a great way to improve the look of models. Pavla also has a resin canopy for 1/72 Mirage F1s, but I elected not to use one of these. What I will use is the LF Models F1AZ resin conversion. This is (or was) available with different decals and I bought the one with Gabonese decals. Very exotic !

 

IMG_4463_zps9mbkr7ea.jpg

 

Now the Pavla canopy is designed to fit the Heller kit. It will take some work to adapt this to the Esci front fuselage but this is expected. The LF parts are meant for the hasegawa kit, I have no idea if they'll fit or not the Esci kit, hopefully they will with some work.

I may also add various other bits here and there, thinking for example of cockpit parts, seats and exhausts cloned from other Mirage family kits, for example a new ejection seat, maybe a Mirage III-E exhaust, maybe some other part... those who have followed one of my builds here should probably know by now... we'll see !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good stuff Giorgio - I was hoping someone would do the AZ scheme which is one of my favourites. I'll be watching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Giorgio,

 

I'm pleased to see this in the GB, interesting subject and a great colour scheme.

 

Having read through your analysis of the faults with the ESCI kit I'm rather glad I never bought one! I know you won't shy away from what's involved.

 

Welcome to the GB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Wez, it will be good to see what you do with this (less-than-stellar) kit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good afternoon Giorgio

 I remember building the Esci F1CR many many years ago when I was a teenager and I am eagerly wainting to see what you will do to improve it ..

 

Best regards

Patrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is going to be good!  :thumbsup:

 

I will also be building a Gabonese F1AZ using the LF Models set, but I'll be using the Special Hobby kit as a base. 

 

You never see a Gabonese aircraft in groupbuilds... and then suddenly two come along at the same time. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Enzo Matrix said:

This is going to be good!  :thumbsup:

 

I will also be building a Gabonese F1AZ using the LF Models set, but I'll be using the Special Hobby kit as a base. 

 

You never see a Gabonese aircraft in groupbuilds... and then suddenly two come along at the same time. :lol:

 

For such a small air force, that will probably be a first ! :D

I'll be curious to see how the LF part will fit the SH kit. On mine I have a feeling that there may be some mismatch, with the LF part slightly larger in diameter... but I'll only find out when it's time to cut the nose from the Esci fuselage

 

 

On 21/6/2017 at 1:35 PM, TEMPESTMK5 said:

Good afternoon Giorgio

 I remember building the Esci F1CR many many years ago when I was a teenager and I am eagerly wainting to see what you will do to improve it ..

 

Best regards

Patrice

 

I was only slightly older when I built my C-200 :D. My memories of it are not that great, I hope this time things will be better

 

On 20/6/2017 at 10:02 AM, Andrew said:

Agree with Wez, it will be good to see what you do with this (less-than-stellar) kit.

 

In a sense my build makes little sense, selling the kit and using the money to buy something else would have been a better idea. But you know what we modellers are like, sometimes we like a challenge... :D

 

On 20/6/2017 at 8:51 AM, Wez said:

Hi Giorgio,

 

I'm pleased to see this in the GB, interesting subject and a great colour scheme.

 

Having read through your analysis of the faults with the ESCI kit I'm rather glad I never bought one! I know you won't shy away from what's involved.

 

Welcome to the GB

 

And fortunately no need to buy one now as the SH kit is clearly superior in every aspect. Thanks for the welcome, I hope my builds will be of some interest.

 

On 19/6/2017 at 10:59 PM, Avgas said:

Good stuff Giorgio - I was hoping someone would do the AZ scheme which is one of my favourites. I'll be watching.

 

And now you'll get not one but two AZs ! It is indeed a great scheme, I find the whole scheme very menacing, more so with the AZ pointy nose. A low vis SAAF aircraft would look great too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

And now you'll get not one but two AZs ! It is indeed a great scheme, I find the whole scheme very menacing, more so with the AZ pointy nose. A low vis SAAF aircraft would look great too

 

The first time I saw it was late early 90's if my memory serves. I was late arriving at an airshow at Ysterplaat (I was still at school and we had a swimming gala that morning). Anyhow, it was a cloudy day, so quite dark and I arrived just as the AZ did it's first pass, a knife edge pass, showing it's new coat. Man, that was impressive to my young mind. Looked very menacing indeed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the start of the GB approaching fast, it's time to show what's inside the box. Here we have four sprues in dark green plastic. and one in clear. Actually the dark green sprues could be said to be five, as the Exocet missile (that was only included in this box) has its own runners, attached to one of the common sprues.

 

IMG_4464_zpswalbjf3a.jpg
 

IMG_4466_zpsbdf2wmyl.jpg

 

IMG_4467_zpsx1mqqlkh.jpg

 

The plastic on the main parts is not bad, being quite hard (I prefer harder plastic to the soft style used for example by Airfix). Surface detail looks good at first sight, with engraved panel lines all over... at a closer look however the lines are not very consistent, getting deeper and shallower sometimes on the same panel line. Lines are also not all straight and some access panels are not perfectly oval or round as they should be. Not great, other older Esci kits were much better.

The definition of the smaller parts is again not bad but not great either. Esci did better but I can live with what's in the box.

Of course as we know some areas are not accurate, but I'll discuss these during the build.

Speaking of inaccurate parts, let's however take a look at the clear bits:

 

IMG_4468_zpspn06zt9m.jpg

 

That windscreen.... the front of the windscreen is very, very wide ! This results in a much flatter looking profile compared to the real aircraft. Really this single part throws the whole look of the model off as it's very, very visible.

 

For completeness only, here are the decals:

 

IMG_4469_zpsg7pfng8t.jpg

 

What can I say.... Esci supplied some very interesting markings with this kit ! The so called "Tanker War" raged by Iraq against Iran as part of the conflict between the two countries was very recent history and the news of Iraqi aircrafts sinking ships using their Exocet armed Mirages were on every newspaper. The cover represented one such aircrafts... or did it ???

Iraq had ordered the Mirage F1-EQ5 and EQ6 with specific wiring for the Exocet, however these aircrafts used a very different scheme with dark grey on top and white on the undersurfaces (think FAA in the '60s). I've read that later other aircrafts were wired for the Exocet but I'm not sure if the Esci cover was really accurate.

In any case, Exocet or not an Iraqi aircraft was very interesting and the box offered another exotic option in a Jordanian aircraft. Completing the sheet were decals for an SAAF aircraft, interesting of course but had already been covered by Airfix so less unusual.

The problem is that the decals were not great ! For a starter the Iraqi markings were inaccurate, and this regardless of the colour scheme suggested: The triangle in the Iraqi Air Force insignia is equilateral while Esci's decal show one side much shorter than the other two.

The printing is also awful, on the Jordanian roundel it's possible to see through the red triangle where this meets the green centre. And the registration is not perfect. I will not comment on the SAAF markings but they don't look particularly good to me.

Of course none of this is important to me as I should need none of these decals, the LF set supplies all markings and in case I need more stencils I should be able to get them elsewhere. I'd better be, as 99% of Esci decals of that vintage are likely to shatter as soon as they touch water. I never had such problem in the days, but these decals didn't stand the test of time well. Guess how I know....

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice post Giorgio. I've always had a soft spot for some of the nicer Esci kits (F-5 family, F-100) and have always wanted to see what this Mirage F.1 actually looked like. I think the A-7 Corsair with it's inconsistent panel lines may also fall into the same boat as this kit, however I look forward to see how this one ends up. Good luck with the build. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I no longer have this kit, or the Heller, but will still watch you deliver us some magic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/6/2017 at 0:02 PM, Rabbit Leader said:

Nice post Giorgio. I've always had a soft spot for some of the nicer Esci kits (F-5 family, F-100) and have always wanted to see what this Mirage F.1 actually looked like. I think the A-7 Corsair with it's inconsistent panel lines may also fall into the same boat as this kit, however I look forward to see how this one ends up. Good luck with the build. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

 

Dave, I share your love for some of the Esci kits, the ones you mention are little gems that still give the modellers the best starting point (I still prefer the Esci F-100 to the more recent Trumpeter kit and the F-5s are great).

The Mirage came around the same time of the Corsair, so yes, they are very similar.

 

On 23/6/2017 at 1:08 PM, Graeme H said:

I no longer have this kit, or the Heller, but will still watch you deliver us some magic

 

Graeme, I believe you are not missing much if you got rid of the Esci kit... not sure if I can do some magic on this one, but the more I look at it the more I realize that it really need a magic wand...

 

I admit that I didn't do any work on any kit over the weekend ! It was too warm here and I jumped on the chance of a weekend by the sea.

On my return however I managed to start looking at the plastic parts and compared them to the drawings in the Cocardes Hors Series book on the Mirage F1 (book that was discussed in the chat section of this GB and is a great addition to the library). Oh dear...

The Esci kit has always been criticised for the too wide windscreen, and we've seen this in the pictures above. Some sources mentioned that the whole front fuselage was too wide or in any case not correct. Comparing to the drawings didn't show this.. of course drawings could be wrong but they seem to look good when compared to pictures. I will look into the position of the cockpit and similar problems, I've also read something along those lines.

What I can't remember having been mentioned are problems with the wings and the tailplanes... well, according to the drawing the wings are too small in span and the doogtooth is in the wrong position. The stabilisers are also seriously undersized and their tips are wrongly shaped. As said before, the drawings could be wrong, but looking at pictures showed that the stabilizers are indeed incorrect.

What to do now ? I may correct at least the tip shape of the stabilizers, correcting the wings though would be a totally different story, requiring a lot of work. Guess I'll keep the kit as it and limit myself to the correction of the windscreen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pity that the shape/outline/accuracy issues continue elsewhere on the model. I agree with your inclination to leave the wings alone and limit yourself to the most glaring error/s; if it were me, I'd be dithering for weeks to come over what changes to attempt, then become frustrated that I was baulking at attempting said changes and then finally come to the conclusion that I'd be better off buying the Special Hobby offering. I call this the 'Buying my way out of a difficult decision SolutionTM'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...