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Mirage IIIO 1/32, Scratchbuild

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Me too.......unfortunately it's too late.... she just called up to the mancave, something about 'your dinner's in the microwave...which is on its way to the tip, if you're quick you'll catch it at the traffic lights'! Suddenly the idea of a maniacal gun-toting Hun dressed in only his regimental mankini (soiled) with oak-leaf clusters, bearing a fully cocked Bergman MG-15 and huge moustache, seems very appealing...

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55 minutes ago, general melchett said:

 the idea of a maniacal gun-toting Hun dressed in only his regimental mankini (soiled) with oak-leaf clusters, bearing a fully cocked Bergman MG-15 and huge moustache, seems very appealing...

Oooookaaaaaayyyyy..... Sir...... 😬...




I guess we all have our... ummm... ‘predilections’ 🤔


I’m not here to judge anyone... 👍

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You have to remember that this needs to be taken in context with Baldrick's cooking (With stove, not bayonet) and the use of various rodents (possibly on the end of a bayonet but not necessarily).

Maybe the General has a valid reason for his statement.

Personally I have no desire to check the facts!



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50 minutes ago, Old Mull said:

In the meantime, what the hells happening to the wings !


Fair question- well asked!


I was planning on a proper update last night but for a variety of reasons that didn’t happen and it can’t happen now for at least a week since my work has sent me to Adelaide till next Saturday.

Suffice to say that the wing’s top surface has now been through three ‘fill - sand - prime - inspect’ cycles and is now the soothest, most contoured piece of MDF in the Southern Hemisphere. 🌎 

The lower half has had two undercarriage bays cut out of it and has been split down to 4mm thickness, but I have not yet started any contouring.


I think I might have a plan for dealing with the washout.



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  • 2 weeks later...

A Trip To Adelaide


Interstate travel is something of a rarity in Australia these days, so when work sent me to South Australia last week I decided I had to make the most of the visit and stayed one more day than was strictly necessary.  On that extra day I went to the truly outstanding South Australian Aviation Museum. Here's a link to their webpage.




I was fully aware that they had a Mirage in their collection and wisely called ahead to request a bit of 'privileged access' which they granted with no questions asked!  👍  I am happy to say that the museum staff could not have been more friendly,  accommodating and helpful.  Here's a potted history of their Mirage.  




As you can see she was enjoying a bit of freshening up. Once she has her new paint job she's going to look...



as good as new!



Whenever I do a walk-around I like to take a ruler with me so I can get a few key measurements.  Here we can see that the gap between the air intakes and the side of the fuselage is about 62mm wide - let's call it 2mm in 1/32 scale. 



Here the gap between the side of the shock cone and the lower edge of the air intake is 235mm.



Here is a view along the leading edge - from the wing-root to the tip.  This is the dreaded roll-over or 'droop' on the leading edge that gets progressively more pronounced towards the wing-tip.



And here is the same view from a slightly lower view-point.  



The leading edge notch is exactly 40mm wide; an intentionally nice round metric number I suspect,  as befits a French design.



This is a pretty rough attempt at a measurement but here we can see that the most severe drop from the top of the wing to the leading edge totals about 12cm.



This characteristic downward angle on the resting ailerons and flaps will need to be modelled - however how accurate this is compared to what would be found on a 'live' in service aircraft I'm not sure. 



Another view of the dreaded washout, droop and terminal roll-over of the wing's upper surface at the wingtip.



Here I'm trying to hold the ruler horizontal to establish that there's roughly 5cm of droop on the trailing edge.  This wing's going to be a challenge to build anything like accurately.



This is a view looking forward along and from underneath the wing root.   This unusual view shows the rather elegant blending of the wing with the fuselage underbelly,  something which is generally not captured well in drawings and is often obscured in photographs by underwing pylons and stores.



This is the view along the centerline looking rearward.



And here's an attempt to see through all the ladders and other equipment to capture the overall head-on aspect of the subject.



This is just a smattering of the 100+ photos that I took.  I'll see if I can get them to @Julien  sometime as I believe that he looks after the walkaround section and this collection might be of use to someone one day.  I did the same exercise on the museum's Bell 206 B-1 Kiowa so I'll forward that lot too. 



In the meantime I think I'm going to regret putting these here because they are just going to be a rod for my own back. Now I have no excuse but to make an accurate model.

So no actual modelling per-se on this post, but progress made nonetheless.


Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve 



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Can't beat a museum visit to get details of a project. Very motivating now we've all seen how complicated it really is. I always thought the Mirage was really just a basic arrow head shape with a dirty great engine  down the middle. The reality is that there are so many complicated shapes going on. That trailing edge is so thin it would be like a knife blade in 1/32.


I'm intrigued by how you'll model this but I know you're going to manage. Got my popcorn and cold beer ready! :)

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Wow! Thanks for posting the photos of the ‘ Fanta Can ‘ I’ve had a long time plan to make A3-115 using the Heller Mirage and some Red Roo Decals which I’ve had for several years. 

Looking forward to more.



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You’ve picked up some great references there Steve. I will put this on my to do list for the next time I’m in Adelaide.

The geometry in those wings is amazing. The mathematical calculations to produce those curves would have been something to see in the 1950’s.

The Sea Venom looks to be in good condition.



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5 hours ago, SteveMc said:

You’ve picked up some great references there Steve. I will put this on my to do list for the next time I’m in Adelaide.



Yep. Highly recommended.

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Whenever I do a walk-around I like to take a ruler with me so I can get a few key measurements. 


Ha, a man after my own heart....I never go anywhere (museum-wise, I hasten to add) without my cameras, digital caliper, tape measure, pencil and notepad, get many strange looks but I'm used to that. I'm a bit cheeky when it comes to asking for access and rarely get turned down (providing I sign a suitable indemnity first, either that or the sight of Darling loitering with intent, could have something to do with it)...I've been up, under and inside some very interesting aircraft over the years...well, if you don't ask and all that.


The wing contours remind me of the Vulcan, for something that looks basically straightforward from a distance, it's actually extremely complex, up close. Looks like a great little museum there, well worth a visit. 

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Very instructive, and inspiring account. 

Did you know MDF is almost the default material in building commercial speaker enclosures? Apparently it greatly reduces the vibration of the cabinet. 

I was wondering if you thought about using thin sheet plastic laminated to make up your wings. Would that be a helpful way for you to go. I know it is not wood, but it may help in some tricky situations.

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13 hours ago, SallysDad said:

I was wondering if you thought about using thin sheet plastic laminated to make up your wings. Would that be a helpful way for you to go. I know it is not wood, but it may help in some tricky situations.

Yes - good suggestion. These desperate times may call for such desperate measures as resorting to plastic. 😱

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Lower Wings


Right - that thread got a bit 'drifty' for a while so it's time to get back to business.


After a couple of rounds of 'inspect - fill - sand - prime' this is what the top half of the wing looked like.  I'm happy with this. So now let's work on the lower wing which will be made in much the same way as the top.



As you can see, before doing any contouring I cut out the undercarriage bays. I'm fairly determined to have a crack at building this jet with it's wheels down so this small bit of forward planning is important.

Mark up the thickness contours just as we did for the topside and drill a hole at any critical locations such as the apex of triangles so that those reference points are permanently available.



Cut a stop-line on the highest (thickest) contour and repeat the peeling process that we used to form the upper wing surface. I've included a couple more photos of the peeling process here since I didn't provide many when I wrote about the upper wing surface.   Note that I've found a packet of extra-long razor-blades at the local barber's shop so I've found it's now possible for me to almost completely define the split in advance just by pressing a series of blades into position.  In the photo below there's just one pushed into place , but I'm sure you can imagine half a dozen slotted into place all around the outside of the wing.



Now just use a normal razor blade to peel back the wood to pre-cut contour line.



Experience has shown that the peel will rarely progress without some irregularity or some bits that don't come off to full depth. A broad flat chisel cleans them up quick-smart.



It doesn't take long to get to this point and a rasp and sandpaper can then be used to start smoothing the contours out.



Then you can fill in any remaining steps with some of this stuff. Note that a 'true woodworker' would baulk at both using MDF or using wood  filler. Most woodworkers take pride in allowing the grain of the wood to show through in their final product. This photo shows why I consider myself a model-maker and not woodworker. You do not need to be an expert woodworker to do this kind of work. I certainly aren’t!



After some more sanding and filling and priming the result looks satisfactory. 



However, when the lower half is matched up with the upper half and we can see the wing is still far too thick. The red arrow is pointing to the main area of concern. Here the wing I would judge to be about twice as thick as it should be.  It would be about right for an Avro Vulcan, but not for a supersonic jet.



Luckily, there's an easy solution.  Just cut the last few centimeters of the wingspan off the bottom half. Now when the two halves are stuck together the wingtips will be only be as thick as the upper wing half.



Furthermore, since the whole wing is too thick, I chose to peel another mm or two off the bottom half.



I also rounded off the rear of the new 'wingtips' of the lower wing shape and sliced off the pointy bit at the front (it was always surplus in any case).  I actually really like this shape; it looks a bit like some sort of sci-fi 'bat-wing' submarine or something.  Playing with these shapes really is getting me keen on the idea of doing some 'home-designed’ sci-fi stuff one day. 



Hmmm.... Looking thinner at least but inevitably there's still a very obvious step in the taper. That's no good. 🙄



Regardless let's glue the two halves together...



and use car-body filler to fix the various steps in the taper and gaps between two halves. Car-body filler is truly great stuff,  but my ongoing and extensive use of it is yet another reason that I cannot really consider myself a 'wood-worker'.



From front-on the taper is starting to look a bit better but it's still not there yet.



Here the graphite squiggles indicate areas that are still too thick and therefore require more rasping and sanding.



Then it’s filling and sanding...



filling and sanding... and finally priming.



In truth there's still more detailed filling and sanding required but you get the idea.


In front view the taper is looking OK now (no photos, you'll just have to believe me) and I'm happy that the very basic shape of the wing is now fairly close to right. 


At sometime in the future I still have to deal with the washout and the various droops and curves in this thing. I'm not exactly sure how I will do all of that but I think I'm coming up with a plan... 🤔


That's it for now folks,

Stay safe and keep building stuff.


Bandsaw Steve



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Really good informative update, been contemplating solid wood wings for my next project and wondering how to get a good symmetry and finish. This looks like the way ahead. 

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1 hour ago, SteveMc said:

A great update Steve. Very interesting to see the wings take shape.



I fear that from here the ‘droopy and swoopy bits’ are going to make things even more ‘interesting’. I suspect that getting this wing right is going to be the single greatest challenge in this project. Although the undercarriage might put up a fight, if that gets too difficult I can just make it wheels-up. Wings on the other hand are compulsory. 😱

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Sam, woodworker or not, you are a true hobbyist, making use of materials around you. I like you methods of working. That spray filler looks like a great product. I might have used sanding sealer before the primer but that is me.



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  • 1 month later...

Something a bit clever.


Sorry Mirage fans - it's been a while...  Still keen on this but I stalled for a while on this because I didn't know what to do with the wing.  Delta wings are especially vicious when stalled they say so thought I had to be careful.    Read on and you will see that I think I've done something a bit clever with the droop and washout and all that.


First up though, here’s the easy bit that I used to ease my mind back into the project after a fair bit of time concentrating on SS Xantho research.  This is the ventral fuel tank being carved out of some random bit of liquid-ambar that I had floating about.







And now back to the wing.


After about two months of mentally going over how to make the droop on the wing's leading edge and mentally investigating lots of different ways of doing this I finally decided that only by actually doing something would the answer come to me. So I marked up the two slots on the wing's leading edge and looked at the  problem,  turned it over a few times - had a look at some different tools - looked at the drawings - looked at the wing again - turned it over a few times again and then finally had an idea! :idea: 
And if you don't mind me saying, I think it was pretty clever!


Sorry about the picture quality - it's definitely getting close to time for a new camera - but here you can see one line marked out parallel to the leading edge on the outboard section of each wing.




I ran the scroll saw along each of them, stopping just short of the dogtooth slot so that the leading edge bit was still attached to the wing.



I then ran a second shorter cut on the remaining outer one third of the leading edge bit.



Which allowed me to push the outboard section of the leading edge down into a suitable droopy shape.



Which was then held in place with two-part epoxy glue.



Leaving a swoopy, droopy, leading edge.



From underneath it looks like this.



Two-part automotive filler is then used to round out the resulting steps in the wing's profile.



So that's the clever bit done - and it worked quite well I think.  Now I just pressed on with more mundane things. Here I've marked up the ailerons and flaps.



And cut them off with a scroll saw.  From here they will be re-built and re-attached with a suitable droop.



By the way, here's what this looks like from behind with the ailerons cut off. Here you can see the wing-tip droop is probably a bit too pronounced but I'm happy with it.  The starboard wing was still a bit too thick at this point so I sanded that down quite bit as well after this shot.



Here's where the fuel tank will sit.



And here's where we are up to at the moment.



Note that I've trimmed the excess wood off the air intakes so they can now sit in roughly the correct spot.



I think that the next job is to cut the rebate for the wing so that the fuselage doesn't have to sit perched on top of the wing any more.


That's it for now.  Hopefully will update more frequently in future.


Best Regards,

Bandsaw Steve.

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Gidday Steve, I've been avidly waiting for the next instalment. It's good to see this progressing but you seem to have developed an obsession with droop - a condition you once referred ME to a doctor. (re the Panzerhobbits' gun if I recall - how is that going, BTW?) Still, I agree your solution here was quite clever. And very brave, I might add. If it hadn't worked .  .  . 

     Looking forward to the next update, hopefully sooner than another month. 🙂      Regards, Jeff.

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