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As usual, I'm a day early as it's Saturday here in Australia, so why not go with an Australian subject?


Actually, that's not quite true.  3 days ago I thought I was going to be out in the country for the weekend, strolling through a nature reserve and quietly lamenting that I'd inadvertently booked that trip on Blitzbuild weekend.  However, Covid-19 reared it's ugly head again here in Melbourne and sent us into a snap lockdown for 7 days.  Suddenly, I have all the time in the world for a build!


As I hadn't been planning to participate this time around, I quickly dug out a few un-started kits to see what I could use.  Turns out, almost everything had some sort of aftermarket parts sitting in the box, which would look great, but also add time to the build.  What to do.....?


The answer:  Pick the one where the aftermarket parts are the least work!  I've had this double-set of Mirages for about a year now.  As far as the aftermarket for the single-seater goes, I have some PE metal antennas, a resin nosecone, a resin ejector seat, a resin engine nozzle and a turned metal pitot.  All of these are basically 1 for 1 replacements of kit parts so they shouldn't be too much work.....hopefully.




Here's all the bits I've got to work with.  Apologies for the poor photo, it's a dull grey day here and my phone's camera isn't great.  I'll be using it rather than my proper camera though, as it's much faster for getting photos up here and then back to building!



As for what livery to build, there was really only one option, especially since I eventually intend to build the 2-seater and display them as a pair...


(not sure how well known the name "Fanta Can" is for ARDU liveries, but that's what I've heard it called :) )


So lets get started!  I'm aiming for Superhero, but I'll re-assess at 9PM and see how I feel.



Late breaking news:  A fresh coffee from @emily, who may be joining later with something in 1/144.  She tried to make me a delta-wing in the foam for the theme of the build :P


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Construction has commenced!  Less than 1 hour in so far and I've made the big decision to build this one wheels-up.  Normally this isn't my style, but the Mirage just looks sooooooo good in-flight.  When I build the matching 2-seater, I'll probably mount them in formation on a pair of stands.


The main gear doors needed some tabs removed, but were actually quite easy to attach in the "up" position, even if the instructions don't list it as an option.  I put a piece of styrene in on the left hand side to bridge between the doors, but it turns out I didn't need it as the fit was so good, so I left if off the other side.








I also attached the control column.  The cockpit is pretty simple, so this is the only assembly I'm doing before painting (mostly because this is easier than trying to hold the control column in front of the airbrush without it blowing away).




As a certain airplane-builder (in 1:1 scale) on Youtube would say.....Back to work!

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12 minutes ago, Romeo Alpha Yankee said:

Nice choice Beggsy, I worked on both the ARDU jets when they came east for extra servicing and trials work.

That's awesome!  Let me know if I make any glaring inaccuracies.  Actually, you might be able to answer a question.  What's up with the nose on A2-3?  The piece I got looks like this:



The instructions say to paint it orange, and black for the two squares on each side.  However, they wouldn't have given me a clear part if it wasn't meant to have clear bits somewhere.  Do you know what it was meant to look like in real life?


As for the rest of the model:



The droptanks are assembled.  I often forget about underwing stores until the end, and then can't be stuffed.  This time, I remembered to assemble them, and I'll do any filling or sanding along with the rest of the plane, and paint them at the same time too.



I'm a fan of the way HPM use the outboard elevon actuators to hide part of the seam line in the wing.



And here's the underside with the rest of the bits attached



I got some resin off the pour blocks too. 



I don't think I can get much further without shooting some paint at the cockpit, so time to set up the airbrush!



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The nose is clear as it was a dummy nose fitted a repointing camera to film weapons releases (as opposed to a radar nose).  Here is a picture of the nose, the black panels are camera ports and should be clear, the other clear part is the rear face of the projection under the nose.

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Thanks!  That makes sense, I'll see what I can do about making those windows clearer.


Here's where we stand at almost 1/4 time:









Oh, and my 2 companions (Pippin and Donut) say hi!


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It's looking fast!





Plenty of sanding needed for this putty though.



I'm really happy with how the exhaust pipe turned out!


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OK, I'm over my shock, and I think mine is curing fine, just not game to put masking tape on it....yet.....


Good thing I've kept busy helping @emily with her build instead.  I'll make sure she puts a clock in her next photo :)


Here's the white Mirage:



It's not obvious in this photo, but I mottled the white a bit before going over the whole thing, similar to if I was putting a more opaque colour over black.  IT looks pretty good!  When this is done (hopefully before 9AM tomorrow), I'll get some photos with my proper camera that will hopefully show this effect better.


If it's still tacky in an hour or so, consider this post the end of my first session under the Jason Todd option rules (but I'll keep trying for Bruce Wayne if I can).

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I got it done!  The white paint cured fine, just took 10 minutes of patience :) .  Good think the biggest fingerprint was in an area that got painted orange!


I did a sort-of pre-shading technique for the orange that I think turned out great.





This then lead to one of the most satisfying un-masking sessions of my entire modelling life



The decals went on without too much fuss, but I noted that there were a couple that aren't duplicated for the other ARDU Fanta-Can.  There are some similar ones though, so I'm sure I'll make it work when I build it.



The final steps were:

Paint small details

Semi-gloss clear coat

Unmask canopy and cameras

Attach drop tanks and engine nozzle

Mount on stand for photo!



I had plans, much earlier in the day, to celebrate completion by popping the drink can, but at 4:08AM that seems like a bad idea.  I need some sleep!  Photos from a proper camera will be in the gallery tomorrow.  Goodnight everyone, enjoy your models.  As always, it's been a pleasure building with you.



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Here are a couple of pictures that didn't make it into the gallery.


The resin exhaust was worth every cent!



@Romeo Alpha Yankee I managed to get the windows working!  They were near impossible to sand smooth due to being recesses, but a brush-painted blob of gloss clear varnish did the job well enough.



This is probably the best result I've ever achieved on a jet aircraft, despite the short time frame (big caveat, I don't build a lot of jets :P ).  I'm really looking forward to building the 2-seater to mount alongside it.

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I agree, that's a stunning build, I like it and I'm into trucks so that's saying something. 


Saw your comment in the gallery, this means you can build one each day! Get cracking mister! 🙂 

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Looks great Beggsy, got to visit the restoration of one of ARDU's non flying Mirages yesterday. It was a 77SQN jet passed to ARDU for some sort of ground trials. It did not actually fly in ARDU colours but was painted up this way as a gate guard for RAAF Edinburgh. It spent a few years out in the elements and then was given to the South Australian Aviation Museum for display and is currently getting some TLC.




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Nice!  It's been a while since I last popped in to the South Australian Aviation Museum.  I should plan another trip there, when the border is open again.

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