The Mirage F1AZ arrived in the country
some time after the CZ and the last batch was assembled here. The Mirage
CZ' s were initially painted gloss. The AZ' s had a matt finish from the
start, even the ones that were painted in France. The colours are also
often misquoted. The Mirage III's had a light grey underside colour at one
stage and this colour is often quoted incorrectly for the Mirage FIAZ. The
correct underside colour for the AZ's was a light Blue identical to
Humbrol 65. The matt Green used on the earlier cammo pattern is darker
than the newer Dark Green and the closes match is Humbrol 66. The Sand
colour used is lighter than Humbrol 63. One source gives this colour as
Deep Buff (BS.381C-360).
The same source however gives this colour
reference for all SAAF Mirages but as mentioned above the AZ's were
painted in a slightly different matt colour. This scheme has sharp
demarcations between colours.
During the later stages of the war in
Angola the cammo on the AZ was found to be ineffective. The sand colour
was over sprayed with Dark Earth, the colour used on the Impala etc. This
was roughly done on the flight line and all stencilling on the Sand colour
was over sprayed. Some aircraft that were repainted at Atlas during
servicing were also painted in this scheme e.g. Mirage F1AZ 224.
the war period some experimental schemes were also flown and assessed. The
current scheme of Dark Earth, Dark Green and Mirage Grey evolved from
this. The best way to portray the scheme in 1:48th scale is to use paper
masking. Only one aircraft, Mirage F1AZ 220 was used during operations in
this scheme. There are small differences in the actual pattern used on
One noticeable area is the waves on the side where the
Grey meets the rest of the cammo. The top view in the ESCI plans also
gives the pattern for the Mirage F1CZ. The cammo pattern of the AZ differs
slightly from this on top of the rear fuselage, so once again it is best
to use a photo of the aircraft one wishes to model.
The stencil markings used on the AZ are
the standard NATO markings and are in a dark Grey. One possible way to
portray these are to use Black USAF or US Army decals and lightly over spray
them with the cammo colour. The NO WALK areas on the wing and tail plane
are demarcated with lines and are done in the same colour. Another feature
of the new cammo is the use of strips of protective paint on the intake
and tail plane leading edges, also in dark Grey.
The castle national
insignia on this cammo also differ from aircraft to aircraft. Some were
the standard SAAF colours, others were the standard colours but heavily over sprayed
and some were in low vis style outline only.
Other interesting experimental schemes
were used on the Mirage F1AZ during the Angolan conflict. One colour
scheme was similar to the one used on the Mirage F1CZ but used only two
colours, these being a mixture between PE Blue, Mirage grey and Highveld
Grey. The aircraft was Mirage F1AZ 243 and all stencilling and insignia
were heavily over sprayed. This aircraft flew extensively in operations
during the latter part of the war and a good photograph of this particular
aircraft is available in the new book The SAAF at War.
A similar aircraft
to the one above had the same colour scheme as the Mirage F 1 CZ but since
the serial number was also over sprayed I was unable to confirm it. A
photograph exists where the two grey aircraft are parked next to each
other and confirm that the colours on the two are not the same.
the sorties flown during this time were flown with 6 Mk 82 bombs, two
1200-litre tanks and two V3b missiles. On some of the sorties only 4 bombs
were carried with one ECM pod usually under the left wing.