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Weapons

The most common configuration of the F1AZ is -  two 1200 litre tanks and six MK81 or MK82 bombs together with two V3b or V3c missiles. The pylons for the tanks and bombs can easily be scratch-built using relevant drawings. The Mirage Fl carries only one type of external fuel tank.

Unfortunately only one 1200 litre tank is supplied in the kit so 2 kits are needed or a tank from a fellow modeller who intends building a CZ or a `clean" AZ. The bombs are similar to NATO weapons and these can be obtained from other kits or weapon sets.

 Different fuses are used from time to time on the bombs so check photos for the exact configuration of the subject being modelled.

 

 

Colour

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.

During 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 different aircraft.

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.

Most of 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.

Decals

Depending on the particular scheme one intends to model, decals from a number of sources will have to be used.

Last Word

Airfix, Heller, ESCI and Hasegawa have all released a Mirage F1C and are still available in South Africa. The serial number on the Airfix kit is correct for a CZ, but the serial numbers on the ESCI kits are incorrect. The Hasegawa kit has incorrect main wheels.

The AZ article above can be used as a guide for building these kits. However no AZ kit has been released - but could be done by shaping a fuel tank or 1/48 scale air-air missile.  The kit that I used is Heller 80335

 

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