Work In Progress

A new work in progress. Another Dagger. I follow the @WarDiaryF82 account on Twitter, and the owner has been Tweeting the events of the conflict in ‘real time’. An Argentinian user posted a picture of Dagger C-407 and I replied with a picture of the Dagger I built a while ago. Daniel showed it to a friend, Cesar Roman, who had flown the aircraft during an attack against the British task force on May 1st 1982. (Torno flight would inflict the first damage against the British after pressing home an attack on HMS Alacrity, Glamorgan and Arrow.)

He subsequently asked where the model was from, and after explaining I had built it from a kit he asked if I could build another for Cesar. I have a Kinetic 1/48 Dagger in the stash, so I quickly agreed I would. When complete it will be sent (somehow, not sure yet!) across the South Atlantic to Cesar as a gift. Pretty exciting to think that a model I’ve built will be going to someone who has flown the subject. I’d better get this one right!

I haven’t got the luxury of the Wingman Models ‘Super Kit’ issue of the Kinetic, with all its extras, I used for the previous dagger. I do have the same Kinetic plastic, and some extras to spice it up a bit. There’s an Aires ejector seat, Master Models turned brass pitot, Eduard wheels, and ResKit exhaust nozzle. I usually like to replace the cockpit entirely, but I can’t find any aftermarket parts relevant to the Dagger. Luckily Kinetic’s cockpit tub and instrument panel are quite nicely detailed, if not 100% accurate.

As with most aircraft models, work starts with the cockpit. There are several variants of Mirage buildable from the box, and Kinetic supply four different instrument panels. Unfortunately, none of them is an exact representation of the Dagger. (The Dagger was a licence built Mirage 5, manufactured by IAI in Israel as the Nesher, and sold to Argentina as the Dagger.) The panel can be made to more closely resemble the real thing by modifying the centre area with a large, square instrument housing. Luckily I’ve got some Airscale etched brass bezels in already, for a simple fix.

A quick spray with Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black, and out with more Airscale accessories; this time instrument and placard decals.

A short period of eye-strain later and I have a completed panel. Not bad considering it’s the stock kit part rather than more finely cast and detailed resin.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been concentrating on the one big hurdle in front of completing the Dagger as Sr. Roman would like it – the three 1300L drop tanks to go underneath it. These really are important to ‘telling a story’ with this model. A defining characteristic of the Argentinian side of the air war over the Falklands was that the more capable fast jets were confined to the mainland airfields. The only tarmac runway on the islands was simply too short for the fast movers, and suitable only for an emergency diversion. The aircraft incapable of air-to-air refuelling had to take all their fuel with them, and even with several huge tanks were limted to around ten minutes in the target area.

Unfortunately Wingman are no longer producing the tanks that came in their boxing of Kinetic’s kit, and they are sold out everywhere. Digging through the spares box I found a tank of the correct overall shape and size, and set about converting it to match those required. I sanded it flat, added some raised detail (weld seams?) from stretched sprue and used my plotter cutter to make the fins.

Here you can see the basic shape.

And the tank with details and the fins cut out.

The tank was then cut in three and parts added to create pouring holes for the resin to enter the mould.

After making a setting up box the silicon was poured to make the mould, before removing the masters and pouring the resin to make the copies. Unfortunately the fin I tried to incorporate was too delicate to survive the de-moulding and I had to recast without it. Still, I ended up with three identical tanks (and a spare) that could easily have the fins added.

Once that was done I gave them some paintwork with Hataka lacquer paints (Orange Line). This is the first time I’ve used these and they spray quite nicely. They’re pretty rough tanks, and if I’d bought them from a third party seller I’d send them straight back, but I’m really pleased I’ve been able to produce these.