Mirage III EA is an export version of the famous Mirage III used by the Argentine Air Force FAA. Although the Mirage was the most modern and most powerful fighter of the FAA in 1982 (21 planes), it did not prove very successful in the ensuing Falklands conflict. This was due to relatively short pilot training, short loiter time in the Falklands area and inferior armament. The Matra R530 had lower performance compared to the AIM-9 L, the version of the famous Sidewinder carried by its rival, the British Sea Harrier. All these factors came together on 1 May 1982 when a pair of Harriers encountered with a pair of Mirage IIIs callsign Dardo 2. In a brief engagement, one Mirage was shot down by a Harrier from 801. The pilot successfuly ejected and alived. The other fighter fell victim to its own anti-aircraft fire with the pilot KIA, while attempting to land on the islands due to lack of fuel.
For my kit I have chosen the plane with number I-015 of 1st Lt Carlos Perona of the 8th Brigade Aérea detached at base Rio Gallegos.
The Modelsvit kit already includes canopy masks and photoetched parts. Nothing more is needed to build a nice model. The build itself was without problems, but requires the attention of a more experienced modeller. Among the shortcomings I would only mention the bad fitting of inner flaps. Otherwise I must say that this is a very good kit.
I started making the camouflage by studying the materials and creating my own decals with the number I-015, as the kit contains a different selection. Next, I did not like the interpretation of the emblem on the tail, which I took from the XTradecals sheet. The basis of the camouflage pattern are colours used by the USAF and called “SEA” camouflage. During the part of Falklands conflict the Mirages as wel as other planes got yellow stripes. It is unclear whether the order to use yellow was given before 1 May or after the Mirage was shot down by friendly fire. As this marking was not usefull, the order was withdrawn in mid-May. Mechanics, especially from units detached from home bases in Argentina, were faced with the problem of a lack of appropriate camouflage paint. So they painted over the yellow with what they could. This is the reason and also a good identification of the dating of various photographs of Argentine planes where the original yellow was replaced by blue or, for example, dark brown. In the case of my Mirage, I am standing the theory that either the yellow additions were not applied in time, or were ordered after the event on 1.5. described above. Another interesting detail is the inscription “FUERZA AEREA ARGENTINA” in the front, which was apparently in black at the beginning of delivery, but then reverse-coloured letters were applied.
The finishing work on the kit took me a huge amount of time and unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I am not 100% satisfied with some of the details. I have decided to start using modeling magnifying glasses for my next builds, as I really can’t see the real details anymore.
This year is 40. Anniversary of the Falklands War and I am happy with another themed model in my display cabinet. Hopefully I can do the same next year by finishing some Harrier.
Notice: The original text in Czech language was translated with help of automatic translator with minimal corrections. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification of some wording.