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RAAF special occasion Mirage buggy FINISHED.

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On 6/24/2019 at 10:20 AM, Brick said:

Eric, it's coming along well.  I can't believe that you are going to do the trailer and tug as well.  I suspect that, should you go ahead with a kit, you will have many customers for it once the word gets around.  I know I'll be one.


Incidentally, you can just see the end of the red carpet in that 5000 hours shot of me, so I just thought I'd add a colour shot of the beginning of that agonising journey to ritual humiliation:




One more thing, when I order my copy of the kit, you can leave the model of TTail out.  In my version,  I'll be replacing that with a model of a REAL fighter pilot.

Brick I see you next to a Dual .... must have needed some extensive re training or someone in the back "looking after Sir"  :) ? Of course some chose the passive route and merely accepted the hosing ... a real Fighter pilot never surrenders and opposes the onslaught no matter the circumstances :)







Edited by TTail
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Excellent pic Sean. I should do the figure in that pose. I am sure Brick will be around soon to answer you!


Here is another picture of a friend of mine celebrating his 1000 hours. This is Noel Furber, with whom I used to work with when I was his F/O on the Q400 before he retired. He was the inspiration for me getting into modelling with a subject pilot in mind and for that I am ever thankful. I did build his Mirage a few years back.




A bit more work on the buggy. I hit a bit of a stumbling block with the Tug. The one I purchased wasn't the correct one and I was quite prepared to convert it into something that was more suitable. I got it to get an idea of sizing and parts layout etc to aid in the conversion. The big problem was that I couldn't actually work out which type of tug it was! I thought that the tug in Sean and Bricks pic was a Clarktor, as there were a few decent photos of the RAAF using them at the correct time and place for them to be that model of tug. The issue was the very flat rear end of the tug in the pics, the tail lights and what looked like a number plate, which was all I had to work with. I searched for many hours looking for even the smallest hint or detail to assist, all to no avail. I was then told it could have been a Domino Industries Group TT53 tug, an Australian made machine which the RAAF used in Butterworth at around the same time. There were a few nice pics of machines currently for sale online that would have greatly helped me to scratch build the necessary detail but I still wasn't happy. There was something not right, and I certainly would not have felt right doing an `almost right' job on the tug as it will add so much to the completed scene.


My first glimpse of the correct tug was this photo, with it just peeking out from behind a Mirage shown to me after a query on a RAAF Facebook page. The box shape front wheel arch and the 4 x slots in the front was enough to convince me it wasn't a Clarktor, or a Domino. Another detail I was looking at was the bonnets angled sides, sloping to the rear. Not much to go off but it was a start.




An extensive search online turned up another photo of the machine with a lot more detail visible, including the tail lights, rear wheel arches and cargo box on the back, exactly as per Sean's pics. The box type front wheel arch and bonnet was something that I was able to match up to the first photo as above. I was still unable to work out what type of tug it was. Extremely frustrating, as I was supposed to be studying for my 6 monthly sim sessions in the next couple of days!! 




I needed more. After going through every photo that I could find of RAAF Mirages was able to find the best picture yet, a real eureka moment. Lots of excellent and useful detail.




I then went and searched google for as many different tugs (no, not those types of tugs) that I could find, and finally nailed it down to the tug being a Universal tractor GC40 or very similiar. Externally it was very similar to their `Shop Mule' brand of tractor. From there, I was able to find plenty of pictures of current machines for sale or restored which would enable me to get it right.




Aerobonus actually do a GC-40 tractor, so I was disappointed to know that I could have purchased this one originally and saved $50 or so Aussie dollars but I didn't know then what I knew now. An order was placed to my online dealer just before I jumped in the simulator and the next day (today) I received it.




The first thing that required modification was the bonnet. I am not sure if this is a different model or whether Aerobonus (Aires) missed the angled bonnet. This is the tug straight from the box.




I marked out where I wanted to shape the bonnet.




Using a Number 11 blade, I scraped away the angle.




I added some plastic card around the edges to simulate the flip forward hood.




I sprayed the hood with SMS primer filler and sanded it smooth. You will also notice that I have replaced the steering wheel column with brass rod.




Next up was the number plate. I went out and measured my own number plate on my car and scaled it down to 1/32. I then cut this out of plastic card and attached it to the tug. I also scratch built one of the tail light assemblies and will duplicate it in resin for the other side.




I made up the front tow hitch out of plastic card and brass rod. I will also make copies of these parts to enable those that want to do something similiar to build one for themselves. 




Here's where I am at with it. The new tug came with only one seat, so I have used the two others from the older tug that I purchased. These two are actually closer in style to the real one, so I will copy those as needed.













Edited by ericg
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Thanks guys.


I was sent this pic by my good mate Dave Coupe, who was a gunnie with the RAAF during the eighties. This is an excellent pic for a number of reasons. It shows the font number plate, with the small `RAAF' lettering on it. This pic will enable me to better position the front tow hitch as well as the middle seat. Still not sure how this attaches to the tug. It also shows the front of the rear lights, so I will modify the ones that I made as I had these solid. Other details like the small grab handle on the hood and the fuel filler cap will be things that I will incorporate into the build.




Still trying to find pics of the trailer!


Some more work.


I made 3 copies of the seat from the original tug that I purchased and they happen to be the correct style needed as per dave's pic above, so it wasn't a wasted purchase after all. I have added a small safety bar from brass rod to the right hand side seat and will refine this later. I made a copy of the rear lights and fitted both of them. I will tweak these a bit now that I have a good picture of the front of them. The rear tow hitch has been tacked on for sizing and I will make a copy of that as well. The tow pin is brass rod with the pull ring soldered on to it. I added the small exhaust pipe from brass tube. I have started the cargo box on the back of the tug with lengths of square rod. Cant wait to paint this yellow!




Starting to come together. Should look pretty cool when its complete.










Edited by ericg
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  • 4 weeks later...

During this project I have been able to uncover more history around the pilots who flew Mirages for the RAAF and the way in which they celebrated their milestones. A friend of mine who’s uncle was none other than the late Reg Meissner, fighter pilot extraordinaire. Chris was over my house the other day and saw the Mirage buggy model that I had made and was able to get permission for me from Reg’s family to be able to post pictures here of his 1000, 2000 and 3000 hour Mirage celebrations. Enjoy the pics.


Firstly, Reg was well known for the Mirage vs Lamborghini face off here:




His 1000 hour ride was celebrated on something a bit different to most of the others. The pilot to the left of Reg is none other than my good friend Mac Cottrell ‘Mac the FAC’ subject pilot of my O-1 build a couple of years ago.




His 2000 hour ride was the most different of them all.




The more conventional buggy was used for his 3000 hour ride, and this photo shows that there were more than one of these buggies around due to a number of different features.






Some more work.


I was a bit worried about how the tow hitch was going to go in resin, given the holes that the silicone would have to capture. With a bit of work, I was able to copy my master of the hitch and be able pull the resin part straight from the mould and be able to insert the brass tow pin.






The kit of the tractor came with one mount for the single seat, so I made up a copy of the mount with plastic card and then used my mount as a master to make 2 more in resin. Also visible here is the repositioned rubber T latches for the bonnet and the brass pull handle that I made up.




Next up was the cargo basket for the rear of the tug. This was made from 49 parts of brass and plastic card. This won’t be made as a copy in resin!




Each of the vertical parts of the basket were drilled in from underneath and are spaced at 2mm intervals.




An overview of the almost completed tug. Visible is the re-mastered rear lights which have a detailed front now as I had originally had these parts flat. The only part missing is the spotlight that I will make later.




I gave the primed model a coat of SMS acrylic lacquer white.




Painted all over yellow, with details and tyres yet to be done. The project is really taking shape. I am still seeking pics of the trailer to be able to finish that part off.




Edited by ericg
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Cheers guys.


Done a bit more painting on the tractor. Painting the tires and other details has made it really pop. 




I have done a small amount of shading on the tractor. I get to see many varieties of different tractors/tugs at work that have extensive weathering as they are generally neglected as per the race to the bottom airline business where most are not paid to care, I will be keeping this one fairly pristine as I believe it would have been very well kept by the airmen dedicated to serving their country. I will still be adding lots more detail painting to it though, and will layer some more weathering.... but not too much.





Edited by ericg
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Tug looks good but to new to my eyes.( was clean in the pic above but was it when new and barely used?)

Our tugs on the Marine flight line where used and abused even with good maintainess.


The tires where chipped near the lug nuts, inside the hub and around the bead.We may have had one new tire installed.The tug would always have a pair of chocks, usually carried on the rear light bracket and towed gear had their own..


 The steps into the tug where chipped and dirty from grease & dirt on our boots. Interior floors greasy, dirt and paint rubbed thru on the floor to sheet metal. Floors would be used, chipped and scrapes from the tool boxes being thrown in. 

The paint near the pintle hook wood be worn and paint chipped on tug in the area.Caused from people missing the pintle and banging the tug with the tow bars.


The hood should have hand prints and maybe chipping from people doing fluid checks before being driven. The handles should be used.


This is all subject to change because of it being Aussies. 



Edited by USMC Herc
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