Author Topic: What replaced the Mirage IV?  (Read 5690 times)

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Offline rickshaw

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What replaced the Mirage IV?
« on: February 03, 2011, 06:56:56 am »
The Mirage F4 replaced the Mirage IV!

Dassault were tasked in the early 1960s to design a low-altitude intruder that did not have the high approach speeds or buffetting associated with the Mirage's delta wing. Unlike the earlier Mirage III the F2 had a high-mounted swept wing and horizontal tail surfaces. The prototype powered by a Pratt & Whitney TF30 turbofan first flew on 12 June 1966. It was re-engined with the SNECMA TF306 (a derivative of the TF-30) for the second flight on 29 December 1966.

Two parallel developments were a single-seat Mirage F3 interceptor and a scaled-down and simpler Mirage F1. Eventually the French Air Force choose to develop the French-engined F1 and the F2 did not enter production but work continued on the design as the Armée de l'Air requirement did not abate and the withdrawal from NATO in 1966 only further complicated matters.

The Armée de l'Air had recognised that as the 1960s came to a close, improved Soviet air defences had meant that it's primary strategic deterrent, the Mirage IV's flight profile of Hi-Hi-Hi had become suicidal.  While the Force de Frappe sought longer term solutions in the form of ballistic and cruise missiles, it changed the Mirage IV's flight profile to one of low altitude or Hi-Lo-Hi.   However, the Mirage IV's delta wing, which was lightly loaded was unsuitable for this flight mode and the aircraft suffered severe buffeting in the denser, lower air leading to reduced speed, range and fatigue life.  So, a newer design was rapidly needed, preferably one with greater range and speed at low altitude.

Dassault came to the rescue with an enlarged version of the Mirage F1, reminiscent of the original Mirage F2 but with twin engines.  The result was the Mirage F4.  Intended to be able to strike deep into the former Soviet Union in the event of a nuclear war at low altitude and without refuelling.

While the use of a turbofan would have been preferable, there none available from the French engine maker, SNECMA, except for the TF306 which was unacceptable because of political problems with its design being sourced from the USA.  SNECMA had offered to acquire a license from the UK for the Rolls-Royce Spey but while it would have come with fewer strings attached, it was still a foreign and perhaps worse, a British engine and the idea was looked upon with horror by the French government.  Instead, a development of the proposed ATAR 9K-50, which further improved its fuel economy and thrust was accepted.  While thirstier than a turbofan it was considerably cheaper and had fewer political strings than the alternative.

Equipped with two ATAR 9K-50-2 turbojet engines, developing 18,000 lbs of thrust each with afterburning, the Mirage F4 had a combat range of approximately 3,000km with a Lo-Lo-Hi combat profile.  It also had a useful combat load of approximately 20,000 lbs of conventional weapons for short range missions or 10,000 lbs for longer range ones.  It could also carry up to 2 nuclear free-fall bombs or ASMP standoff missiles, as well as two Matra M.550 Magic IR missiles for self-defence.

The F4 entered Armée de l'Air service in 1976 and had completely replaced the Mirage IV by 1980.  The F4 fulfilled the role set for it and as it became more obvious that the use of free-fall nuclear bombs was becoming suicidal the ability of the F4 to carry standoff missiles became more important.  Matra, the French missile maker responded with the development of the ASMP, a short-range cruise missile utilising a ram-jet for propulsion and carrying a 150-300 Kt nuclear warhead.  With the addition of the ASMP, the F4 gained a new lease of life in its Strategic Deterrence role.  Even so, that role passed gradually to IRBM and SLBM nuclear missiles as the Cold War progressed. 

When the Cold War ended, the F4's prodigious conventional load carrying ability became increasingly appreciated and it found new uses as a strategic reconnaissance aircraft.  Perhaps its hey day though, was its use during the Gulf War of 1990-91 where it struck deep into Iraqi territory.  It also saw action in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, as well as several minor African conflicts.  Today, it is still in use over Afghanistan in the strategic reconnaissance role.

The Build

This is basically what I started with A 1/48 Esci Mirage F1 for the main fuselage and wings, plus a 1/72 Heller Mirage 2000N for the nose and cockpit:


To which was added some resin wheels and exhausts.  The wheels by Mastercasters (their Victor set) and the exhausts from Hiplanes (for the Mirage III):


Here we see the preparation to remove the 1/48 nose.  The tape marks the cut lines.


Here it is with the nose removed


Here we see the rear fuselage with the exhausts temporarily in place.  They nearly fit but I suspected it would need the rear fuselage cut back and "feathered" (for want of a better word - lots of horizontal cuts to allow the plastic to expand around the exhausts):



Here we see the nose of the Mirage 2000N being removed:


And attached temporarily to the Mirage F1 fuselage:


I planned to put the resin exhausts into some brass tubing as I was a little worried about the stress which would be placed on the thin-walled resin tubes by the fuselages:


This is the nose being glued together with the cockpit tub from the Mirage F1, with the associated wheel-well being attached.  It will help support the Mirage 2000 nose when its attached to the Mirage F1 fuselage:


Nose permamently attached now. Some plasticard added around it to help fill the gaps and make the join stronger:


First layer of putty around the nose:



First sanding session.  Basically there but still some refinement necessary, particularly along the sides of the cockpit:


Work on the tail starts:





After quite a bit of PSR work:


Undercoat of grey:



Serious painting nearly finished.  Camouflage, green over dark grey with light grey undersides:


Undercarriage.  Made from brass tube, wire, plasticard and rod and the resin wheels.  The nose undercarriage was cut down from the 1/48 Mirage F1's.


Nearly finished:




At this point, things became much harder.

The Future I applied made the green bleed onto the dark grey and the light grey.  I corrected that and applied the transfers.  Then I tried to apply some matt varnish.  It reacted with the Future and dissolved it and smeared it over one of the transfers.  Gahhh!

Fixed that and the cat just (literally just as I was setting it up for the final pictures) knocked the nose wheel and flight refuelling probe off.  Bloody cats!  Grrrr.

Final photos tomorrow night, I think.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 09:36:14 pm by rickshaw »
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Offline chrisonord

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 07:22:30 am »
I am liking this Rickshaw, :thumbsup: Scalerama at its finest  :cheers:
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Offline Tophe

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 07:39:08 am »
Wonderful! :thumbsup: Great enrichment to the Mirage family! :bow:
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Offline Taiidantomcat

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 07:51:44 am »
Very nice!
"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality." -Jules de Gaultier

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Offline royabulgaf

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 07:26:15 pm »
Congratulations!  Not only well-built, but more importantly it was well thought out.
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Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 03:01:18 am »
Brilliant work rickshaw!  :thumbsup:

I've always thought the Mirage IV was the ultimate 'schoolboy's nuclear bomber' design, that long nose, the wide flat rear end to the fuselage, and of course delta wings, but after looking at your F4 I could well have been wrong........  ;D ;)
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

Offline rickshaw

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 03:40:44 am »
As threatened, the final pictures of the built model:






« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 09:57:24 pm by rickshaw »
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Offline rickshaw

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 03:55:35 am »
Brilliant work rickshaw!  :thumbsup:

I've always thought the Mirage IV was the ultimate 'schoolboy's nuclear bomber' design, that long nose, the wide flat rear end to the fuselage, and of course delta wings, but after looking at your F4 I could well have been wrong........  ;D ;)

You are too kind, all of you.  Thank'ee.

What surprised me was how TSR2'ish it turned out to be in the end.  Completely unintentional and I was tempted to change the backstory to one which would have tweaked the noses of the TSR2 fans somewhat. ;)

Whereas my Mega-Mirage fought me all the way, this one just fell together easily and quickly.  The only area I had problems was around the engines.  Didn't quite turn out as well as I'd have liked but it still looks OK (and the exhausts are removable! ;) ).
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Offline sideshowbob9

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2011, 10:27:45 am »
All the work you have put into this model has certainly paid off. Stunning!

Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 11:22:56 am »
What surprised me was how TSR2'ish it turned out to be in the end.  Completely unintentional and I was tempted to change the backstory to one which would have tweaked the noses of the TSR2 fans somewhat. ;)

That's EXACTLY what I thought looking at the finished model pics just now! But that Dassault fin makes it's inheritance obvious of course.

La TSR2 a la Francais in fact.  ;D (Is a TSR2 masculine or feminine? Do aircraft in France have different genders or are they all the same? Les JMNs would need to know this of course.......  ;D)

Is the ASMP missile under the belly the one from the Mirage 2000N kit BTW?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 11:24:34 am by PR19_Kit »
Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

Offline JayBee

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 12:03:28 pm »
Rickshaw,

I can only echo PR-19 Kit's sentiments here and add that that is some serious kitbashing/surgery.
You deserve to be proud of what you have produced. :thumbsup:

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Offline thedarkmaster

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 02:53:05 pm »


wow very nice top class work there
Everything looks better with the addition of British Roundels!



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Offline pyro-manic

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 04:01:49 pm »
What a monster! It just screams power. Very nicely done indeed. :thumbsup:
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Offline rickshaw

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 07:04:35 pm »
That's EXACTLY what I thought looking at the finished model pics just now! But that Dassault fin makes it's inheritance obvious of course.

La TSR2 a la Francais in fact.  ;D (Is a TSR2 masculine or feminine? Do aircraft in France have different genders or are they all the same? Les JMNs would need to know this of course.......  ;D)

I was thinking more "La reconnaissance de frappe tactique deux"  ;)

Quote
Is the ASMP missile under the belly the one from the Mirage 2000N kit BTW?

Yes, the ASMP came from the Heller Mirage 2000N kit.   I deliberately chose the 2000N over the 2000B/D 'cause of the ASMP.   I must say, while the basic Heller Mirage 2000 kit is excellent and quite a nice little model in itself, the extra bits for the 2000N are moulded in a horrible, soft, white plastic.  The ASMP in particular fitted really badly together.  Thankfully the drop tanks were better fitting.

« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 07:07:50 pm by rickshaw »
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Offline rickshaw

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Re: What replaced the Mirage IV?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 07:16:20 pm »
I can only echo PR-19 Kit's sentiments here and add that that is some serious kitbashing/surgery.
You deserve to be proud of what you have produced. :thumbsup:

Agreed! And nice save on paintwork and feline damage. My only advice for next time is: first Future/Dullcote the cat, then start on the model  ;D

I'm thinking Gaffer tape and a shovel might be more useful.  ;)
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