Eduard 1/48 IAI Dagger (conversion)
|PRICE:||$CAN $30.00 SRP|
|NOTES:||Decals from Aerocalcal, nose from Mirage Resin Models|
pretty close to go to war against
C-421 was one of the planes of the first batch purchased and was sn-45 in Israeli inventory.
batch of planes with the remainder planes was offered and accepted by
were now baptized Daggers in
I was left in Tandil and was used to train pilots (one single seat and three
trainers in service) and also to receive the 10 Mirage 5P that
B) Escuadron II was called La Marinete and was based in BAM San Julian
was part of the last Escuadron Aeromovil and it arrived in
On April 28th 1st Lt Ratti took C-421 to San Julian, where it would fly as part of La Marinete. On that same day, yellow ID bands were applied to the planes on the wings and tail.
With the British Task force getting really close to the area and an alarm of an approaching air strike to San Julian, all planes were scrambled at on the 29th. They landed in Tandil and returned on May 1st in bad weather. By then the first strikes of Vulcans and Sea Harriers had taken place.
consequence, the Fuerza Aerea
(call sign “FIERRO”) was the first one issued to the planes in San Julian. C-421
(Capt. Raul Diaz) and C-412 (Lt. Aguirre Faget) were tasked to fly a
OF 1107 (FORTIN): This one was another
There were other air to surface actions on May 9th and 12th but no Dagger was able to engage their targets.
On May 21st Operation Sutton started: the British Task force finally landed in San Carlos. This was the moment that the Argentine Air Force was looking for, as since May 1st and with the exception of May 12th the Task Force had kept well to the East of the islands and out of range of the land based aviation.
sections of 3 planes were scheduled to take off and attack the British ships in
the landing area. These were the LAUCHA and RATON. The OF determined that the
RATONES were supposed to take off first followed by the LAUCHA. But RATON #2 had
problems starting his plane and therefore the order in which they took off was
reversed (for more details about the air combat between the RATONes and Sharky
OF1199 (LAUCHA): C-421 with Lt Cesar Roman, C-415 with 1st Lt Callejo and C-412 with Mj Puga. The typical profile of the planes was high-low-high (High approach, low close to the islands, attack and initial part of the return and high return). After descending to the surface during their approach, Roman misread his clock and commanded his wingmen ”Aceleramos ya!” (Accelerate now!) but he found his mistake and immediately changed his order. Once over the last hills before the Sound he now correctly told them to accelerate and told them that the Sound would be in front of them in a few seconds. He describes it as if someone had opened the curtains at a theater: there was a cliff, the blue water full of foam, bays ahead and the frigates like flowers on a field. Around that time Puga could hear the warning shouts of Maj. Piuma Justo (RATON 2) to Jorge Senn (RATON 3) for him to evade a Sidewinder. The RATONes, flying just some miles behind the LAUCHAs, had been intercepted by Sharky Ward and Steve Thomas. Piuma, flying higher than RATON 3 (with Donadille already shot down) could see Thomas firing a missile to Senn. Therefore he started to shout: “Cierre, cierre, cierre, carajo! Cierre, cierre, cierre, carajo! (Break, break, break, damn it! Break, break, break, damn it!)” But the missile was faster and Senn’s plane was hit and he ejected. Then silence…Puga tried to contact his friend Piuma but he had also been shot down. Returning to the description of this mission, there was one frigate close to the other shore, towards their left and another one to their right, close to the shore they had just left behind. Roman picked the one that was in their line of flight. Callejo picked one that was further to their left. The British ships fired their main guns and machine guns. These formed geysers of water that the planes had to fly thru. The Sea Wolf system was unable to lock on the attackers. HMS Broadsword fired a missile to the Daggers but it missed. The Daggers fired their guns. When his target filled his windshield, Roman pressed the button but his bombs did not drop. Puga’s missed the ship. As Callejo was out of sight Roman started his timer shortly after jumping over the target and called: “Van 20” (that is to say 20 seconds had elapsed since the attack). Damage to HMS Brillant included Sea Lynx XZ732, the Sea Wolf and Exocet launchers and the sonar equipment. The 30mm guns and the splinters injured several crewmembers. During the return Puga told Roman that he had head as if someone had hit his plane with a hammer. A visual inspection in flight by Roman did not yield any result. Upon landing it was discovered that both C-412 and 415 had received impacts in their bulletproof windshields and had to be sent back to Tandil to be fixed. The thousand of bullets fired did not touch C-421. From this moment onwards Roman’s friends teased him due to the professionalism and cold blood he displayed during the mission as he was still calling the reading of the timer when under fire.
of the attacks of the 21st happened
on the 23rd and OF 1216
(call sign CORAL) meant a new mission for C-421. Target
was the landing area in San Carlos and the section was the following: C-421 with
Capt. Norberto Dimeglio, C-434 1st
Lt. Roman and C-420 with Lt. Aguirre Faget. These Daggers had 2 x 250 kg
parachute-retarded bombs in stations 3 and 5. Roman later on commented than when
they had reached San Carlos waters, they run into another Dagger section (this
time from Rio Grande) that had bombed HMS Broadsword and almost crashed head on
into them! Then the radar controller alerted them that there was a British
Just 5 minutes after midnight on the 24th the ground crews received the order to over paint the yellow ID bands with green paint. Driving back from the hotel where they were based, 1st Lt Posadas and his team rang the bell of every single paint shops in town in order to find green paint and some brushes. The only thing they were able to get was some blue greenish paint. At 1 am in the morning they started their work but the surfaces of the planes had frost and they could not get the paint to stick, so they were forced to remove the ice and water with cloths and newspapers until they were able to achieve their objective. The yellow and blue greenish combination gave the ID bands that kind of “turquoise” color that can be seen in many pictures.
On this day (24th) more missions were scheduled to attack the landing area. OF 1227 (PLATA) was made up of Capt Dellepiane in C-434, 1st Lt. Musso (a former Dagger pilot who had volunteered in early April to return to the Air Force as he was by then a captain in Aerolineas Argentinas) in C-420 and 1st Lt. Callejo in C-421. Another section (ORO) was supposed to take off first but a mechanical failure meant that they ceded their place to the PLATA. Like it happened on the 21st, the second section (the one that was supposed to take off first) was intercepted and entirely shot down (look for my C-430 in 1/48 elsewhere for details). PLATA section reached the target area first flying north of Pebble Island (Borbon) and then reached the landing area. Musso said that he had to attack the small harbour in San Carlos and they were fired at with guns, missiles and everything that the British had at hand. He dropped his bombs on a ground target and he could see, flying so low, the British soldiers aiming at them with portable anti aircraft missiles. He made several maneuvers to avoid the enemy fire and finally arrived to the sea. He thought: “OK, I am saved” but he realized he was flying to the EAST (towards Africa, as he remembers). Always skimming the waves, he turned to the continent and close to the Northern entrance of San Carlos waters he found 2 British ships: HMS Coventry and Broadsword. He started to think: “they will hit me, they will hit me” but he was not fired at. Some instants later and using the same escape route Callejo faced the British ships as well. He flew towards the islands to escape the “42-21 combo” and one of the ships fired a missile at him though the captain of HMS Coventry says that the planes were out of range and in his book does not mention firing a missile. Callejo immediately dropped his 3 empty 1,300 lt. tanks, turned sharply to the right and succeeded in evading the missile. The seconds it took him to get to the coast of the islands seemed ages. When the PLATAs landed they found that C-420 had some impacts of light guns in the right drop tank, C-421 did not release one of the bombs and C-434 windshield was cracked by an impact of enemy fire. As C-421 touched down and was running towards the tarmac non-commissioned officer Quiroga (armament expert) realized that arming vane of the still hanging bomb was turning free. Immediately Callejo was told to stop the plane on the runway, he deplaned and then the plane was carefully pushed to a “safe area”. Everybody took cover except for Quiroga, Corporal Diaz and 1st Lt Posadas who planned how to disarm the bomb. Posadas thought that it all looked like in the movies…but it was for real! Quiroga was disassembling the bomb, passing the parts to Diaz who would pass them to Posadas who left them on the floor. Once the bomb was opened and he could see the mechanism Quiroga unscrewed the system and after several minutes of hard work and tension he was able to make the bomb safe. With a scream of joy they left the plane and celebrated: not only they have saved their lives but also a very needed and precious plane. It was only then that they realized that the plane was close to one of the bombs depots and that some of the ground crew had taken cover behind it!
On May 29th
the Air Force decided to give close support to their beleaguered troops in Goose
Green/Darwin. The by now well-known trio Dimeglio/Roman/Aguirre Faget
constituted the PATRIA section (OF1264). The leader was again Dimeglio in C-420,
with Roman in C-421 and Aguirre Faget in C-416. C-416 had a failure in the
oxygen system so could not take part. The other two planes took off but once in
the air they were told that a section from Rio Grande would attack instead.
Before turning back Dimeglio asked for the authentication code in case the order
to return was actually a British deception. Once he confirmed that the return
order was true, they emptied the external drop tanks, returned and landed. That
very same day, OF 1269 (
On June 4th another ground attack mission was ordered in which C-421 took part. OF 1277 (PINA) called for 4 Daggers led by Squadron Leader Vice commodore Villar in C-432 to dive bomb ground troops in Mount Kent. Wingmen were Capt. Demierre (C-420), 1st Lt Roman (C-416) and 1st Lt Musso (C-421). They had 4 x 250 parachute retarded bombs. They were guided to the target area at 43,000 ft by the radar in Puerto Argentino (Stanley). Once they arrived they were told to dive into the overcast below. They were in line and 1,000 mt one behind the other in order to get their bombs as concentrated as possible and also to fool any missile that could be fired against them by the troops below. When they reached 20,000 ft in their 30º dives they dropped their bombs still inside the clouds and then climbed back to safety.
On June 5th NENE section (Capt. Maffeis in C-421, Capt Demierre in C-416 and 1st Lt Musso in C-432) was tasked to bomb ground positions again. Bae HS-125/700 (LV-ALW) from Fenix Squadron led them. Bad weather prevented them from attacking even though they reached the target area. The bombs were dropped into the ocean below on the return leg to avoid an incident like the one on the 24th.
is remembered as the Disaster at Bluff Cove. Very effective attacks by the
Argentine Skyhawks provoked great losses to the British Task Force. Contribution
of the Daggers from San Julian was 2 sections (CARTA and SOBRE) that acted as
decoys for the defending Sea Harriers. The crews for SOBRE (OF 1294) were 1st
Lt Musso in C-420, Lt Aguirre Faget in C-421 and Capt. Maffeis in C-416. They
were only armed with their 30 mm guns. Sharky Ward and Steve Thomas were about
to look for Hector Sanchez who was the only survivor of the MAZO section (for
more details see
when they were called to head for some high flying intruders arriving to the
area. It was the Daggers, which Ward thought could be Mirage IIIEA. He saw the 3
condensation trails getting approaching while he was climbing furiously in order
to intercept them. Ward told Thomas to get ready to break and get on the tail of
the enemies (like happened to Garcia Cuerva and Perona on May 1st)
but when he gained visual the Daggers broke hard and returned to the continent.
They had achieved their objective by luring a
As the approach routes of the Daggers from San Julian was well known to the British, II Escuadron was relocated to Rio Gallegos. It would allow them to take a more southerly route. It is around this date that the “turquoise” ID bands were over painted with airbrushes using light ran color (very similar to the one of the cammo).
missions of “La Marinete” took place on June 13th.
The GAUCHOs (OF1318) were to attack enemy positions in Mount Longdon. They were
Capt Dimeglio in C-432, 1st Lt
Roman in C-421 and Lt Aguirre Faget in C-412. The last one was not able to take
off due to problems with the brakes. Weather forced GAUCHOs to deviate further
South from their original route and it is there, well offshore that they came
across a solitary Lynx
On June 14th the conflict ended with a cease-fire.
C-421 took part in 11 combat missions and along C-418 they were the Daggers that flew the most during the conflict.
All the pilots that flew C-421 survived the war, with only Diaz being shot down in C-430 on May 24th and parachuting (injured) to safety.
On June 25th the II Escuadron Aeromovil returned to Tandil. They had dropped 84 bombs and fired 2,920 x 30 mm rounds.
C-421 was modified to the Finger IIIB configuration (similar to the Kfir
standard). In 1993 fire in the engine left the plane grounded indefinitely. In
1997 the wings were used to replace the ones of C-426 that had developed fuel
tank leaks. The front of the plane was also used during that year to develop a
prototype for an in flight-refueling probe that was finally never adopted by the
Air Force. In 1998 it was
This is the Mirage IIICJ. A great jump in terms of quality of the kit compared to the old Esci/Italieri offer as it has engraved panel lines, more details in the wheel wells and there are many more panels marked (access doors, fuel tanks). It makes an excellent Mirage IIIC. Eduard’s offer has a somehow shallow fuselage above the wings and the top of the tail is shorter than Esci/Italieri. I don’t know at this point who got it right, but when placing both finished planes side by side it is not too hard to see the difference.
This one was the mother of all my kit-building nightmares. I converted a Heller MIIIC into an IAI Finger many years ago and it was not as challenging as this project. Engineering of the kit is different so the task was not as easy as I had thought it would be when remembering my Finger conversion.
A friend of mine offered me a fuselage and nose conversion for this kit. The idea being that I could use everything except for the fuselage halves from Eduard. Upon receiving the parts I found that they were badly warped and the only thing I could use by then was nose itself. By that moment I had already detached the tail from the Eduard fuselage half as I thought I was going to be able to fix the distorted parts…
I put together the cockpit following the directions. I left aside the ejector seat supplied by the kit as I have my own resin made Mirage seat. Instead of using the decal I painted the instrument panel.
All the wheel wells parts were glued and I painted them in silver. A slight dry brush with brown and black pastels gave them a little bit of dirty appearance. The front part of the lower half of the wing/fuselage was cut out to accommodate the future extension of the fuselage.
I painted in white the interior part of the top of the wing formation lights and glued them in place. Top and bottom halves of wings were then glued along with all the internal wing landing gear structure.
Then I put together the Eduard fuselage halves, minus tail (previously removed) and nose section (cut behind the air intakes). I found that the fuselage halves were narrower than the space between the top wing halves. Therefore I had to push them out. I managed to do it by adding 3 pieces of plastic spruce inside the fuselage. This left me with a little gap behind the air intake but after some dry fitting and evaluation I discovered that it would be impossible to see that gap once the plane was assembled so I left it that way.
The final result of the wing/fuselage joint was very satisfactory. Now I was able to attach exhaust area to the fuselage. My friend’s piece was very good and the fit was excellent. The internal exhaust is from his set but the “lip” or petals are a resin copy of the Esci kit as his would not fit inside the fuselage.
Now I could add the tail again, using a considerable amount of putty and sandpaper to fix my (unnecessary) mess.
Then it was the turn of the fuel tank located under the fuselage close to the tail. Of course, this is not present in the MIIIC. Many years ago I also made a rubber cast from the Esci kit. I made several copies foreseeing several conversions and I took one for those resin parts and glued it to the Eduard kit. It fits very well but I used a considerable amount of putty to fill the gap between tank and fuselage.
Now to the most difficult area: the cockpit area. Not only the Daggers has a different nose, but like the MIIIE there has been an extra fuel tank installed after the cockpit so this area is longer than in the MIIIC. So fitting the cockpit to the fuselage was not going to be enough. I had to find a way to move the cockpit forward. This would leave me with lots of gaps in the fuselage and air intakes area.
After much pondering I decided to extend it using plasticard. The problem was the curved top of the fuselage. I found that one of the resin pouring casts I made in the past had almost the same contour as the top of the fuselage and could be a good fit. With some sanding to reduce it’s size I installed it using two-part epoxy glue. The initial look was messy, but quite accurate. Some putty and sanding gave me a smooth surface with no gaps or bumps.
Then it was time to fit the cockpit area to the rest of the plane. I found that there was now a gap at the bottom so an extra piece of plasticard covered it. I used considerable amounts of two-part epoxy glue in this area. The nose would not sit as I wanted and after lots of twisting and fighting against the glue and the plastic I was able to stand the plane on its tail and leave it like that overnight. Regretfully all that fight with the sticky glue and the position the kit had during the night gave me a slightly dropped attitude for the nose…something that I did not discovered until later on when I shared some of my pictures of my ready to paint kit with my friends…but by then it was too late unless I had decided to get a saw or similar to cut the plastic out and start all that area all over again…
Then it was the time of the air intakes. First I needed to fix them to the fuselage. Instead of going thru the painful process of scratchbulding the air canalizers underneath them, I took the easy road and just copied in plasticard the triangles present in the Esci kit. The intakes themselves had to be extended as well using strips from the Heller kit air intakes that were not used during my Finger conversion project.
The end result, once I attached the Dagger nose, was quite good…except for the dropped fuselage front area.
The support for the ILS antennas on top of the tail was scratchbuilt following some pictures and glued in place. It was also at this point that I realized that Eduard does not have to little air vents under the fuselage close to the guns area. I scratchbuild them using some unused rockets from the Hobbycraft Me 109s.
For the configuration I decided to build (June 4th with 2 drop tanks and 4 bombs) I found that the drop tanks supplied by Eduard are too small. Luckily, when I made my Garcia Cuerva’s Mirage IIIEA I was left with 2 x 1,300 lt unused tanks! The only problem was that I did not have any more attachment points / stations so I had to copy some in resin. These along with some bomb racks from Hobbycraft’s Skyhawks were glued under the plane.
Flaperons where glued in a slightly dropped position and that required some careful cutting of the fairing for the actuator under the wings.
Bombs were from the Hobbycraft A4 kits and I modified the nose to represent the proper fuse used during this mission.
With this, I was ready to start painting.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I gave the plane a coat of light gray to check for imperfections and also to give a better surface for the MM Acryl paints to adhere.
I then masked the area for the ID bands knowing that it would be easier to cover it if there was no camo underneath. Anyways, there would have been a solid colour in the original planes (turquoise).
I used Model Master Acrylic paints. First I used Light gray (4766) for all the undersurfaces, followed by Tan (4709), then Medium Green (4734) and finally Dark Green (4726). The lines between colours are smooth so I used Blue Tac to obtain the desired effect.
The ID bands were painted using Tan (4709) and some drops of white. As there are several stencils that would have been over sprayed in this colour I masked those decals with Blue Tac and also gave them a hand of this light tan.
As there were many Peruvian 1,300 drop tanks in use by then I painted one of C-421’s in radome tan and tan (4709) with dirty white undersides.
Tip of the bombs was painted in yellow and then in Olive drab. For the nose and several details like edge of tail I used flat black.
I painted the scratchbuilt VHF antennas were in tan (top) and dirty white (bottom).
The entire top
surface was given some coats of Future until I was satisfied with the gloss.
Just after I finished and while I was admiring the gloss finish I looked at a
of C-421 in flight and it dawned on me that some days ago I had realized that
the right wing had NO tan cammo except for the area close to the fuselage!!!
Cursing in Spanish and English. I was left with 3 options: leave as it was (no
way!), try to over spray green after masking the area (which experience has
shown me that does not work as the Acryl paints crack when applied over Future)
or remove the freshly applied layers of Future. I went for the last option using
cotton with Windex and water. I tried to limit the removal to the tan area but
it started to snowball to a point where I had to leave all the right wing with
no Future. A couple of days later I masked the wing, gave it the proper green
color and the day after I applied Future again.
The Aerocalcas set is very good overall but the only criticism I have is that the red triangles (Danger / Ejection / Seat) are oversized. I decided to make my own using clear and white decal paper and my ink jet printer. I scanned the Aerocalcas drawings, modified them using some basic PC programs and printed several copies.
The words “FUERZA AEREA ARGENTINA” are clearly worn out in some areas on the right side of C-421. So here I scanned them too, and using a basic photo editor program “airbrushed” out those missing letters.
For stencils I used the Aerocalcas supplied ones and supplemented them with some of Eduard, some from Esci when needed.
The green “2” for the back of the right side of the fuselage is not present in the Aerocalcas set. I made it up with a “0” and other green numbers supplied in the Aerocalcas sheet. Note the lightly airbrushed red no walk zone stencils.
With all decals in place I was ready for the final steps.
I glued the landing gear. The entire plane was given a coat of satin varnish.
1. Two ILS antennas on the tail using Evergreen
2. VHF antennas on fuselage
3. Using a piece from the spares box I made the housing for an non-existing RWS and placed it on the border of attack of the tail at the same height as the ILS antennas
4. Landing gear doors
5. Bombs (x 4) using wing supports from Hobbycraft (A4-B)
6. Drop tanks
7. Painted navigation lights with a mix of Future and a drop or red or green
8. Braking parachute cap in aluminum
9. Scratchbuilt landing lights on the nose landing gear using round clear ejector pins from the spares box, then painted in Chrome silver – front – and aluminum – back
10. Small air intake in front of the windshield made with the original Eduard one cut to the correct shape and size
11. Glued the ejection seat
12. Scratchbuilt and glued to the top of the windshield the clock (left side) and compass (right side)
13. Attached the top ejection handles painted in yellow with pen painted black stripes
14. Gunsight (Eduard)
15. Photo etched rear mirrors (painted in black and chrome silver) attached to the hood
16. 30 mm guns, previously painted in black with an aluminum mouth to highlight the excellent Eduard representation Picture Guns
17. Windshield (terrible fit that required scraping, sanding and painting to get a decent but not perfect fit)
18. Hood in opened position
19. And the final touch was the Pitot tube painted in aluminum with a chrome silver tip.
An Argentine Dagger full of history. I put all my efforts to make a well deserving kit. Regretfully, the nose down attitude has ruined to some degree all the hard work I put during the last 5 months. The quality of the Eduard kit is excellent, details are more subtle when compared to Esci/Italieri kits but I would not tackle a conversion like this one EVER again even if I am given the IIICJ kit for free and I am paid to do it. I will keep on using the Esci kits, which are easier to work with, and cost a fraction of the Eduard one (I saw the Eduard Kfir kit during this past weekend at almost CAN 50. A probably much better starting point…but CAN 20 more expensive!)
· Guillermo Donadille, Jorge Senn and Raul Diaz for their time and patience.
· Jose Luis Martinez Eyheramendy for his research of pictures of C-421 from all angles possible (he was a ground crew of the La Marinette Squadron during the war. His memoirs are published in his blog Mis Vivencias de Malvinas)
· Juan Contreras for his relentless support with information
· Jose Miguel
The TORNOs (and in them all the
other unsung and humble Halcones like Musso), who even in inferior technical
conditions chased away a British
· Halcones de Malvinas (Pablo Carballo)
· Historia Oficial de la Fuerza Aerea, Volumen 6 (Malvinas), Book 1 and 2
· Ellos tambien combatieron (Guillermo Posadas) – in charge of Maintenance of the II Escuadron Aeromovil during the war
· Guerra Aerea en las Malvinas (Benigno Andrada)
· Dagger & Finger en Argentina (Horacio Claria et al.)
· Four weeks in May – Capt. Hart-Dyke
· Falklands Air War - Hobson
· IAI Finger 1978-1982 - Nunez Padin
· Sea Harrier over the Falklands – Sharky Ward
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