Eduard 1/48 IAI Dagger (conversion)

KIT #: 8494
PRICE: $CAN $30.00 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Pablo Calceterra
NOTES: Decals from Aerocalcal, nose from Mirage Resin Models


Israel developed their Mirage V version once France decided to cancel the delivery of these already purchased planes to this country. There are at least 2 versions about how Israel got hold of the plans and parts to manufacture their Neshers. Whichever the truth the “Vulture” (Nesher) were a simplified version of the Mirage V and 61 (51 single seat, 10 trainers) were built without license. Yes, simplified (compared to the MIIICJ version), but lethal as well. Neshers accounted for more than 100 air to air claims during the 1973 war!

Being pretty close to go to war against Chile in 1978 the Argentine Air Force purchased 26 (24 single seat and 2 trainers) of the surviving IAI Neshers. Their serial numbers in Argentina were C-401 to 426 (“C” meaning Cazabombardero = Fighter bomber). These were bought thru a secret contract and taken to Argentina by ship. A group of pilots and ground crew were sent to Israel undercover to be trained in the use of these “simplified” Mirages. Among them we can name Maj Sapolsky, Capt Donadille, Pergolini, Kahijara, Martinez and Puga and 1st Lt Arnau, Mir Gonzalez, Almono, DiMeglio, Janett and Musso. They became the experts in this new Mirage version within the Air Force, as they were taught to fly their planes to their limit, compared to the French school (Mirage IIIEA) that were more “conservative” in terms of handling of the airplanes.

C-421 was one of the planes of the first batch purchased and was sn-45 in Israeli inventory.

A second batch of planes with the remainder planes was offered and accepted by Argentina in 1979 and they were coded C-427 to C-439. These included 2 more trainers (438 and 439).

Neshers were now baptized Daggers in Argentina and were based in BAM Tandil (Buenos Aires Province)

After April 2nd 1982, as part of the escalations in the conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom three Escuadrones (Squadrons) were activated:

A)    Escuadron 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 Peru gave to Argentina (first flight on June 14th)

B)    Escuadron II was called La Marinete and was based in BAM San Julian

C)    Escuadron III was called Avutardas Salvajes and their base was now in BAM Rio Grande (Tierra del Fuego)

C-421 was part of the last Escuadron Aeromovil and it arrived in Rio Grande on April 6th along with other 7 planes. As the Air Force pilots had no training to attack targets on the sea (as this was the Navy’s responsibility) the month was spent learning the trade. On April 17th C-421 was sent back to Tandil to get some repairs made that could not be accomplished with the means available in Rio Grande.

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 10 pm 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.

As a consequence, the Fuerza Aerea Argentina Sur (or FAS) put in motion the wheels to strike back.

OF1101 (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 CAP over the islands armed with 2 Shafrir missiles each and their 30 mm guns. When starting the planes Aguirre found a mechanical problem in his plane.  Diaz was given authorization to proceed alone upon his request to continue alone. He was aware of the risks of tackling such a mission without a wingman but he was feeling calm. It was hard for him to believe that he was going to war. When getting close to the islands he contacted the CIC located in Puerto Argentino (Port Stanley) who gave him a vector towards an enemy CAP located 60 miles to the east of the islands. With his armament on, Diaz followed the directions issued by the radar. The Harriers were 6,000 ft lower and flying head on. When only 12 miles away the British planes dove and were lost by the Argentine radar (When no names are given is because I have not found in the British books who were the Task Force pilots involved). Then the radar told Diaz to return to the continent. There was a solid layer of clouds with some gaps here and there. At one moment he was told that he was flying close to a blip on the surface of the sea and was warned that he could be attacked by surface to air missiles. When flying over the islands again he was able to see Darwin and San Carlos sound thru the clouds. There was an air attack alarm again in Puerto Argentino and Diaz asked if he was required to give air protection but the risk of being shot down by his own side meant that he received a negative answer. Just then another pair of Harriers was detected 18 miles away and climbing fast towards him from the southeast. Diaz turned south, accelerated to 450 knots and kept his height (26,000 ft). He checked his instruments and with dismay realized he had fuel for no more than 5 minutes of combat. When only 8 miles away and 3,000 ft higher than the British CAP, the Harriers dove again rapidly until the Argentine radar lost them again. It must be remembered that the Daggers had no radar on board so they could only fight when visual was attained and the unreliable Shafrir could only be fired from straight behind the enemy’s jet exhaust (compared to the Sidewinder AIM-9L that had a much superior envelope and could be fired head on as could lock on the border of attack of the enemy’s wings as this area get hot due to the friction with the air – It takes skill and fast reactions but a lock of this kind could be achieved). Diaz strained his eyes trying to find the diving Harriers in order to attack them with his height advantage but could not see them. At that moment, he was reminded to return to his base as he was running low in fuel. In his mind he was thinking that the British were avoiding air combats…something that he later learnt was incorrect when Diaz and his two wingmen (ORO) were shot down on May 24th by a couple of Harriers on their way to attack the San Carlos landing area.

OF 1107 (FORTIN): This one was another CAP. In this case coordinated to give protection to 3 Daggers that were going to try to attack 3 British ships that were shelling Puerto Argentino (Stanley). Planes were C-403 flown by Capt. Donadille and C-421 flown by Lt. Jorge Senn. When on their way to the islands, Donadille decided to test their guns. Frustrated he found that his were not firing. So he was only left with his 2 Shafrir. He decided to continue regardless and they were stationed above Gran Malvina (West Falkland) at 30,000 ft. Turning in a circle in this area they were able to hear the communications of Capt. Garcia Cuerva and 1st Lt. Perona when dog fighting a CAP of Harriers and the last moments of Garcia Cuerva just before he was shot down by the own Argentine gunners (for more details see <>). Then they listened on their radios that the TORNOs had successfully engaged the 3 British ships and were returning undamaged. But at that point a British CAP started to chase the retreating Daggers. More details about this mission will be included in my article of one of the Daggers that took place in this mission (not assembled yet) but suffice to say that Lt. Aguirre Faget was unaware that a couple of Harriers were eating the distance between them and that we has going to be easily shot down. His radio could not receive and so he kept on flying at 25,000 ft on his return leg to his base. Therefore the FORTINes were sent to intercept the British CAP. Donadille ordered ejection of their external fuel tank, accelerated to 1.4 Mach and turned towards the 3 planes that were flying to the West. Senn was protecting his leader by flying 1 to 2 miles behind and swaying 15 to 25 degrees to one side. So we now had a Dagger, being chased by 2 Sea Harriers, being chased by two more Daggers. The Argentine interceptors were faster than the Sea Harriers and started to reduce the distance faster than the Harriers were getting close to Aguirre. But Donadille had no guns, his vision was somehow impaired by the sun (right in front of them – radial 320º), his plane had (like all Daggers) no air to air radar and to make matters worse, his Shaffrir kept on locking on the sun! Therefore he was really concerned that he was not going to be able to see the Harriers and he was going to overtake them, thus becoming the hunted. When the Harriers were a mere 3 miles behind Aguirre and now the Argentine CAP was 2 miles behind the British planes, the Harriers suddenly aborted the chase in a diving turn. There was never visual contact. British sources claim that they gave up the chase because their fuel was running low. It is my belief that the British air controller had alerted his pilots that they were in extreme danger (not knowing all the difficulties that the FORTINes were facing). Upon arriving to San Julian the 5 Dagger pilots embraced each other celebrating a successful mission with no losses.

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.

Two 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 Ward’s CAP read

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.

Follow up 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 CAP in the area. As a consequence, they turned back without attacking. On their way back to the continent, they crossed yet another section of Daggers (this one inbound) that was later attacked by a Sea Harrier CAP. Andy Auld and Martin Hale intercepted the Daggers flown by Major Martinez and Lt Hector Volponi. Auld fired two Sidewinders and Volponi’s plane exploded. The remains of the pilot and his plane fell in Pebble Island (Borbon). The CORAL heard the warning shouts from Volponi to his leader before he was hit. Without more incidents, the CORAL landed back in San Julian with their armament.

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 (PUMA) ordered an attack to a concentration of helicopters and troops 40 km West of Puerto Argentino (Stanley). They were to drop the bombs and then attack again with priority to helicopters and then troops. Capt Dellepiane flew C-421 this time with his wingmen being 1st Lt Callejo in C-420 and Capt. Dimeglio in C-416. When getting close San Carlos waters, they were intercepted by a British CAP and had to return to base. They had dropped their external loads but C-421 had a tank partially hanging from the left station. The emergency ground crew was alerted. When the plane touched down, the tank fell free and caught fire but there were no consequences to the plane or pilot. An impact of a bullet or shrapnel was found upon inspection of the station.

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.

June 8th 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 CAP away from the attack area…and saving Hector Sanchez’s life as Ward admits.

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).

Last 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 HAS2 from HMS Cardiff who was returning from a surface search mission. The Lynx pilot (Lt Clayton) heard a loud noise and thought that the engine was not running well but the instruments told him that that was not the case. The noise had been Dimeglio’s Dagger firing his guns and passing really close to the chopper after an attack. A few instants later Roman flashed by after also missing with his guns. Dimeglio was seen curving to return and attack again so the highly maneuverable Lynx dove from 1,000 ft to the surface of the sea. Dimeglio made a head on pass but missed by 100 ft according to Clayton. Flying slowly and turning all the time Roman was seen starting an attack from one side. Another maneuver moved the helo out of the way. Finally, running out of fuel to return to their base, the Dagger pilots were forced to break their attacks.

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.

In 1988 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 SOC.


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.


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 1979 picture 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. NOW it was ready for the decals!

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.

Details included:

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!)

Thanks to:

·        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

Dedicated to:

The TORNOs (and in them all the other unsung and humble Halcones like Musso), who even in inferior technical conditions chased away a British CAP thus saving Aguirre Faget’s life.


·        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

Pablo Calceterra

March 2011

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