Sunday, August 18, 2019

20mm Mirage III first jet in my modern air force

A 3-D printed 20mm scale Dassault Mirage III, painted in South African Air Force colors
The next step in my Wars of Insurgency modern skirmish rules is to create mechanisms for close air support. I am pretty happy with the helicopter rules I've playtested at conventions the last couple of years. Now, it is on to fixed-wing aircraft!

The problem with that is where to get them from in 20mm or 1/72 scale (which is close)? My first choice would have been die cast metal ones. That is, until I saw the prices not only for the planes but also the shipping ($10 on Amazon). Even though I won't need many for my battlefield, paying $30 a crack was too much in my book. Kits were available, and cheaper, yes. However, my days of assembling 50-piece model kits where you glue antennas and miscellaneous tiny fins on a model are long since past. So, what about 3-D printed ones?
This Mirage III will appear in playtests of my close-air support mechanisms for my Wars of Insurgency rules
I searched on Thingiverse, and found four that were used by the air forces of South Africa or Rhodesia. None were in the right scale, but I had been told they are relatively easy to "scale up." So, I contacted my go-to, 3-D printer guy, Joe. He said no problem, and within a week I had a Mirage III, Blackburn Buccaneer, Hawker Hunter, and propeller-driven Lynx.
Top down view of the model - you can see some of the 3-D printer pattern on the wings that I tried to sand off
I painted up the Mirage first because it was one of the smaller models (you should see how huge a Buccaneer is in 20mm scale!). After sanding the models down to make the surfaces look smoother, I spray-painted it Krylon black acrylic. I followed that up with a 50/50 mixture of black paint and water, to seep into the smallest cracks. Then I did two coats of each base color -- the leathery, khaki
color first, then the green second. I then highlighted each color in a lighter and more watered down version of each color. Details were hand-painted on -- no decals (as you can probably tell...ha, ha!). I particular like how the canopy came out. Very understated. I simply put three different colors of blue on the upper portions of the canopy, on top of the solid black color.

I am pretty happy with how this 3-D printed model turned out, and it was MUCH cheaper than either the die cast or kids. Next up, the Buccaneer!


  1. Looks great ,he should offer his service to gamers,,,

  2. Very nice, look forward to seeing it in a game.