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  AI Mirage III/5/50
  by Michael Pearson

  (Previewed October 2012)

Michael Pearson is well know to visitors of this website and FS Mirage enthusiasts for his many, many repaints of the Mirage III, Mirage F1, and Mirage 2000 over the years.  Last year Michael reworked some features the AI Mirage F1 of Nick Black before repainting it in several operators' schemes.  In the process he rekindled an interest in modeling and has recently restarted a project to make an AI version of the Mirage III and Mirage 5.  I've been answering research questions from Mike and asked him a few questions about the project which I'll share here.  You can also follow progress at the MAIW forum.
Q:  What got you interested in doing a series of Mirage III/5 aircraft?  You said something about starting this a year or so ago.

A:  I always held that if I could get up to speed with modeling, I wanted to do "my" era of FS, the 1970s-1990s.  The aircraft I have done so far have been very specific aircraft seen in Cold War-era Europe; and many places abroad.  My criteria for what aircraft I model are based upon their prevalence in aviation; and the "paint-ability" of them; in other words, how many squadrons or export countries used them.  Since I was a painter first (for the last 13 years), I am careful to model my aircraft to be very painter-friendly.  To this date, I have done one British aircraft (BAC Lightning) and one Russian aircraft (MiG-21 Fishbed) as original-design projects, plus I have an upcoming Vought F-8 Crusader in the final beta stage.  Therefore, the Mirage III/5 project is a natural continuation of that philosophy and agenda.  With regard to starting this a year ago, it was just a reference to the seven years of modeling failures I have had before I figured it out.

  Early work in progress rendering of Mirage IIIC AI model wearing desert camouflage and markings applied EC 3/10 "Vexin" while stationed in Djibouti.

Q:  What models do you intend to make?  All or specific (and if the latter, which)?

A:  For this project, very easy to explain…  Mirage III/5/50, everything I can find record of.  With regard to that, I am not worried about every little one-off variation that may have occurred at the local level, but I will try to represent every major variation as manufactured/upgraded/converted from the original Mirage III airframe.  That, of course, includes Nesher, Dagger, Cheetah, and Pantera.

  IAI Nesher AI model rendering wearing Israel Air Force tactical camouflage with visual ID triangles and unit markings for 144 "Phoenix" Squadron.

Q:  What nations to you plan to paint?  All or specific?

A:  Same as the last question.  I do not intend to do specialty liveries, nor will I intentionally paint every variant used by every country; but I will strive to ensure that every country that operated these aircraft is represented in paint at least once.  I guarantee that there will be opportunities for repainters.

  Mirage IIIC AI model rendering wearing Air Defense Blue scheme applied to some Mirage IIIC units near the end of their operational careers.

Q:  Will they be released in groups (how grouped -- nations, model) or in one big package.

A:  With multi-variant/multi-loadout models and many paints, obviously these will be released in parts.  As a comparison, my Lightning package was released in four parts, and my MiG-21 was released in eight parts (including foreign builds).  I will estimate the Mirage package to be five or six parts, but that is not a firm number at this time.  The grouping will be around models, rather than nations.

  Mirage 5F AI model rendering in Armée de l'Air tactical camouflage and unit markings for EC 2/13 "Alpes".

Q:  What features will they have -- animated parts: moving gear, opening canopies, various tanks and weapons?  Designed to be statics, AI, or full on models?

A:  For the foreseeable future, I will be only doing AI models for public release.  I am just getting a rhythm for modeling (in my opinion), and want to learn how to do some more things with FSDS first, before I get so bold as to do a full-feature model.  I have done one static model for MAIW for an upcoming project, but I want to concentrate on things that actually move around in the sim, for now.

All of my models come with the following default or XML-coded animations:

  • Retractable landing gear, compressing struts, rotating wheels, drogue chutes where appropriate.
  • Navigation lights, taxi/landing lights, smoke, and afterburner effects where appropriate.
  • Spoilers, speedbrakes, air inlet/bleed air doors where appropriate
  • Canopy raise/lower, pilots which appear/disappear with engine start/shutdown; on two-seaters,
        canopies and pilots move asynchronously where appropriate.
  • Selected ground service equipment, to include boarding ladders and warning flags/covers; which
        appear/disappear with engine startup/shutdown.
  •   Early work in progress rendering of RAAF Mirage IIIO AI modelwearing the three-tone camouflage scheme applied during the 1970's and partial unit markings of 77 Sqn.

    Q:  Intended for FS9 or FSX?

    A:  If you email me privately, I will tell you what I think of FSX (other than visually stunning).  Beyond that, I will make all models, now and forever, primarily compatible with FS9.

    A few work in progress preview images of the models, loadouts, and schemes.
    Click for larger view.




    A few completed package images of the models, loadouts, and schemes.
    Click for larger view.




















    All images by Michael Pearson.
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