F-5 "Tigers" in 1/72 scale : kit modelling report
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Another later F-5E kit #80207 in 1/72 scale was released by HobbyBoss in 2011. It has about 80 parts.
The HobbyBoss parts look good with engraved panellines though a bit deep. Exhausts are undeep as are the intakes. The antennas are a bit thick and better replaced, sometimes also these antennas vary between air forces. Same is the tank boom, the shape may differ between air forces so check reference photos.
The cockpit itself looks good though
a rear bulkhead is needed. The canopy hinge mechanism is too simple.
The kit has a
serious shortcoming: the kit's windshield is about
30% TOO SHORT in length; below this is seen as compared to the
other F-5 kits. Fortunately I had a spare canopy of old old ESCI
F-5A kit in the spares box so that was used in stead of the HobbyBoss
The HobbyBoss kit decals look nice
and are for
This kit has the standard pointy nose. So with some card a putty a rounded "shark" nose was crafted onto the model. (TIP: you could also use the kit / nose from an Italeri F-5E/N kit).
The longer extended LEX strakes for this Mexican version were also made with plastic card and blended in (not yet seen here).
The Mexican F-5E colours are quoted
as FS34079 dark green, FS34102 medium green, dark tan FS30279 in a wrap
around scheme and radome green. I choose these acryllic paints:
Finishing with the fine AZTEC decals
gave no problems after the kit had a few gloss varnish coats to
Final finish was a semi-dull varnish coat applied with the Harder Steenbeck airbrush as described here....
Other details were as for the kits described previously. The kit seat got a few extra details like seat straps made from tape an harnass buckles from Xtratech. The vertical tail shows a small light grey leading edge at the tip, this was brush painted.
For added detail, inside the canopy
2 tiny mirrors were added as well. Also, the canopy
has a vent/slot in the hood at port (left) side; I did not try to cut in
the slot in the clear brittle canopy but suggested it with paint (not seen
here yet...). I took the trouble of added thin white sealing often seen
alond the canopy edges from very "off white" thin decal.
The arrestor hook was painted white
with black stripes added. Note also the aluminium painted gear bays.
The rather standard angle of attack vane/indicator was not seen below the windscreen on starboard (right) side. But a small sensing probe was added on the port lower side next to the nose gear bay made from a metal piece of rod.
Not often missiles were seen installed but a large central wing fuel tank. This is not in the kit so the model was kept "clean'".
The Mexican Air Force "Fuerza Aerea Mexicana" (FAM) was established with the armed forces at the beginning of aviation in 1913. A few British aircraft like from Avro were used. An Mexican unit with P-47 fought in the Pacific during the Second World War along with the Americans. After the war and the new emerging Cold War jet aircraft were Vampires and T-33's. With nearby Cuba, always American influence was obvious in the armed forces. Later saw the arrival of at least later generation Tigers: 10 F-5E's and 2 F-5F's from 1982, so a supersonic fighter was now operational. The main air force unit was based with no.401 escuadron at Santa Lucia. Because of the emerging guerilla conflicts in southern Mexico and its borders, the large internal drug conflicts and trafficing many helicopters and types like an airborne surveillance E-2 Haweye are also used. In 2012 the F-5E fighter jets had their 30th anniversary in Mexican Air Force service and the type is still the primary fighter aircraft with Pilatus PC-7 and PC-9 for light attack.
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Created this page
August 11, 2016
Updated Jan 31, 2017