F-5 "Freedom Fighters" in 1/72 scale : kit modelling report
... continued from F-5 page 3.....
F-5B FREEDOM FIGHTER TRAINER
(7) F-5B Simorgh IRAN
The next F-5B model was for a "Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force" (IRAN) F-5B "Simorgh". In the past over 120 F-5A /B aircraft were supplied during the Shah regime. Many former US supplied aircraft were refurbished during the arms embargo by the Iran Manufacturing Industries (HESA). The Simorgh is local conversion of a F-5A to a two seater F-5B. On the internet variations are seen of these aircraft: some have tip tanks with black anti-glare, others don't and there are more smaller differences. So pick a scheme and photo and complete the model as seen.
The AZTEC decalset 702050 shows
a nice scheme for an IRAN F-5B with coloured stripes in 2005.
When assembled the model got a base light grey coat with the airbrush to check for any flaws. I needed some putty at the intakes and front fuselage joints.
Next, a white coat was airbrushed,
I used Revell Aqua Weiss 04. No black anti-glare panels on the coke
bottle tanks are seen on my picked F-5B coded "3-7020".
I also added smaller stencils from
other F-5 decal sheets such as red circles on the tip tanks. Also the fuel
cap markings on the spine were added on the right side.
Next was landing gear installment and very similar to the single seat F-5A kit. I added some wiring for the hydraulics on the gear legs.
On the wing tip tanks, their tips
were painted red and blue. The anti-collision lights are situated on both
outher wing areas inside the wing tip. Both on top and below. These lights
were suggested with a tiny drop of red and blue paint. Also, the vertical
tail edges were painted red and green where there were no decal stripes.
The inside edges of the air brakes
parts #15, 16 need a bit trimming to fit either open or closed. On this
model they were set open. The gear bay interiors were painted aluminium.
At each inner bay door #13, 14 an actuator was added from metal rod as well as a few small antennas made from thin card; this varies a bit between individual F-5 Simorghs so check photos. On this model a tiny antenna was set at the spine aft of the rear canopy.
A little "dark wash" was applied in the recessed panels of flaps and inside the gear bays and gear legs. (a mix of diluted black acrylic paint and water). The model got a final varnish Johnson Future/Pledge coat airbrushed on to protect the decals and give an even sheen.
The canopies got some mirrors used an etched metal set. The canopies were installed as described on previous NF-5B kits. That completed the model.
[ area: 1,648,000 km2 | capital: Tehran | population: 84 million | GDP 7,000 USD per capita nominal ]
were used in Persia (now Iran) as early as 1925 with European aircraft
used in Imperial Persia. During the Shah regime, that was Western focussed,
the "Nirou Havai Shahanshaiye Iran" (Imperial Iranian Air Force) operated
many American aircraft. About 69 Republic F-84G Thunderjets were flown from
May 1957 until end 1965. In the 1960s F-86 Sabres, and in February 1965
the first Northrop F-5 aircraft were delivered to the IIAF. Eventually
104 F-5A and 23 F-5B were obtained and the "Golden Crown" aerobatic team
also flew the F-5. Other aircraft used in large numbers were the F-4 Phantom
and even some F-14 Tomcats in 1970s (their only foreign sale). From 1972
over 180 new modern F-5E and F-5F Tigers were delivered and the older F-5
aircraft were sold second hand (e.g. to Turkey, Jordan, South Vietnam,
Ethiopia, Greece). The Imperial armed forces were very large and modern
forming at that time a stable factor in the rural Middle East.
A nice Iran F-5B Simorgh model
is now in the
Air Forces collection...
(8) CF-5D Botswana
The next ESCI F-5B model made was for a "CF-116" Botswana Defense aircraft. This is an ex-agressor second hand CF-116 aircraft from Canada of which 13 were acquired in 1996 with 2 extra aircraft in 2000. It is called the CF-5A and CF-5D and sports spectacular "blue-ish" colours.
AZTEC decal set 72050 provides nice
decals. The Botswana national insignia is a blue bordered white triangle
with black inserted triangle.
acrylic colours airbrushed were:
(in this order)
Each colour needed masking as the
demarcations look rather "sharp". It requires a lot of masking for the
"wrap around" scheme with low tack tape and masking film such as from Revell.
Note that the fuselage end does not show a metal area, only the exhausts
are burned metal.
Decals are fine from the AZTEC set. I also added smaller stencils from other F-5 decal sheets such as black outlined circles on the tip tanks. Also the low visibility light strips were applied, these can be found on various F-5 decal sheets.
Each decal was "dragged" through a
Johnson Pledge varnish bath
The lower air brakes were mounted closed but a large central pylon was installed at the central fuselage station. Below the nose, a large antenna is seen; this was made from card. The undercarriage was installed and gear bay interiors were painted aluminium.
Some "wash" and was applied as described above for the other models.
The protecting varnish coat was airbrushed: a coat made a bit duller of a mix of Johnson Pledge/Future and 5% Tamiya X-21 "flat base" matting agent.
[area: 581,700 km2 | capital: Gaborone | population: 2,5 million | GDP 8,000 USD per capita nominal ]
Botswana (former Bechuana land) became independent in 1966. The Botswana Air wing was established as part of the Defence Force (BDF) in 1977. From 1988 B.A.C Strikemasters were operated. End 1990s and subsequent years saw the arrival of 13 + 5 second hand refurbished Canadair CF-116 aircraft (a F-5 version). The single seat CF-116A /CF-5A and trainer CF-116B / CF-5D became the main aircraft of the Air Wing. Transport aircraft are types like CASA C-212, CN-235, C-103 and also some Britten Norman Defenders. Some helicopters are also operated like the Bell 412. Training is done with some Pilatus PC-7 aircraft. Air bases are the main base Thebephatshwa/Molepolole and others are the capital Gaborone and Francistown.
(9) F-5B Libya
The next F-5B ESCI model was finished in a scheme of a Libya Air Force operated F-5B trainer around 1977.
Model assembly was as described above. The F-5 usually had a dull natural metal colour caused by the dry Libyan desert with burning sunshine. This was achieved by airbrushing an overall coat of Revell Aluminium #99 with some White #05 mixed in.
The nose anti-glare panel as well as
the inboard areas of wing tip tanks were, after masking, airbrushed matt
black. The vertical tail tip is light grey
and the fuselage rear and exhausts got a burned metal coat applied with
Carpena decal set 72.74 " F-5 International" was used and it has some basic markings for it. The decals are very brittle so take care when applying these.
I did not add a lot of stencilling,
these were hardly seen on photos of real Libyan F-5's.
In addition of the wing tip tanks, 2 pylons were positioned under the wing. I knew from previous models made that the pylons #36C and 96C of this kit are not in the correct position; fill the slots and move them 2 mm more outboard when installing pylons. On photos most aircraft were seen without "stores" so the pylons were kept clean. I added a few weapon pylon braces from thin metal wire.
The nose pitot is a bit of a challenge showing white-red striping. This was done with a very fine paint brush. Make 3 of these and pick the best one you painted!
Final completion with landing gears,
end coats and so on was similar as for the models described earlier. A
nice model is now in the World Modern Air Forces collection.
[ area: 1,700,000 km2 | capital: Tripoli and Tobrouk (separated east) | population: 7 million | GDP: unclear ]
The Royal Libyan
Air Force ("Al Quwwat Alijawwiya Al Libiyya") was established in 1962 with
a few aircraft like the T-33 and C-47 transports. The first of probably
8 F-5A fighters and 2 F-5B trainers arrived in 1967 and at the time there
was a U.S.A base at Wheelus (near Tripoli, later Okba Ben Nafi base). The
military coup of 1969 led to large changes and Colonel Gadaffi who became
in fact the single ruler over Libya now oriented towards the Soviet Block.
Aircraft acquired were types like the MiG-17, MiG-19, MiG-23, MiG-21 and even MiG-25.
Also Tu-22 medium range bombers were used. Libya was an important
oil supplier and relations with France led to the delivery of several Mirages
like the Mirage 5 and later Mirage F-1. Hundreds of combat aircraft were
operated. Relations with other countries were difficult as Gadaffi supported
various terrorist groups and an embargo was enforced by several countries.
It is thought that the F-5 were not used after the mid 1970s and 7 aircraft
were transferred to Turkey.
F-5B Libya Air Force "code 62-1279" based at Benghazi 1977
(10) F-5B Turkey
Another F-5B kit was made, now in the scheme of a Turkish air force aircraft. Turkey acquired several ex-US agressor aircraft. I saw a particular F-5B aircraft coded "5-408 / 01408 " that showed on the pylons and tip tanks some stores that were used from other camouflaged "Vietnam" style aircraft. Thus the tanks got "Vietnam" colours of Tan and Dark Green.
Carpena decal set 72.74 " F-5 International" was again used and it has some basic markings for it. These decals are very brittle so take care when applying these. I did not add a lot of stencilling, even the red warning markings near the cockpit are not seen on photos.
Kit assembly was similar as described above.
Acrylic colours used were:
For the underwing tanks, the 2 pylons #36C and 96C of this kit are not in the correct position; fill the slots and move them 2 mm more outboard when installing pylons and stores.
The protecting varnish coat was airbrushed: a coat made a bit duller of a mix of Johnson Pledge/Future and 5% Tamiya X-21 "flat base" matting agent. Canopies were set open using the method of the other F-5 models...
[area: 783,300 km2 | population: 83,6 million | capital: Ankara | GDP 7,500 USD nominal per capita ]
The Turk Hava
Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force) was established very early in 1911 in the
Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of the Second World War hundreds of aircraft
were operated and Turkey kept a neutral position but obtained a wide variety
of Allied British, French and American aircraft. After the Second World
War, NATO was established and Turkey became a member. From 1965 the Air
Force obtained a considerable fleet of Northrop F-5's: some 75 F-5A, 20
RF-5A and 13 F-5B supported through the USA in the NATO MAP. They mostly
replaced older F-100 Super Sabres.
In the early seventies, some additional second hand aircraft were obtained
from Libya. Later within NATO, from 1983 other second hand F-5 were received
(e.g 60 from The Netherlands, 32 from Norway). Ex Dutch air force aircraft
were used e.g at 133 Filo at Konya. The aerobatic team "Turkish Stars"
also flew the F-5A. Several upgrades have been done on the fleet during
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Created this page
January 31, 2017; update end 2020