Northrop F-5E Tiger in 1/72 scale
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F-5 "Tigers"  in 1/72 scale : kit modelling report  
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(11)  F-5EM  Brasil
Many years ago I purchased the Italeri kit #136 F-5E Tiger II. It looks good in shape and dimensions.

The kit has raised panel lines but under a camouflage paint they look still good. (more photos below for the similar newer release). The cockpit has a nice seat but the stick #4 is shown incorrectly and reversed in the instructions. 

The canopy, when set open, is a bit simplified with an angled part #12 to set it open. (see notes below how to improve this) 

The rear bulkhead behind the seat is better opened up so this was done with a razor saw and knife.

The intakes #10 and #11 are a bit undeep, opening up the holes on the fuselage side fairings can be done, but I painted the area black at the rear. Sometimes antennas can be added: often an antenna panel sits atop of the vertical tail on real F-5E's, and an antenna on the spine. Also a probe on the lower nose side is missing. ECM fairings on nose and rear fuselage are also in the kit but not always installed. So check photos for the model you want. The lower speed brakes can be set open and drooped down, add a few actuators in that case. 

The exhausts #31 are a bit undeep, if desired they can be opened up an deepened with some scrap parts. 

The kit has appeared in various boxes with only new decals. The mould was also used for a F-5E/N kit with a modified nose, see below....

This kit will be made as a Brazillian F-5EM using decals from the HobbyBoss kit #80207 (see page 6..). The scheme for the Brazil aircraft of No.1 Grupo based at Sta.Cruz is shown here...

Interesting... on June 3, 1982 during the Falklands War 2 F-5E fighters from the 2° Esquadrão do 1 Grupo de Aviação de Caça scrambled from Santa Cruz Airfield to intercept the RAF Vulcan "XM597". This Vulcan had, after its "Black Buck 6" strike mission near Stanley at the occupied Falklands, to divert to Rio de Janeiro in Brasil after its in-flight refuelling probe broke. 

The Italeri kit was assembled as per instructions but with some smaller changes as described above. The cockpit as also already detailed. 

This Brazillian F-5EM aircraft has a dorsal fin/ fillet and a tank boom. 

The dorsal fillet was now to be added. The lower corner was sanded flat and a fillet made from thin card and with some white glue faired in. 

The tank boom came from an ESCI F-5A of the "Soshi tiger" kit #9038 (to be built later). The model does not require the ECM parts (#37 and 38). 

The acrylic colours applied free hand with just a little masking with the airbrush were:
First FS36622 using approx Gunze Sangyo 311 for the lower surfaces;
followed after masking by....
- green FS34079 using Gunze Sangyo 309;
- tan FS30219 using Gunze Sangyo 310;
- green FS34102 using Gunze Sangyo 303;

The exhaust area was also airbrushed after masking in aluminium but the exhaust pipes got a bit darker paint. 

Decals were applied on the model with a gloss undercoat with my usual technique. These decals are very thin and no Brazil national markings are seen on the lower wing surfaces. 
The F-5E canopy is good but has no detail inside and this is missing when set open. In the kit is a rather crude small part #12 to install it open. First I added a piece of card in the rear section of the canopy. 


On the kit seat, two small rods were set in place. This will suggest the mechanism. 

Inside the front canopy frame I added 2 tiny mirrors from etched metal. These came from a REHEAT mirrorset. The insides of frames were painted medium grey.
The canopy can be set open when fixed with tiny drops of superglue.

The F-5E end finishing was also to replace the nose pitot with a bit of a metal needle and adding a few hydraulic lines from thin wire to the undercarriage gear legs. On the arrestor hook part black stripes were painted. 
As this aircraft has a tank probe of starboard side, the rather standard angle of attack vane/indicator below the windscreen on starboard (right) side is not seen. So do not install kit part #49. 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. 

A large UHF antenna on the fuselage spine is often seen on Brazilean F-5E's with also a tiny black antenna in front of that and aft of the canopy; these were made from card and rod.

After all dried, a semi-matt dull coat was applied with Johnson Future/ Pledge with 5% Tamiya flat base mixed in. This gives an even sheen and looks good as well as protecting the decals for years to come. 

Finally, the canopy was installed after it got 2 mirrors. 

[area:  8,515,767 km2 | population: 212 million | capital: Brasilia | GDP USD 7,000 nominal per capita ]

The Brazilian air force ("Forca Aerea Brasileira") FAB was established in 1941 but the Military aviation started much earlier in 1915 with French biplanes and Saulniers. During the Second World War a Brazilian unit was fighting in Italy as part of the Allied forces. Also, some German U-botes were sunk off the Brazilian coast. After the Second World War, the first jets were the British Gloster Meteors and later US supplied jets like the Lockheed F-80 and T-33. Also, in the fifties Fokker S-11 trainer aircraft were ordered and manufactured under local license. In 1961 there came a democratic but left government and in 1964 there was a military coup.   
From 1967 Brazil was allowed to buy Northrop F-5 fighters but in stead Mirage 5 aircraft were purchased and further developed into the Mirage F-103 as well as quite some Aermacchi MB-326's. In 1974 again a deal was made and Brazil became the first customer for the newer generation Tiger: some 26 F-5E with the dorsal antenna but also some 6 older F-5B to be used as trainers. 
Locally an new aircraft company started known as EMBRAER and manufactured the Brazilian version of the MB-326, the Xavante. 

In 1988-1989 additional refurbished ex-USAF 17 F-5E and 3 F-5F were acquired under the "Peace Amazon II" program. Most were operated from Sta. Cruz. Meanwhile EMBRAER also developed types like the Tucano advanced trainer, AMX attack aircraft and smaller transport aircraft (including civilian types like Bandeirante, Xingu and Brasilia).
During the years the F-5E aircraft have been modernized such as with refuelling boom and avionics and systems. From 2001 Elbit and EMBRAER got a contract to upgrade some 46 F-5E and F-5F aircraft with also a larger nose cone for the radar and other systems like HOTAS, LCD screens and much more. They are designated F-5EM and F-5FM. In 2009 some 3 ex-Jordanian F-5F aircraft were acquired and these were also modernized.
A dozen Mirage 2000 fighters were purchased as well second hand from France and in service from 2006-2013. 
Some 34 Saab Gripens E/F "new generation" fighters designated F-39E were ordered with first test acceptance April 2022 with some 2 extra jets ordered. An important transport aircraft being put into service are about 22 EMBRAER KC-390. Currently Brazil has the largest air force on the South American continent. 


F-5EM of Grupo de Casa 1/1, Sta. Cruz (year 1985). This is still seen as to the original standard as delivered. Seen here at a base in Natal, North Brasil 

(12)  F-5E  Switzerland

The kit of Italeri has also been released as a F-5E/N as kit #1363. The F-5N is a version with improved avionics and systems of the F-5E but externally very similar. This kit has been released in a number of different boxes like #1333 for a Patrouille de Swiss F-5E. 

A modification has been made on the kit parts for the fuselage nose: the kit got moulded in the shark like wider nose of later Tigers. This is seen below in the photo with the "protecting" ring sprue around the shark nose.

The "bombs" are not in the sprues anymore, but all other parts are the same. So the same comments as on the Italeri kit listed above apply....

The kit decals are very very nice, with :
(1) a Swiss F-5E of Fliegerstaffel 19 at Meiringen with a nice swan on the tail. 
(2) F-5N of Austria Staffel 2.
(3) F-5N of US NAVY VFC-13 "Saints" based at Fallon NAS Nevada in 2012.


The kit was simply made mostly out of the box but only adding some details. The ECM fairing parts in the kit on nose #37 and tail #38 were applicable for the Swiss machine so fitted. 

The lower and upper fuselages sides need some putty and sanding at the mating surfaces. Panel lines are than lost, so can be rescribed here. The cockpit got extra detail with a scrap canopy hinge mechanism. 

I opted to use the very nice Swiss decals in the kit with the "Swan on the tail". That was the reason I bought it kit, a very good price to model proposition. 

After assembly a base grey coat (using Revell Aqua 75 "steingrau" acrylic) was applied and showed some extra sanding was needed at the nose sides. 
After that the Swiss colour of the grey camouflage pattern was applied as follows:
- First overall FS36375 using Gunze Sangyo H308 acrylic paint;
- Grey patches FS36320 using Gunze Sangyo H307, using a loose piece of carton with a hole cut into it for masking while airbrushing ;

The nose got a slightly darker grey colour and the rear fuselage areas an aluminium rear end. 

The decals were applied over a gloss varnish undersurface and the kit decals are VERY nice! The walkways were also added. The tail looks great! The edges were painted blue. 

Most Swiss F-5E aircraft are seen without pylons, so the model was kept "clean" with no pylons. But a single Sidewinder was added to the right wing tip launch rail. The Sidewinder AIM-9L/M was obtained from a Hasegawa Weapon set III as the kit part is inaccurate and also looks more an AIM-9J. 

The standard angle of attack vane/indicator below the windscreen on starboard (right) side was installed using kit part #49. Also a small sensing probe was added on the port lower side next to the nose gear bay made from a metal piece of rod. 

The canopy was to be set open. I used the same method for detailling as described above...

The gun barrels were made from bits of metal needle as well as the nose pitot. 
Final finish was a semi-dull varnish coat applied with the Harder Steenbeck airbrush as described above..


[area: 41,285 km2 | population: 8,6 million | capital: Bern | GDP USD 87,000 per capita nominal ] 

The Swiss air force was established in 1914 as part of the army and has used quite a few different types despite the neutral position of Switzerland. In 1936 it became an independent air force. During the Second World War it stayed neutral. Any foreign aircraft that violated the air space was engaged and some shot down including German Luftwaffe aircraft. Many foreign aircraft either were forced to land or due to various reasons landed and some 245 aircraft of various types including USAAF B-17 bombers were interned. After the end of the war several of these were returned and some paid for and put into service such as 4 Me-109, 2 Mosquitos and several utility aircraft and trainers. During the Cold War, the air force acquired only "second hand" aircraft like the Vampire, Venom and some Hawker Hunters. A local fighter aircraft as the FFA P-16 was build but never ordered. A few Mirage III fighters were purchased but with large budget overruns. In the seventies a modernization took place. Northrop F-5E Tigers under the "Peace Alps" program were acquired. In 1978, the first of 13 F-5E and 6 F-5F arrived manufactured at Northrop but Swiss FFA license made the remaining aircraft. The Swiss air force eventually operated some 98 F-5E and 12 F-5F aircraft. The F-5 Tigers flew from Dubendorf and Payerne, often flown by reservists pilots. The older Vampires did not retire until 1990, long being obsolete and the last Swiss Hawker Hunter flew in 1994. Twenty BAe Hawks were purchased and operated between 1999 - 2002. Local bases often situated in mountains in war time are also available. In the nineties, 34 Northrop/Boeing F/A-18C/D aircraft were ordered and made under license. The F-5E still serves as fighter while the F/A-18C acts as multirole fighter aircraft. To replace the fighter fleet it was decided Summer 2021 that some 36 F-35A's will be purchased. 





Here it is well seen that the "platipus shaped" nose. 




In a landscape at Meiringen base, with a tunnel entrance to a mountain shelter. 

A nice model of the Swiss F-5E Tiger II of Fliegerstaffel 19


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Created this page June 15, 2016