Northrop F-5E/F Tiger in 1/72 scale
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F-5 "Tigers"  in 1/72 scale : kit modelling report  
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(16)  F-5F Kenya

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Italeri kit #1382 of the F-5E Tiger II was made in a Kenya Air Force scheme. The kit #1382 has obviously a longer fuselage as the F-5E. Many other parts are common with the F-5E kit. This kit #136 released in 2016 is a rebox from a earlier kit from 1982 but with much better and other decals. 

This release of kit has decals for:
(1) Swiss F-5F of Fliegerstaffel 15 at Sion AFB (in 2014 - 2015) in a grey scheme and several aircraft numbers are provided to choose from ;
(2) US Navy agressor VMFT-401 Snipers, MCAS Yuma, Arizona (2011) ;
(3) US Navy agressor F-5F of VFC-13 Saints at NAS Fallon, Nevada (2011) ;
(4) US Navy agressor VFC-111 Sun Downers, NAS Key West, Florida (2015) ;
Decals in this Italeri kit are now much better than in previous releases.

But I will make a Kenya Air Force F-5F using Carpena 72.72 decals sheet

The kit assembly is simple. But first I removed a portion of the lower fuselage part #9 at the intakes to get a clear large intake hole.

The wing has the longer style LERX moulded in. So check the F-5F version you want to make, you may need to remove a bit a plastic here for aircraft without LERX. 
Sometimes the wing leading slats are seen drooped down. In that case make small cuts and bend these down. I did this on my model. The wing fences #39 should than be cut in 2. These fences are a bit thick, I replaced them with thinner card. 

In addition, F-5F also may or may not have the dorsal fin and sometimes also a flat antenna on top of the vertical tail. 

The long fuel tanks supplied in the kit look "too thin". I did not use them. 

Assembly of main components goes fast. A little filler and sanding was needed at the tail fin leading edge and again the longer nose section lower - upper joints. 

The model got a base light grey coat airbrushed on to check for any irregularities.

The Kenya F-5F camouflage colours were airbrushed as:
- first FS36622 lower surfaces using Gunze Sangyo H311 ;
- FS34079 Dark Green using Gunze Sangyo H309 ;
- FS36320 Dark Ghost Grey using Gunze Sangyo H307.

I airbrushed a bit vaguer demarcations between the colours with a hand held mask. The surfaces are a bit glossy so OK to get the few decals applied. 

The Carpena decals are very brittle, take care when applying them. There are only a few decals.
I also used some stencils from other spare decal sets. 

The installment of landing gear and doors was done as per instructions. When setting the lower airbrakes open, add a few actuators from scrap. Also, the inside doors got each an actuator/rod.

The F-5F is also sometimes seen with "extended" nose gear leg! Also used on Kenya aircraft. This was used in take-off mode to get a bigger angle-of-attack that helps lifting off on take-off. The nose gear part in the kit is OK for normal taxiing and parking. I made the "fork" part #20 a bit thinner.

The two F-5F canopies are good but detail inside is a bit crude. I set them open but detailled and installed particularly adapted the rear attachment hinge a bit as described on the previous F-5E models....
Each canopy also got 2 tiny mirrors from etched metal. 

The F-5F 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. 

Sometimes one or two canon barrels are seen on the F-5F. I installed 2 but made these from a bit of metal needle. 

The rather 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 arrestor hook part #32 got 5 black stripes added. On the spine a large antenna was added cut from card and painted.

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. 

The two canopies were set in place and that completed the model.  


[area: 580,367 | population: 55 million | capital: Nairobi | GDP USD 2,200 per capita nominal ]

The Kenya was a British protectorate in the 1900s and later a Crown colony. After the Second World war the time of "colonial rule" was mostly over. Many countries set course to independence.  

In 1963 Kenya became independent with in fact a single party government. Military aid was obtained from the West with British and American aircraft supplied to the Kenya Air Force in 1964. Aircraft types like De Havilland Beavers, Hawker Hunters were flown end 1960 and early 1970s. Other aircraft were BAC Strikemasters from 1971 (these were sold in 1993 to Botswana). In 1980 some 8 Hawks were delivered. There were border conflicts with Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia. In 1978 10 Northrop F-5E and 2 F-5F Tigers were supplied operating from Laikipia (Nanyuki) in the fighter role. Later on additional aircraft were acquired, such as from Jordan some 13 F-5E and no less than 23 F-5F's. They were upgraded to F-5EM standard. Most aircraft are still operational and the air force also has a few transport aircraft like the Dash 8, Buffalo and Harbin Y-12. Trainer aircraft are Bulldogs, Tucano's and several helicopters are also used of both Western and Soviet origin. 

in the bright sun....

A nice F-5F in the World Air Forces collection...

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November 10, 2017