F-5F Tiger II
by David W. Aungst
Top Gun is famous for creating some distinctive camouflages representing enemy aircraft paint schemes, but every so often they do something just because it looks good. This Tiger II is an example of the "looks good" practice. I always liked this camouflage scheme, but lacked the ambition to attempt the positive / negative markings. Finally, my desire to have the model sitting on my shelves overruled my fears and I dived in. The markings proved to be easier than I had always thought they would be.
Before I could paint, though, I needed to build. The Monogram 1/48 scale F-5F kit is not bad by the standards of its day, but it does need some help. I did not do anything extraordinary, just some basic improvements to the kit. The modifications I made to the kit were as follows:
For paints, I used all Testors Model Master enamels. The camouflage is made up of Dark Ghost Gray (F.S.36320) and Dark Green (F.S.34079). Before painting the camouflage, though, I determined all the locations of the markings where I was going to do positive / negative masking and painted those areas in the colors that the markings were supposed to be. Then I masked off the markings and painted the actual camouflage. I used rub down transfers to mask the lettering and Scotch brand Magic Transparent tape for all the other markings. The national insignia were the hardest to do. When I unmasked everything, the results were what you see in the pictures. This is a simplistic description, but it conveys the idea of how I did it.
SuperScale made the decals for this aircraft on sheet #48-317, sort of. The problem is that they also have about eight other aggressor aircraft on the same sheet. With that many aircraft on one sheet, needless to say, only the very basic unit markings were provided. I supplemented the SuperScale sheet with scrap decals for the data markings, in addition to the masked and painted markings.
I used a combination of thinned down enamel paint washes and airbrush shading to weather the airframe. A final dry brushing of silver to pop out the surface details completed the weathering.
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