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F-5F Tiger II

by David W. Aungst


F-5F Tiger II





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:

  • The Monogram kit is of an Air Force F-5F. When the Navy got a hold of the aircraft, they modified them for better ACM performance. I made the same changes to the kit. These include: 

    • Reshaping the nose cone into a "shark's nose". 

    • Removing the radar scopes from the main instrument panels (Naval F-5's do not carry radar). 

    • I should have also enlarged the leading edge extensions on the wings, but I learned of this modification too late to incorporate them into the kit. 

  • I drilled-out the left nose cannon barrel. 

  • On F-5F's, the right nose "cannon barrel" is actually an avionics intake. I replaced the gun barrel provided in the kit with a small diameter plastic tube and faired this into the nose without leaving a gap. 

  • I added the angle-of-attack vane on the right side of the nose using the etchings provided in the Monogram "high-tech" release of the F-5E. 

  • I blocked the engine intakes so you could not see through the model. 

  • I added afterburner interiors to the engine exhausts using plastic tube and the etchings provided in the Monogram "high-tech" release of the F-5E. I added anti-sway braces to the centerline weapons pylon. 

  • I replaced the fins on the centerline fuel tank with .015" sheet styrene. This is still too thick, I know, but any thinner just looked as wrong as the two foot thick fins that come in the kit. 



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.



Additional Images and Project Summary


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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

19 January, 1994

Total Building Time:








Decals / Markings:


Extra Detailing / Conversion:



Models, Description and Images Copyright 1999 by David Aungst
Page Created 17 December, 1999
Last Updated 26 July, 2007

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