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F-5E Tiger

by Henry Juarez

F-5E Tiger


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This is Revell's 1/32 scale F-5E Tiger II with shark nose.



The kit is old and still retains the old style of raised panel lines. The detail is somewhat basic but manageable.





When I first took on this project, I knew that the kit would look better with engraved panel lines. However, the potentially arduous task of sanding off all the raised panel lines prompted some concerns, as I had never re-scribed an entire kit before.

After searching the web for line drawings of the aircraft, I began sanding the model with 320 grit sandpaper. Once the model was smooth, I began to draw the panel lines using a straight edge and masking tape as a guide. Then, taking a pin vise with a sewing needle, I began to carefully scribe into the kit, making light passes at first then using a little more authority as I went on. After the panels were scribed deep enough and wide enough, to my satisfaction, I sanded the model with 400 and subsequently 600 grit wet sandpaper.

I now focused my attention on the cockpit. The instrument panel is well done with nice raised detail, but I wanted to incorporate a photoetched look to the dials. I decided to sand the back of the instrument panel until the panel was nearly paper thin and the instrument dials began to wear away. Next, I measured the diameter of each dial by running the Waldron punch and die rods through them to get the right diameter for the instrument faces which were punched out individually. I traced a thin piece of plastic stock, .005, around the instrument panel for the backing. I placed this backing behind the instrument panel and painted the panel grey with the bezels black. Once this was done, I placed each dial face into panel.



The sidewalls were measured, traced and scratch built with .010 plastic stock. Various plastic rods, wires and stock were used to make the cockpit look busy.

The seat was replaced with a TAC Scale Dynamics resin seat, painted and weathered. Behind the pilot's seat is a deck with several avionics boxes. These were all removed and new ones added with plastic and wires. The aft starboard exhaust vents were removed and replaced with .005 strips of plastic.

Since I wanted to depict a Royal Saudi Air Force bird, I needed to attach a refueling probe to the starboard side. This was simply done by taking a brass rod and bending it to conform to the proper angles. The refueling receptacle was taken from a 1/32 scale Tornado.





The aircraft was painted using Model Masters enamel paints thinned with mineral spirits. The cockpit was painted Dark Gull Gray with Black instrument faces and consoles.

The aircraft upper surface was painted in Sand, Brown and Forest Green. The underside was painted in Dark Ghost Gray. Several shades of Metalizer Steel, Gunmetal and Engine Exhaust were used for the tail pipes.



Once the model was painted, several coats of Future was applied and allowed to dry for two days. A thin wash of flat black enamel was then applied over the panels lines and allowed to dry for several minutes. A damp soft cloth with mineral spirits was used to wipe off the excess.





The decals were from a 1/32 scale Tornado from TigerWings. However, when I attempted to apply the RSAF logo along the fuselage they disintegrated, rendering them useless after already having applied the roundels and national insignias on the wings and the fin.



Here's were I tried my hand at making my own decals on an ink jet printer. The results are less than I expected and left me disappointed. They were too translucent.





Overall, I enjoyed the challenge of re-scribing and scratch building. It gave me the confidence to try anything. I wish, with the advent of 1/32 scale kits on the rise, some manufacturer will take the time to consider an aftermarket resin cockpit set and photoetch set for this kit.

I'm planning on an Adversary /Aggressor scheme next. I hope by then someone has a nice resin set for it.

Article, Model and Images Copyright 2001 by Henry Juarez
Page Created 31 July, 2001
Last updated 04 June, 2007

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