1/48 (or 1/50 ??) Fujimi F-5A

by Yiannis Ladopoulos

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  Hellenic Air Force Day  -  Nov 8  2004 

 

F-5 in the Greek (Hellenic) Air Force - Painting schemes:

The F-5 has been serving many countries for the last decades. The Greek Air Force used to fly the F-5A, RF-5A and F-5B that are now out of service. Since some of the aircraft were repainted various times and some of them were taken second-hand from the Netherlands and from Jordan, the paint schemes on the Greek F-5s vary. In the 60's the aircraft seem to have the aluminium/bare metal look. In 1974 Greece received the Mirage F1CG with aegean blue scheme which was later adopted by the F-4E Phantoms (original scheme: Vietnam tan-green-green) and the F-5A. In 1989 Greece receives the F-16C/D with a very attractive ghost scheme which was again adopted by the F-4E Phantoms and the F-5A (and on some of the F-5B). Other paint schemes include the Vietnam scheme, a neutral gray scheme for the aircraft from Netherlands and middle-east scheme for the aircraft from Jordan (tan-brown-green, my favorite one...) Check also the picture with instances of the real planes.The Greek Air Force used to fly the F-5A, RF-5A and F-5B that are now out of service. Since some of the aircraft were repainted various times and some of them were taken second-hand from the Netherlands and from Jordan, the paint schemes on the Greek F-5s vary. In the 60's the aircraft seem to have the aluminium/bare metal look. In 1974 Greece received the Mirage F1CG with aegean blue scheme which was later adopted by the F-4E Phantoms (original scheme: Vietnam tan-green-green) and the F-5A. In 1989 Greece receives the F-16C/D with a very attractive ghost scheme which was again adopted by the F-4E Phantoms and the F-5A (and on some of the F-5B). Other paint schemes include the Vietnam scheme, a neutral gray scheme for the aircraft from Netherlands and middle-east scheme for the aircraft from Jordan (tan-brown-green, my favorite one...) Check also the picture with instances of the real planes.

About the model:

Fujimi's 1/48 F-5A kit is actually an old one and contains all these things that will disappoint a middle-level modeller who wants to built a good miniature of the real aircraft. Thick raised panel lines, poor (or actually non-existent) cockpit interior, thick wheel doors and the list goes on... But most of all, it is not actually a 1/48th but a 1/50th model so it will look smaller than it should in your collection of 1/48 jets. By the way, the best kit for the F-5A (and also F-5B, RF-5A)  has been made by Esci, but it is in 1/72 scale and unfortunately very hard to find nowadays... non-existent) cockpit interior, thick wheel doors and the list goes on... But most of all, it is not actually a 1/48th but a 1/50th model so it will look smaller than it should in your collection of 1/48 jets. By the way, the best kit for the F-5A (and also F-5B, RF-5A)  has been made by Esci, but it is in 1/72 scale and unfortunately very hard to find nowadays...

My model "wears" the aegean blue scheme that gives the opportunity to play with different tones of the maincolor in order to accomplish the look of an "aged" and used aircraft.

Click on images below to see larger images

Cockpit: 

The kit contains something like a chair with a pilot that they were not even worth keeping in the spares box. Everything was built from absolute scratch, including the seat and the decal for the instrument panel that was printed with a dot-matrix printer on clear decal.

Canopy: 

The strange mechanism of the canopy was also built from scratch. It was not so easy to do but the open canopy shows all the relative work.

Air brakes: 

Made from scratch, they gave some short of interest at the bottom of the plane. The Esci 1/72 model gives the air brakes in full detail so it was used as a guide for building the same detail on the Fujimi model.

Weapons: 

The model was decided not to carry any external weapons so that the attention of the viewer is kept on the aircraft itself. An external tank was most of the times carried by the Greek F-5s (as well as two sidewinders in case of interception missions). The "coca-cola" type wingtip tanks where usually carried by the F-5B. They look nice on the plane, but they were not loaded on the real plane that I wanted to build in scale...

Gun: 

A small project itself, built also from scratch on the one side of the aircraft. I decided not to put any opened panels, as they would change the nice outfit of the whole aircraft. On the other side of the aircraft I opened the bay containing some of the peripheral systems of the plane.

Click on images below to see larger images

Flaps / slats: 

They were cut and put in lowered position. Also the rudder was put in a different position than the regular neutral one.

Painting: 

Since the model has no detailed panels, I decided to use the sand paper all over the fuselage. Some panels that are very easy to see even from a distance where marked with a pen. Dry brushing with a lighter tone of the main blue color gave the appropriate effect of an old plane. The whole model is brush-painted with Humbrol 144 (top) and Humbrol Aluminium (bottom). Markings came from spare decals.

Conclusion: 

This old Fujimi kit can be a real challenge for a middle-level modeller like me but gives the opportunity to add as much original work as you like, in order to come up with a nice result that can be shown next to today's expensive detailed kits... A lot of patience and... putty is a must but the outcome is worth the effort.

Any comments about my model are appreciated.

Regards,

Yiannis

Click on images below to see larger images

Photos and text by Yiannis Ladopoulos