1/144 Revell F-5E Tiger II

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Aug 9 2017

Singapore National Day



The RSAF incepted its first supersonic fighter jet, the F-5E Tiger II into its ORBAT in 1979. They were first operated by the 144 "Blackite" SQN stationed in Tengah Air Base. The Squadron relocated to Paya Lebar Air Base in 1985. The F-5E fleet gradually increased in numbers leading to the formation of another 2 Squadrons, 141 "Merlin" SQN and 149 "Shikra" SQN. In 1991, the F-5Es were progressively upgraded locally to incorporate new avionics to enhance its operational capabilities. They were re-designated as F/RF-5S (single seat) and F-5Ts (trainer) variants. I shall not delve into more details as there are numerous write-ups by builders in the 1/48 scale in the past. 

I am thankful to Revell Germany for re-issuing the F-5Es in 1/144 scale last year after I had written in to request for them the year before. I had longed to build F-5Es in RSAF markings. I managed to get a couple from online purchase and another 3 kits from the local hobby shop here recently.

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The kit was pretty good in finish and panel lines. However, I found that the centerline drop tanks appeared somewhat thinner than desired. I used spare F-4 Phantoms drop tanks and improvised to make them looked reasonably sized centerline drop tanks. 

There was a gaping gap on the belly where the inner main landing gear door were glued on for in-flight mode. This was rectified with plastic strips. I shall skip the details of the modifications needed for the RSAF F-5E and F-5S and let the photos tell the details of those scratch-built items, e.g. the VOR/ILS antennas on the fin tips, refueling probes for the F-5S etc.

The F-5E was painted in the 3 tone Ghost Gray scheme as was first delivered in 1979 while the F-5S had the latest Hill Gray scheme. The colours were custom mixed using Tamiya and Mr Hobby basic acrylic colours. The decals were self-made. I had the special tail art for the F-5S as it was the unit flagship for the Hot Shot Exercise in 2014, a competition among the various RSAF fighter squadrons. A coat of thinned down Future was brushed on to seal the decals. Two coats of flat were airbrushed on for the final finish.

I managed to get a nifty display case and had the base done up with some decals too. I am very pleased with the build. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction from start to end. Enjoy the photos.

"Majulah Singapura"

S K Loh

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Photos and text by S K Loh