Crap. It’s been almost 3 months since I did anything else to this build. Today, I finally got around fixing the demarcation lines. And boy did I have a ‘great’ time doing it.
First I used blutack to mask all over the kit. And ended up not doing anything to it for 3 weekends. And what happened? For some reason the blutack left some sort of residue that of course, couldn’t be rubbed off. So I ended up having to spray everything all over again.
So what I did was for each color, I’d slowly blutack and spray to fix the soft camouflage pattern. Took awhile. Over 3 weekends in fact. But I… am… done! In the process however, I lost the shade of green I originally used, so I ended up respraying all the green again. I also quickly masked off the grey parts and sprayed that on too. The left stablizer also fell off but that’s a small easy fix. So all the major parts (except for the parts that need to be white) are… done! BOO YEAH!
Here’s a before and after look at the camo:
Up next will be the rest of the detail parts. Won’t be long now. Won’t be long…
Another 3 months has gone by and we have moved to our own place. Ongoing house matters put this on the backburner. Now it’s back on the worktable.
Gear has now been painted and ready for assembly. Unlike some modelers, I don’t even try to mask the wheels before painting the tires. I just freehand everything. Carefully. Aircraft kits tend to have a lot of itty-bitty parts so this might take awhile even after everything has been put together.
I… am… edging… closer… to… finishing!
Typically for me, something bad happens to my builds about 70% into the project. I’d then have to spend some time and elbow grease to fix the problem(s). I thought it won’t happen for this one, seeing as how I was 90% into the build. But Mr. Murphy must have known and well… disaster has struck.
In my zeal to quickly finish this thing, I decided to use spray paint to finish the inside of the air intake. And in my zeal to get it over quickly, the spraypaint ended up being too thick. Sigh… so now the air intake looks like something exploded in it and messed up the lip.
After looking at it for 15 minutes, I realized there’s only 2 things that can be done:
Of course, I also realized I should have keep them separate in the first place. But I’m an idiot.
Both aren’t easy solutions, but I’m leaning towards the latter. Which still bugs me either way. More delay! Pah!
Back to the Viper! Now it’s time for all the itty-bitty details. First up are the weapons. Aggressor aircraft are usually armed with one inert AIM-9 Sidewinder and an ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation) pod. I got these from Hasegawa’s Aircraft Weapons Sets C and D respectively. The inert (blue) bands are not included so I had to mask off and paint the bands.
Inert rounds and ACMI pods come in a variety of colors actually. Red, blue, white and various shades of grey. I went with grey as it’s the color shown in my reference photos.
Spent the last two evenings doing the decals. These are aftermarket from Two Bobs.
I must say these are very nice compared to Hasegawa ones. They are very thin and handle Mark Softer very well. There is tissue residue around the decals which I hope won’t cause silvering. I’ll have to wipe down the kit with a damp lint-free cloth when I’ve given it some time for the decals to dry.
After this is weathering!
All decals on! And I must say there is some silvering of the decals. So I did another round of gloss coat. Looks quite OK now. Minute silvering in some angles but it’s much much better now.
And this was when I realized the instructions on Two Bob’s decal sheet was wrong! The checkerboard pattern is not supposed to be on the tip of the tailfin as depicted on the instructions. It’s supposed to be slightly below. Sigh… that’s what I get for not looking at enough reference photos. Too late to fix it now.
Anyway, before commencing with weathering, I glued on the landing gear. Which isn’t how I normally do things. Normally I’d weather everything before putting them all together but I couldn’t resist. Let’s hope I won’t regret doing it this way.
I did leave out the weapons, the pitot tube and some of the smaller antennae blades till after weathering though.
The details in the gear wells are actually quite bare compared to the real thing, but it should look much better after a wash.
I use artist oil diluted with turpentine for my wash. Took me a lot longer than I used to. Probably rusty. I ended up making the wash too thick so I had to spend some time removing excess oil paint. I’ve also forgotten how badly turpentine smelled. Lots of ventilation required!
The wash makes the panel lines pop out which isn’t realistic by any means (friendships have been broken over this sort of thing). However, I chalk it up to artistic license as I find it gives the whole kit a more 3D-look.
I added the final touches to the kit. This includes the remaining antennae blades and the weapons. The ACMI pod and Sidewinder are mounted with CA glue.
Another small detail that Hasegawa left out of their mold is the AOA (Angle Of Attack) vanes. These are very small needle-like protrusions on each side of the nose. Based on a suggestion by good friend Gerald, I cut out the tips off safety pins to simulate the probes. Then I drilled holes onto the radome and CA glued the tips into place. These are then painted the same grey as the radome.
There’s also the matter of the static dischargers on the tailfin, wings and stabilizers. I tried fishing line but it’s so thin the CA glue had nothing to stick on. I’m considering brass rod, stretched sprue or copper wire. Who knows, something else might popup.
I’m planning to enter this kit to the 7th Jakarta Miniature Model & Expo held by Peter & Partner, a local model shop so right now I’m debating if I should add a simple base for it. Something along the lines of this. First though, I better make sure I finish this before 6 December (last day of registration).
I say. This project has been ongoing (mostly off) for almost 3 years! Who would have thunk. Time sure flies. Anyhow, before I get bitched to death by my friends who know about this project, I decided I really have to finish this one. So anyhow, I still don’t have a proper workdesk, but I lugged my compressor to the porch and started spraying on the steps. And here’s what I got so far after an hour.
There’s still some mistakes here and there but I thought, what the heck. I have to finish this quickly or it’ll forever in my Projects list.
I must say it’s quite fun to finally be able to airbrush again. I was very rusty though. Just look at the left wing which was where I started. The preshade’s very roughly done. Normally my preshades are quite roughly done, but this one is really quite bad heh. By the time I got to the right wing though, I was starting to get the hang of controlling my double action airbrush again. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will hold. Then can slap on the camouflage colors!
Painting commences. The camouflage I am going to do is the ‘Flogger’ scheme, which tries to replicate the MiG-23/27 Flogger color scheme as flown by ex-Eastern-Bloc Air Forces. Markings will be from TwoBobs’ 48-001 ‘Fighting Fulcrum’ sheet. The sheet includes a camouflage guide which I use to trace the camo pattern onto the kit with a soft pencil.
Strangely though, some of the camouflage do not match up when put onto the kit so I did some guesstimation and compromised some here and there to get the final guides done.
The weather turned out to be good. It was dry and sunny out. So on with the lightest color first. And that would be light brown. I decided to use Buff straight from the bottle. After about an hour or so of spraying, the rain clouds started gathering, which in turn turned up the humidity, which in turn cauased water to seep into my airbrush, which in turn caused it to spray water onto my kit instead of paint. Damn. Had to stop after only magaing to finishing up the bottom. Oh well.
After I was done, I compared the resulting color I got with a reference picture I got from Airliners.net. The Buff turned out to be too yellowish. Gotta figure out a way to fix it in the next session.
While I know that colors of the real aircraft differs in each photo, I think mine differs way too much to be excused heh.
Painting continues. Today I originally planned to repaint the light brown. But then after the sun, I noticed that… hey… the color’s not that bad! Sure it lacks a bit of the reddish tone that the reference pic had, but at least it doesn’t look too yellow under the sun. So I decided to leave it as is since after my planned oil wash, the light brown will tone down considerably.
So on to the second color: dark brown. This is also straight from the bottle Vallejo Model Color ‘Red Brown’. While it turned out to be lighter than what I wanted, again the planned oil wash will tone down the shade.
The demarcation lines are all done freehand. Badly I might add. I really need to remaster my airbrush. As it is, the lines are really soft. More suitable for 1/35 scale. Reference photos show relatively tight demarkation lines. Not solid, just a bit soft. Grrr… looks like I will have to take out my stash of bluetack and do the demarkation lines that way.
Anyway, hopefully I can add the final camouflage color tomorrow.
Well it rained the next day so I had to defer the 3rd color till this weekend. And this one was quickly finished up.
I must say the green is now much easier to put on than the two previous colors. I’ll chalk it up to being more used to airbrushing again I guess.
Based on the reference photo, my demarcation lines are too soft. To be honest, I don’t have that much confidence I can make them sharper by freehand. So after I have allowed some time for the paint to cure (mostly likely a week heh), I’ll take out my bluetack and proceed to do guides so I can respray the lines.
The Northrop F-5E Tiger II is one of the most widely used light supersonic fighter aircraft in the world. First introduced in the 1960s, there are currently hundreds still being fielded by numerous air forces. The Tiger II is an improved second-generation of the F-5 Tiger and is used by American Cold War allies. The U.S armed forces had no need for a frontline light fighter but it operated the Tiger II as part of training and aggressor aircraft in limited quantities.
Many F-5s continue to serve as frontline aircraft into the 190s and 2000s and have undergone a wide variety of upgrade programs to keep pace wit the changing combat environment.
Wolfpack Design is a relatively new Korean aftermarket company specializing in resin detail sets for the aircraft genre. However, in a short period of time, they have released a lot of detail sets covering NATO-based aircraft, including the Tiger II.
Now the Tiger II kit itself is a pretty old kit. There have only been 2 manufacturers (that I know of) who has done the Tiger II; ESCI and Monogram (both defunct). Releases since the originals came out in the 1970s have always been one of these two molds, with the Monogram being the better of the two. Being a kit of its time, it has raised panel lines and pretty simple breakdown of parts. But it did build into a decent enough Tiger II as the shape was quite accurate.
The Wolfpack Design F-5E Tiger II Update set does exactly what it says, it provides the parts necessary to update the venerable kit into on of the current versions of Tiger II that are still operational in the world’s air forces including Brazil, Chile, Singapore and the ones operated by the USAF, USN and USMC (a full list of current Tiger II operators can be found here).
The set itself is simple enough. In the sturdy black box is just 10 parts with a full color A5-sized instruction sheet. Parts included are:
Combinations of these 10 parts will allow me to build almost every modern derivative of the Tiger II. The parts are molded in a light grey resin and are casted very nicely with absolutely no bubbles that I can see. Resin pour tabs to be removed are all easily cut away and I foresee little trouble in fitting this set to the Monogram kit. Wolfpack Design specifically states that this set is for the Monogram Tiger II. I don’t have the ESCI molding so I’m not sure whether this set will fit.
The instructions are very clear and concise and the best part, it tells you which parts you will need to use for each operator’s Tiger II as not all countries modified their Tigers the same way. Nice.
Unless you’re willing to do some scratchbuilding, I think this set is a must for any Tiger II fan!
This kit is part of the ‘US Aggressors groupbuild’. Construction went on quite straightforward although there are some problems here and there. Nothing that putty couldn’t fix though. One particularly annoying part is that I have to putty off the holes under the wings meant for underwing stores. Obviously if I was bulding a normal F-16 loaded with a ton of weapons I wouldn’t be bitching.
As per normal with aircraft kits, the cockpit has to be painted first before further construction could be done. It’s simple matter of grey for the whole cockpit tub, black for the control panels, green for the MFD screens and some drybrushing to bring out the detail of the control surfaces.
I decided that with the F-16’s huge canopy, I needed the ejection seat to be more detailed than what came in the box. So I got hold of a pair of ACES II resin seats from Legends Productions, a Korean resin kit manufacturer. The resin seat comes with molded-on seat belts and is generally much more detailed than the default kit seat.
I colored the seat based on references I got from The Ejection Site. A simple wash with diluted black color and some minor drybrushing is all I need to add depth and bring out the fine details of the seat.
Yep. Been awhile. My mates in the groupbuild has also been bugging me no end hehehe. So anyway, a lot has been done and I’m ready to prime the kit, fix some obvious problems then start painting. Small mistakes can be hidden pretty easily since I’m going to do some weathering. I can’t stand clean aircraft. 😛
I tried out a new method of filling the gaps: liquid paper aka correction fluid. This was suggested by a good friend G-Man from the Plamo Forums. Applying is easy: just whack on a dollup onto the gap. Then I ran a cotton bud with Gunze thinner through it, which thins and softens the liquid paper and makes it flow flush. So it works, I’m just now sure how it will look after priming. We’ll see.
I also added all the major not too fragile parts onto the kit, so I can paint in one shot. I guess in this sense, aircraft kits are actually easier to paint than mecha kits. So anyway, all the tiny sensor bumps and blades are added.
Next came the RWR sensors on the wings. These are the major parts that are missing from the kit which is too bad since they are quite obvious on the real aircraft. A bit of a challenge to scratchbuild them since the RWR sensors have an odd shape. They are pretty small so I decided to just make a general likeness hehe.
Oh bugger. It rained in the morning which ended up being a muggy afternoon which isn’t good for any sort of painting. So I couldn’t do the priming. Sigh…
So the only update here is a small old one. The canopy had a big seamline running down the middle so I scraped it off with a hobby knife and slowly sanded the area with ever finer sandpaper, ending with 400 grit. Then I dipped the canopy into Future floor polish to give it a supershine. To top it off, I carefully masked the canopy with Tamiya masking tape. To attach to the kit, I would use white glue as it dries transparent.
Here’s hoping tomorrow will be a bright sunny day…
Alright! Finally the priming’s done and lo and behold… stuff to fix. Man… when will I learn to be more careful during the construction phase? Brrr…
Here are the spots I found on top of the kit that need further fixing.
Not as many problems as I’ve foreseen, but still… it ain’t perfect. Oh well. There were also some problems at the bottom of the kit. During construction, I paid more attention to the top of kit since that’s what everyone will see first (hardly anyone will purposely flip the kit and look at the bottom) so there are actually a lot more problems to fix. However, since it is the bottom afterall, I decided to just fix the major ones hehehe…
The good news in all this is that the RWR sensors turned out very nice and I don’t have to make any further changes to them. Score!
Media: Injection Plastic
The USAF converted 116 F-4Es into the F-4G Advanced Wild Weasel IV for the role of seeking out and suppressing or destroying enemy radar-directed anti-aircraft artillery batteries and surface-to-air missile sites. Primary armament included the HARM (AGM-88) and the Maverick (AGM-65). The F-4G is also capable of carrying conventional air-to-air armaments and standard â€˜dumb’ bombs.
By all records, the F-4G is the ultimate Wild Weasel platform. With two crew members, duties could be split among the both of them. It’s a tough airframe that could take a lot of punishment. It also had a long loiter time in the target area. It also had the capability to defend itself with its air-to-air capability intact.
It performed admirably in Operation: Desert Storm where it preceded airstrike packages heading into Kuwaiti airspace. The were records of dozens of HARM missiles in the air at one time, all fired by the F-4G.
The last F-4G was retired in April 1996, to be replaced by the F-16CJ. The F-16CJ is basically a Block 50/52 Viper with added Wild Weasel capabilities.
The F-4G is my all-time favorite aircraft so needless to say, I had to have one in my collection. The 1/48 kit builds into a very impressive model which more often than not impresses anyone who sees it. This was only my second ever finished aircraft done properly.
Operation: Desert Storm being both its baptism of fire and swansong, I had to do up this kit as a veteran of that war. OOB, the kit depicted an early 1980s Weasel configuration so some minor changes needed to be done.
Even though the mold is at least a dozen years old (probably longer), the fit was excellent with minimal gaps and weird fitting problems. Assembly was pretty straightforward except for the fitting of the center fuel tank. In hindsight, I should have drilled holes and used pins to ensure that the fuel tanks were steadier. As it is, I only used CA glue.
I also removed certain sensor bulges on the kit that the real F-4G doesn’t have. Thanx to Andy Lee for pointing them out to me. He’s the Phantom Phreak. Not me.
The rear landing gears are very fragile affairs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any good solution for reinforcing them. Just hope for the best I guess.
During construction, the nose gear broke off so to strengthen it, I drilled a hole and pushed a metal pin in. Nothing will break it now!
I scavenged the two pilot heads from my F-16CJ kit since the helmets included in the kit were the old clunky ones. I decided to add pilots to the cockpit because the seats were kind of bare and I didn’t feel like getting resin seats to replace them.
The ALQ-131 and HARMs were taken from the Hasegawa Weapons set. Again, the included pod and weapons were too old for the specific aircraft I was planning to model.
I decided to model 69-0244 that operated out of the 52nd FW at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. During Desert Storm, it sported the noseart called â€˜Night Stalker’ and like the other Weasels during Desert Storm, kill marks were added! â€˜Night Stalker’ is the unit with the most kills during Desert Storm. As the Superscale sheet I had was old, some of the decals literally disintegrated when they touched water, so I had to replace them with the default Hasegawa ones. These included the USAF logo and the formation lights.
The center section of the front canopy is a clear blue color so I handbrushed it on in one thick stroke. This sufficiently prevents brush marks from popping up.
The camo demarkation for this unit was soft-edged, unlike the other Weasel units operating at the time. After unsuccessfully trying to do a soft mask (basically masking tape with the edges slightly lifted), I decided to freehand the lines and guess whatâ€¦ I finished it in less than 10 minutes when it took me almost 30 minutes just to try to mask the thing properly!
Colors were custom mixed by Mr. Nakamoto from Achtung Japan Hobby and went on pretty smoothly over a base of preshade in black.
Lastly, I weathered the aircraft with my trusty turpentine/artist oil combo and sealed it all with a semi-gloss coat.