Written by 11:00 am On the Bench

WIP : Hobbyboss 1/72 F-5E Tiger II ‘Area 88’ Pt.1 – Construction

This is a semi-serious build of an F-5E Tiger II. Semi-serious in that it will be wearing the markings of a fictional F-5E from the manga/anime series Area 88 by Shintani Kaoru. This F-5E was piloted by our hero, Shin Kazama from Chapter 5 to 10.

This build however would not be possible without Hasegawa’s F-8E Crusader release in Area 88 markings. The decals come with extra unicorn tail markings which match those of Kazama’s F-5E. An unexpected but pleasant surprise is the inclusion of a resin figure of Shin Kazama!

I began as usual with the cockpit which come with raised details. The ejection seat is decent but the details will be hidden once I have the figure sitting on it.

Not sure why Hobbyboss did this but there are huge gaps behind the seat which are thankfully, not visible once everything was closed up.

General fitting is OK but there are very noticeable gaps on the wingroots. This photo also clearly shows how deep the panel lines are. Also worth noting are the missing engine lourves on the fuselage right behind the trailing edge of the wings.

I prioritized better fits up top than at the bottom so the wingroot join looks even worse here.

Hobbyboss includes a pair of AIM-9s (G model?) to fit on the wingtip tabs but they don’t fit correctly. The tabs were cut off and I’ll be using a pin and hole method to correct their positions.

I had originally wanted to perhaps load 2x AGM-84 Harpoons under the wings for a heavy anti-shipping configuration. In the manga however, Kazama only likes to join air-to-air missions as these offer more reward money. In fact, he’d rather pay a penalty for turning down a ground mission and wait for an air mission instead. So I figured the F-5E should be fully loaded with air-to-air missiles instead.

The real F-5E was not cleared for the AIM-7 Sparrow but the upgraded F-20 was and I found a photo online of the F-20 carrying a pair of AIM-7s which look particularly bad ass. So I figured, it’s a manga, it’s fictional, why wouldn’t the Kingdom of Aslan be able to jury rig some AIM-7s onto an F-5E?

The Sparrow missiles come from the Hasegawa Weapons Set and I thought they didn’t look right mounted directly onto the F-5 pylon. In the reference photo above, the missiles mounted onto rails that attached to the pylons. I had some F-16 AIM-9 rails from my previous F-16C build which I thought would look good. These were modified so they’ll fit to the pylons. The AIM-7s were then pinned to the whole assembly.

So that Kazama can earn more money and buy his way home quickly, I decided to forgo the wing tanks and have a full missile complement instead. Besides the AIM-7s and AIM-9s (J?) on the wingtips I added a pair of AIM-9s (P?) for the middle pylons. These came from the same F-16 kit as the modified AIM-7 rails.

The $64,000 question then, is do the AIM-7s clear the ground with the landing gear down? Yep!

After taking some time to address the fit issues on the wingroot and intakes, the F-5E is now finally taking shape.

The Shin Kazama resin figure is very nicely molded. Two optional heads are provided: helmeted and non-helmeted. I decided to go with the helmeted head.

I think the cockpit is oversized but it looks the business with the figure in the cockpit. Note the far too short flight stick.

I extended the flight stick with a short length of stretched sprue.

In the manga, Kazama wears a helmet with a cross pattée emblem.

Hasegawa provides various marking options for the helmet and I decided to go with the more iconic red helmet with 10 stars. The oxygen hose is way too short so I added stretched sprue to lengthen it. Depending on the media, Kazama wears flight suits in various colors but I went with again, the iconic  orange one. The figure was handpainted and looks alright from a foot away.

Kazama in his office. I noted in the manga that his F-5 has a HUD so I added one using clear acetate.

Once all the gaps have been addressed, it was time to close up the cockpit to prepare for painting. There’s a very tiny gap between the forward and main canopy. Hopefully it’s not too obvious once painted.

Build Log
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Painting & Finishing

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