I went back to my tried and true method of starting with a base of black.
Then a marble coat with white. Note that I avoided painting over the panel lines as much as I could and that I’d left the nosecone in gloss black. This was then masked off.
For markings for this kit will come from TwoBobs Decal’s 48-124 F-5E VMFT-401 Snipers sheet and color callouts for Sniper 12 is a splinter scheme of FS30279 (light brown), FS30140 (medium brown) and FS34097 (dark green). I decided to simply eyeball the colors this time based on reference photos so out came my paints and a piece of scrap plastic to test the colors which were also painted over a black base with white marbling.
As much as I could I wanted to avoid mixing paint but my first attempt at the light brown was way off.
So out with my various bottles of brown and yellow and I mixed up a batch of my own to match photo references. Ultimately I settled with a 12:1 ratio of Tamiya XF-57 Buff and XF-64 Red Brown. Then as usual, I used rolled up blutack for the demarcations to prepare for the other colors in the scheme.
The medium brown was straight out of the bottle Tamiya XF-73 Brown (JGSDF) but I had to mix the medium green color in a 5:2 ratio of Tamiya XF-11 JN Green and XF-3 Flat Yellow.
The wingtip pylons were then painted with a light gray of FS36375.
After glossing with Mr Hobby Aqueous Clear, I added the decals. The TwoBobs worked well as usual and unlike previous sheets, they provided both versions of the stars and nose numbers: one requiring stacking and another that doesnt. I went with the latter and they look opaque enough.
However, note how the demarcations on the color scheme do not match the ones on the decals at all. I’m not sure yet how I’ll solve this problem. Also note how the light brown on the color scheme is totally different from the one on the TwoBobs sheet. This is a problem that crops up often with TwoBobs’ decals. I would note also that even if I’d use the exact color callout from the sheet the two light browns would still not match.
Once cured I handpainted the details like the sensor bumps on the nose and the lights. Coffee was definitely a no-no before doing this.
Next, the panel wash. This was done over a satin coat as usual using thinned AK Abteilung Starship FIlth. The wash really toned down the light brown color. It also toned down the light brown on the decals (the ‘401’) but not enough to get the 2 tones to really match. In the pictures I’ve seen of VMFT-401 F-5s they are all loaded with an ACMI pod and captive AIM-9 missile on each wingtip. The ACMI pod comes from the kit while the AIM-9 came from the Academy F-4J kit. These will be holed and pinned in place.
The wash really pops the details at the bottom. I lucked out this time and had no problems attaching the main landing gear doors which came with some really tiny parts. Based on the pictures the F-5s were kept very clean so I didn’t do additional weathering besides the panel wash.
The other parts went on without issue and the cockpit only required a bit of clean up using a toothpick to scrape off overspray. I did have to carefully drill out the nose so the pitot tube can fit better. I also left off the nose gun barrels based on what I saw in reference photos.
I’m really annoyed with how the demarcations not lining up with the camouflage so it’s something to figure out in the next build. Otherwise though, I liked how this build turned out.