last summer my wife dragged me along to her favourite nursery – not that I
minded coming along. Why? Because this nursery is directly next to Emmen
Airforce base near Lucerne, and it gives me a great chance to see some of our
tax money in action.
During our visit I happened to see a very
spectacular F5E taking off in what looked like a neat Tiger scheme. A quick
perusal on Christoph Kugler’s excellent website: www.airpic.ch,
confirmed that an F5E had indeed been painted in a special scheme as a mascot for
the coming fall military manoeuvres. These culminate in the spectacular display
at Axalp, where those fit enough to hike up the mountain can witness some live
firing exercises (www.airshowaction.com/axalp/axalpb.html).
Unfortunately, following 9.11, the display was cancelled, and I never got to see
this aircraft in the air again.
a short while later a set of excellent photos were published by the Swiss
aviation magazine Cockpit,
which showed the top and bottom views. Additional information, in particular
regarding the exercise badges was kindly provided by Hofstetter marketing
following an enquiry to the Swiss Airforce, who financed the painting of this
particular aircraft. The use of Swiss tax money for such issues is a strict
discussed Swiss topics with Mike Grant
at Mike Grant
(e.g. the Fieseler Storch), I sent him some photos and enquired about his
interest. Well, the rest is history. Mike was VERY enthusiastic, and in no time
at all Mike had produced an excellent decal set. I spent the last 3 odd months
completing this rather special bird.
I chose to use
the reissue of the Hasegawa 1/32 kit in the current Patrouille Suisse guise, as
this is basically quite accurate concerning the modifications found on Swiss
F5E’s: shark nose and extended LEX as well as chaff dispenser. The small flat
winglet on the tip of the fin is incorrect but I only discovered this after
completing the kit. All other kits would require some surgery. I also felt that
this scheme needed quite a large canvas.
this kit has been revamped, it does show its age, and on my example I
encountered a moderate amount of flash. In general the fit was quite good.
Painting and decals
I decided to
follow my standard method: build the model as completely as possible, spray a
grey primer, fix imperfections and them proceed from there, by doing the white
belly first then the yellow uppers and then darker orange fuselage section. In
hindsight this was not the best approach, as it now meant that I had to mask the
entire model in order to spray the black tiger stripes. I felt these were too
thin and precise to be attempted free hand. After trying out various methods, I
ended up masking the entire beast with Tamiya tape, and then cutting out the
individual stripes. As the pattern is very symmetrical and quite tricky,
especially on the nose, where I am
not entirely happy with my work, this was a very tedious task. If I had to
repeat it, I would chose the following route:
cleaning up the model, spray it completely black. Using a piece of folded
frisket film I would cut out the individual stripes and place these on the
model. This would simplify the symmetry considerably. Then I would spray the
model with Alclad silver which would provide a much better base for the
white/yellow than the grey I used as a primer. The deep orange would again be
sprayed free hand.
As there are
no detailed colour references for this model, I mixed Tamiya and Gunze paints to
what I considered the best approximations.
was sprayed with a few coats of Future and allowed to dry before application of
the decals, which were superb and settled down very nicely, and were sealed by
another coat of Future. As I was worried
that the black stripes may shine though these, I had masked off the areas where
the roundels were located prior to spraying the black stripes. This was probably
a worthwhile effort.
This has been a
rather complex and challenging build for me, but also a lot of fun. It has been
the first large scale model in a long time, and while the airbrushing work may
be a bit more tedious, it is a very attractive addition to my display.
Thanks to Christoph Kugler and Hofstetter marketing for their input and to Mike
Grant for the tremendous set of decals and for having so much patience in
allowing me to build this model at my own pace.
be ordered directly from Mike Grant
Decals in scales from 1/72 to 1/32.