1/48 Italeri RF-5E Tigereye

with Achtung Japan Hobby RF-5E Conversion 

by Brian Param & Thomas Ng


    Malaysia National Day 2005


TUDM is the launch customer of the Northrop RF-5E. A total of two were purchased in the eighties and served in the No. 11 squadrons. They wore serials M29-19 and M29-20. They were purchased to give the TUDM recon capability. The RF-5Es played multiple roles with the TUDM as they actively flew and fly other then recon mission.


As compare to the older TUDM F-5 fleet, the RF-5E are came with the NEW E configuration, Meaning externally, beside the camera nose, it was fitted with the forward and rear radar warning antenna, Fintip antenna fairing, AN/ALE-29 chaff/flare dispenser and enlarged LERX.


In the 90s all the F-5 were consolidated into a single No. 12 Squadron, And today, the RF-5E of TUDM is still seen patrolling the sky over Butterworth Malaysia after over 20 years in service.


The Kit


Both the build were very similar as we were comparing note during our build, Both the kits used is the Italeri/ESCI F-5E. A basic kit with poor cockpit detail and raised lines. Kit was rescribed and built. The camera nose was from Acthung Japan , providing all the necessary external items to make a tigereye. Fitting the nose onto the ESCI kit was a bit challenging but was achieved. The enlarge LERX was the most trouble area as it was hard to sand it smooth in that area.



M29-19, No.11 Squadron "Cobra" by Brian Param

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The aircraft depicted is from 11 squadron circa eighties with round national markings and cobra insignia on the tail. It was painted following the ghost scheme using Gunze colours with the darkest blue grey a custom mix. Paint was airbrushed on using blue tac for masking. Decals were from the VFA sheet on Malaysian Tigers.  To dress up the cockpit a bit, I added a pilot which was from the Monogram A-37B kit.  Weathering took the form of pen ink and a mixture of thinned down acrylics into the panel lines.


M29-20, No.12 Squadron "Scorpion"  By Thomas Ng


The marking chosen for this model is the current TUDM marking with small square national marking. The wraparound camouflage was painted with the aid of the blue tac for masking. Paint is from the Gunze range, the decal used were a mix of Kits, Scalenutz and VFA production.

Brian & Thomas

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Photos and text by Brian Param & Thomas Ng