1/72 Airfix RF-5E Tiger Eye

by Bianfuxia



This is my Airfix RF-5E "Tigereye" ripping across the "Empty Quarter" bordering Saudi Arabia and Yemen . I started the kit way back in 1993 but finally finished it last year! It's pretty basic but finished up nicely in Royal Saudi Air Force markings. The kit also has Malaysian Air Force markings. Thankfully it comes with a pilot which makes it easy to put it where it belongs - up in the air!

The other two photos show the jet screaming in at low level over some mountains out in the desert, and breaking formation high up over the Red Sea.

I did these in Photoshop 7 (old school, I know!). The background shots come from my recent holiday to Yemen and Oman, although the high-altitude ocean scene is actually off Costa Rica!

Making the images is quite easy - simply use the various tools to cut out the image of the model, paste it into the background scene, and use "Transform>Scale" and "Transform>Rotate" to place the jet where you want it. When you paste it in, it goes in as a separate layer, and you can then adjust the levels or modify the curves only for the jet, so it matches its background better. For example, in the third image, I wanted it to glow as if the late afternoon light was nice and yellow. In the other two images, I aimed for a duller glow.

Select a small brush with low opacity (about ten per cent) and low flow, and paint in some blur for the jet exhaust. I wanted it to look like "heat blur", not smoke (not sure I really succeeded). And then select an even smaller brush, but with higher opacity, and trace in some wingtip contrails. Try not to overdo it here. A trace is enough unless your plane is in a high-g turn or the viewer is right up close (as in Picture 1). Choose a light grey rather than pure white.

Shadows on your model can be a problem - try to photograph them in even light or, if you didn't (like me) try to pose them with the shadow in the right place. For example, there is a shadow on the right wing of the plane in Photos 2 and 3 - so I aimed to get it facing down in Photo 2 (because the sun would be high in that scene). In Photo 3, my theory is that at sunset, the sun is quite low, so the shadow is roughly appropriate. Next time I will try for a better photo in the first place!

Finally, "flatten" the image so you can save it as a jpeg, and there you have it - your jet in flight!


Click on images below to see larger images


Photos and text by Bianfuxia