Bestfong 72003: 1/72 RoCAF RF-5E
Various 1/72 F-5E (Italeri, Trumpeter, Airfix..) but you need the RF nose
from the Airfix kit.
7 aircraft options
F-5E was a very successful export fighter. It had a nice mix of decent
capability and relative simplicity, meaning smaller air forces could get
some good use out of it, and not simply buy expensive planes to watch
them rot in hangars for lack of maintenance, as happened to those air
forces who bought jets beyond their capability. At least ten air forces
used the F-5E, and several still operate large fleets - the Republic of
Korea flies 174 (says wikipedia).
Less successful was the recon variant of the F-5. Called RF-5E, it had a
camera nose but otherwise retained the basic capability of the F-5E.
Malaysia ordered a couple, as did the Saudis, but that was it. What
happened? Maybe smaller air forces figured recon pods were better,
because then a jet could still be used for its full combat capacity when
not flying photo missions. Still, later, Taiwan, with a sizeable F-5
fleet, decided it needed a recon capability and it modified seven
existing airframes to roughly the same standard.
This decal sheet gives you RoCAF's current RF-5E low visibility scheme,
with a cool tail design. You get the numbers to make any one of the
seven airframes that fly with the 401 TFW 12 TFS. It includes a colour
sheet showing the painting instructions (a modern two tone grey on grey
scheme). It gives Mr Color references. The topside is 307 which is meant
to be FS36320 Dark Ghost Grey but which comes out a bit too blue. Check
online - google images throws up some good pics.
Airfix made a kit of the RF-5E which I have built and plan to re-do
using these decals (as the ones I used from the original kit were of
that lamentable mid-90s Airfix standard, which is code for "less than
they could be", which in turn is code for "rubbish"). I'm not aware of
another mainstream RF-5E kit in 1/72 but I imagine there are, or were,
conversion sets available. Other modelers might get the Airfix kit for
the camera nose and then use their preferred F-5E for the rest. I'm
happy to vouch for the HobbyBoss kit which is quite a bit better than
that old Airfix one. I know, as i've built both.
Bestfong does provide a Tigereye resin nose. Visitthis link.
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