Bestfong 72069: 1/72 Yemeni F-5E
PRICE: HK$45.00
KIT: Various 1/72 F-5E (Italeri, Trumpeter, Airfix..)
UNITS: 2 aircraft options

The Northrop F-5E is well catered for in the decals department - lots of aftermarket options can be picked up pretty easily.

This sheet covers what I can only imagine is a less well-known scheme - US-sourced F-5E fighters flown by Taiwanese pilots in the brief war between what was then North and South Yemen in 1979. Yemen is a single country now - or we should say "for now", because of course it has been sadly ripped to pieces by al Qaeda and another political faction, Houthi, who are dukeing it out in a bloody attempt to take control since the previous, itself pretty hardline, government fell a few years back. 

Back in 79 the North and South were classic Cold War proxy states. The North was backed by the west, and the South by the Soviets. When their little Cold War turned hot, the US quickly supplied 12 F-5E fighters to the north, which had no-one who could fly them. Taiwan stepped in, providing pilots. While one story said a Taiwanese pilot claimed a southern MiG, the war was over in a matter of weeks. If only that were true of Yemenis' present woes.

This decal sheet comes from Bestfong, a Taiwanese (I assume) company with plenty of other sheets covering a wide range of Taiwanese and other subjects. 

It comes with an A4 sheet in colour with side and top views of two different aircraft. One has a cool angular camo scheme of light and middle brown, the other a more normal scheme of the same two browns and some green. Mr Colour references are provided. The instructions clearly show where all the decals are meant to go.

The sheet itself is very small, but has quite a few nicely printed small markings on it, like data labels and ejection seat symbols. The main national markings are roundels, with the center part printed separately to put the burden of alignment on you, the builder. It comes with numbers for two aircraft (one per scheme).

I bought mine from, a small company in Hong Kong run by a dude named Kit Leung. Because their website is in Chinese, I wrote to them in my (pretty elementary) Mandarin. I was pleased to receive, very promptly, a friendly reply in fluent English. The deal was done over paypal the next day and the decals arrived from Hong Kong in a few days. I was very pleased with Kit's service and non-Chinese speakers can feel completely comfortable dealing with him by email.


Richard F

April 2015

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