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Another Sundowner - F-5N 761547 in commemorative WW2 VF-11 Sundowners F6F scheme


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The F-5 is such a tough looking little jet, made cooler by the huge variety of schemes and operators, as the many fantastic subjects in this GB attest. My little contribution will be another VFC-111 Sundowner bird, but, thanks to an Xtradecal set winging its way to me, rather than in a traditional aggressor scheme, I'll model it as F-5N 761547, which wore a retro USN WW2 VF-11 ‘Sundowners’ Hellcat scheme. Maybe it still wears this scheme - in the photo gallery of this neat 2020 profile on VFC-111, you can see 761547 in the maintenance hangar still in the WW2 colours. 

 

I can't find any open source images I can post here, but there are some great images on Flickr and elsewhere, such as this one and this one. I'll post pics of the decal sheet when it arrives.

 

My kit is the humble little Italeri 1/72 F-5E, which I'll build out of the box, aftermarket decals aside.

 

Box etc

 

Appropriately it's a Swiss F-5E boxing, as all the F-5Ns are refurbished ex-Swiss AF jets.

 

There's not a whole lot to this kit, especially as the upper fuselage and wings are a single piece.

 

Box etc

 

So there's the promise of a quick build. But the join between the fuselage top and bottom halves might prove tricky to clean up, especially with the prospect of collateral damage to the lovely raised panel line details, and the join does not represent panel lines on the aircraft itself.

 

But still it promises to be a fun little subject and project - am looking forward to taking part.

 

Fight's on!

 

Gerard

Edited by Wings unlevel
Updated as I’ve since confirmed what the scheme commemorates
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20 hours ago, Robert Stuart said:

That kit looks promising, welcome to the build, Gerard.

 

18 hours ago, modelling minion said:

Welcome to the GB Gerard.

Thanks for the welcome gents, have been looking forward to this one.

 

20 hours ago, jackroadkill said:

she'll look fantastic

 

18 hours ago, modelling minion said:

the WWII era three colour scheme suits the F-5 very well.

Hoping to do the scheme some justice. As soon as I saw it on the decal sheet I knew that scheme was ‘the one’!

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I’ve done a little fettling and prepping. Most parts are off the sprues and cleaned up - seams and ejector pin marks sanded back, the wingtip rail notches removed, etc. Dry fitting looks ok, although the intake joins might take some work. I’ve also assembled the seat - it has an awful, awkward join line that I’m trying to minimise (thank you Mr Surfacer) plus I’ve started on the cockpit and primed a few other bits and bobs.

 

Parts

 

I’ve been planning out my load-out too - I grabbed a spare AIM-9M I’ll do as a CATM round (the kit has seemingly oversized AIM-9Ps) for one wingtip rail and I might buy an aftermarket ACMI pod for the other. I want to add a centreline tank too, but the kit’s tanks are either too big or too small compared to the tanks F-5Ns carry in all the photos I’ve looked at. Anyone know their F-5 external tanks???

 

Gerard

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I quite agree on the poor joint placement on the seat. On mine (which I really must do an update on), I cut a strip of the 10thou plasticard to cover the joint.

 

James

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15 hours ago, modelling minion said:

Not sure about the tanks, will see if I can find anything out.

Cheers Craig, don’t go to too much effort.

 

1 hour ago, 81-er said:

On mine (which I really must do an update on), I cut a strip of the 10thou plasticard to cover the joint.

Looking forward to seeing it! Plasticard certainly a more elegant solution than slathering on Mr Surfacer!

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Decals arrived!

 

Decals

 

Lots of other cool options on this sheet. Got me thinking of a F-20 WHIF build. I reckon the F-20 would have made a near perfect aggressor…

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13 hours ago, Robert Stuart said:

Your next build?

Very tempted! Would love to do another build in this GB but an F-15 will be next. Must avoid diving down new rabbit holes!

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On 8/7/2022 at 3:46 PM, Wings unlevel said:

My kit is the humble little Italeri 1/72 F-5E, which I'll build out of the box, aftermarket decals aside.

 

Gerard

It might be humble, but it still is the best F-5E out there in 1/72! And the only disappointment with their 1/72 F-5F is the rear cockpit.

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Posted (edited)
On 13/08/2022 at 05:47, Shalako said:

but it still is the best F-5E out there in 1/72!

If I can avoid knocking off the nose probe I’m sure I can get a decent result from it!

Edited by Wings unlevel
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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve mainly been focused on finishing my F-104J the past few weeks. But I’ve still had time to have some (mis)adventures in PE.

 

Misadventures in PE

 

Placing an online order for paints for this I ended up throwing in a $5 Eduard PE set into my cart, as you do. Mainly because it was so cheap, the kit’s IP and cockpit sides have some really lovely detail (but no cockpit decals other than belts), and to develop some practice with etch. 
 

I’ve only used PE once before, and that was coloured. Here I’ve obviously had to paint the PE bits, with mixed success. One YouTube video suggested you don’t need a special primer if you’re using lacquers, which I do. But I’m still experiencing issues with paint chipping off. And then my own brush painting skills leave a lot to be desired.

 

Misadventures in PE

 

But I’ve used etch and the backing film for the IP and the seat’s harness straps and oxy tube. I also used a small rectangle of plasticard for the seat back to cover that awful seam.

 

All told it looks I need a new glasses prescription…. I mean all told it looks ok. All good skills development I guess. 

 

 

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With the cockpit finally finished I could join the two fuselage halves, after first adding some nose weight and glueing the cockpit tub in place, and losing one of the two transparent landing light pieces that go into the lower fuselage. Ping it went flying out of my tweezers…

 

Misadventures in PE

 

The two halves are now joined as one.

 

Misadventures in PE

 

But in the process the seat and control column freed themselves, and no matter what I tried I ended up with a pretty nasty join between the top and bottom halves that will take some filler and sanding … and then more filler and sanding… to make respectable.

 

This has been a bit of a scrappy build so far. Maybe that’s appropriate as I am building an aggressor F-5, and their drivers love getting into scraps…!

 

Fight’s definitely on!

 

Gerard

 

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Nice work in the cockpit Gerard, the etch has certainly made a difference.

The way that Italeri has designed the fuselage halves (Monogram did the same) means that a tricky joint is inevitable but I am sure that you will get it sorted.

 

🇺🇦

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That aggressor seems aggressive, fighting back.  Your cockpit looks good with the etch.

Sorry about the landing light, hope that's cured.

19 hours ago, Wings unlevel said:

Ping it went flying out of my tweezers…

Mmm, happens to me too.  Don't think tweezers are good for small parts.

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20 hours ago, modelling minion said:

the etch has certainly made a difference

 

2 hours ago, Robert Stuart said:

Your cockpit looks good with the etch

Thanks gents, it was good practice!
 

I’ve had a first pass at cleaning up those seams, might not be as painful as I feared.  I’m still in the fight…

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So cleaning up those seams seems to have been pretty straightforward, thanks I think to the Italeri plastic which sands back beautifully and the magic of Mr Surfacer. A respectable result is not far I think.

 

Coming together

 

Tail is now on too, and so are the intakes, after a bit of filing to get the mounting surface, which features join seams from the top and bottom fuselage halves, flush.

 

Coming together

 

Have tried to get the intakes in-line with the rest of the fuselage so that requires a bit more filling and sanding, but hopefully the end result is flush and seamless, as it is on the jet itself.

 

Intakes

 

One thing I noticed and should have fixed is that the leading edges of the intake splitter plates has a distinct forward angle (top to bottom) whereas on the jet itself it has a slight rewards angle. I should have fixed that before glueing the intakes on so may just live with now. But just something for awareness for anyone else building this kit.

 

I know I was grumbling about the fit and it being a scrappy build, but the last few sessions have actually been quite relaxing, filing and sanding and fitting and testing and glueing, with a bit of music on in the background. Having fun with a hobby, who knew! :giggle:
 

Gerard

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wings unlevel said:

Having fun with a hobby, who knew!

It is in the rules ;)
Good that you are having fun Gerard, your build is making good progress too.

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8 hours ago, Robert Stuart said:

Good that you are having fun Gerard

 

6 hours ago, modelling minion said:

Really glad to hear that you have enjoyed the last few sessions

Always important to keep in perspective why we do this!

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Did that thing where I intend just to put some primer on the key joins to see how well I’d cleaned them up and ended up priming the whole thing!

 

Primed

 

Pretty happy with it in fact. Couple of small things to tidy up but on the whole it’s come up alright I think.

 

 

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  • Wings unlevel changed the title to Another Sundowner - F-5N 761547 in commemorative WW2 VF-11 Sundowners F6F scheme

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