by: Tim Hatton [ ]
This release from Afterburner Decals, features the Red Flag Tigers of the 64/65th Aggressor Squadron flying the F-5E tiger II from early to late 1980's. The Aggressor squadrons, the opponents who flew against the pilots undergoing combat training, were selected from the top fighter pilots in the Air Force. These pilots were trained to fly according to the tactical doctrines of the Soviet Union and other enemies, to better simulate what NATO pilots would encounter in real combat. The Aggressors were equipped with readily available F-5E Tiger II fighters, painted in colour schemes commonly found on Soviet aircraft. The 64th and 65th AGRS used the F-5E in exercises such as Red Flag, to train NATO pilots to cope with dissimilar combat techniques.
This release gives you an incredible 23 options to choose from. The camouflage schemes are some of the most unusual you will find on USAF aircraft. There are enough stencils to complete two aircraft, but many more could be built using the AFV Club kit decals that this release was designed for. Afterburner Decals state that the Monogram kit can also be used.
Included with this release in a resealable plastic bag are:
1 x A4 decal sheet.
4 x A4 coloured profiles of each aircraft port side.
7 x A4 coloured profiles and plan views of the aircraft in each of the distinctive camouflage schemes.
1 x A4 black and white stencil sheet.
Options included with this release are:
F-5E 74-1557, old blue scheme, 57th Fighter Weapons Wing, CO, 1982.
F-5E 74-1557, new blue scheme, 57th Fighter Weapons Wing, CO, 1987.
F-5E 74-1565, new blue scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron, CO, 1985.
F-5E 74-1564, flogger scheme [modified], 64th Aggressor Squadron, CO, 1983.
F-5E 74-1537, new blue scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1987.
F-5E 74-1572, flogger scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron,1987.
F-5E 74-1528, new lizard scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron,1987.
F-5E 74-1536, new ghost scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron,1987.
F-5E 74-1564, old lizard scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron,1983.
F-5E 74-1531, grape scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron,1983.
F-5E 72-1386, new blue scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron,1987.
F-5E 74-1573, flogger scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1982.
F-5E 74-1529, old lizard scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1982.
F-5E 74-1566, old lizard scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1983.
F-5E 73-1635, old blue scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron,1985.
F-5E 74-1564, flogger scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron, 1985.
F-5E 73-0897, frog scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron, 1983.
F-5E 73-1635, VNAF scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1979.
F-5E 72-1388, silver scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1981.
F-5E 74-1537, grey scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1981.
F-5E 74-1546, silver scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1981.
F-5E 74-1570, sand scheme, 64th Aggressor Squadron, 1982.
F-5E 73-30866, pumpkin scheme, 65th Aggressor Squadron, 1982.
This is quite an eye catching release from Afterburner Decals. The shear number of decal options plus the chance to decorate your F-5E Tiger II, an aircraft used for dissimilar fighter training, in some very distinctive finishes is hard to resist. There are full colour guides to aid the modeller to apply the various camouflage schemes, some of which are wrap around. The application of some of the three colour patterns will require some care in planning if using masks. The F-5 is such a pleasing aircraft to the eye, the modeller could easily make up several kits without feeling bored. All the FS numbers are given and there is advice about mixing colours that may not be available of the shelf. Although the colour side profiles are only of the port side of the aircraft, any variation on the starboard side is noted.
Quality of the print by Cartograf is stunning. Decals are glossy with a minimum amount of carrier film. All the written stencils are sharp and legible except for the tiniest of stencils, that you would have to view with a strong magnifying glass. There are enough stencils for two aircraft, but there is nothing to stop the modeller from using the kits stencils to be able to utilise even more of the above markings. There are a lot of individual bort number in two colours to enable the modeller to create many more examples. The individual stencil guide is very useful inclusion in simplifying the positioning of the stencils. You will notice on the decal sheet there is only one set of wing walkways. This is because the walkways are only applicable to the single example in aluminum [silver]. Actually the finish is overall aluminised polyurethane and not natural metal. A nice touch is the inclusion of decal for the black and white stripes on the arrestor hook.
I like this release a lot. It is very eye catching and it is linked with a very good recent release of the AFV Club kit. A considerable amount of work has gone into the research to produce this outstanding product. Another release that the folk at Afterburner Decals should be proud off. With camouflage schemes such as 'old ghost', 'snake', 'old lizard', 'flogger', 'pumpkin', etc., modellers of modern jet aircraft will find it hard resist not having a least two or three of these schemes for their shelf flight line. Looking at some of the schemes depicted it is not going to be an easy choice. It does put the modeller on the spot though, which schemes to depict.