Y.A.R. Air Force "Peace Bell Program" F-5E
This is a reissue of the AFV Club F-5E, first released in 2010. This version includes parts for an early F-5E, with the original nose and short leading-edge extensions (LEX). It focuses on the markings for the Yemen Arab Republic Air Force. There are six marking options, four depicting various schemes used by Yemen, and two schemes from the Republic of China Air Force. The kit consists of seven gray plastic trees, one clear tree, one tree consisting of four polycaps, a small photoetch fret, and one decal sheet. The upper main fuselage and afterburner cans are molded separately and not attached to a parts tree. The surface detail consists of engraved panel lines and rivets. The kit is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box, and a print of the box art is included.
As usual, construction starts with the cockpit. The side consoles are separate parts with crisp raised detail. The main fuselage consists of four major components: upper and lower halves, and the rear fuselage engine area is also divided into upper and lower halves. The kit provides an option for open or closed auxiliary air intakes. These parts all fit well and join along panel lines; filling and sanding were not required. The forward fuselage consists of three parts: left and right halves, and a bottom. The seam between these halves required filling and sanding. Two access panels on the forward fuselage are molded separately, requiring careful test fitting to ensure they sit flush with the rest of the forward fuselage. The wings feature separate control surfaces. I encountered a difficult-to-fix gap where the intakes, parts P9 and P10, meet the lower fuselage. The horizontal stabilizers are one piece, connected by a rod. I chose to cut them apart to make painting the model easier. The trickiest part of the kit is the landing gear. The gear door braces are tiny; I glued them to the landing gear doors before painting so I could use plastic cement to ensure a good bond. It would have been very difficult to paint these parts separately and try to glue them to the doors cleanly later. In my haste to finish the model, I left out the flame straighteners from the afterburner cans, and I broke the Pitot tube during final assembly.
I chose Option D, labeled as 112 Squadron SAN’A AB Yemen Airforce. This is a four-color scheme consisting of FS36622 undersides and a camo pattern of FS30400 (Tan), FS30140 (Dark Earth), and FS34079 (Dark Green). I chose MRP lacquers for the camouflage. The model was primed with Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 (Black), and the camouflage colors were applied freehand with a Sotar 2020 airbrush. I used the black basing technique, a marble coat of color, followed by a blend coat to achieve total variation in the finish. I used AK Interactive Extreme Metal Aluminum for the bare metal section of the fuselage and afterburner cans. The decals were applied directly to the paint. No manufacturer was noted on the decal sheet, but it does state “Printed in Italy.” I found the decals to be of high quality, much like recent aftermarket decal sheets. I used the Microscale system of Microset and Microsol, and the decals settled into the recessed detail. No other decal solution was needed. A coat of Aquagloss was applied on top of the decals. I used Ammo of Mig gray panel line wash on the underside, and Tamiya brown panel line wash on the top of the model to accentuate the recessed panel line and rivet detail. Fluid leaks were depicted with artist oil paint. The soot around the guns was done with Tamiya Weathering Master set B. A final top coat of Testor’s Dullcote completed the finish of the model.
This is a great kit of a legendary plane. The overall fit was excellent, and with little effort, the model was assembled and ready for paint. The only improvements I would make are to add harness detail to the seat and provide decals for the instrument panel and side panels in the cockpit. I extend my sincere thanks to AFV Club for providing the review kit, and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this kit.