Above: The Northrop F-5 Tiger II "Freedom Fighter", so called because it was developed as an inexpensive
fighter to be exported to NATO countries to counter the numerically superior Soviet Air Force. This example is a two seat
trainer - the standard F-5 is a single seater. Extremely nimble and easy to fly, the aircraft makes a good Soviet type opponent
for the Top Gun students. Named after my sister Rica, the plane number is 46, for the year she was born, and the serial number
is her birthday. The paint job took forever, but it was worth it.
Above: The A-4 Skyhawk, named Frere Jacques after my brother. His initials, JA, are on the plane's tail fin,
his birth year, 49, is the plane number, and his birthdate is the serial number. The paint job was again difficult but rewarding.
This Skyhawk has the "humpback" behind the crew compartment that contains additional avionics upgrades, typical
of late model Skyhawks. As in the F-14, the leading edge slats have been carved out of the wing, then I made new ones and
glued them in the open position. The canopy is attached to the cockpit by a metal tube that retracts into a hole with a rubber
band wall, allowing the canopy to be set in any position on the model. The Skyhawk, designed by
the amazing and incomparable Ed Heinemann from Douglas Aircraft (crews nicknamed the A-4 "Heinemann's Hot Rod), first
saw service in the mid 1950's and was built as an attack aircraft for the US Navy. It was so sturdy and dependable, so strong
and battleworthy, that some are still in active service today in 3rd world air forces. The last
US Navy Skyhawk flew in 2003. Up until the mid 80's, they were front line fighter bombers in many
air forces, including Argentina and Israel. Argentine Skyhawks made determined - and successful - attacks on British warships
during the 1982 Falklands War. The A-4 holds the record for the longest production run of any aircraft in history, with the
Douglas production lines producing them for 25 years!! I love this airplane!! This is a two seat version. Most A-4's were
single seat aircraft.
Above: The underside of the Skyhawk. All the landing gear and open wheel wells have been super detailed with
wiring and metal parts. The pitot tube and other sensors are covered, as is customary when aircraft are on the ground. I used
regular Scotch tape for these covers, and painted them red. As in all my aircraft models, the bottoms of the tires have been
filed down and a small glue bulge added to simulate the weight of the aircraft on the tires.