The JF-17 Thunder is the result of a joint program between Pakistan and China to develop a modern, affordable, multi-role fighter to replace Pakistan´s large fleet or Mirage III fighters , Nanchang A-5 attack aricraft and Chengdu J-7 fighters.
The first prototype was rolled out on May 2003 and transfered to the Chengdu Flight test Center to be prepared for flight tests.
After several design modifications, PAC (Pakistan Aernoautical Complex) began manufacturing parts on January 2008. Final assembly of the firts JF-17 in Pakistan began on 30 June 2009.
The first JF-17 squadron (No.26 Black Spiders) officially entered operational service on 18 February 2010.
So far, the JF-17 Thunder is in service only with the Pakistan Air Force, with many countries, mainly in the Middle East and South America expressing interest in purchasing the JF-17.
This one of the best models produced by Trumpeter in 1/72 scale to date. It comes with beautiful engraved panels lines, fine rivet detail, very nicely detailed cockpit and ejection seat, photo-etched parts and a lot of optional weapons and fuel tanks.
The decal sheet comes with options to build one “standard” gray Pakistan Air Force aircraft and a very attractive aircraft painted in the colors of the national flags of China and Pakistan used during the Pakistan “Joint Services” parade of 2007.
In late 1986 the USAF decided to convert a number of Block 15 F-16A/B to air defence fighter to be used by the Air National Guard, and perform interception missions, thus becoming the first line of defence of North America against enemy long range bombers.
The aircraft were modified to carry long range air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-7 Sparrow.
All ADF aircraft can be identified from standard F-16`s by some external features,such as long and thin horizontal bulges on the base of the vertical tail and a set of four blade antenna just forward of the canopy.
Monogram´s F-16 ADF comes in grey plastic. The overall shape is good, with a combination of both raised and recessed panel lines. However, many panel lines are placed in the wrong position and ribet detail is totally absent.
The ejection seat comes in 3 pieces, the shape looks good but not well detailed. Cockpit details is completely absent as well, decals are provided to represent all control panels.
On the good side, the model includes the very important horizontal bulges at the base of the vertical tail. This alone justifies buying the model. Also included are two AIM-9 Sidewinder short range missiles, two AIM-7 Sparrow long range missiles and a centerline fuel tank
The kit comes with decals for two different aircarft. One for the 114th TFTS,142nd FG Oregon Air National Guard and one for 178th FIS, 119th FIG North Dakota Air National Guard.
In conclusion, this model is not intended to compete with the latest F-16s from Tamiya or Kinetic, but it seems to be the only true F-16 ADF kit on the market, and it can be turned into a very good looking model with some work.
I´m finally back with the second and final part of my Mexican Air Force F-5E project.
I decided to finish the model in the standard air combat configuration used by the Mexican Air Force, that is a centerline fuel tank and two AIM-9P sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
The classic Monogram 1/48 scale F-5E Tiger II was repackaged for the Mexican market by Lodela company of Mexico.
Sometimes Mexican F-5E/F can be see armed with rocket launchers and unguided bombs for light attack or close support missions, maybe someday I will build a model armed in the light attack configuration.
Recently I decided to continue building and reviewing the different models of the very popular Warhammer battlemech from the Battletech board game, this time I chose to build House Steiner´s preferred variant, the Warhammer-9S (WHM-9s).
The main body and legs are the same as the Liao variant (WHM-4L), but the shoulder shape and weapons array are completely different.
I wanted to paint the miniature in the colors of the famous 10th Lyran Guards Regiment. The official parade colors of the 10th Guards are white and blue, but I decided to apply only white, giving the mini a “winter” camouflage scheme.
Finally I used the official decals of the 10th Lyran Guards regimental insignia, the decals are produced in the United States by Fighting Pirannha Graphics.
The Mexican Air Force or Fuerza Aerea Mexicana in Spanish has a relatively large fleet consisting of around 240 fixed wing aircrafts and 117 helicopters.
Despite having the second largest defense budget in Latin America, the Mexican Air Force is equipped mainly with Pilatus PC-7 turbo-prop aircrafts used in the training and counter insurgency roles. In recent years and because of the ongoing “war on drugs” all efforts have been focused on obtaining modern surveillance aircrafts, transports and helicopters.
The only true combat element in the Mexican Air Force inventory is the Northrop F-5E Tiger II.
Mexico ordered 10 F-5Es and 2 F-5Fs fighters in 1982 to equip 401 Air Defence Squadron based at Santa Lucia Air Base for air defense duties.
After almost 30 years of continuos service only 8 of the 10 original F-5Es remain operational, the other two were lost in accidents in 1983 and 1995. Although the fleet is near the end of its operational life, no decision has been made over its fate.
This time I decided to build the classic Monogram F-5E kit, this kit in particular has been reissued and repackaged for the Mexican market many times over the last 20 years. The tooling dates back to 1978, so the panel lines are raised, but overall the kit is still looking good, in particular the cockpit detail is impressive considering how old this kit is.
The camouflage scheme used by Mexican F-5E/Fs is very similar to that used by the USAF during the Vietnam War, the exact colors are Dark Green FS34079 , Medium Green FS34102 and Brown FS30219. The main difference being the lack of light gray underneath, with the camouflage pattern wrapping round the whole aircraft.
The tail stripes represent the colors of the Mexican national flag.
The Warhammer Battlemech is one of the most famous and well known designs in the Battletech Universe.
The original design of the Warhammer came from a Japanese animated series named Macross where it was known as the Destroid Tomahawk. In the west Macross was knows as Robotech.
After a series of legal problems regarding copyright issues of the original japanese designs it was decided by the owners of Battletech to create a new image for the Warhammer keeping the basic elements of the original design.
The new art designs of the Warhammer were first published in the Technical Readout Project Phoenix. Four different variants are described,one for each of four of the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere, Steiner, Liao, Davion and Kurita. Only House Marik lacks a new Warhammer variant.
I decided to build the variant belonging to House Liao (WHM-4L) painted in the colors of House Liao`s Red Lancers Regiment.