Fujimi 1/72 Alpha Jet 'Oldenburger Kolibri' 25yrs JaBo G.43

Alpha Jet, side view (44.7KB)

Introduction

Back in the 80ies a lot of German Luftwaffe and Marineflieger squadrons celebrated their anniversaries by painting one of their aircraft in bright colors. In Germany these brightly colored birds are called "Kolibri's". The results varied from downright awful to quite pretty looking with even some true works of art.

Advanced Strike Training Squadron JaBo G.43, based at Oldenburg, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1984 by painting one of their Alpha Jets (Werke nr. 0044, 40+44) in a very attractive scheme. When I saw an in-flight picture of this vividly painted Alpha Jet in the German aviation magazine Flug Revue (nr.12/1985), I knew I just had to do an Alpha Jet model in that very color scheme.
An additional picture can be found in the book 'Fighter Meet' by C.J. van Gent (Airlife Publ. ISBN 1-85310-198-2). I copied this picture here.

The actual JaBo G.43 Alpha Jet 40+44 in Jubilee scheme, (c) C.J. van Gent (48KB)

A brief description of this JaBo G.43 color scheme with some color pictures and a useful set of 1/72nd scale drawings can be found in the German magazine Modell Fan nr.5/1986. These drawings also contain details and dimensions of the special emblems painted on belly and tailfin and of most of the service markings.

Construction

I started off with a Revell Germany rebox of Fujimi's Alpha Jet (kit nr.4334). This Fujimi kit has some weird flaws, but it comes with a great set of decals (of which I only used the service markings).
Major flaws in the kit are:

Alpha Jet, low angle rear view showing flap guides (20.4KB) Another thing to keep in mind is that in most Alpha Jet kits, including this one, the wing pylons come molded together with the flap guides. If you don't want to fit the pylons, be sure to cut the triangular flap guides off of the rear end of each pylon and fit the guides to the wings.

The gun pod covers up most of the missing concave shape of the center fuselage so I only corrected the part forward of the pod.


During final assembly I noticed that the main landing gear legs were not strong enough to hold the weight of the aircraft, causing the legs to bend and the wheels to pick up a lot of negative camber (the wheels should be nearly vertical) but it was too late to do anything about that. This may have contributed to the 4mm by which I had to shorten the nose leg to get the model to sit right.

Small Details

Alpha Jet, close up of nose (43.1KB) Alpha Jet, close up of main landing gear (37.3KB) Alpha Jet, top view (96.3KB)

Painting and Decals

After fixing all the flaws, I sprayed on a base coat of Tamiya Acrylic flat white and mixed the blue (RAL 5012) out of Polly-S PF30 and PF31. The other colors used for the wings and tail planes were also by Polly-S with Revell 46 NATO Olive (RAL 7013) for the upper halves of the drop tanks.
The armoured center section of the windshield was painted clear blue using an old unstirred bottle of Pactra X-13 Metallic Blue enamel, taking care not to pick up any metallic particles on the brush. After that the same paint was stirred properly and used to paint the body of the ejection seat.
The landing gear was painted with Humbrol 56 Aluminum with Humbrol 11 Silver details and the gun barrel with Pactra enamel XF-56 Gun Metal.

Alpha Jet, bottom view (40.5KB)

In the meantime, Heller released their Alpha Jet kit with a set of decals for this very aircraft, thereby solving my problem of finding the one-off emblems for lower fuselage and tailfin.
The twist with the aircraft as depicted here is that it was used on ground attack training missions whilst wearing this scheme, hence the olive green drop tanks and the gun pod. The drop tanks have the lower halves painted blue instead of the usual grey and the gun pod is blue overall.
The triangular flap guides are painted black (inboard guides) or red (outboard guides) whilst the wing pylons are blue overall.

If you want to do an Alpha Jet in this color scheme too, save yourself a lot of work and find the Heller kit (cat. nr. 80205) but beware: the red and black color patches on the decals for the lower wings (nrs 10 and 11) have been reversed !
The Heller painting guide (which was based on the Modell Fan drawings) shows the colors right, but you have to paint the red and black patches yourself to get the scheme right.

Date finished: May 4, 1993.

Alpha Jet, low angle shot (43.6KB)


Paints used
upper fuselageRAL 9001 WhiteTamiya XF-2 Flat White
flying surfacesRAL 1007 YellowPolly S PF40 Yellow
flying surfacesRAL 3000 RedPolly S PF20 Fire Red
flying surfacesRAL 9011 BlackPolly S PF10 Night Black
(lower) fuselageRAL 5012 Light Blue2x Polly S PF30 Blue + 7x PF31 Sea Blue
upper halves drop tanksRAL 7013 OliveRevell 46 NATO Oliv
canopy framesgrey puttyHumbrol 64 Matt Light Grey
armoured windshieldclear bluePactra enamel X-13 Metallic Blue (not stirred)
ejection seatblue metallicPactra enamel X-13 Metallic Blue
landing gear legsaluminumHumbrol 56 Aluminum
engine exhausts and gun barrelmetallic greyPactra enamel XF-56 Gun Metal
tires and intake walkways--Humbrol 32 Matt Dark Grey
intake leading edgesSemi-Gloss BlackHumbrol 85 Coal Black
overall clear coat--Polly-S PF70 Gloss Finish
accentuated recesses--drawing pencil (0,3mm HB)

References


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