At least year's new year meeting of the local IPMS chapter our
host set us the challenge to come up with some representation, plastic or otherwise, of an
aircraft that never flew in KLU colours, in KLU markings. As an incentive, he offered a 50% discount on
any kit from his shop we'd care to use for the purpose.
I could never resist a nice fat discount, so naturally I started looking for a subject. At some point
I realised that the Skyhawk had at some time been a candidate for purchase by the KLU, and as I just
so happen to like SkyHawks, I got carried away, rushed over to the stash, and started building. After
two evenings of tinkering, it finally occurred to me that there was also a discount kit involved in this
somewhere, and went over to the shop to claim one. I hope they don't consider me a cheat when they find
out the kit I used is not the kit I bought..
The kit I'm actually building for this meeting is the Esci product shown. Although by no means a modern, state of the art kit, it is quite nicely done, with most panel detail finely engraved. Detail is limited, but sufficient, especially considering that this is a conjectural subject; many of the finer details would probably have been different had some variant of the Skyhawk ever entered service around here. The only things open for some improvement are cockpit detail (just about non-existant), and the plastic, which is the horrible metallic grey junk popular at the time the kit was produced.
I never had the decals that are supposed to go with this kit (one of the reasons I selected it for this project), but an Italeri F-5A also in the stash was just a bit off guard, and had it's decals stolen. F-16 makings would have been more appropriate, given the timeframe and the fact that the serial numbers used on that type might have ended up on Skyhawks had those been selected instead, but the size of the markings is also a concern, and the F-16 is rather a lot bulkier.
Shortly after starting the kit, my modelling activities were pushed to the background by other hobbies and necessaties, and it is now 2008-01-10. In the finest possible tradition of building for an event, I'm now desperately short on time. With just ten days to go until the event, I have the kit mostly assembled, and should have it ready for priming by tomorrow. If I can stay properly obsessive until next week, I should be able to finish in time.
Wheee! I made it. The kit was ready in time with almost a day to spare. Airbrushing went well, with only minimal amouts of paint being torn off by the masking take. All damage was in difficult to see locations, but I was nevertheless greatly relieved to note that the Xtracrylics paint used was a perfect colour match to itself when touched up with a normal brush. The roundels from the F-5A looked ridiculously small on the Skyhawk, so I replaced them with roundels from an F-16 after all.