AFV Club 1:48 F-5E Tiger II 684, Bahrain Amiri Air Force

The Story

The Bahraini Amiri Air Force was very much a fledgling air force when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The BAAF had began operations in 1977 and received its first fixed wing combat aircraft, the F-5E, in 1986. Just months prior to Iraq invading Kuwait, Bahrain began receiving the F-16C Falcon. Being a fledgling air force posed a problem for the BAAF because their pilots lacked operational experience. To help, there was Mike "Saint" Bellygone. Saint had left the US Air Force to be an F-5E instructor pilot with the BAAF. Although he was a civilian, he was asked by the commander of the BAAF to help get them started with their combat operations. Saint flew as flight lead on their first combat mission and as Bahraini pilots gained experience he flew as number three and then number four. By the end of the war, Saint had flown 21 sorties. During the war, BAAF F-5E aircraft would bomb targets in the KTO while BAAF F-16C Falcons would provide escort or fly Defensive CAP. The BAAF F-5E force would fly 126 combat sorties without loss. After the war, Lt. Gen. Horner, the CENTAF commander, would pin medals onto the chest of twenty-two proud Bahraini pilots. At the back of the room stood Saint, watching with pride as the pilots he trained were awarded their medals.

The Kit

The AFV kit is a nice simple kit to build with very little fit issues. Aside from weapons, the only extra addition I made to the kit was to include a pilot figure. For load-out, I used a MER and five Mk82 bombs from the Hasegawa Weapons Set, the kit AIM-9 missiles, and two centerline fuel tanks placed under the wings. Painting was easy as Bahraini F-5E fighters are a single overall gray; I used Gunze Sangyo Light Ghost Gray for mine. Decals are from the Isradecal IAF-84 Middle East F-5 Tiger II sheet.