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1/48 scale Monogram "What If"
CF-20N Tigershark

by Bob Aikens

 

CF-20N Tigershark



ProModeler's 1/48 scale Ar 234C is available online from Squadron

 

FirstLook

 

Here is my old 1/48 scale Monogram F-20 Tigershark. I am sure that there are a lot of these 'dead-end' kits in collections everywhere.

When I think about stuff like this, I get the same sort of feeling as when I see usually out in the countryside somewhere, a derelict baseball field or an overgrown soccer pitch. I guess it's a sort of nostalgic sadness for lost fun and kids running and playing on those fields. It also reminds me that in certain ways I haven't changed a lot since I was a little boy-modeling is one of the things that represents a sort of chain of connectivity with that little person. It's a chain that I am loath to break. In a way it's sort of like "the Picture of Dorian Gray', but in reverse- a place where the best of one can go to dwell and prosper, not the worst, as in Wilde's chilling allegory. But I digress...

 



The Fighting Fish once thought to be extinct and a dead end of modeling evolution is beginning to reappear. Only in December it emerged on 'Plastic Pix' as David V.'s F-20 Navy Aggressor with Two Bob's decals. Some plastic head scientists now believe that this once fossilized form may be rising from the stashes (someone stop me before I pun again !)

This presentation has it appearing as a "What-if/Figurez-vous' CF-20; i.e. what if Canada had acquired Northrop's very capable digital jet instead of the F-18 Hornet.

The kit was issued by Monogram in 1986. I bought one then and remember well mixing up my own metallic concoction to represent the BMW Ascot Gray finish on N44671. Twenty years passed until the mysterious links in the 'chain of chance' began to fall into place once more. If a week is a long time in politics then 20 years in modeling time might mysteriously morph into a mere 10 minutes or so...

A local modeling friend and F-5 aficionado had done up Hasegawa's 1/72 kit in Canadian markings and low-viz grays and it looked quite nice. Thus the seed was planted and I snatched up the Mono kit locally for a mere $ 13.00 Cdn. I smiled inwardly knowing that I had the old (1991) Arrow Graphics CF-18 sheet. Nations and planets might rise and fall-I was going to finally use those decals !

However in the late summer of '05, even before I actually had the kit, I did a digital mock-up of CF-20 (see image) using the old instruction sheet that with near prodigious foresight I had saved. Thus encouraged, I was determined to proceed.

 

 

People like Bill Gates must have begun like this.

 

 

Construction

 

The kit is very basic in style, similar to the earlier F-5E. The challenges lie in seam-line elimination as it features top-to-bottom sections for the forward fuselage and a rather odd insertion of the tail section (see illustration scans).

Some blending work must also be done on the jet intake sections.

 

 

After initial puttying and sanding, Gunze's Mr. Surfacer 1000 was quite helpful covering the rear seaming.
 

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

I painted the topsides with Pactra Acrylic Enamel A 37 Flat Medium Gray FS 35237 (Imagine how long that had been sitting around !) The bottom got AeroMaster Light Ghost Gray 36375. The Pactra paint was thinned with Tamiya acrylic thinner for spraying and gave an eggshell-type lustre to this flat paint.Other than masking off for a false canopy the painting was rather easy.

There are probably many Canadian modelers who know these early Arrow Graphics (Cdn. subjects) very well-the decal film is certainly thin enough, but you have to cut out each marking individually as they're not separated on the sheet. So even if you're using a fresh blade you can create 'edges' .

An extra glossy surface seemed to be a good idea so I began by using a unfamiliar product - Testor's Glosscote Laquer. It has a fine, almost water-like consistency and sprays on beautifully even. But it seemed that in order to really gloss up my rather dull paint job, it would have taken a half-pint of the stuff. My model was now in a semi-gloss state, but was smooth, dry and hard. Cautiously I carried on with Future applying 3 or 4 light coats. This worked well and I got good glossy surface. When the decaling was semi-dry I applied Future with a fine brush on and around the decaling to try and eliminate the offending 'edges'.

 



The only other notable thing in the overall construction of this kit would be the removal and retro-fit of the intake 'splitter' plates. This was done to ease working on the long seam lines down the front fuselage sides.

The finished model got a True Details ACES II seat, a couple of ECM bumps and a VHF antenna. It represents an aircraft from 425 'Alouette' Sqdn. based at Bagotville, Quebec.

The panel lines (Ah, yes, the panel lines); most of these fine raised lines were eliminated during construction. I replaced most of them with the use of a hard pencil (7H) while the model surface was still in a matt condition.
It should also be noted that even a car modeler with an instruction sheet before him could see that I have installed the front landing gear backwards.. this is indeed a humbling hobby.



 

Conclusion

 

Sure, this whole item has a rather whimsical tone-that's just how serious stuff turns out sometimes. But I'd like to finish on a more sober note; F-20 GI-1001 crashed during a practice demonstration at Goose Bay , in the northern part of the province where I live, 14 May 1985. It was to have performed at the Paris Air Show that June. The curious viewer can find the full accident report at F-20 Tigershark Home Page...it is compelling, but grim reading- a sort of testimony to the power of even quite clinical forensics to hold the attention of this fantasy pilot.
 

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright 2006 by Bob Aikens
Page Created 06 February, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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