Updated: August 10, 2007
In the mid 60s of the last century, the European nations realized they did not have enough capital to develop too many aircraft types independently. This was particularly true for the British, who were struggling to keep pace with the Cold War.
In a joint venture with the French, they built a simple, straightforward strike plane called Jaguar, which still serves with some foreign nations, although it has been pulled out of service with the Armée de l'Air and RAF. It was a conventional, unremarkable plane that served for some thirty years, without excelling in any particular role.
As a model, it was particularly fun to build. It had a number of interesting details, like the extensive ECM equipment, which British so much preferred over normal weapons (since they mainly used Jaguar for recce duties), and the air brakes doubling behind the main landing gear.
But the most appealing element was the camouflage, of course. At first, I had the option of painting the model in the Gulf War colors, a devastatingly boring monotone sand, with the bonus of overwing pylons for AIM-9 Sidewinders, or the standard European green and gray. But then, I found a picture of a Jaguar at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk, beautifully painted in winter camouflage - white specked with green and gray. Without a doubt, this is what I chose.
I did improvise a bit, as usual. The cockpit was not supposed to be open, nor were the air brakes. I used bits of plastic from the frames holding the parts and shaped them into hydraulic actuators for both the canopy and the brakes. The model was made in 1/72 scale by Italeri, with a pleasantly high level of precision.
This is a RAF Coltishall Jaguar, armed with two underwing drop tanks, ECM equipment on the outer wing pylons, and a recce pod on the centerline.
You must admit the winter camouflage is dead sexy.
I am very proud of the air brakes, seen below from various angles. The spots on the brake panels really add a nice touch, don't they.
Not to bested by the limitations o the model, I painted the seat belts as well as all the tiny instrumentation inside the cockpit, which, alas, I lack the picture to show and brag.
Don't forget the ECM pods.
The exhausts are also quite interesting.
Below, you can see the full array of equipment for a typical recce mission, as well as the details of the cockpit seat and the large HUD.
Jaguar has a very pleasing line, despite the conventional design.
Finally, here's a comparison of two very similarly painted aircraft, suited for two completely different ages and climates: the star from the previous article Hs-129, in desert sand with dark green leopard spots, and Jaguar, suited for the cold North-European winters.