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OPS evolution: a Fishbed trilogy

Started by comrade harps, June 14, 2008, 06:20:34 AM

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comrade harps

OPS evolution: a Fishbed trilogy

Pt 1: Revolution Defence Cooperative OPS – JMC Fishbed C
Solo display one day, fighter the next

1 Fighter  Squadron, Royal Jordanian Air Force
King Abdullah Air Base, Jordan
5 August 1965

Neutral Jordan's first purchase of an aircraft from the Socialist Union was twenty four OPS – JMC Fishbed Cs in 1962. Equipping two squadrons based at King Abdullah Air Base near Amman, they were primarily operated in the air defence role.

When the 1965 Arab War broke out, pitting Egypt and Syria against Jordan, the Jordanian Fishbed pilots fought briefly before evacuating nine surviving aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Once there, they were grounded and quickly acquired by the USA for evaluation before being put to use as aggressor trainers. When the war ended following the United Nations' intervention, the Royal Jordanian Air Force was re-equipped with American and Canadian types, including F-5s and Mirages.

This aircraft is unusual in having its internal cannon removed and the muzzle faired over; leaving it only armed with IR guided Atoll A missiles. As flown by Colonel Abdul Ibrahim, it had been modified for use a solo display machine. When the war broke out, the Jordanian's didn't have time to add the cannon before it was urgently needed for combat duty. Nevertheless, Col. Ibrahim was able to shoot down a Syrian (Turkish built) Fluffy on the second day of the war (5 August) and the next day another pilot flying this aircraft, Lt. Tariq Omar, claimed an Egyptian (Socialist Union built) Fresco, although the latter kill has never been confirmed.

In 1984 the USA returned this aircraft to Jordan, where it was put on display at the Royal Jordanian Air Force Museum in its original colours (as seen here) from 1986.

Pt 2: Revolution Defence Cooperative OPS – PFA Fishbed E
The mount of Tunisia's first female ace

Blue 17, 3rd Escadrille, Tunisian Peoples' Defence Force
Gabes Air Base, Tunisian People's Socialist Republic
19 August, 1965

The PFA model of the OPS was designed specifically for service in North Africa, modified from the basic OPS - PFI interceptor.  The type's most intensive period of combat action occurred as a result of the 1965 Arab War, when the UN intervened on the side of Jordan and invaded Egypt, forcing the Socialist Union (SU) to come to the defence of Egypt when its government was toppled by revolutionaries.  Along the way, a leftist military coup in neutral Libya enabled the SU to use Libyan territory to bolster its position in Egypt. The UN's response included a massive series of air strikes against targets across the length of North Africa. Throughout all this, the weak state of Palestine remained neutral and offered only token resistance to each of the sides driving across its territory.

On the 19 August 1965, Combat Pilot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali  was at the controls was Blue 17 when it became entangled (along with the Blue 13) in a dogfight with a pair USAF F-109C Crusaders from the famed 8th TFW Wolf Pack. The Crusader pilots were conducting a fighter sweep ahead of an F-105 strike force when they were engaged by four Tunisian Fishbeds.  Two of the Tunisian fighters soon broke off (Blue 7 and Blue 15), leaving Blue 13 and 17 to continue the battle. The dogfight lasted for around three minutes, until Combat Pilot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Blue 17 gained the upper hand and hit the lead Crusader with an IR guided Atoll B missile. The American pilot, Maj. Gordon Ramsay, ejected and was taken prisoner; he was released in a 1983 prisoner exchange.  The other Crusader broke off and returned to base.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali  went on to become Tunisia's first female fighter ace, claiming another 3 kills in OPS – PFA Blue 17 and 23 more in other airframes. She achieved the rank of Division Leader, but retired after receiving major injuries during a UN air raid in 1976, going on to become the Chair of the National Union of Tunisian Women.

Pt 3: Revolution Defence Cooperative/Mistral Aviation OPS – UGP Fishbed P
Limited edition African ace

White 22, Mistral International People's University Expeditionary Escadrille
Wadi Halfi B, Sudan Liberated Zone
26 November 1980

In 1975, Syria severed its connections with the SU, in the process cancelling an order for 75 OPS – BIS Fishbed Ms. These aircraft were already in assembly and now without a customer. To the Mistral People's University (MPU), this was an opportunity for its own aviation research and development programmes. Airframes and components were taken to MPU's Mistral Aviation Institute (MAI), where 43 were built to a variety of configurations, including 45 as the combat ready  – UGP model with new radar, glass cockpit and other improvements. Capable of using the IR and SARH Apex missile, the UPG was used by MPU's own reservist fighter escadrilles. From 1978, 16 were deployed to Almaza in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula for frontline operations.

When the UN abandoned its African members to their own devices in mid-1980, they quickly succumbed to Red uprisings. As the UN's position crumbled, the Red Army made its move across the natural defence barrier of the Sahara, capturing several sub-Saharan airbases as a prelude to a massive airlift. With this, the Mistral's upgraded Fishbeds moved to the satellite airfield of Wadi Halfi B in Sudan, primarily to provide local air defence.
Before this deployment the aircraft received new colours, as various African revolutionary national markings replaced those of the Red International Escadrilles. White 22 wore the markings of revolutionary Djibouti. Most of the MPU's personnel were from Africa.

The airlift into Sudan did not go without receiving attention, both the A and B airfields at Wadi Halfi coming under continual African UN air attacked for over two weeks. During this time, pilots flying White 22 engaged in several successful air combats.  Combat Pilot Leader  Tafese Tesfaye (from Ethiopia) shot down a Sudanese EMB.326K on 23rd November (with Aphid) and an Ethiopia Mirage F1.E on the 24th (with Apex). Combat Pilot Daoud Wais (from Djibouti)  shot down two Sudanese A-4Ms on the 26th (both Aphid), an Ethiopian A-37C on the 28th (with Aphid) and a Kenyan F-4E on 5th September (with Apex) .On 3rd September  Combat Pilot Leader Rebecca Lolosoli (from Kenya) bagged a Sudanese EMB.326K (with guns) and a Kenyan Jaguar SK on the 4th (with Aphid).

On the 14 January, 1981, six OPS-UGPs were handed over to the Revolutionary Defence Council of Djibouti, including White 22. In 1983, a further 8 followed with 6 more in 1985.  The nine surviving –UPGs were retired from Djibouti service in 2003. Mistral Aviation went on to produce several more successful Fishbed upgrade programs through to the mid 1990s.



Dude, you seriously need to give out the FS numbers on the camo of that last Fishbed, it looks SWEEET! *feels warm n fuzzy*

I'm guessing in your alternative history Israel doesnt exist, right?

Shas 8)
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- Bud S.

Brian da Basher

Those are some crackerjack camo schemes that I find incredibly inspiring, Comrade Harps!
Brian da Basher

Eddie M.

You've definately got the eye for camo patterns. Mine's like trying to hide an elephant in the middle of a field of snow. ;D
Look behind you!


These are great! beautiful camo! :thumbsup:

"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality." -Jules de Gaultier

"My model is right! It's the real world that's wrong!" -global warming scientist

An armor guy, who builds airplanes almost exclusively, that he converts to space fighters-- all while admiring ship models.


Comrade , excellent. :thumbsup: Not only superb build ups but an intriguing backstory , very interesting :wub: The painting is superior. How did you do them  :huh: did you mask and if so how. :bow:
I amuse me.
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You paint jobs are always impressive.

Nice set of Migs :wub:
Get this Cheese to sick bay!

comrade harps

QuoteDude, you seriously need to give out the FS numbers on the camo of that last Fishbed

White 22 has Model Master Sand FS: 33531 on the undersurfaces. On the uppers and sides, it's a combo of Tamiya Buff, Humbrol Matt 72 Khaki Drill, Humbrol 121 Pale Stone FS:33531, Humbrol 28 Camouflage Grey FS:36622 and Humbrol 118 US Tan FS:30219.

I've been playing and exploring desert/arid camos for a few years now. This one just went sick, partly inspired the bark patterns on some kinds of gum trees!

These Fishbeds represent different approaches, simple and broad, complex and detailed, high and low contrast. I think I'm working my way to something really pale.

QuoteI'm guessing in your alternative history Israel doesnt exist, right?

In 1950, with the UN distracted by the Red Army and revolutionaries rampaging through Western Europe, neutral Egypt, Jordan and Syria sucessfully invaded Isreal to create the state of Palestine. I have some models for that too: an Egyptian DH Hornet recce bird and an Israeli MC 205 Veltro. Would love some Palestine decals.

QuoteHow did you do them   did you mask and if so how.

No masking, just patient, careful free hand painting with a brush. Don't look too close!


The kits,  all 1:72nd btw, are:

Fishbed C: Academy MiG-21F -  I got it for just $10 at the Victorian Hobby Centre a few years back. The cannon really is faired over!

Fishbed E: Fujimi MiG-21PF/PFL - The really nice and detailed model amongst this trio. Purchased at the 2007 Melbourne Model Expo for quite a bit more than $10.

Fishbed P: Kondor MiG-21-93 - Would work for India's Bison upgrade. Really basic, but with a good selection of modern weapons and pylons, but the Apex and Aphid are from a Dragon Soviet AAM kit (the Kondor box comes with Adder and AMRAAMSKI). The drop tank is a Fujimi spare because the Kondor original was a fit tragic. I got it for just $10 at the Victorian Hobby Centre last year.

Thanks for the positive feedback. I thought you'd go for these.

It's good to share.



I know this is What If, but what's the "Fluffy" mentioned in the first post?  As mentioned thusly:

Nevertheless, Col. Ibrahim was able to shoot down a Syrian (Turkish built) Fluffy
"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky."-Alan Moore

comrade harps

QuoteI know this is What If, but what's the "Fluffy" mentioned in the first post?  As mentioned thusly:

Nevertheless, Col. Ibrahim was able to shoot down a Syrian (Turkish built) Fluffy

Fluffy is the ASSC reporting name for the Liberation Defence Association (LDA) AGI fighter/bomber. An AGI-FME Fluffy J flown by the 6944 (Bulgarian) Eskradrille in 1972 is posted here: http://www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php/topic,17463.0/highlight,fluffy.html

Thankyou for your inquiring mind.

John Howling Mouse

Three gorgeous models for the price of a single post-----I love it.  Thanks for sharing the paint numbers, etc.
I'm going to go look up some equivalents as this post was definitely inspirational.

:thumbsup: :wub:
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.


All three are nice but man #3 (African Ace) is just straight up bad donkey!  :wub:
Jeff G.
Stumbling through life.


Will die without understanding this world.


Fully agree with all the rest, these are some killer cammos, but the third one blows the rest totally away!! Personally I think it is one of the best cammo schemes I have ever seen. I wish I had one tentrh of your painting talent.
If you love, love without reservation; If you fight, fight without fear - THAT is the way of the warrior

If you go into battle knowing you will die, then you will live. If you go into battle hoping to live, then you will die


Comrade, these are the most beautiful and live-colored fishbeds I've ever seen.

I really admire your patient approach to painting camos. Even looking closely, I can hardly find a wavering or imperfection.

I can only imagine you crosslegged, Zen-like with a brush in one hand and your model in the other, reciting a paint-time mantra.

I bow before you.

Understood only by fellow Whiffers....
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