Photos above by Palle Nørby Christensen, Patrice Dochain og RDAF (thanks!!)
While the Challenger competition was still in motion, Fighter Wing Skrydstrup announced that they too was looking for a new paint scheme for the tail of two of their F-16s. This time however, all suggestions should be submitted to the Fighter Wing themselves, and they would choose the one they liked the most. I have to admit, thet the prospect of doing two paint schemes in one year, was very appealing for me, so I jumped right on it.
Fighter Wing Skrydtrup didn´t offer any leads to what they were looking for, so this being a “anything goes” assignment, I figured that it would be a matter of get some suggestions down, and throw everything I had at the Fighter Wing. So, I decided to make a few different styles, and hope they would pick up on one of them. One thing I tried to avoid was doing something similar to what I did on the 2016 F-16…so no Viking themes this time!
The deadline was a little tight, but i got a few clues that the Fighter Wing was looking for something that would clearly label the aircraft as being Danish. An obvious choice would be to start off with Red and White…so thats what I did. My main idea with suggestion 1 was to mix the danish flag with a head of a Falcon (for obvious reasons). I knew the paint scheme would be applied with foil, so gradients and small details was no problem (Not disregarding the abilities of the painters, but it´ll no doubt be very time consuming to do for a painter). For some reason I felt a burst of creativity while doing this one, so I tried adding a few red and white colorations around the aircraft. The result came out like what you see below. I personally like this suggestion quite a lot, but for some reason it lacks a “danish-feel” although i can´t put my finger on what it is.
For the next suggestion I figured it should be one that looked a bit into the future. I got the inspiration from the officer behind the initiative to decorate the Lynx in 2017 (see elsewhere on this site). I thought it sounded liek a great idea, so tried working on something that was different from my initial suggestion. The RDAF recently have decided to replace their F-16s with F-35, so why not commemorate that. I decided to try the mixing of flat and gloss black, with a silver F-16 and F-35 as a center piece. To get a bit of color in there, the leading edge should be painted Red. The result came out like this
For my next suggestion I wanted to go for something graphically very rigid. My thoughts were on super sonic shockwaves, when I started doddling with tapering lines starting at the bottom of vertical stabilizers leading edge. I wanted abit of a 3D effect so i tried adding lines of different shades of the same color. As the vertical stabilizer was covered with lines, the idea to make them red appeared, and from there adding a while stripe down the middle wasn´t far behind. In order to make this look “danish”, a perpendicular line had to be added too. If i told you how many tries it took to get this line in a way i liked, you would think I am be lying (upwards of 20). The very last touch was to add the 730 FS bull to the post side and the 727 FS hammer on the starbord side. This one became my favorite of the five suggestions I made, since I really liked the idea of the tail would look different when seen up close, rather than from a far. Suggestion #3 looked like this:
The fourth suggestion I had already written off from the get go, but I simply couldn´t help myself from including that one in the batch too. The RDAF was established in 1950 and among their first aircraft were Supermarines famous Spitfire. The Danish Spitfires were painted in a Grey/Green camo scheme (i believe the the same as the ones used by the RAF…correct me if im wrong). I figured, what better way to celebrate the Air Force´s 70th birthday (a few year early), than by painting a F-16 in a retro camo scheme, similar to that worn by the Danish Spirfires?. This was the result. I still firmly believe that should this every become a reality, it would look extremely cool 🙂
As deadline was approaching, I was working on the very last suggestion. For the most part I was trying to do a paint scheme that was as different from what i had done previously. This time around I wanted to do a torn flag and put the squadron logos behind the flag. Seen in retrospect, had I more time to work on this one I would have reworked the flag. However, time was short so the suggestion came out like this:
All five suggestions when off to Fighter Wing Skrydstrup. It didn´t take the Wing long to get back with the result: Suggestion three was a winner. Needless to say, I was pretty pleased with that decision. Once more I would see my design on a RDAF F-16…how cool is that ?!? This design was applied to the tail of E-601 and E-607, and was displayed at Danish Air Show 2018 in Aalborg.
Now if you have read the story so far (i doubt any will 🙂 ) its time to reveal a little secret: On all the designs I have done so far, I´ve added a little “bulletprof moustache” of Col. Olds fame. If you ever come up close to one of them see if you can find it. I´ve added the moustaches as a inconspicuous way for me to add a little “protection charm” on the aircraft…So far it seems to have worked as none of the aircraft that have featured my designs have ever gotten into harms way 🙂
On this aircraft however the bottom 30-40 cm of the design was chopped off, and thereby these two lost their Moustaches too.