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gingerbob

Northrop F-20B, 1/48 Monogram

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"With sales of the F-20A taking off, Northrop naturally offered a two-seat model for conversion/ proficiency training, but also retaining combat capability. This utilized the forward fuselage structure of the F-5F, with the front cockpit especially updated to be nearly identical to that of the single-seater. Most customers bought a small number of the F-20B, along with the A."

Hi chaps,

Having floated a couple of Whif ideas, I'm now announcing my candidacy with something completely different. A trip last weekend to a model contest gave me a spare F-5F and found me in a solemn pact with a chum to each have something to enter at our "local" contest next April. It may be ambitious of me to shoot for the end of December, but we'll see what happens! I'm going to try to keep the momentum going.

Unsurprisingly, I'm not the first to think of this. Other examples Here and here. There are more.

Here's a lineup of (back to front) F-5B, F-5F, and F-20A:

DSCN9899_zpse6945542.jpg

A comparison of the main fuselage sections:

comparison_zps4ea49ca5.jpg

I'm not settled on a scheme yet, though unless someone has a better idea I'll probably do one of the ones in the Finnish Air Force (Ilmavoimat). It would be fun to do either the company demonstrator or one of NASA's chase planes, but those more complex paint jobs would only complicate matters, and I think the basic grey nicely shows off this aircraft's lines- and what lines!

Wish me luck- I'll need all the moral support I can get.

bob

Edited by gingerbob

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Welcome to the GB Bob and best of luck with this one. Should produce a particularly pleasing shape with those parts combined.

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Hello again,

Well, it has been a productive 24 hours by my modeling standards- but don't expect this pace to continue! Forgive me if I go into way too much detail in the following- you lot hardly need advice from me, but I like build narratives to actually say something about the building process (warts and all), and there's always a chance that some misguided soul will attempt to use me as a role model :mental: - err, I mean, consult this build to make their own F-20B.

First of all, if you look up at the initial shots I posted, you'll notice that the F-5F has a box molded onto the angled aft bulkhead of the cockpit. On both kits the bulkhead is slightly inset, and both have (non-matching) "rails" running up it. Also, the aft deck has a different pattern, though both are pretty much flat plates, and how the canopy hingy-thing (Northrop nomenclature) fits is different.

That box posed a problem. My plan was to follow the angle of the fuselage aft of the canopy (i.e. the bulkhead- see photo below), and then I thought I'd carve around the inside of the fuselage, so that the bulkhead would move across with the forward fuselage. The shape of the fuselage where canopy meets is a bit different, but I'd have to deal with that when I got there. The photo below gives you an idea of my amazing workshop... [but just wait 'til I get "my room", aka "Tranquility Base" finished. "Yes, dear, I'll be getting back on that project just as soon as I get this model knocked out!"]

DSCN9900.jpg

Test fit- not bad for an amateur! (The F-5F lower fuselage is temporarily used to check (and establish) alignment. And in the interests of full disclosure, I have a slight gap on the other side, which is why I'm showing you this side :devil: ) And having cut the fuselage sides, I had a new idea- why not just keep cutting right up the bulkhead, removing the box from it in the process?

firstfit.jpg

Wow, that saved an awful lot of fitting and filling! I had to carve away the rails where the box hits, which was really easy with my new XActo chisel-blade- I knew that was going to come in handy. Note: I was careful to (try to) consider which edge of the line to cut on. Then it was time to cut the fuselage bottom. I cut the back end (F-20) first, then measured about six times to hopefully get the front end cut in the right place, with the right angle, and in line with the back end... Oooohhh, here goes, I sure hope I didn't miscalculate...

firstcutdeck.jpg

It worked! I have done absolutely no fine trimming- this is just with the raw cuts. But it gets better...

sidetestcrop.jpg

You can see that the lower front is a bit deeper than the aft at the join, but I knew that would be the case, and it seemed a lot easier to cut- and blend- here than further back (the taper, looking at the belly, is different where the nose fairs into the underwing area, plus this way I could avoid messing with the area where the splitter will sit). Note- the top to bottom fit of the nose isn't as atrocious as it appears here, though it wii take some work.

splicecloseup.jpg

But look, when you put the splitter on, it nicely blocks one's view of the join and the area immediately aft- a happy accident. I wish I could say I planned it that way!

withsplitter.jpg

I am very pleased with the results thus far, and "Phase 1" can be checked off!

It may be a bit before the next update...

bob

Edited by gingerbob

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Brave move to hack up two kits in this manner but it's going very well for you. Basic shape looks great.

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Thanks Col, but one can always recycle:

blackbird.jpg

Dubbed "the poor man's F-20", RUAG's F-5E Reman program gave existing airframes uprated engines, a new avionics suite, and the improved canopy and windscreen arrangement designed for the F-20.1 Issuing the first examples to the Patrouille Suisse was a true marketing tour de force- who can forget their breathtaking performance at the Paris Air Show? (psst- anyone got spare decals?)

1. Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology Nov. 1, 2011 - online article

bob

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Hi Bob, looks good, hope you're able to make good progress by the end of the year.

Dan

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Well, I finally got to the hobby shop to get the grey for the cockpit (can you tell I'm not much of a "modern jet" guy? [Note: "Modern" to me is things like F-18, F-20... anything since then is "post-modern"!] I also made a start at opening the little intake at the base of the vertical fin, which is a test for my eyes! No crashing headache this afternoon, surprisingly...

Thanks for your support, Dan!

bob

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Well, as expected, I didn't make it! This build WILL go on, but things were just too crazy in December, and this was not a high priority. But at least you lot got me started!

bob

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Keep us updated on both the F-20B and the F-5E Remain when you get the chance Bob. A pair of great ideas that deserve to see the light of day as finished articles.

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