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Tiger Hobbies 1:48 Northrop F5a

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I returned to the hobby app 18 months ago, and have completed a number of models in that time but this is my first WIP, so please bear with me.

I have always liked the slim elegant shape of the Northrop F5 Freedom Fighter, it has the appearance of speed whilst stationary, and this along with its varied schemes and ordanance give it huge modelling appeal.

Recently I had a few days holiday whilst SHMBO did not, and decided to indulge myself with a fast uninterupted build of the Trumpeter T38. I completed it in just two and a half days, thoroughly enjoyed the kit and love the finished article. This led to me deciding to do an F5a to acompany it, and to build as a quickie alongside my more serious Hasegawa skyhawk. A fleabay search uncovered a cheap option in the Tiger Hobbies release of the canceled Tan models kit. I researched this kit and found very little info - but what I did find sounded good for the asking price of £9.99 inc postage.

So hear goes:

sprue shots etc.


The kit comes in a sturdy white box with basic labels attached.





Inside are just three grey sprues and one clear with...


... a cracking looking (?) decal sheet, inc. lots of stencils...


... and an instruction sheet and paint guide.


Assembly is covered in just 7 very simple steps, though the clarity does make this more interesting...lol


the paint guide is very basic, with just generic colour names and a very "busy" decal guide.


Quality of the plastic and detail is mixed, the plastic is quite and brittle, and engraving is deep and soft, kind of reminds me of some of the not so good Airfix kits in its appearance but then again some of those can be turned into good display items with a little work ..... we will see....... One interesting (read as -confusing, and a possible problem) are the sprue attachments, some of these ar large and the numbers are...... mad. One wing has three normal looking gates the other has ELEVEN!!!! and some of these could be awkward with the brittle plastic.



overal first impressions are -for £9.99 inc- good, though even I can see that this kit is likely to be an "impression" of an F5a, rather than a mm perfect scale copy. As I said "... we will see..."

I have got quite a lot further than this in the last week, just need to upload the images etc...


Edited by Blueskippy
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I remembering when this kit was first announced. So Tanmodels made the mould but never release them? And they come out under a different brand? Color me puzzled.

When i cut parts from the sprues, if i don't trust the plastic, i make a notch on one side first, and then make the cut from the opposte side. This way the plastic doesn't rip or split as the blade pushes it forward while exiting. Otherwise, if there's enough space, a photoetched blade (always pull blades, never push them, and they'll last forever).

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This build is a bit of light relief in-between bouts on my Skyhawk (got a good deal on fleabay which included an aires cockpit and some aftermarket decals) so it will be OOB except seatbelts and maybe a couple of missiles.

The kit is still giving and taking: fuselage join is very good (check out the size of those sprue gates) ...


whereas the join on the belly islike the grand canyon. but nothing a dump truck of filler cant solve! lol


the cockpit is sparse but with a little paint and drybrushing it is passsable.....ish.... from a distance!


wing joints are fine, just a swip of filler and minimal rescribing...


and eventually.....



the canopy is a superb fit, just a little cleanup of the gates and it drops right on, pity its about half an inch thick, though it is very clear, and has no distortion.

Next up PAINT.

actually enjoying this


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And so to paint


A quick spray of the trusty Halfords rattle can...


Followed by pre-shading...


Vallejo Model Air grey lightly misted onto the bottom, followed by post-shading with a lightened version.


Same processs with a dark tan...


...then a light green...


... and finally a dark green!


The exhausts are humbrol enamel metalcote steel (a superb and easy to use product) desperately trying to hide the true LOW spot on this model!

For a cheap, and varied quality model it is not looking toooooo shabby, and is really enjoyable

More soon


Edited by Blueskippy
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Very nice plane. And thanks for describing on how you do the build with the kit. I've had the kit in my hand mutiple times but despite the low price I doubted whether this could turn out in a good model. Thanks to your post, the will be added to my stash :).

One thing is the wingtip pods. I've looked at yours mutiple times, compared them with real F-5 pods but there is something odd with the shape of Tiger one, either too thick on the end or something else. Still haven't figured what it could be...

Cheers. Evert

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Next update:

Thanks for your comment Evert, it is a fun model - but I am unsure as to its accuracy, the panel lines look a little " generic" and details a little soft, I agree about the tip tanks they look quite a bit too curved and bulbous at the front!

Wheel wells sprayed and clear coat on for decaling...



Decals are comprehensive, and under a magnifyer all stencils are readable..


The decals act flawelessly, and settle with minimal help from microset/sol... the original Tan decal sheet was Cartograf, and though I am not sur,e these are the same or aat least of the similar quality.


one issue is the weapons pylons, all five are supplied but only three drop tanks included. The pylons have no detail on their bottom surfaces, so a load for the outside pylons is needed......


I am pretty sure that "jdams" are incorrect, but at the moment the spares stash is limited, and as has been mentioned before, this is not an exercise in accuracy. lol

More soon


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This is going to be my final "progress post" on my first WIP. It isn't completely finished, but the last few touches will be shown in my first "Ready for Inspection" which will be posted later in the week or at the weeekend. Still to be done are the wing lights which are drilled out ready for some tinted gloss varnish - as the "pimples" that were on the wings were NOT subtle. Also the formation light in the tail is yet to be added along with the nose pitot. then a little weathering and we can call it done.

Overall I am pleased with the results - it looks like a Freedom fighter, and the scheme (if not totaly accurate) is effective.

The panel wash is a little heavy, due to the depth and width of the panel lines but from a distance I think it looks good. I have thorougly enjoyed this model, and can really recommend it as a fun build......



The basic cockpit looks good with a little drybrushing....


The decals worked flawlessly, and look the part.




And alongside my Trumpeter Talon.



Thanks for looking,, see you in "Ready for Inspection"


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