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1/72 NASA T-38 canopy question

Michael Morris

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I'm looking to build a mini diorama of a NASA astronaut climbing into his/her T-38 jet with ground crew in the scene as well.  I'd like to keep the whole thing small, do I'm opting for 1/72 scale.  I'm on the look out for an example of Hasagawa's venerable old kit as a base for the display 


with the company's US pilot and ground crew kit to flesh out the scene.  

I'd like the scene to show the pilot actually entering the plane, so I want to have the canopy open.  The Hasagawa model doesn't have this option.  Do here are my question - 

Does anyone make an aftermarket opening canopy for a T-38 in 1/72 scale? If not, what would be the best way to cut the clear part on the kit?

Before anyone suggests, just do the diorama in 1/48 and use the Trumpeter or Wolfpack T-38 kits - I don't have the room to display it, hence why I want to do it in 1/72.


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As others have stated many times before, you can get there from the Hasegawa kit, but it would take a lot of work since the kit is actually of an F-5B, and a rather ancient kit that has not aged well.  Lots of work would be needed in the cockpit and that is in addition to the changes to make it a T-38.  Best to look for the Sword kit of the T-38 since that is what it actually represents.



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Sword made the only real T-38 in 1/72 scale, and that kit came with canopies that could be assembled open. Problem would be to find one as the kit has been OOP for several years and is not easy to find.

Alternatively I believe that the F-5B canopy remained the same of the T-38 so you could look for an Esci/Italeri F-5B and use the canopy from that kit. I would have to check if the canopy also remained the same on the F-5F, in such a case Italeri may sell you a spare from their kit of this variant.


If you want to cut the part yourself, cutting a canopy needs patience and care but it's not too difficult. The way I do it is by using a good quality thin saw (I have one from CMK but there are others). To better mark the cut line, I apply strips of electric insulation tape each side of where the saw will have to cut and then cover the rest of the canopy with masking tape, to avoid damage in case the saw slips. The insulation tape works well because it can be stretched to cover curved lines with no problem. It's thickenss also helps keeping the saw on the cut line.

Then it's a matter of cutting, taking care not to "squeeze" the canopy in the process as this could damage the part. Some pack the inside with blu-tack or similar stuff to avoid the problem but cutting through this can be a mess.. In any case, as said before, care and patience and the parts will separate nicely

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53 minutes ago, Michael Morris said:

Sorry but I'd avoid that.   If you can't get the Sword T-38, or the Esci/Italeri F-5B then stick with converting the Hasegawa.  It's not too hard to make a passable T-38 from it.



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50 minutes ago, Michael Morris said:


A few very rough plastic parts, clearly based on the Hasegawa kit. Inaccurate and badly moulded, IMHO not worth the hassle even if they can be found cheap.

I had one for a while as it was part of a batch bought at a flea market, sold it for £4 and I still feel I robbed the buyer of £4...

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