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Mike

Northrop F-5E Tiger II

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Northrop F-5E Tiger II



1:48 AFV Club

boxtop.jpg

The F-5 was originally designed as a light-weight fighter, and served in large numbers with the US air forces as a supersonic trainer, and latterly as an aggressor aircraft for dissimilar combat training exercises due to its flight performance being very similar to the then most likely foe, the Mig 21.

The Tiger II was the next generation of this handsome fighter, and was popular with the western allies both as a trainer and as a light fighter, its original intended purpose.

When the test shots of this kit arrived on the internet forums it created a lot of buzz, as the only previously available mainstream kits were from Monogram & ESCI, and the moulds are somewhat dated by today's standards.

The top-opening box contains 2 full sprues, plus 5 smaller sprues, the main fuselage as a separate item, a sprue of clear parts, decals, instructions and for no apparent reason, a glossy reproduction of the box art. The final item, hidden in the decal sheet bag is a small fret of photo-etched metal, which provides some fine louvers and a front sill to the cockpit with mirrors built in.

The moulding of the sprues is very nice, and the modular nature of construction makes it perfectly plain that there will be other versions, and AFV Club would be crazy not to have taken advantage of the opportunity to fully tap the market in that respect. Of course, careful test-fitting will be required to ensure that the modularity doesn't trip you up, but the end result will be worth the effort - especially when you think of the 2-seater that will hopefully be along soon.

The cockpit is nicely detailed, with 3D panels and side consoles for the modeller to paint and detail. Alternative parts are provided for extended canopy jacks, to allow you to pose the canopy open without any fuss, scratch-building or fragile glue-joints.

sprue2.jpg

Moving on to the fuselage, you can pose the auxiliary doors on the fuselage sides open or closed, by choosing the appropriate louvered inserts. The complex shape of the intakes is portrayed using several parts, so a little filling will probably be needed, although as there is no intake trunking supplied with the kit, it would be advisable to either scratch-build some FOD guards, or paint the interior black to fool the casual observer. Seamless intakes will doubtless appear in due course from the usual suspects.

sprue1.jpg

The flying surfaces are all posable, including the rudder, which exhibits a curious stressed skin effect between the rows of rivets, which doesn't seem that evident on the in-service machines that I have seen, but may be evident on older, more care-worn airframes. If you feel the urge to remove or reduce it, a sanding sponge should make short work of it without obliterating any detail.

The rivets over the airframe are neatly executed with small depressions representing the flush rivets, and heavy raised detail around the jet exhausts where the skin is covered with a proliferation of raised rivets.

The wheel bays are again well detailed on all surfaces, using the moulding technology available to simplify the process while keeping the level of detail high. The same level of care and detail has been shown to the whole model, from the gear bay doors, to the drop tanks, with no parts looking like they were put in to increase the part-count. The drop-tanks attach by friction fitting into small vinyl washers that you sandwich between the two halves. Instructions helpfully advise that additional weapons will be available separately - perhaps the beginning of a universal style of fitment of modern weapons to model kits?

The slight anhedral of the tail planes is made simple to obtain by a linking rod between the two parts that passes through the whole of the rear fuselage. It does seem a little thin however, so fabrication of some supports inside the airframe itself would be a wise move, and cementing the parts into place at the desired angle will minimise the chances of damage later.

sprue3.jpg

Decals are provided for four airframes, as follows:

  • Royal Malaysian Air Force 12 Squadron (silver with black anti-glare panel)
  • Singapore Air Force No 144 Squadron (3 shades of grey camo)
  • US Navy VFC-13 (desert pink/earth red tiger stripe)
  • US Air Force 64th FWS 57th FWW (desert yellow & earth camo)

decals.jpg

There are bound to be plenty of Aggressor squadron decals out there soon, if not already, and the use of the aircraft by many nations should ensure a variety of schemes for the after-market decal users.

Conclusion

In the box, the kit looks excellent, and with the caveat of the lack of intake trunking, it's a hearty recommendation. The detail is consistent, the moulding crisp, and the instructions clear, so it shouldn't pose too much of an issue to build, even for a relative novice.

Review sample courtesy of luckylogo.gif

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When the test shots of this kit arrived on the internet forums it created a lot of buzz, as the only previously available mainstream kit was by Sword, and the moulds are somewhat dated by today's standards.

Some kitology... Monogram and Esci both made F-5E's, the Esci kit was reboxed by Italeri. Hawk/Testors did the F-5A which is a different aircraft as did Classic Airframes who also did an F-5B. Sword made a T-38 Talon, which is a different animal again and is a very nice kit, albeit limited run.

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I'll update the review... I mis-remembered my Sword kit's designation. :rolleyes:

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Where did you get yours from? Hannats still do not list the F5-E at all and only have the RF5-E in future releases?

Is it yet another case of having to go onto t'internet and buy from overseas?

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Where did you get yours from? Hannats still do not list the F5-E at all and only have the RF5-E in future releases?

Is it yet another case of having to go onto t'internet and buy from overseas?

I bought mine from Sprue Brothers Models here in the States. I think Mikes came from Lucky Model or HLJ.

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I bought mine from Sprue Brothers Models here in the States. I think Mikes came from Lucky Model or HLJ.

Graham at Relish Models is on the case for me, but I think a precautionary orer to HLJ is called for.

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Graham at Relish Models is on the case for me, but I think a precautionary orer to HLJ is called for.

The kit is very much worth it and once they do the shark nose and larger LEX versions Navy Aggressor fans will be muy happy!!

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Where did you get yours from? Hannats still do not list the F5-E at all and only have the RF5-E in future releases?

Is it yet another case of having to go onto t'internet and buy from overseas?

Click on the Lucky Model link at the bottom of the review and you'll visit their home page. have a scout around, look at the prices and visit http://www.xe.com for your currency conversion needs. Some quite surprising savings to be made even after shipping :)

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Where did you get yours from? Hannats still do not list the F5-E at all and only have the RF5-E in future releases?

Is it yet another case of having to go onto t'internet and buy from overseas?

Got mine from Lucky Model a few weeks back, 24 quid including shipping, which, for a kit of this quality, in the current financial climate, is a pretty good deal. :)

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Got mine from Lucky Model a few weeks back, 24 quid including shipping, which, for a kit of this quality, in the current financial climate, is a pretty good deal. :)

Precisely :)

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Moving on to the fuselage, you can pose the auxiliary doors on the fuselage sides open or closed, by choosing the appropriate louvered inserts. The complex shape of the intakes is portrayed using several parts, so a little filling will probably be needed, although as there is no intake trunking supplied with the kit, it would be advisable to either scratch-build some FOD guards, or paint the interior black to fool the casual observer. Seamless intakes will doubtless appear in due course from the usual suspects.

The fit of the intakes is actually surprisingly good, and I used no filler inside, nor outside. I did use Tamiya Extra Thin Cement to smooth the seam a bit.

As for the lack on intake trunking this is the only negative thing about this kit IMO. I have assembled one (currently residing in the paint booth) and have another two underway (and a box with another three kits arrived today). I have tried different approaches to the intakes. The first was simply a blanking plate approximately 1 cm inside the intake (i.e. there is no need for intake sides). The second kit had intake sides added and the blanking plate moved further aft. Also, the bottom of the intakes were modified to avoid having the landing light lumps sticking up inside the intake. The second approach is probably the nicest but also the most demanding job.

HTH,

Jens (who is waiting for a) decals from Afterburner, and B) aftermarket intakes)

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I have taken a couple of pictures of my first two F-5s to show you the diffent approaches to the hollow intake:

First one has the blanking plates approximately 1 cm inside the intakes. The second one has much deeper intakes as can be clearly seen.

img_1365_800.jpg

img_1359_800.jpg

HTH,

Jens

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Thanks for the useful input Jens... I'm sure it'll help people with their builds. Have you not got a WIP thread going yet? :)

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Thanks for the useful input Jens... I'm sure it'll help people with their builds. Have you not got a WIP thread going yet? :)

Only on the Danish forum www.danskemodelbyggere.dk. I could start one here too though.

Regards,

Jens

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My Danish ain't so hot... :pardon: Go on, you know you want to ;)

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