by: Kevin Brant [ ]
IntroductionThe Northrop F-5 was designed out of the requirement for low cost and low maintenance aircraft to meet requirements of the U.S Navy. While initial tests marked the aircraft as a failure, in 1962 the project was revived and ordered into production. Northrop built 624 F-5A’s and 200 F-5B’s, with the later used as operational trainers. The aircraft was also licensed to Canadair where an additional 240 aircraft were built.
The F-5 has served many countries, including Canada, Brazil, Greece, Ethiopia, Norway, Netherlands, and many more. Kinetic Model Kits has now produced a kit of the two-seater F-5B variant in 1/48 scale, with markings for a few of these countries.
It is also to note, that the F-5 was the basis of the F-18, through development of the YF-17.
ContentsInside the box you will find the following:
6 – plastic sprues
1 – sprue of clear plastic
Small Fret of Photo-Etched
Large sheet of Decals
ReviewOpening the box from Kinetic Model Kits you find the sprues and instruction split into five plastic bags with the plastic sprues are molded in grey plastic. Looking over the sprues, the moldings look to be well done, unfortunately I found many parts, especially smaller parts, with significant amounts of flash. I also found that some of the details are a little soft in places. The kit does have engraved panel lines that do look to be well done. As for ejector marks, it does look like most, if not all, will be covered after construction.
Looking at the cockpit, the panels have raised details, and again some look a little soft. Also the seats detail looks to be a little weak, and there are no seatbelts included in the molding. When building the cockpit, you will need to take note of optional parts for displaying the model with the canopy open or closed.
As for exterior construction, while the wheel wells contain a little details, they may not meet everyone’s standards for detail. I did find a lot of flash on the landing gear parts, but this not a major issues as it can easily be cleaned up with a little scraping and sanding.
The kit does provide options for surface controls, as the controls are separate and can be positioned or are provided as an optional part. This includes the ailerons and leading edge. The interior of the engines are nicely detailed as well as the engine leading fan way back in the intakes.
The clear plastic canopy looks great, with molded frame detail. The plastic is clear, with no fogging or bubbles in my example. As noted prior, during construction, watch for optional parts for displaying the canopy open or closed.
The kit does include options for the hard points, including fuel tanks, AIM-9B and AIM-9J missiles, Mk.82 bombs, and rocket launchers. You will need to check references for your build, as they don’t specify the use by country.
Where this F-5B kit from Kinetic Model Kits excels is in the decals. The large decal sheet is printed by Cartograf and contains markings for several countries and variants. The decals are extremely well printed and well within register.
Markings for the kit include:
1. 72-0439, 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 58th Tactical Training Wing, USAF, 1973
2. 72-0441, 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 58th Tactical Training Wing, USAF, 1973
3. 72-0441, 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 405th Tactical Training Wing, USAF, Williams AFB, 1982
4. 72-0441, Inter-American Air Force Academy, 37th Training Wing, USAF, Homestead AFB, 1993
5. 65-13074, ex-Skoshi Tiger, 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, 3rd Wing, USAF, Bien Hoa, South Vietnam, 1966
6. CF-5D, 116815 419 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces, Faux Pas Scheme, Aggressor Missions until 1986
7. CF-5D, 1168152 419 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces, Ghost Scheme, Aggressor Missions until 1986
8. CF-5D, 116809 419 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces, Lizard Scheme, Aggressor Missions until 1986
9. CF-5D, 116815 419 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces, Aluminum Lacquer/Daylight Orange Scheme, 1983
10. NF-5B, Netherlands Air Force, Late 1970’s – Early 1980’s
11. NF-5B, K-4002 Netherlands Air Force, mid-1980’s
12. NF-5B, 313 Squadron, Netherlands Air Force, 1984
13. F-5B, 718 Squadron, Royal Norwegian Air Force, late 1970’s
14. F-5B 332(AH)/718(DP) Squadron, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Early 1970’s
15. F-5B, 718 Squadron, Royal Norwegian Air Force, 1970
16. F-5B, 64-13377, Greek Air Force, 1997
17. F-5B, 64-13377, Greek Air Force, 1966
18. F-5B, 64-13378, Greek Air Force, 1998
19. F-5B, South Vietnamese Air Force, 522nd Squadron, 23rd Wing, 1969(ex-USAF Aircraft)
The instruction book is well laid out, and should provide a relatively easy build, again you will have to watch for optional parts. While the booklet contains 34 pages, more then half is dedicated to the many schemes mention above. Paint callouts are included with reference to Vallejo Model/Air, Mr. Color, Itateri, Humbrol, and Tamiya paints.
ConclusionOverall this looks to be a good looking kit from Kinetic Model Kits, and definitely an interesting subject. The kit does have many drawbacks in the moldings, and would definitely benefit from some aftermarket upgrades. The numerous options for paint schemes and marking though should make this a very attractive kit, and for that I can recommend this kit.
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