AFV Club F-5E USAF Aggressor Project Part 1: General Information Print
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Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:12

AFV Club F-5E USAF Aggressor Project Part 1 - General Information


AFV Club released their first 1/48th scale F-5E Tiger II in early 2010, and after having seen the kit I just knew I had to start building one right away.

The initial release of the F-5E kit consists of 176 grey parts and 7 clear parts. Also included is a small fret of photo-etched part for the intake grilles and canopy frame with rear-view mirrors. Decals are included for USAF, USN, Malaysia and Singapore. The quality of the parts is very good with only a minimum of ejector pin marks and sink marks present. Panel lines and rivets are recessed throughout, but some are a bit on the heavy side. After a couple of paint coats this should not be too noticeable.

Soon after having received the kit I started building it. The fit of parts is so good that sub-assemblies can be put together in no time without use of filler. Contrary to what I usually do I started out with the aft fuselage.

Note that I have not attached the horizontal tailplanes. I decided to cut the axle in half, thereby allowing me to attach the tailplanes after painting. That also makes it easier to clean up the joint line.

While the aft fuselage assembly was drying I started working on the front fuselage and cockpit. I think the level of detail in the cockpit is adequate for me as my main goal is to show off the various colour schemes instead of going AMS on it! The seat is a bit basic though, and seat belts would have been nice. Resin ejection seats, both the older and the newer types are available from a number of sources now.

 This kit has only four ejector pin marks, all placed inside the intakes. The fit of the intakes was almost perfect and I used no filler here whatsoever. AFV Club's kit lacks intake ducts - at least after the first 8 mm or so - so I tried creating a sense of a deeper duct. I tried a couple of solutions to see which one was the easiest while still obtaining a satisfactory result. Although the deepest version (see picture below) turned out pretty well I decided to use a simpler method on my other F-5 kits, i.e. blank off the intake right in front of parts P12 and P13.

 Except for the standard FS 36231 cockpit colour the cockpit was painted and inserted into the front fuselage in one evening:

 This was another place where I deviated from the instructions on some of my F-5Es; I chose to glue the nose of the front fuselage together before adding the cockpit. I did this to ensure the fit was ok (which it probably would have been anyway). Following the instructions proved to be no problem either.

A lot of people have complained about the open gun panels in the kit because they have encountered fit problems. I have not had a problem with those panel on any of my kits. The solution is to dry-fit the parts and trim the inner details and panel corners slightly. Dry-fit again and then – if the fit is good enough – apply glue. It is as simple as that.

Dry-fitting of the front and aft fuselage halves looked good:

 ...and was good! Later on I added the intakes and LERX (leading edge root extensions):



 With all the major assemblies done it is time to assemble the undercarriage. Unfortunately the normal length nose gear leg was a short shot in one of my kits so the front actuator was missing. No worries though, I have just used  the extended leg on one of the models.

The main landing gear is nicely detailed, but the landing gear to gear door links are very small and fragile. Care must be taken when working with these parts. The result is great though.

The canopy is nice and clear, and photo-etched parts are included for the main part of it. A bit of care must be taken while applying the metal part to the clear part in order to align it correctly. It does give a nice effect when finished though.

The remaining parts are best added after painting of the model.


These two pictures show four of my first F-5E kits after painting of the main colours:





My project with all the different USAF F-5E aggressor colour schemes means that I have built several of these kits. Painting of the kits are featured as separate articles for each kit. The project consists of the following F-5Es:



Last Updated on Sunday, 13 March 2011 22:51