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F-5 B Northrop Freedom Fighter 1

24 Mar
2012

F-5 B Northrop Freedom Fighter 1,desktop airplane models

The F-5B was the two-seat trainer version of the F5A Freedom Fighter used extensively since 1963 by many countries in Europe, the Middle-East, South America and Southeast Asia. It remained in service for over thirty years including ten years during the Vietnam War. The kit comes with a colourful illustration of a Canadian F-5B on the top and inside there are sixty-nine grey plastic, and four clear parts. You get four options on a very comprehensive decal sheet, and a clear, progressive seven-page instruction sheet-there are no unwelcome surprises in the fairly standard steps for the build and the final result is a delight!

Construction

Construction begins with the cockpit, each seat having three parts plus the joysticks and instrument panels. No fewer than eight decals are provided for the panels, plus two to represent the seat harnesses, and these are all very good, and need to be as everything is visible through the large, very thin and clear three-piece canopy. The front section halves are then closed up, followed by construction of the rear fuselage section halves and the mating of these two sub-asemblies. I did they are not for this version. Lastly comes the three – piece canopy and HUD. You can position the canopy open using the supplied struts, or closed… either would be fine due to the excellent decal provision and quality of the interior. Have to tidy up all of these joins including using a bit of filler underneath, but that was it for the whole kit. The instructions don’t mention nose weight and it may well be that none is required, however not trusting to luck I crammed as much as I could (approx 3g) in the front section with the desired result. Wings and undercarriage come next, each main wheel construction having four parts, and then the fuel pods go together and sit on the ends of the wings, under the wings, and under the belly. There are two vacant pylons under each wing and some spare rockets on the sprues.

Colour Options

F-5 B Northrop Freedom Fighter 1,diecast model airplanes

As stated you get four options including a USAF F-5B from 1986 and a Spanish SF-5B from 1989, both in aluminium with a flat black anti-glare panel. The Canadian CF-5B is in camouflage field drab/flat green with mid stone underneath, whilst the Dutch NF-5B is in camouflage olive drab/ dark grey with light grey undersides. I went for the USAF version in full colour The decals are generally very good although the yellow stripes are slightly thick needing quite a bit of setting solution to adhere to the plane’s contours. One other point is that the decals lift from their backing sheet almost as soon as they touch the water so take care to grab them out quick! For the paint you get Model Master references but I used my Humbrol 27002, polished aluminium, and Revell 8 matt black… all brush painted. Before applying decals I painted the plane with gloss vamish to avoid silvering, and then finished it off with a coat of matt.

Conclusion

I have to confess that other than a little tank this is my first Italeri kit in 45+ years of model making and I was not disappointed. Other than the bit of work on the fuselage sections, the standard of parts and general construction was very good, particularly the excellent fit of the thin canopy sections and extensive decal sheet. Overall very definitely a winner for all levels of model maker and well priced for what you get. Excellent!

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