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F-5A/CF-5A/NF-5A
Freedom Fighter

Kinetic, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Item No. Kinetic Model Kits Item No. K48020 - F-5A/CF-5A/NF-5A Freedom Fighter
Contents and Media: 159 parts in grey plastic; 12 parts in clear; 11 parts on one photo-etched fret; markings for 16 aircraft.
Scale 1/48
Price: USD$22.99 plus shipping available online from Lucky Model
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High quality moulding; well detailed; finely recessed panel lines; canopy may be posed open; boarding ladder supplied; straightforward parts breakdown; plenty of ordnance options; spectacular decals and marking options designed by Crossdelta and printed by Cartograf.
Disadvantages: No harness straps.
Recommendation:

Kinetic's new 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter looks to be an excellent model with their finest surface features to date. The marking options and decal sheets are nothing short of spectacular.

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


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FirstLook

 

First flying in 1959 and entering service in the 1960s, the F-5 Freedom Fighter was designed as a lightweight, low-cost jet fighter and ground attack aircraft.

The F-5 Freedom Fighter was exported widely via the U.S. Military Assistance Programme (MAP) to countries including Iran, South Koream the Philippines, Turkey, Greece and Taiwan. It was a fast and capable aircraft with a top speed of Mach 1.4, but was ideal for small air forces as it was cheap and easy to maintain.

Canada undertook local production of the Freedom Fighter as the CF-5A. In addition to local use, Canada sold the CF-5A to the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Although AFV Club recently released a very well detailed F-5E, the story of the F-5A in 1/48 scale has not been so bright. Hawk offered a very basic kit dating from the 1960s (later reboxed by Testor); Fujimi had an undersized and underdetailed F-5A in the 1970s; and in 2004 Classic Airframes released an F-5A. Although this kit featured a beautifully detailed resin cockpit, it presented all the usual challenges of a limited-run kit and is long out of production.

Kinetic continues its commitment to Cold War US military aircraft with its latest 1/48 scale release, the F-5A Freedom Fighter. The kit comprises 159 parts in grey plastic; 12 parts in clear; 11 parts on one photo-etched fret and markings for a whopping 16 aircraft from six air forces.

 

  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Kinetic 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter Review by Brett Green: Image
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Kinetic's aircraft models have been steadily improving since their first releases. Their 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter features crisp, consistent panel detail and selected rows of rivets. These are all very subtle and represent Kinetic's best efforts to date. The sprue attachment pints are also quite fine, so removal and cleanup of parts should not present any problems.

The kit fuselage is broken down into forward and rear sections, so more variants are obviously planned. In particular, some of the sprues are already marked F-5A/B, so expect to see a two-seater sometime in the future.

Cockpit detail is adequate, but no harness straps are supplied for the seat. However, it has been Kinetic's habit to release color photo-etched frets shortly after a kit's release. This will spruce up the front office for super-detailers, and will likely include harness straps, side consoles and a replacement instrument panel.

I like that the mount for the open canopy is moulded directly to the top of the ejector seat rails. This will ensure a positive and strong fit for the canopy. If you want to display the canopy closed, the instructions advise where to cut off these mounts.

Apart from the split fuselage halves, parts breakdown is conventional.

The flaps and leading edge slats are all provided separately and may be posed dropped if desired.

Plenty of option are offered including the refuelling probe, photo-etched slime lights and other unique attributes of the CF-5A, a boarding ladder, open or closed side fuselage vents, alternate bottom fuselage sections and more.

In addition to the slime lights, the small photo-etched fret supplies a couple of airframe detail parts.

 

 

The characteristic Coke bottle wingtip tanks look good, and a useful selection of optional ordnance is supplied.

 

 

These include two styles of drop tank (four drop tanks in total), two rocket launchers, two AIM-9B missiles, two AIM-9J missiles and two MK82 iron bombs.

The canopy and windscreen are separate parts.

 

 

The clear parts are well moulded and quite thin.


 

Markings

Markings are supplied for the following:

  • Canadian Air Force

  • Hellenic Air Force

  • Royal Netherlands Air Force

  • Royal Norwegian Air Force

  • South Vietnamese Air Force

  • United States Air Force

16 different options are possible thanks to the inclusion of multiple serial numbers.

The decals are perfectly printed by Cartograf.

 

 

Artwork was designed by Crossdelta.

 

 

Stencil markings are included.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Kinetic's new 1/48 scale F-5A Freedom Fighter looks to be an excellent model with their finest surface features to date. The wide selection of ordnance and useful options are welcome; while the marking options and decal sheets are nothing short of spectacular.

I will be sending this sample up to Mick Evans, so no doubt we will see the model built very soon!

Thanks to Lucky Model for the sample


Review Text and Images Copyright 2012 by Brett Green
Page Created 15 August, 2012
Last updated 15 August, 2012

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