WIP : 1/48 F-5E Tiger II Pt. 2 – Construction

Work continues and I begin with masking the canopy. Unlike my previous builds, I decide not to dip the 2 canopy parts in Future since they look quite clear as is. Maybe I’ll brush on some in the end. I’m also planning to leave the canopy open so I decided to mask the inside of the frame. It’s my first time doing it so it took a while but it wasn’t too bad.

I thought the coaming was too thick so I thinned it off by scraping with a blade. Otherwise the instrument panel fit well.

The nose to fuselage joint was good but there is a noticeable step where the bottom plate joins the top.

I ended up thinning the bottom plate and the guide on the fuselage and a judicious use of a spring clamp to minimize the step.

Where the front of the bottom plate meets the body will require some filling and rescribing though.

AFV Club offers both opened and closed options for the engine lourves towards the back. Based on photos, they are closed when on the ground with the engines off. With slight trimming, they fit nicely.

The wing to fuselage fit is very good without need for any filling.

There are separate slats and they don’t droop when the aircraft is on the ground. The LERXs needed some adjusting to fit perpendicular along the intakes.

The flaps are also separate. These are also usually straight when on the ground. I did however, find a photo of slight drooping of the flaps after I have fitted these straight. I think it would have made it more visually interesting so it’s something to file away for my next F-5 build. Both the slats and flaps fit well.

I’m modeling an F-5 from the 36th AGRS in the 1970s and I thought to arm it with 1 CATM AIM-9 on 1 wingtip and an ACMI pod on the other. But I couldn’t find reliable info on whether the ACMI was introduced by this time so I decided to leave it off. With the wingtip pylon now bare I added a bit of detail with a strip of clear plastic from a thin blister pack. It’s not entirely accurate but it’ll do.

The PE intake grills were too large and I ended up using some elbow grease to shape them back to size using cutters and a diamond file. Big mistake.

Turns out, I didn’t read the manual properly. The top edge of the grills were supposed to be folded 90 degrees. And I only realized this after trimming both grills and slightly ruining part of one. Yet another case of RTFM: the folder is getting thicker.

The rudder is a separate piece from the tailfin and it fits good. However, there’s a slight gap between the tailfin and the fuselage.

The engine housing is a separate part. Seen from the side, it’s trapezoid-shaped. It took a bit of finessing to get the bottom to remain flush with the body but gaps remain. The horizontal stabilizers joined in the middle with a rod which is then attached to the engine housing with a c-shaped clip. The rod is just slightly too short (by about 1mm) which results in a very stiff fit between the stabilizers and fuselage when the housing is fitted. I liked how AFV designed this though as usually the stabilizers are one of the harder things to fit right when they are molded as separate pieces.

Last on was the nosecone which went on without a problem. There are remarkably little seamlines to fix with the most prominent being a line that runs down the middle of the nose and the fit of the left gunbay doors requiring additional trimming.

Can’t wait to start painting this.

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