I found this kit in my partially built stack and well, this time is as good as any to finish it. I’ve built an AFV Club F-5E before, let’s see if I manage to improve on how I finish it.
Opening the box I found that I was quite a ways into the build already.
The cockpit was already painted with the Wolfpack Design F-5E ejection seat prepped.
Some careful painting really makes the seat pop. It’s also a huge improvement over the kit seat.
With some careful picking out of the details, the cockpit with an aftermarket seat is more than enough IMO.
The gun bay door can be modeled open even though there’s no internal parts included. I’m not sure why AFV Club designed it this way as it makes for a somewhat fiddly process to close the bay.
I’m planning to close the canopy and it was quite obvious when I tried to fit the actuators closed that the kit was really designed to have the canopy in the open position. The actuators and the base required trimming before the canopy would fit.
Like the previous build I did, the bottom where the nose joins the fuselage has a big step. AFV Club designed a tab on the fuselage which I ended up cutting off to get a better fit.
The tail section is designed with a spar connecting the horizontal stabs together. The spar then fits into a groove molded into the bottom plate of the tail.
To help with alignment I added some guides using thin plastic plates.
To ease the painting process I decided to cut the spar into three sections instead. Cutting them this way enables the stabilizers to be slotted in after painting.
Happily they friction fit with the help of additional holes and pins that I drilled into the spars.
The intakes fit with a slight step which I filled with plastic plate and then sanded even. Note the PE grill that’s attached to the intake splitter plate. It requires bending about 1mm of it at a 90 degree angle in order to fit which makes it unnecessarily fiddly.
Photos I’ve seen of VMFT-401 F-5Es are mounted with an ACMI pod and an inert AIM-9L. The AIM-9L for this build comes from the Academy 1/48 F-4J kit. The tail details will need to be sanded down to replicate the look of an AIM-9 training round.
The ACMI pod comes from the kit. These were drilled and pinned for more positive fit.
The rest of the kit fit pretty well and fixing the gaps is not time consuming.
Painting is next. Should be fun (it ended up being debatable).