scale models

Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter

343 Squadron “Star”, 113 Wing, Hellenic Air Force, Micra, Greece, 1980

The F-5A was in service with the Hellenic Airforce for many years, with several interesting colour schemes. Kinetic used to offer two nice kits (F-5A and F-5B that included decals for greek F-5s). Unfortunately I was not able to find either one. Instead I opted to buy the “new” NF-5A kit (that includes all the necessary parts to build an F-5A anyway).

The Kinetic kit is OK, but I even with my small experience, I have seen better ones. The molds have seen better days. The fit is good, however. I used metal gun barrels and pitot tube from Master Model and a PE set from Eduard for the cockpit.

Initially, I intended to build it as a former Dutch NF-5A with an overall grey scheme, so I bought the “Hellenic Air Force Freedom Fighters” decal set from Icarus Decals. However, by the time I finally decided to proceed with the build, I had changed my mind and I opted to use the SEA camouflage that the Hellenic Air Force started to use in the 70s.

My decision was partly influenced by the fact that, for unrelated reasons, I already had a Hataka paint set for SEA camouflage. In hindsight, I should have used different paints. I was not impressed with the Hataka paints, especially with the Brown one. In fact, at one point I had to strip the paint with Isopropyl Alcohol and start over. As a result, I messed up the painting inside the engine intakes. Fortunately, I was able to fix this by making DIY FOD covers using masking tape. Finally, I added some Remove Before Flight ribbons from Eduard to complete the appearance.

All in all, the model turned out OK, but I feel I it could have been better. Perhaps I will build another one sometime in the future…

Products Used

Kinetic NF-5A Freedom Fighter1/48K48110
Eduard CF-5A/ CF-116 interior S. A. 1/481/4849620
Master Model F-5 pitot tube and 20mm gun barrels1/48AM-48-149
Icarus Decals Hellenic Air Force Freedom Fighters1/4848019
Eduard Remove Before Flight1/4849009