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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Western Cold-War Minimalism: Kinetic 1/48th CF-5A

Updated: Jun 29

Kinetic's aircraft models have been steadily improving since their early releases. This 1/48th scale F-5A Freedom Fighter release in 2012 (and later F-5B release) was a nice addition to the scale, as the type was underrepresented to date.

Decades ago I purchased a 1/48th Fujimi kit which remained in the stash due to major kit pitfalls (too numerous to bother listing) To date, I had also passed on the Classic Airframes kit due to the relatively high price (in Canada) and reported kit issues, so the Kinetic release seemed the best option to build a CF-5 at the time.

Notable Kit (48020) features:

  • Detailed cockpit

  • Positionable canopy with boarding ladder

  • Two types of nose gear struts provided

  • Positionable speed brakes

  • Air refueling probe (CF-5A)

  • Full length intake ducts with J85 compressor faces

  • Positionable rudder, stabilators, ailerons, slats & flaps

  • Choice of open or closed auxiliary intakes

  • Optional Photo-etched slime lights (CF-5) chaff/flare launchers (NF-5)

  • Markings for 16 different F-5A examples



Kit Inspiration:


Since Canada utilized both the single seat CF-5A and dual seat B/D, this type was a "must have" in the collection for me... Full disclosure, I live in Canada so my collection is bias towards RCAF aircraft ;) Obviously I now need a "B" model too...and maybe another "A" to build a different scheme ...and maybe another "B" for yet another, different Aggressor scheme... ;) For this build, I selected the RCAF 434 "Bluenose" Squadron markings complete with The Bluenose Schooner emblem on the tail, but it was a difficult choice with so many nice schemes. (Choosing a "B" model paint scheme will be as great a challenge.)




Heads Up Report:

  • Carefully review the instructions as they describe how to build several different F-5 types and it is easy to get confused. Notice that there is nowhere in the instructions calling to add the aft portion of the fuselages, right in front of the nozzles. Oh yes, and careful which tabs you cut off to achieve dropped or raised control surfaces

  • Dry-fitting in several areas is required.

  • For an open canopy version I suggest installing the canopy supports at a late build stage to save potential breakage.

  • The kit fuselage is broken down into forward and rear sections, however I deviated from the build instructions here and joined the front and rear sections first, taking the more traditional construction route (which I believe is the better of the two options).

  • Fuselage may require a spreader to achieve a good bottom wing to fuselage fit.

  • There is no Left / Right wing tank (as there should be) both are the same, you'll notice this when you go to fit one and wonder why it doesn't fit as well :)


Kit Additions / Modifications:


I didn't feel that much had to be added to this kit with the following exceptions:

  • Added ejection seat belts (Simple painted tape / foil versions)

  • Constructed the red / green lights on the tank tips (Cut-off tank tips > glued clear sprue to ends > shaped and then coloured with clear finish marker)

End Result:


The After-Build Report on this one is that I would definitely build another, (always a good benchmark), so it is a recommended kit in my books. Although not a quick build, with careful fitting and patience in places, an excellent kit can be produced. (Note: I noticed that I forgot to paint the intakes in darker paint... and install the hypodermic needle guns - This one will have to return to the maintenance hangar at some point, but for now here she proudly stands on guard for thee .)


Completed build #238 - October 2020 using the 1/48th scale Kinetic 48020 kit .


Feel free to ask any questions and I will see how good my memory is of the build - Keep on building what you want, how you want - Cheers

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