NFWS Tiger: 1/48th Monogram F-5F Tiger II
Monogram's philosophy of bringing lots of detail contained in few parts, in their 1/48th scale aircraft, continues with this F-5F. This 1985 release has early Monogram's signature raised panel lines and is not up-to-grade with current kits, however it still has potential. The same plastic was re-issued in 1991 with photo-etched parts from Model Technologies which made a slight improvement.
Notable Kit Features:
Nice raised detail in the cockpit instrument panels
Simple kit with few parts
Optional open or closed canopies
Decent landing gear detail
Open or closed air brakes
Overload of tanks, gun-pods
Boarding ladder provided
The NFWS (Navel Fighter Weapons School... better known as Top Gun) Aggressors as well as their Air Force counterpart (the 57th Wing) have always had a special interest for me. I do like their "sports cars" with their off-beat, limited-run paint jobs. Therefore to compliment the single seat versions, this family edition Aggressor was a good add-on.
Overly simplified kit (but still decent)
Instrument panel is closer to USAF than Navy (Naval F-5's do not carry radar)
Nothing stopping the see-through aspect between the open intakes and exhaust
Overly thick tank fins
Left nose cannon barrel should be enlarged in diameter as it is actually an air intake
Anti-sway braces are missing on center line store
Canopies are overly thick
Anti-collision lights are molded in regular plastic (not clear parts)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Removed radar scopes from instrument panels as Naval F-5's do not carry radar
Blocked see-through intake to exhaust by adding black plastic card to interior
Missed adding gun and air intake barrel (maybe I will still get around to that)
Replaced pitot tube with steel pin
I built this kit in the supplied markings of the USN NFWS Aggressor. The paint scheme for the aircraft is a wrap-around scheme of Brown (FS 30118), Sand (FS 30277), and Dark Euro Green (FS 34092). (I have also seen references for the colours as Brown (FS 30140), Sand (FS 30400), and Dark Green (FS 34079).
The After-Build Report:
While this Monogram 1/48th scale F-5F kit is much older (Revell now has the molds), it is still a good simple build, typically at a very reasonable cost. The other viable option is the AFV Club kit (2011 release) which is a modular kit, with engraved panel lines / rivets, more detail, and therefore more complex to build (as well as being predictably more costly). The AFV offering is not quite up to Hasegawa / Tamiya standards but is does provide a plastic mold technology jump over the Monogram kit.
Completed build #104 - April 2009 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #5441 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers