Review: Revell 1/144 Northrop F-5E Tiger II

The F-5E Tiger II is effectively the FN FAL of the Western Air Forces. Developed as a cheaper to buy and operate alternative to the F-4 Phantom it saw service in a whole range of nations. A number of variants were developed, the A, B, E and F variants for example, but also Trainer, Reconnaissance and a number of prototypes and demonstrators were also developed from the F-5 airframe.

The Kit

This is not a new kit, the original tooling dates from 1994, around the time a lot of users were transitioning or already had transitioned to other aircraft. But while older kits, and especially older Revell kits, can be a bit hit-or-miss in the quality department this one appears not to be one of those kits.

Inside the box we find three sprues, one clear sprue and two in the regular grey plastic that Revell uses for most of its kits. You can tell this is an older kit as the panel lines are a bit big and shallow, but nothing that can’t be solved by a scribing tool. Apart from that most parts are reasonably well defined when you keep in mind this is a 1/144 scale kit. The kit has one ‘massive’ problem though: the wingtip pylons are molded in the wrong position. They need to be flipped around. But this was something I missed until I read about it in some forums and in a review. Eric Wauters has a post about how to fix this problem.

After learning about that little problem I decided to take another, closer, look at the kit. But I haven’t found anything else that was obvious to even the biggest F-5 newbie.*

*Disclaimer: I will not take any responsibility if or when another fault with this kit is found.

Most of the ‘problems’ I have found are most likely due to the small scale of this kit. The cockpit isn’t detailed at all, with just a bare instrument panel, seat and thats about it. 

Decals and color options

As usual, this kit includes decals printed by Cartograf, and as such I won’t doubt their quality. These decals are always the best part of a Revell kit. Color option-wise uou’re limited to the USAF 64th Aggressor Squadron from 1985. This squadron is part of the 57th Adversary Tactics Group at Nellis AFB and and provide Air Combat Maneuvering training to the USAF. Because of this they use Russian style camouflage on their aircraft to stand out from the regular USAF colors. I have to say, this is a rather interesting color scheme. But its also the only scheme you’ll get out of this kit. That’s a bit disappointing because the earlier releases had a few others to choose from. Like one scheme from the Swiss Air Force.

Clear parts

There isn’t a lot to say about the clear parts: it’s just a small canopy. It is a bit thick, but decently molded and it doesn’t distort all that much. 

Conclusion

All in all, this is a decent kit for the price. It lacks color schemes, and there is a small error in the kit. But I got it for €5, so I can’t complain.  And it will go nicely with a F-15 and/or F-16 in a little diorama.

Score

7/10

Info

VehicleF-5E Tiger II
Manufacturer
Revell
Scale1/144
Kit#03947
Number of sprues3
Number of parts50
Dimensions (LxW)104 mm x 64 mm

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