This newest aircraft release from AFV Club includes just enough detail to satisfy experienced modelers, while not having too many fiddly photo-etched parts: sometimes less is more. It is a reasonably straight-forward build for a novice.
An addition to the growing number of F-5 kits, this release differs from AFV Club’s first release in only minor details and decal options unique to the Tiger IIs used by the Taiwanese (ROC) Air Force.
The instructions have been somewhat simplified since the first F-5 kit. Assembly is exactly the same, with fourteen steps:Construction begins with the cockpit. The only visible ejector-pin marks in this kit are annoyingly on the face of the recessed seat back – a few scrapes with a small blade is required. The entire forward section of the fuselage is completed as a separate entity, before moving on to construction of the rear fuselage. Attaching the wings and tailplanes left no noticeable gaps or unsightly seams, but care is needed to properly align the upper and lower halves of the rear fuselage.
When attaching the photo-etched mirrors (G4) to the canopy leading edge –I dreaded fogging the clear part with CA cement, so instead used a tiny dab of 2-part epoxy. This kit again uses captive vinyl grippers (part R), hidden inside the removable drop tanks, allowing for different load-out options.
Included are nicely-printed decals for 4 aircraft of the ROC (Taiwanese) Air Force.
This kit offers good detail for veteran builders, leaves room for some super-detailing, yet goes together easily for a beginner aircraft builder (me). The fit poses no issues, with plenty of locating slots for fiddly parts. As construction goes, I found this easier than most vehicle kits from AFV Club. A few holes do need to be opened-up, depending upon optional parts: I simply drilled-out all holes, then filled the unused ones with a smear of putty –hey, I’m lazy!
Nice features of this kit include a fret of photo-etched metal details for the air intakes and rear-view mirrors for the canopy. Again, optional 275 gallon or 150 gallon drop tanks are included, a boarding ladder, wingtip missiles and/or ECM, open or closed engine vent louvers, separate flaps and leading edge brakes, positionable fuel-filling port covers, and raised or lowered landing gear. There are now resin gun bay interior kits being offered by the AM crowd – the access panels of which are already separate parts, as with the previous kits.The detail is as crisp and well-defined as any Tamiya kit; the recessed panel lines and rivets being very nicely moulded. Also included is a frame-worthy print of the box art. Thanks to Robert Kou for the images of his built model, and of course to AFV Club for the review sample!
Highs: Good fit and easy construction. Superbly-detailed panel lines and rivets.Lows: No big differences or improvements over the previous F-5 kits.Verdict: A fairly uncomplicated and highly-detailed kit from AFV Club.
About Ted Hayward (ted_hayward) FROM: TAIPEI, TAIWAN / 台灣
From B.C., Canada. Living in Taiwan for past several years. I've been building kits for as long as memory serves -armor, aircraft, cars. Big fan of 1/16th scale armor kits. Currently serving as poster boy for working with CA adhesives in a well-ventilated area. My first kit was the positively awful ...