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F-5B Freedom Fighter


Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 487 (“USAF Aggressor”)
488 (“NATO Allies Part I”)
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Each kit contains 67 parts in grey styrene and 3 piece, clear, injection molded canopy. 27 parts in gray resin.  Instructions, decal sheet, including stencils, and painting guide for 3 aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$55.00
Review Type: QuickLook
Advantages: A fine 1/48 scale F-5B.  Includes auxiliary tanks and Sidewinder missiles.  Full set of stencils and excellent decal subject matter.
Disadvantages: Poor packaging of resin and clear parts
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale F-5B USAF Freedom Fighter
may be ordered online from Squadron




What more can be said after my in-box review of the F-5A?

Same very nice kit as before, but with a rumble seat.

There is even a correction of the little missing piece above the exhausts cans.  It is now molded as part of the resin exhausts.  I also understand that kit 487 has one of the most wanted items……Canadian Air Force markings. 

The kits also include wing-tip and center line auxiliary tanks and wing-tip Sidewinder missiles. 


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:





Kit 488 “NATO Allies Part I” 

  • USAF, 425th TFTS, Williams Air Force Base, Arizona – Aluminum Finish.

  • Canadian Air Force, 1978 – Blue-Grey FS 35488, Grey (Light) FS 36630 and Grey (Dark) FS 36293.

  • USAF, Luke Air Force Base – Aluminum Finish with black anti-glare panel and canopy frame.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Kit 488 “NATO Allies Part I” 

  • Spanish Air Force, early 1970s – Aluminum finish with black anti-glare panel. 

  • Greek Air Force – “Ghost Scheme” in Dark Grey FS 35237, Medium Grey FS 36251 and Light Grey FS 36307. 

  • Turkish Air Force, mid-1970s – Dark Green FS34079, Medium Green FS 34102, Tan FS 30219 and Light Grey FS 36622 with a Light Blue fin tip. 

  • The rescue marking are in both Greek and Turkish, as applicable.  Once again,  no cutting corners on the decals.   Finally, a set of stencils is provided with wing-walk marking lines in both red and black.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


But not all is perfect. There is a packaging problem. 

The clear parts are in loose with the main sprues.  As a result, the clear parts arrived scratched and dull.  But even without buffing, a little dip in future restored them.

The smaller resin parts are also subject to damage, even though packaged separately.  But to be fair, it becomes very costly to specially pack the resin, and the way CA does it is consistent with other manufacturer’s practices. 

I have called these issue to Classic Airframe’s attention, and they have acknowledged the problem. 

Finally, a couple of the injection mold stubs on the inside of the fuselage need to be cleaned up.





Right after I did the in-box review of the F-5A, I build the kit.  I can honestly say this is one of the best fitting kits that CA has produced.  The resin cockpit and nose wheel well fit nearly perfectly.  Minor points to watch, at least in my build were: 1) making sure you carefully align the fuselage halves along their length, 2) there is a large “panel line” gap where the fin of the left fuselage half keys into the right side and 3) a need to test fit the resin wheel well center section to get the best fit to avoid sanding.  I would also recommend using fine brass rod to attach the tail horizontal stabilizers. 

I can honestly recommend this kit to a relative novice modeler.  I encountered more problems with the Hasegawa Arado 234, than I did with the Classic Airframes F-5A.  Even the resin internal canopy structure fit the clear part with minimal effort.  What makes it more appealing to someone who wants to get into limited run kits is that it is not a complicated build.  Few parts to produce a lovely model. 

Highly Recommended.



Online Resources


Web sites on the F-5:






Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.


Classic Airframes kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and from Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright © 2004 by Steven Eisenman
Page Created 24 June, 2004
Last updated 24 June, 2004

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