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RF-5A NATO Allies
Freedom Fighter


Classic Airframes

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 489 RF-5A Freedom Fighter
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 66 parts in grey styrene and  2 piece clear injection molded canopy. 13 parts in gray resin.  Instructions, decal sheet, including stencils, and painting guide for 3 aircraft.
Price: MSRP USD$50.00
Review Type: QuickLook
Advantages: Excellent and highly detailed resin; crisp plastic parts; easy breakdown of parts; thin carrier on decals
Disadvantages: South Vietnamese national marking decal out of register
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Mick Evans

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale RF-5A Freedom Fighter may be ordered online from Squadron




Classic Airframes has followed on from its excellent F-5A with the Photo Recon version.

The kit contains 66 crisply moulded plastic styrene parts in a medium grey colour. The detail on these parts equals that of the mainstream manufacturers with absolutely no flash evident. 4 clear parts are provided for the canopy, windscreen, upper and lower recon nose halves. The canopy and windscreen are crystal clear and look great.

The resin parts are truly something else. I do not know who is doing the masters and casting for Jules, but these are amongst the best resin that I have seen for both detail and crispness of casting. There are13 resin parts in all, these are flawless in that not imperfections or air bubbles are evident. The cockpit tub, seat, nose and main wheel wells have so much detail in them that it would be hard to believe that any was missed. A nice inclusion is opened speed brakes cast in resin with once again a high level of detail.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

A centerline drop tank is provided, as are the coke bottle wing tip tanks. These look to have the correct profile unlike other F5 kits that have gone before. Alternative weapons for the wing tips are provided in the shape of AIM 9B Sidewinders, as is the full complement of wing pylons with separate sway braces. The engine intakes are moulded separate from the fuselage allowing for some good depth down the intakes. The intakes finish into a solid wall moulded on the fuselage, which does not matter, as you need to put your head into the intake mouth to see the engine compressor anyway.

The decals are printed by Microscale with the carrier film being exceptionally thin. On my sample the South Vietnamese national markings were slightly out of register but the rest was perfect.

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • A South Vietnamese Air Force RF-5A based at Bien Hoa airbase in 1967 in Dark Green, Medium Green, Tan, and Light Grey with the yellow and black checker band around the waist area.

  • A Spanish Air Force RF-5A in the 1970s in Dark Green, Brown, Tan, and Light Grey.

  • A Canadian CF-5A-R based at Elmendorf Air Force Base Alaska in 1968.



In summary, this is an excellent looking kit that should be relatively easy to build.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Classic Airframes for the review sample.





Web sites on the F-5:






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

Review and Images Copyright 2004 by Mick Evans
Page Created 22 July, 2004
Last updated 22 July, 2004

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