1/32 Kangnam RSAF F-5S

Gallery Article by Leslie Choy on Aug 9 2011

  Singapore's 46th National Day 


This is an old 1/32 scale Kangnam Northrop F-5E Tiger II kit and updated to RSAF's upgraded F-5S. I've make out a list of modifications to be carried out: 

  • 1. Close the gun panel.

  • 2. Replace the kit's ejection seat with True Details kit no. 32402, I managed to obtained this part mid-way into my project and happily discarded the original copy.

  • 3. Update the kit's pilot helmet.

  • 4. Scratch build in-flight refueling probe.

  • 5. Scratch build Flare and Chaff dispenser.

  • 6. To make a cut-out at the left rear side of the canopy and open a vent at the forward nose undercarriage door.

  • 7. For this particular tail number, it has a vertical tail fin extension.

  • 8. Lastly, the ultimate challenge. The re-building of the cockpit instruments from scratch together with the throttles and the control stick.

This kit has an updated wing leading edge extension and a better looking pair of AIM-9 sidewinders than the Hasegawa kit. For references of the cockpit, I ran a Google search and got a few good hits on some cockpit shots.  Click here

The remaining references are from various pictures taken during RSAF open house. 

Click on images below to see larger images




I used the kit's original cockpit and cut up those pieces that were not required and replaced it with plastic card. For the control panels, I used Waldron punches to punch out disc for instrument knobs and thin wires to create the switches. The HUD was made from multiple layers of plastic cards that were glued together and shaped. Thicker plastic cards were also used to shaped Flare and Chaff dispenser, throttle HOTAS and upper portion of the flight control stick. I shaped the flight control stick with reference taken from F-15E Strike Eagle. 

After I assembled the kit's helmet, the visor was cut out and shaped from layers of putty. I had a hard time trying to get the shape of the oxygen mask to look right from a plastic block. Once that is done, I used masking tape for the mask straps. The oxygen mask hose and the communication wire were made from thin copper wire. As I intend to leave the helmet at the side of the cockpit, the helmet strap was left undone. After the visor was painted black (obviously) a heavy coat of gloss paint was applied for that highly shine effect. 

To bend the plastic rod and shape for the in-flight refueling probe is a test of patience. I marked out with pencil on the rod and brush the marks with Tamiya thin cement until the material is soft and slowly bent it to the correct angle and sand smooth once the cement is thoroughly cured. The tip of the probe is a few layers of different plastic disc sizes punched out earlier using Waldron punch. 

With the wing tip position lights provided by the kit is a clear plastic lens and to have all the lights to look consistent. I cut out the vertical tail anti-collision light and the 2 position lights (next to the air intakes) and replace it with shaped pieces from an old red and a blue transparent tooth brush handle. 

The left gun panel was totally out of shape and alignment. Plastic sheets, layers of putty and a good deal of sanding took care of it.

I should have re-scribe the panels ...... next time.

I finished the kit with Gunze paints, RSAF F5 Siam decal, armed it with AIM-9 on both wing tip launchers and an external drop tank on the centre line pylon. The helmet was left on the canopy sill depicting the aircraft is on standby ready to scramble!!

This project took me about 9 months to complete (on and off).


Leslie Choy

Click on images below to see larger images
















Photos and text by Leslie Choy