1/48 Classic Airframes CF-5A

by Dan McWilliams



This was a commission build for a friend, who flew this aircraft at air shows when he was instructing at 419 Squadron Cold Lake in the early 90's.  I built it OOB, with the exception of Leading Edge decals.  I really did not enjoy this kit; I have since built one for myself with gear down, and I have had no end of trouble with it.  Notice all the filler required.  Also, the wings were hard to glue on (extremely poor fit, and poorly conceived attachment points).  I ended up using epoxy to get them to stay on!  There was no weathering; the airshow aircraft was pristine.  The cockpit had good detail with resin parts, but it took forever to get it to fit.

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Note that for the in-flight display, I used an inexpensive camera tripod (cost me less than $10.00).  I drilled a hole in the flat rear belly, then epoxied in a nut that I bought to fit the tripod bolt.  This allowed me to screw the tripod on anytime, and made the whole mounting at the end trouble-free and solid.  I also like the fact the legs can be extended to different lengths, making for any number of attitudes it can be posed in.  I had a  tough time masking with Maskol; had to redo the airbrushing a couple times because I skimped on quantity and colours bled through the thin layer.  I am pleased to say that my skills have improved considerably since making this one.


The full sized photo is a very similar aircraft (same paint scheme) outside the gate in Cold Lake, Alberta.  I also flew the CF-5 for a couple years - fun aircraft, but deadly if mishandled.  It is very unfortunate that there is no good model in 1:48 for the F-5A.  This kit was pricey and very discouraging to build; the Testors kit is hard to find and very poor in cockpit detail.


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Photos and text by Dan McWilliams