1/48 Testors F-5A Freedom Fighter

by Rick Reinbott



This is my Testors F-5A Freedom Fighter.


I built the model out-of-the-box with the exception of the brakelines, which were made from black-sleeved wire.  The 20mm gun barrels were also drilled out using my mini-drill. 

Painting and Weathering

Model Master and Humbrol paints were used for the finish, with each color lightened a little by mixing it with flat white after each base color was airbrushed on.  Drafting tape was used do the masking with thread being used to ‘lift’ the edge off the model’s surface to achieve a softer edge.  An ivory black oil wash was applied to the underside to simulate a grimy look.

Click on images below to see larger images





The decals are from Microscale (Foreign F-5’s: http://www.happyhobby.com/hobb_html/images/microscaledecal/DECAL-48-54.jpg ) and were provided to me by a fellow modeler who answered my plea.   Champ setting solution was used to help the decals conform  better to the model’s surface.   The number on the tail as well as the wing ‘do-not walk markings came from the kit decals with the tail number simply being over-painted in flat white (while still on the sheet) to reflect the color used on VNAF aircraft. 

This was a very straightforward, hassle-free build.

The model represents an F-5A Freedom Fighter as used by the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF).

Happy Modeling!


  • Northrop F-5/F-20/T-38, Warbird Tech Series, Specialty Press, Vol. 44 (2006) 
  • VNAF Webisite: http://vnaf.net/ 
  • F-5 Tigers Over Vietnam, Anthony J. Tambini, Branden Publishing Co. (2000)

Click on images below to see larger images







Photos and text © by Rick Reinbott