Kiddyland 1/48 F/RF-5E Tiger Ii






See review


Peter Marshall





 I saw these Kiddyland F/RF-5Es advertised on eBay so I searched the web for ANYTHING about Kiddyland kits and turned up squit, but, always needing something to stick aggressors markings on, I bid on them. And ended up with three!  And having had a look at them I thought I would write a quick review should other people get the urge.

 The three kits I ended up with are all in different boxes.  Just about everything on two of them is in Chinese so I canít tell you what they say about them but the box art refers to them as ďF-5E Top GunĒ and the pictures are of (I think) Nationalist Chinese F-5Es, one in a three colour camo finished with silvered decals and the other in an overall silver finish.  I guess from their markings that they use them in the aggressor role too.  The third kit is in a more anglicised box and is labelled as an ďF/RF-5E Tiger IIĒ with the picture of it finished in a three colour USAF aggressor scheme, again with those silvered decals!

 When I bid on these I thought the best I could hope for was a Chinese copy of the Monogram F-5E, I prayed it wasnít the old Testors (or earlier?) F-5A and I had an outside hope it was a new tool F-5 (I can dream, canít I?).  Well, itís the Monogram F-5E, poorly ripped off, but some points worthy of comment.  Itís OBVIOUSLY the Monogram kit, the two fuselage halves still even have the Monogram part numbers (1 and 2) in the same place, and where the Copyright notice was is some scuffing of the plastic, but theyíve taken the wings and horizontal tail surfaces off.  These were molded as part of the upper fuselage on the Monogram kit, now theyíre separate.  And this is because the two ďF-5EsĒ have an additional sprue holding new wings with the bigger LERXs and a Platypus nose.  Interesting!  And while the molding of the rest of the kit is average to poor (thatís what you get with these rip offs, soft detail, odd surface finish (see scan of the gear door!)) these new wings are much better.  They have engraved detail (if a little heavy) and better finish than the rest of the kit.  So Iím not unhappy about that.  What I am unhappy about is that the kit is about 3-4% smaller than the Monogram kit!  How? Did it shrink in the rain or something?  StrangeÖÖ

 Thereís also a new weapons load, which seems fairly pointless to me.  How often have you seen an F-5 aggressor loaded with ANYTHING (OK, OK the (very) occasional tank and something on the wing tips), let alone Mavericks, 1000lb bombs or gun pods.  Monogram did it with both their F-5E and F aggressors and I guess itís just something else these people have copied.  But it does mean there are two launch rails of indeterminate parentage loose in the box molded in a different (white) plastic.  I have worked out (from the box art) that they are intended for the Mavericks, but, like the Mavericks, are destined to meet the bin.  Very soon.

 I say ďfrom the box artĒ as the instructions donít mention them.  Or the new wing.  Or the new nose.  Basically they suck.  Fairly standard line assembly drawings on one sheet of A4 tissue paper.  The decals probably also suck, but I wonít be using them anyway so I wonít be able to confirm that (but I know theyíre prone to silvering, look at the box art!).  For the Nationalist Chinese a/c they come on four (count them!) small sheets, printing on a couple looks OK, bit fuzzy on another and thick carrier on another.

 Last gripe?  F/RF-5E?  I think not.  All the kits include (as did the Monogram kit) the RF-5A nose as an option (though I understand some F-5Es WERE so equipped so maybe you COULD, in a moment of mad generosity, class it as an RF-5E) but itís certainly NOT the proper RF-5E TigerEye.  Ho humÖÖ



I think itís obvious that I have reservations about these kits, and not just because of the low quality.  I also donít approve of this kind of piracy.  (Editor's note: As a young sailor, Taiwan was always a popular place to visit because they had no copyright scruples. I can recall that one could get an entire set of Encyclopaedia Britannica for about $30! Naturally, this was before the electronic age when we used analogue references.) On the other hand I got them cheap and (despite all Iíve said) Iím quite happy with them but I think you need to know what youíre getting.  Iíll probably make them with their gear up in a selection of aggressor markings (and Iíve got the option of the big LERXs and new nose) and do the serious work on the Monogram kits (with the size difference I think squeezing the Black Box set into one of these copies would be an exercise in futility (itíll be interesting to see what the overall fit is like, Iím not optimistic!)) until someone comes out with a beautiful new tool F-5A/B/C/E/F family.  Are you listening, Mr Tamiya?  And where are those new T-38s from Minicraft and Sword?  Come on you guys, thereís a TINY bit of space left in my wardrobe.  And the F-5s arenít that big.  What the heck, if I can find some more of the Monogram ones I guess Iíll pick them up too.  Hey, I LOVE those aggressor schemesÖÖ


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