Sword T-38/Fujimi F-5B  Kitbash






See review


Henk Rodermond (with help from the editor)


Dutch Decals for NF-5 used


The Northrop F-5 was developed as a light fighter bomber and used operational in the Vietnam war. Later on it was delivered to countries with a low defence budget Canada, Greece, Spain, Iran, Norway etc. The Netherlands was interested in the F-5 as replacement for their Thunderstreaks. A contract was made with Canadair which build 75 single and 30 two seat F-5’s for the Royal Dutch Air Force (Klu).

The Dutch F-5 differed on several places from the normal produced F-5. It had leading edge flaps, a two position nose gear, a stronger J85 can engine and Doppler navigation with roller map.

The first NF-5A was delivered in 1969 and al where flown to the Netherlands in special high-flights via Goose Bay, Greenland, Scotland to the Netherlands. 4 Squadrons flew the F-5 in the Netherlands: 313,314,315 and 316 Squadron until 1984 when the last was replaced by the F-16. Most of the still useful airframes were then sent to Turkey, who used them for DACT and as emergency fighters

The Dutch NF-5 was a famous attraction on air shows with their solo air display, and it is with the F-5 that the Dutch began really getting into doing special paint schemes



Until now there is not a good model of a F-5A or F-5B in 1/48 scale. Begining this year Sword came with a nice T-38 Talon while  Fujimi had already a poor F-5B version. As the Sword Talon had a good resin cockpit I decided to rebuild the two kits to a Dutch NF-5B.

 For a look at the Sword T-38A, please visit this preview. The Fujimi F-5B (which has also been boxed as a T-38), has the requisite deeper fuselage and the proper intakes needed for an F-5B. The rest of the kit is pretty poor in terms of general detailing. Wheel wells are just places to stick the gear and the cockpit is no where near up to the specs of today's kits. However, the overall shape is good and provides a reasonable basis for a kitbash project.


First thing to do is what part is taken from which kit. I needed the fuselage from the Sword Talon as the fitting of the resin cockpit was better here. The difference in wings are shown in the next photo so these where needed from the Fujimi kit

The Dutch F-5’s were rarely seen without  wing tip tanks.

The resin cockpit (Sword) is really excellent. It was first painted and after that placed into the fuselage.

Next the tail section was prepared with chaff and flare dispensers, and ECM. The Dutch F-5’s were equipped with a drag chute. 

Wings mounted to the fuselage and then doing a lot of puttying and sanding.

 After this the most of the work was done. Only the speed brakes underneath the fuselage were larger for a F-5 and so I modified this. The undercarriage was taken from the Fujimi kit. The Talon has a different nose wheel so the kit version was used. The NF-5B is build as a clean version with only a centerline tank.




Painting was done with Testors Modelmaster paints. This NF-5B was painted in the later toned down gray scheme used by Dutch NF-5s in the last years of their operation. Colors are FS 36270 uppers and FS 36375 undersides with a solid demarcation line.


For my Dutch Air Force collection I use Dutch Decals as almost every plane that flew in the Dutch Air Force is covered by these decals.

The NF-5B was given the markings of 316 Sq, which flew from Gilze Rijen and was the latest squadron to replace the F-5 by the F-16. Finally I attached the good molded canopy in the open position.


Although its expensive and a lot of work to build this NF-5b it was a worthfully job. And yes I think I’am the only one in the world with this kind of NF-5b. Hopefully some one is producing a good modelkit as well of the F-5a as the F-5b in future. The only good kit there is is the 1/72 esci kit which know is reproduced by Revell.

January 2004


 “De Northrop NF-5 history in Nederland” ISBN 90-6013-518-0

Royal Dutch Airforce museum at Soesterberg:

315 sqn:

Editor's Note: My apologies for this less than sparkling review. However, I felt that the model was so well done that I should share it with you.

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If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has nearly 250,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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