Hasegawa 1/32 F-5E Tiger II




$39.95 MSRP for current boxing


Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Minicraft boxing from the mid 1980s



The F-5E "Tiger II" was a greatly improved version of the earlier F-5A "Freedom Fighter". Redesigned as a highly maneuverable, lightweight and inexpensive air superiority fighter, the -E featured an air-to-air fire control radar system and a lead computing gunsight. More powerful J85 engines required the fuselage to be both widened and lengthened. The forward wing root was redesigned to give the "Tiger II" wing its characteristic triple delta shape.

The first flight of the F-5E was on 11 August 1972. The first USAF unit to receive the aircraft was the 425th TFS at Williams AFB, Arizona responsible for training foreign pilots in the F-5 aircraft. The most well known use of the "Tiger II" was as an aggressor aircraft at the USAF Fighter Weapons School, Nellis AFB Nevada. The aggressor pilots of the 64th Fighter Weapons Squadron were trained in Soviet tactics and used the -Es to simulate MiG-21s for training USAF pilots in aerial combat skills. Eventually, aggressor squadrons were formed at RAF Alconbury, U.K. and Clark AB, PI for training USAF pilots stationed overseas along with pilots of friendly foreign nations.


If you like your kits big, then you really should consider the Hasegawa F-5E Tiger II. The kit is from Hasegawa's raised panel line era which also brings with it the usual problem of ejector pin marks on bits such as inside gear doors and weapons fins that will have to be filled or sanded off. The overall level of detail is quite good with a rather complete cockpit including  a well done bang seat, instrument panel, rudder pedals and a somewhat convincing canopy hinge mechanism. In fact, two are given depending on if you want the canopy open or closed. There is an excellent resin cockpit set for this kit should you be so inclined.

The fuselage is in several sections with optional drop in pieces for the engine blow-by doors in either the open or closed position. To my knowledge, these are only open if the engine is operating on the ground. You also have the option of some RWR antennas on the nose and tail section. Speed brakes can be open or closed and you can pose one gun door open to show the 20mm cannon. For things under wings you get Sidewinders for the wing tips, slick bombs for the outer pylons and fuel tanks for the inner pylons and centerline. Frankly, the bomb and Sidewinders are not the best formed. Nor are the Sidewinders the same as shown on the box top, being very early AIM-7Bs, by the look of them.  There is also a standing pilot figure. The clear bits are very clear so any cockpit detail you add should be visible even through a closed canopy.

Instructions are quite good showing photos of the kit in several stages of construction. Color info is given in generic names and FS 595  where applicable.  There are also a few photos of the actual aircraft, though they are all a bit dark and contrasty. Two marking options are provided. One is the box top plane from Top Gun that has to have been included in nearly every F-5E kit I've ever seen. This plane is in the three blues wraparound scheme (as in the photo below). The other is an overall aluminum lacquer USAF  version  as first flown. Decals are by Scalemaster and not too bad, though it seems the yellow is slightly off register. There are aftermarket decal sheets available for those who wish something other than what comes in the box.



This is really a fine kit. The large scale, cool subject and huge number of camo schemes available for the F-5E make this kit a real winner, despite its age. If you like them big, then this should be on your shelf.

Review kit courtesy of me.

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