Trumpeter 1/32 FT-5






One aircraft, an aerobatic team plane


Scott Van Aken





FT-5. The title draws a blank from just about all modelers, aswell it should. This aircraft is an indigenous design from the Chengdu aircraftfactory in China. Developed as a trainer version of the Mig-17, it is similarto, though different from the MiG-15UTI. It has a slightly lengthened fuselagefrom the MiG-17 (or J-5) and the nose intake and tailpipe area were additionallyrefined. 

Initially developed in 1965, it first flew in 1966 and by 1986,when production ended, over 1,000 examples had been built. The FT-5 is theexport version of the home-use JJ-5, and has been exported to several countriesincluding Pakistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. It isalso possible that it may serve in other countries, but there is no firmknowledge of that.



Thisis the first time this aircraft has been offered in a mainstream injectedkit.  Hopefully you will be able to get past the rather poor box art. There are some very good color photographs on the side panels of variouscomponents such as landing gear, gear bays, speedbrakes and such from a museumaircraft.

Inside you see a kit that is very impressive and yet ratherfamiliar. It should be as Trumpeter has basically upsized the Tamiya MiG-15biskit. They have changed at least 10% of the parts to take care of pesky copyrightlaws by offering this as a two seater, but the basic kit screams TAMIYA! Andthat is good. 

There are three bags of sprues in this kit. One bag has twosprues plus a bag with rubber tires and weight. The dark grey sprue is basicallythe engine and stand with a pilot (Tamiya kit, remember?). The other containsdrop tanks, two intake trunks and three intake lips. This also has a pilot andthe single seat interior as well as landing gear and guns.

The next two bags are white plastic. One contains the fuselagequarters (remember, the rear fuselage comes off to show the engine), the twoseat interior  and clear bits. The clear bits are thoughtfully packaged sothat they rub against the sprue during shipment. There is also a gap where thesingle seat nose section fits. 

The other bagcontains the wings and gear doors. All the control surfaces are separate exceptfor the flaps (remember that 10%?). Detail on the parts is really very good.Much better than I would have thought. Fine engraving and a myriad ofcountersunk rivets, just like the real plane (see wing image). There is NO flashand the ejector pin marks are, forthe most part, unobtrusive. There has even been an attempt to make the ejectorpin marks match up with indentations in some parts like the inside of the geardoors, however it is a bit overdone compared to the prototype (see door image).I did spot a few sink marks, mostly corresponding with alignment pins (again, seewing image).

There is a small decal sheet. Not sure of the quality, but it iswell printed and glossy. The instruction sheet is almost entirely pictorial.Colors are given in reference to Tamiya paints (surprise!), and there is a chartgiving what is what in English. There is even a substantial tube of glueincluded.

My overall impression of this kit is quite favorable. I havealways liked two seaters and was hoping that this would be similar to theMiG-15UTI, though it appears that it may not be. At the very least, the wingshave too many fences on them! Overall detail is just great, though the rivetcounters have already noticed a panel line or two out of place (horrors!). WereI to add anything, it would be some sort of canopy hinge or prop as I can'tbelieve that rear canopy slides back like magic. Guess mine will be withcanopies closed. I'd also add a few more color options than just one, but sinceit is supposed to be an FT-5, what is given is appropriate. We will just have torely on Aeromaster or someone to give us a greater selection.

Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft, edited by JohnLake, 1994, Airtime Publishing

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!! If any of youmanufacturers or shop owners want to send products for review and building,please contact me.