Wolfpack 1/48 T-38 Talon

KIT #: 10001
PRICE: $65.00
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2013 in air forces throughout the world.

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the largest operator of the T-38. In addition to training USAF pilots, the T-38 is used by NASA. The US Naval Test Pilot School is the principal US Navy operator (other T-38s were previously used as USN aggressor aircraft until replaced by the similar Northrop F-5 Tiger II). Pilots of other NATO nations fly the T-38 in joint training programs with USAF pilots.

As of 2012, the T-38 has been in service for over 50 years with its original operator (the USAF). Other current and previous operators of the T-38 include Portugal, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and Germany. All German T-38s are kept in the US and used to train German pilots.  


Prior to this new tool kit, those who wanted a T-38 in this scale had the Sword short run kit. However, that one quickly sold out, creating a demand for a new kit. This one is molded in Korea and so is typical of current standard kits such as one gets from Trumpeter, Kinetic and others. Molding is well done, though I did find ejector pin marks on many parts, including most of the tires and the inside of things like gear doors. I also found sink areas on thick parts like the outside of the speed brakes, the lower control sticks and the mechanisms that hold up the canopy. The wheel wells have nice detail in them though the outer main gear wells are devoid of detail (they just may not have any in reality).

The cockpit comes with two nicely done ejection seats, with no belt detail. Instrument panels have raised detailing and they have decals as well. These panels are only for the T-38A. The T-38C has a 'glass' instrument panel. Rudder pedals are included that attach to the instrument panels. Side consoles are also provided. Under the cockpit tub fits the one piece wheel well. There is room in the nose for weight if you feel the kit needs it. None is shown in the instructions.

Intakes are a left and right side with a separate lip piece. There is no backing plate to the intakes, but they may well not be needed. There are two lower fuselage inserts. One is forward and the other is the entire aft rear section that includes lower wing stubs. The kit has a single piece fin, wings, and horizontal stab. The small flat piece atop the fin is separate. Exhaust fit like many F-5 kits with a one-piece exhaust nozzle into which the two tailpipes fit. Landing gear is well done and are the appropriate thin tire version that is typical for a T-38. The kit offers two sets of main and nose wheel, but makes no comment on using the other set.

Gear doors have separate actuators as do the speed brakes. As mentioned, these latter items have some pretty hefty sink areas on them so you'll need to smooth that out with filler. The kit can be built with the canopy open or closed. In the open position there are separate actuators to be used. The only other bit included is a travel pod

Instructions are nicely done with some color images of the actual aircraft to help with placement of parts. Color information is also supplied in either generic or FS 595 references. There are markings for five aircraft from three different units. Two are all white planes with black wing and fin leading edges with the 512 TW at Edwards AFB as shown on the box art. Another is with the 509 BW in overall 'engine grey'. The last two are with the 9th RW in overall black. These latter two units use their T-38s to keep pilots current as it is far cheaper to get your hours in a T-38 than in a B-2 or U-2. There are also quite a few aftermarket sheets designed for the Sword kit that should fit this one just fine if you are looking for something else. The large sheet is well done and if like Academy decals, should provide no issues.

Once you get past the rather high price tag, you'll find a very nicely done kit. I'm sure that it will be well received and I'll bet that it has fixed all of the 'fatal flaws' others have found in previous T-38 kits. Wanna bet that there will be other boxings?



December 2013 

Thanks to me for picking this one up.

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