Wolfpack 1/48 T-38C 'USAF'

KIT #: 10007
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


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.  

South Korea leased 30 low hour T-38As from the USAF to replace its T-37B and F-5Bs. These aircraft served for over ten years from 1999 until 2009 when they were then returned. Many of these aircraft were refurbished and placed back in USAF service. These planes allowed sufficient T-50s to be built to replace them.

The T-38C is an upgraded T-38A/AT-38B with new avionics and an upgraded engine. This engine upgrade resulted in new intakes and burner cans. Structural modifications are also being made to allow these planes to operate until at least 2029.


This kit 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 te tires, which is a considerable reduction from the initial boxing that I previewed several years back. There are also some sink areas on some thick parts, like the lower control sticks 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. 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 is four pieces that fit onto tailpipe segments'. 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 this time specifies which you are to use. 

Gear doors have separate actuators as do the speed brakes.  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. A new sprue with T-38C specific parts is provided in addition to the standard T-38A sprues. This kit also includes a photo etch fret with a number of small items to be used throughout the build. A small acetate sheet is provided to fit onto the photo etch HUD for the front seat. 

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 three aircraft of which one has optional tail bands. The box art plane is from the 14th FTW in 2011. The one with optional tail bands is from the 90th FTS in 2012 and the third is with the 47th FTW in 2009. Instructions call for all three planes to be painted in overall FS 16473 with 16081 dark grey areas. Decals are printed by Cartograf and you get a full stencil suite. There are also a set of canopy/wheel masks, a nice touch. If you don't like the kit options, I believe Caracal's T-38 sheets carry a C model or two.

I believe this is the first C model T-38 kitted in this scale. I've not built a Wolfpack kit, but from all I've heard, it is fairly straight forward. 



September 2019

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