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Spiros Pendedekas
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Italeri (Hawk) 1/48 F-5A

January 11, 2022 · in Aviation · · 43 · 2.3K

Small and highly aerodynamic, focusing on performance and a low cost of maintenance, smaller and simpler than its contemporaries, it is not surprising that the is quite a few times referred as “the F-16 f its time”.

Designed for a day air superiority role, the aircraft proved to be a capable ground-attack platform and was furthermore developed into a dedicated reconnaissance version, the RF-5 Tigereye. It also served as a starting point for a series of design studies which resulted in the F/A-18 Hornet.

A huge export success, the F-5 is still serving with many Air Forces (as of 2021), exhibiting a long and very interesting operational history. A total of 2246 have been built.

Hellenic Air Force (HAF), started receiving the in 1965. In the same year, the 341st Day Interception Squadron (MAH) was declared operational, followed by the 343 MAH.

Fifty-five aircraft were initially received, with 17 RF-5As received in 1970. In 1975 ten were purchased from Iran and later another ten from Jordan. With nine more granted by Norway In 1986 and another ten (NF-5A / B) finally in 1991 by the Netherlands, it is no surprise that HAF F-5s sported a variety of camos, ranging from “NMF”, to SEA, Asia Minor, Aegean Blue, “Dutch” gray/blue, “Norwegian” gray and Aegean Ghost!

Offering their services for 36 years, including their later use as “introductory planes” for F-16 and Mirage 2000 pilots, HAF “Freedom fighters” clocked a whopping 364,647 flight hours, while 23 memorable pilots lost their lives flying with them.

The type was withdrawn from HAF in 2001.

This is the old mold, reisued by almost 25 years ago. The kit is simplistic and, at places, toy-ish, but the Italeri decals (printed by Zanchetti-Bucchinasco), were really good. I performed some scratch built in order to liven/busy up some of the kit's lesser areas.

Should you wish to read the full build review, you may do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness:

Happy modeling!

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome 1 

43 responses

  1. Nice, Spiros. One of my favorite "modern" jets.

  2. Nice job on that old kit!

  3. Now that is a great looking F5, Spiros @fiveten
    Excellent interior details.
    I was not aware that the HAF used these as well.
    In my early years of aviation, the Dutch still used them together with the F104.
    They were called NF5's of which, to my knowledge, the N stood for Netherlands, surprisingly.

    • Thanks my friend @johnb!
      When KLu withdrew he NF-5 fleet, some were supplied to Greece. If I recall well, one of them was returned back to Holland, upon their withdrawal from HAF, painted in a nice two tone blue/gray camo. I wish I will find some pics...

  4. A beautiful "little" jet, your "Freedom Fighter" looks great, especially considering the vintage of the kit.

  5. Wow, that metallic finish is beautiful! So smooth!

  6. I really like the F-5. Yours looks great in NMF. I grew up on SAC US Air Force bases and the T-38 trainer version of this plane was often seen flying overhead. They have very pleasing lines and just seem like they are built for speed and fun. Kind of like a Ferrari of airplanes.

  7. @fiveten, Oh, that is so nice Spiros! Great job on an ancient kit! And after many years, I finally get to see another ex-Hawk-Testors F-5 built. Your model and this one of mine are the only two examples of that old kit I've encountered. I know there must be others out there too, but thanks for sharing this beauty with us here!

  8. Echoing some other comments, you've achieved a really smooth metallic finish, Spiros@fiveten. Did you do it with the reliable Humbrol silver enamel? A bare metal look really brings out the nice lines of the f-5a. Good paintwork on the interior to bring out the detail. Overall great work on an older kit. I often want to do jets with the canopy closed, as you did. I may return to my Draken soon and finish it that way - since I have two, so maybe one closed, one open canopy.

    BTW, the HAF F-5As might have had a Canadian lineage, since they were co-produced by Canadair and Fokker for the Dutch and RCAF (or so quick on-line research tells me). I have always liked the look of the CF-5A/CF-116 in Canadian service. One day I will do the Kinetic kit in 1/48 in my stash in the RCAF dissimilar air combat training role.

    Th colors are really nice and quite similar to one of the HAF schemes, I think. I love the big pseudo-Bort numbers and weathered look (maybe a bit much as this is a museum bird stored outside).

    • Ok Colin @coling - you have me hooked on that scheme! I need one of those in 1/72 - need some decals, and more reference pics... you have any paint color details or references?

      • Sure thing, Greg. Here are the suggestions by Mike Grant, who also does the decals.

        There is a particular build on line that makes good suggestions from the Lifecolor line and I am going with those. Here is an image of the model (in 1/48, I think). Superb work. I will try to find the article. I hope no one minds the reproduction of the images here. The real bird is on display inside now.

      • Just found the article. Older pics from Photobucket now inaccessible. The modeler is one Jose Pedro form the Azores. He gives suggestions for colors from Lifecolor which are spot on IMO. Here is the link in ARC forums:

        also here in French (same modeler):

  9. Nicely done! Dad flew the T-38 for 3 years as an IP when I was in grade school - loved to sit at the end of the runway and watch them. The T-38/F-5 is such an elegant, fast little jet, especially compared to the T-37 Tweets they flew with at the base!

  10. Great job on an old kit, Spiros.

    The F-5 is an important Cold War fighter that served in a lot of Allied countries. It should be in any collection where jets are built. I loved seeing the 433 Escadrille (Canadian Forces) CF-5s at US East Coast air shows in the 1970s. Those guys were really good.

  11. Nice blast from the past, the kit holds up nicely, I never did a Hawk F-5, but I did do the old Aurora kit way back.

  12. @fiveten turns another ancient turkey into an eagle.

  13. Looks Great with the extra help you put into it!

  14. 5 out of 5 for your F-5 Spiros, nice work on the NMF.
    Nice to see you got another post on the MM website too.

  15. Great work, Spiros. I like what you did with that cockpit.

  16. Congratulate Spiros, sharp and clean build of fantastic looking fighter.
    I like it a lot

  17. Interesting history and great looking model, excellent post as usual.

  18. Very nice job on the older kit, @fiveten. I think I built that aircraft long ago from a Monogram kit, always liked the look of it. No one so far has mentioned F-5s were used as aggressor planes for the U.S. Navy Top Gun school.

  19. Great job on your build Spiros. You put in the work needed to liven up this old kit and it came out great looking. My favorite kind of build.

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