Belcher Bits 1/32 F-5A Freedom Fighter Conversion First Look
|Date of Review||April 2005||Manufacturer||Belcher Bits|
|Subject||F-5A Freedom Fighter Conversion||Scale||1/32|
|Pros||Nice hollow casting||Cons||Requires additional conversion to render non-Canadian F-5A|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$59.99|
Belcher Bits has released another interesting conversion, this time a 1/32 F-5A Freedom Fighter using the Hasegawa 1/32 F-5E kit. The F-5A featured a rear fuselage section that had slightly different contours than the later F-5E. While some folks have done the body work the hard way to render an F-5A, this conversion makes the job much easier.
The conversion provides a replacement rear fuselage hollow-cast in resin. The casting quality is very good. In addition to the replacement fuselage halves, the conversion includes a new radome (in case your F-5E kit has the shark-nose), intakes, speed brakes, main gear doors, tail hook, tip tanks and a centerline fuel tank. The rest of the model comes out of the stock Hasegawa kit.
As presented, the conversion represents a CF-5A. The Canadian Freedom Fighters had auxiliary intake doors that were later used on the F-5E/F. These doors (actually more like shutters) are just behind the trailing edge of the wing. The 'standard' F-5A didn't have these auxiliary intake doors, so if you're doing a non-Canadian F-5A, you'll need to install the Hasegawa part for the closed doors and then fill in the detailing so this area is just another blank panel on the fuselage. Check your references as the CF-5As have been exported to other countries.
The conversion also includes a pair of generic Canadian Armed Forces decals sized for this project, so you can represent one of several CF-5As with these markings, but you're on your own for stencils and many of the national markings.
I'm glad to see this conversion on the market, and knowing it came from Belcher Bits made the decision easy for me. While I'm not certain which version of the F-5A I'll be doing, I have some good references to work from.
Check out our F-5A section and see the F-5A walk around there.