Canadair CF-5A Freedom Fighter, 419 Sqn.; CFB Cold Lake

The Airframe

With the cockpit painted and installed, the nosewheel bay from Monogram's F-5E kit was grafted onto one fuselage half of the Italeri kit. The fuselage halves were then joined, using liquid glue. After this, assembly went quickly. The interiors of the engine air intakes were painted grey and black, then assembled and attached to the model.

The wings were added next. First, though, a little surgery. CF-5s on the ground seem to always have their leading and trailing edge flaps dropped slightly. To represent this, these were cut from the wings, sanded along with the rest of the wing to give realistic leading and trailing edge thicknesses, and reattached in the appropriate attitudes.

The tailplanes were also sanded down to reduce their thickness, and sharpen their trailing edges. I was careful not to remove the double row of rivets on their upper surfaces, though, as these are there on the real aircraft. Because of the fragile nature of their mounting pins, the tailplanes were set aside to be attached after painting and finishing.

The tiptanks, so characteristic of the CF-5, are resin copies of a master I made several years ago. Note the angle at which they are mounted, relative to the fuselage. This feature is sometimes missed in models of this aircraft.

The cannon ports on top of the nose were represented by plastic tube of the appropriate diameter, super glued into holes ground through the top of the fuselage parts. This sounds like a daunting job, but if care is taken with alignment it's not too tricky. What's more, if the results are less than satisfactory new holes can be opened up and the process repeated as necessary! After the model was finished, the cannon barrels themselves were represented by lengths of steel tube.

While I had out my bag of tube and the super glue, I replaced the pitot tube on the tip of the nose with telescoping sections of two different diameters of hypodermic needle tubing.

At this point, all the raised panel detail was removed from the model with 600-grit sandpaper and replaced with new, scribed panel lines. For this job, I used the back of an Xacto No.11 blade, a sharp needle chucked in an Xacto knife handle, and a Mastercraft "art knife blade". I found these art knife blades at Canadian Tire, priced at about $2.00 for a set of ten (product #57-5079-0), but I'm sure there will be equivalent products available in other countries. The blade on the left side of the package (see photo) works at least as well as an Olfa P-Cutter, but is less expensive and handier due to its smaller size.

Model and photos by Dave Askett.

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