by Dan Lee
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The Northrop F-20 was privately developed in the early 80's as a modernized
follow up to their F-5 series of light weight fighters. First flight was
30-Aug-1982. By incorporating the latest technology, the F-20 was to become a
poor man's F-16/F-18. This new fighter was originally designated as the F-5G,
but was latter redesignated to F-20 in an attempt to distinguish the fact that
this new variant wasn't a mild upgrade of the original F-5 family.
The F-20 featured a single GE F404 engine giving this little fighter a
tremendous thrust to weight ratio. The latest avionics suite put the aircraft
into the same league as the F-16/18 series. The F-20 was capable of BVR
engagements using Sparrow missles. In addition, Air to Ground radar modes
allowed the F-20 to perform ground mapping and tracking of ground targets.
Three prototypes were built. However two were lost in accidents. The F-20 never
found a customer due to reasons not related to the aircraft itself. In the end,
Northrop cancelled the program after spending a fair amount of its own money.
Hasegawa's 1/72 Scale
Hasegawa's 1/72 F-20 was released in the 80's. It features recessed panel
lines, a pilot figure, underwing fuel tanks, a center line fuel tank, boarding
ladder, optional refueling probe and wingtip AIM-9L Sidewinders. The fuel tanks
are molded along with their pylon. An extra set of pylons is provided to allow
other stores (user supplied) to be used.
The kit only allows the canopy to be built in the opened position. Surgery on
the canopy actuator assembly is required before the canopy can be closed.
Decals are provided for the second F-20 prototype in a grey top with light grey
bottom paint scheme.
I built this one almost straight out of the box.
Decals for the main instrument and side panels were used. The seat was replaced
with a True Details F-5 resin seat. The canopy actuating arms were cleaned up
and grafted onto the True Details seat. The molded on gun barrels are best
drilled out and replaced. However, replacement barrels were left off; I was
lazy. A dab of putty was required around the wing/intake assembly joint. The
main landing gear doors and airbrakes were thinned down.
The ACMI pod came from an Italeri NATO weapons kit.
I decided to go with a what-if paint scheme based on the USAF F-5 Aggressor
Grape scheme. Employing what was already in my paint drawer, I decided to use
Humbrol #47 (a gloss light blue) as the base coat. Next Tamiya enamels were used
for the blue grey and grey. Tamiya Neutral grey was used for the nose radome.
Landing gear and gear bays were painted with Tamiya flat white.
Testor's Exhaust and Aluminium Metalizer paints were used for the engine
Decals came from the kit and the spares box.
This is a nice Hasegawa kit. It goes together well and quickly.
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Article Copyright © 2002 by Dan Lee
Page Created 01 April 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007
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