Northrop Grumman F-5 Tiger

Published: May 12th, 2017     
Product Image
Front cover
Author: Andy Evans
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: SAM Publications
ISBN #: 978-0-99554-603-5
E-Book ISBN #: 0995546037
Other Publication Information: Soft Bound, 8.27”x11.69”, 96 pages
Price: $30.99
Product / Stock #: MDF Scaled Down #5

Andy Evans is currently the Group Editor for the SAM magazines Scale Military Modeller International and Model Aircraft Monthly. Andy has authored at least 12 books, including Crowood's Bae/McDonnell Douglas Harrier (1998), Crowood's Panavia Tornado (1999), Cassell's Combat Search & Rescue (1999)Warpaint Books' Sepecat Jaguar (2006), SAM's The British Aerospace Sea Harrier (2007), SAM's The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Part 1 (2007), Dalrymple & Verdun's The Nimrod (2007), SAM's The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Part 2 (2008), SAM's The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Part 3 (2008), SAM's The Grumman F-14 Tomcat (2008), SAM's The Bae (Hawker Siddeley) RAF Harrier (2010).

This volume follows last year's MDF (Modellers Datafiles) Scaled Down 4 on the Sea Fury. MDS Scaled Down 6 should follow soon and will be on the Buccaneer. This soft cover book's cover features a US Navy Northrop F-5N Tiger II, 761548, in flight. The first thing you will notice upon opening the book are the clear, well reproduced black and white pictures and the vivid color photographs gracing nearly every glossy page. I counted 9 black and white photographs, 279 color pictures, 20 color profiles, and 15 drawings.

The Northrop F-5 began life in 1954 as a company funded effort to design a relatively inexpensive supersonic fighter that could operate off of short runways as well as small aircraft carriers. The USAF eventually recognized the need for a replacement for the Lockheed T-33 and requested three trainer versions as the T-38. While development proceeded, the USAF decided that the single seat version would meet the needs for America's allies and ordered three aircraft under the Northrop designation N-156F. The first flight for the T-38 was March 10, 1959 and remains in service today with 1,146 ultimately being built. The Northrop N-156F "Freedom Fighter" flew for the first time on July 30, 1959 going supersonic on its first flight.

Northrop won the International Fighter Aircraft competition in 1970 to replace its F-5A fighter with its progeny, the Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II. The Northrop F-5E achieved its first flight on August 11, 1972. The Northrop F-5 remains in service today with 2,246 manufactured before the last Tiger II rolled off the production line. Northrop again privately financed the follow-up to the Tiger II with the F-5G/F-20 Tigershark under the US Department of Defense's FX project. The Northrop F-5G/F-20 Tigershark first flew on August 30, 1982 after a long political battle. To differentiate the Tigershark from the F-5 Tiger, the USAF assigned the new series number, F-20. Two additional F-20 Tigersharks were manufactured with the first flying on August 26, 1983. The third F-20 Tigershark survives to this day and is on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

The Chapters include:

  • Northrop F-5 Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 1: Birth and Development - The Northrop N-156 [Page 6]
  • Chapter 2: Freedom Fighter - The F-5
    • Reconnaissance Version
    • Skoshi Tiger
    • Freedom Fighters in Service [Page 13]
    • The Canadair CF-5
    • CASA SF-5 - Spain
  • Chapter 3: The F-5 Tiger II
    • The F-5F
    • RF-5E Tigereye [Page 32]
    • US Air Force
    • NASA
    • AeroGroup
  • Chapter 4: Aggressor Tigers
    • US Navy and Marine Corps Tigers [Page 43]
    • US Air Force Aggressor Tigers
  • Chapter 5: The T-38 Talon [Page 50]
  • Chapter 6: The F-20 Tigershark [Page 53]
  • Tiger Colour Side Profiles [Page 59]
  • Chapter 7: Tiger - Modelling the F-5 Tiger
    • Greek Freedom Fighter - Kinetic 1/48 F-5B by Matt McDougall
    • Dutch Courage - Kinetic 1/48 NF-5A by Ian Cooper
    • Desert Bandit - AFV Club 1/48 F-5 Aggressor by George Rodis [Page 66]
    • VNAF Fighter - Classic Airframes 1/48 F-5A by Chad Summers
    • A Brazilian Lizard - AFV Club 1/48 F-5E by Alexandre Alves
    • Eye of the Tiger - AFV Club 1/48 RF-5E by Mario Serelle
    • Aegean Ghost - Kinetic 1/48 F-5A by Oliver Soulleys
  • Appendix 1: Walkarounds and Diagrams
    • Brazilian F-5M [Page 80]
    • Turkish F-5B/2000
    • Austrian F-5E
    • CASA SF5-B
    • SVAF F-5E
    • F-5 Cockpits
    • Diagrams [Page 92]
  • Appendix 2: Kitography
    • Kits
    • Accessories
    • Decals

I found the section on the Republic of Korea's Northrops quite interesting, especially given current events. To help out South Vietnam, South Korea transferred 36 of their Freedom Fighters in return for the US supplying them with F-4E Phantom II fighter bombers and F-5E Tiger II fighters. In 1980, South Korea began the licensed manufacturing of the F-5E and F-5F known as the 'Jegong-Ho'. The Tiger II variants remain the most numerous aircraft type in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force.

I really appreciated Andy Evans's book on the Northrop F-5 family. Although I would have loved to had this in the standard Modellers Datafile series that generally are close to 200 pages, I'm happy that this aircraft family has been addressed. Andy Evans covers the development of each of the different models in this family and then follows with each the operators (Vietnam, Greece, Canada, etc.). The roughly second half of the book presents material geared to the modeler with color side profiles, seven 1/48 build reviews, manual diagrams, walk-around style photo-essay, and a listing of available kits, accessories, and decals. All in all, this is a handy reference when you are ready to dive into building your Freedom Fighter.

My thanks to SAM Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Back cover
    Back cover
  • Page 6
    Page 6
  • Page 13
    Page 13
  • Page 32
    Page 32
  • Page 43
    Page 43
  • Page 50
    Page 50
  • Page 53
    Page 53
  • Page 59
    Page 59
  • Page 66
    Page 66
  • Page 80
    Page 80
  • Page 92
    Page 92