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Tiger II to Talon

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  • Tiger II to Talon

    Two guys at my club have the Freewing F-5, and it seems to be a great flying plane. I have always liked the F-5/T-38 family of planes. I think they are just sexy little jets. So I took the plunge and got one from Motion. I've been sitting on it for a while trying to find a way to make it different from the other two at the field. I finally decided what better way than to add a second seat!?

    I'm a retired cop not an engineer, and fortunately this hasn't been a massively complicated kit bash. I have accepted that it will not be a perfect T-38, but from a few feet and especially in the air, I hope it will fool a couple of people.

    I am also wrapping the plane with Oracal vinyl. It protects the foam, won't chip or peel off of the foam and it hides a lot of less than perfect work.

    The three major things I am doing are, shaving the top of the tail flat and adding a piece of plastic for the "T" on the T-38, removing the wing root fillets and making plugs to fill the gap in the side of the fuselage and last but not least, extending the cockpit forward and adding a second seat. I also removed the flat inboard panels of the intake and beveled them, wrapped them and reinstalled them.

    The first two were pretty easy, the cockpit hasn't been what I would call hard, but it has turned out to time consuming. There has been a lot of trial and error, but I think I have most of the problems worked out.

    I spliced two cockpits together, trying to maintain the constant taper of the forward portion of the cockpit. I used the front of the original cockpit as a template to mark how much to cut our of the nose area. I am only moving forward about 1 3/4 inches. I am pretty sure the structural integrity of the nose gear will be okay. I didn't disturb the gear support and the foam I removed from above the nose gear is only about 1/2 inch think and I don't think it can actually support much weight.

    I guess if the nose gear pops up through the top of the nose on the first landing, I'll know I was wrong about that;-)

    I am using the original canopy for the forward half of the cockpit and plastic cut from a 2 liter bottle for the back half.

    Callie made the decals for me. For the sides of the front fuselage area I had her just print everything on white vinyl and applied it as a single piece. It looks a lot cleaner. There is a very minor color difference between the 3M film Callie uses and the Oracal film I use, but I doubt most folks will notice.

    More later.


  • #2
    I hit the "like" button but I reeeally LOVE it!


    • #3
      What type foam did you use for the nose extension?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Boots Whirlygig View Post
        What type foam did you use for the nose extension?
        Thanks, I didn't extend the nose, only the cockpit.


        • #5
          That's a really sweet conversion. Good job, Jim!


          • #6
            Thanks guys. With a little luck and if the wind will stay calm, I hope to maiden this weekend.


            • #7
              Good luck!


              • #8
                Nice job, hope it flys as good as it looks
                AMA 521691


                • #9
                  I have it on very good authority that the real T-38 is a dream to fly. I can now add that the Freewing F-5, modified to represent a T-38 is also a dream to fly.

                  We didn't have ideal conditions for good photos, the gray sky made it hard for the camera to focus on the white plane. But there was very little wind and the temps were in the mid 70s so I flew the maiden flight on my RC T-38.

                  I am pleased to say all went well, the plane flew great and landed like a pussy cat. No issues with our club's well kept grass runway.

                  A reason I chose to try this mod is, my older cousin flew T-38 14936 at Vance AFB. He had already flown 700 combat hours in helicopters in Nam before transferring from the Army to the USAF. He accumulated over 5100 hours in military aircraft before retiring as Brigadier General. Not bad for a country boy from West Virginia. The tough part of the story is, shortly after he retired from the Air Force he was diagnosed with ALS and is still fighting that battle. So I wanted to do a little something to let him know he was appreciated. This model flies for him.


                  • #10
                    Nice! Good work!


                    • #11
                      WOW!!! Great work. I also would like to do the mod. Can you post pictures or drawings with dimensions, how much you added and where. Thanks, no sense in reinventing the wheel since you did such a great job worthy of copying.


                      • #12
                        Sorry to bring up an old thread, especially for bad news, but wanted to share since I know there are a lot of vets here. My inspiration for this model, my oldest cousin, Terry Butler, passed away today after a very long and well fought battle with ALS. He started his flying career as an Army chopper pilot in Viet Nam, transferred to the USAF after the war and flew everything from jets to C-130s finally retiring a Brigadier General.


                        • #13
                          Sorry to hear that. My condolences on your loss.


                          • #14
                            Sorry for your loss I hate to hear about the loss of good people but sadly it is inevitable.