In-Box Review
T-38A Talon
Northrop Corporation T-38A Talon
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by: Richard Tonge [ TINBANGER ]

The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engined supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2014 in air forces throughout the world.
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the largest operator of the T-38. In addition to training USAF pilots, the T-38 is used by NASA. The US Naval Test Pilot School is the principal US Navy operator (other T-38s were previously used as USN aggressor aircraft until replaced by the similar Northrop F-5 Tiger II). Pilots of other NATO nations fly the T-38 in joint training programs with USAF pilots.
As of 2014, the T-38 has been in service for over 50 years with its original operator (the USAF).

T-38 Talon Specs
Role - Advanced trainer
National origin - United States
Manufacturer - Northrop Corporation
First flight - 10 March 1959
Introduction - 17 March 1961
Status - Operational
Primary users - United States Air Force, United States Navy, NASA, Turkish Air Force
Produced - 19611972
Number built - 1,146
Developed from Northrop N-156
Variants - Northrop F-5
From Wikipedia
Kit Contents
The model comes in a strong 13"x 8" x 2 1/4" top opening box.
Box art work is a painting of the USAF T-38A of which the decals are included.
In the box we find:-
3D Cad sheet with assembly viiews.
8 page assembly instructions.
Double sided sheet for a painting and marking guide.
Listed in the colour call out are:- Aquerous Hobby Color, Mr Color,Vallejo,Model Master,Tamiya and Humbrol
4 light grey spures in sealed plastic bags (85 pcs)
1 clear canopy sprue (5pcs) in plastic bag which is in a foam sleeve.
1 sheet of PE (18 pcs)
Parts not used:- D1,F5,PE7
Decals are printed in register on high gloss film which look to be on the thick side, colour looks correct although the Portuguese flag has the red and green panel sizes reversed so the green part of the decal will need to be cut and a red decal/painted panel applied to correct the size!
Decals for two aircraft:-
USAF #141 7FS/49FW, Holloman AFB.
Portuguese Air Force #2606 201Squadron, Air base 5,
1 Small decal sheet (13pcs) containing instrument panel details.
Decal printer unknown.
Assembly Instructions

Page 2, Sprue parts diagramed.

Page 3, Step 1 Cockpit assembly.
Colour call outs are provided for this step and are next to the part.
This model has two very nice renditions of the Northrop F-5E ejection seats, if you wish to model the Talon after 2012 you will have to change the seats for Martin-Baker Mk US16T seats.
Some pilots and students have been killed in the F-5E seat with both ejecting at the same time and colliding exiting the aircraft, the 16T seat has a sequential ejection delay thus avoiding collision upon exit.
Seven parts make up the two ejector seats and twelve PE seat belt parts complete the seat portion of the cockpit.
The next assembly in this step is the seat mounting frames and guides.
Instrument panels have raised dials moulded on, there are decals for the instruments.
Looking on the web at photos of the instrument panel the decals are a good copy.
The cockpit floor has side console with all switches etc moulded on and again we are supplied with decals.
Cockpit side walls have some detail on them,these are attached to the cockpit consoles.
Final parts to be added are the four separate pedals and the canopy hinges.
We are given a choice of open or closed canopy hinges.

Page 4, Step 2 Fusalage assembly.
The fusalage according to rivet counters is 8mm longer than it should scale out too, looks fine to me!
The cockpit from step 3 is installed into the two fusalage halves along with the nose wheel housing, also the two main landing gear housings are glued in.
The main landing gear housings halves have crisp details moulded on, including what could be hydraulic lines.
No nose weight is called for in the instructions.

Page 5, Step 3 Nose gear and jet intakes.
The jet intake is in two pieces. Some comments around the web call into question the intake shape and that the Sword offering seems to be the only manufacture to get it right.
Nose wheel and strut are made up of three pieces, the finely groved tire tread looks good.
We add the air brakes and wheel well doors at this step.
A travel pod is supplied but unfortunately Trumpeter has moulded the mounting hole open so filling will be required if the travel pod is not used.

Page 6, Step 4 & 5.
The two wings are made up of four parts with pipe detail in the upper half wheel wells.
Under carriage struts are a two piece assembly and again we have fine tread detail on the tires.
Flaps are not poseable .

Page 7, Step 6.
Vertical stabilizer is made of two parts and glued to fusalage locating blocks,rudder is not adjustable.
Two air scoops are added either side of the stabilizer.
Jet exhaust nozzels are moulded together with fine afterburner details.
Canopy dividing frame will now have PE mirrors attached and frame glued to fusalage.
Cockpit dash is painted flat black glued to the front cockpit.
In the last step the wings are attached.

Page 8, Step 7.
The canopys come well protected in its packaging and are nice and clear, there is a very
faint mould line down the middle which would not require to much work to remove.
Rear canopy now gets it's mounting frame installed and front canopy gets two PE mirrors.

Page 8, Step 8.
Depending on the hinge option chosen in Step 1 the canopys will be glued on open or closed.
We are supplied a four step ladder (4pcs) that will hang on a open cockpit frame.
There is no armament supplied with this kit.

Reports of shape issues and overal length being too long.
I do not compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled to me it will look like a Talon.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE
Highs: Fine panel lines Zero flash,but then again this is new tooling
Lows: Portuguese flag panel colours reversed. Rudders and Elevators not positionable. Scale / shape issues.
Verdict: Model looks to be a straight forward build. Looking forward to doing a build blog/ feature.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 02852
  Suggested Retail: $23 - $40 (On line)
  Related Link: T-38A Talon
  PUBLISHED: Apr 09, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
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About Richard Tonge (tinbanger)

I started building model aircraft with my brother and dad at about 7 years old(Yellow single engine float plane). Born in England so mostly built Airfix and Frog Kits! Moved over the pond in 1979. Main interest any type/era aircraft. Tinbanger call sign comes from my sheetmetal days. I am also ...

Copyright 2021 text by Richard Tonge [ TINBANGER ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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