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F-5E Tiger II - Quick Set 3D Acrylic Detail Set
Red Fox Studio (32017)

Reviewed: Nov 2021

Red Fox Studio are a relatively new company who specialise in producing 3D aircraft cockpit detail sets. To date they have produced a wide range of sets covering all historical era's and modeling scales (1:24 / 1:32 / 1:35 and 1:48). Each set is typically designed to fit a specific manufacturers kit, so be sure to double check when you are ordering.

The Red Fox "Quick Set" product is designed for upgrading model aircraft cockpits. It has an acrylic plastic, non-flat surface with a 3D effect.

It is best glued with cyanoacrylate, but PVA or other glues can also be used. The product can safely be washed with both oil-based and acrylic paints and moderately ester-based paints. It can also be minimally bent or sanded.

In each set, Red Fox provides a detailed set of layout instructions and a preparation/usage guide. I particularly like the fact that they include recommended model paint color callouts to aid the modeller in best matching the colors they have used in their printing.

For this review I'm going to have a hands-on test drive of their detail set RFSQS-32017 which is designed to fit the Kitty Hawk 1:32 F-5E Tiger II.

As I was browsing the Red Fox Studio website I noticed that they have started to release "Black Editions" of several of their instrument panels. These new sets are designed to simulate the aircraft "powered down" with none of the cockpit displays active (aka black). A quick comparison of their two sets for the B-1B Lancer in 1/48 demonstrates what this looks like. To my knowledge this is a unique innovation to Red Fox and is a very welcome option.

HANDS ON - Red Fox Studio 1:32 F-5E Tiger II - 3D Acrylic Detail Set (32017)

The instructions included with 3D printed parts are somewhat different to normal. I would call these "preparation" instructions rather than "assembly" instructions simply because there really is no "assembly" needed with 99% of the 3D printed items. The items do need to be cut from the printing tree and some minor clean up performed but this is quick and painless. Here we see the steps needed to prepare the nose landing gear for installation into the model. NB, one step that seems to be missing is the insertion of the provided stainless steel rod to the center of the landing gear designed to provide support and prevent deformation under weight.

The real beauty of these new 3D printed detailing sets is the level of detail (and accuracy) that is achieved. Under extreme magnification like I have here in my close up photo the coloring starts to look grainy, but to the naked eye and normal viewing distance this looks quite convincing.

To make your life as easy as possible, even the glass covering each instrument dial and displays has already been provided via a top coat of gloss clear finish. I found that to separate the parts from the backing sheet I simply needed to place the tip of a blade under one corner and gently lift. Once started, the parts came away cleanly and easily from the sheet using only my fingers, with minimal force. As per the Red Fox instructions do not try and bend these parts. They are very different to the Quinta Studio sets I have reviewed before which are made from vinyl and are very flexible. It's interesting to see the various layers that have been applied to achieve the 3D effect when you view the parts from the back.

Once free from the backing sheet the acrylic parts are quite rigid and very easy to handle. All the switches and raised portions of the part are pre-colored so all you need to do is prepare the kit plastic parts for installation.

Unlike most of it's 1960's contemporaries, the F-5E had an uncluttered cockpit and side console layout. The main IP was dominated by the large circular radar scope with standard analog flight instruments surrounding it.

To provide a comparison, here is the Red Fox panel next to the Kitty Hawk decal part. One thing I noticed is that the 3D printing does not have the same level of resolution available when printing in 2D on the decal. Look closely at the guage markers inside the analog dials and you can see the decal is much finer than what the 3D printed part has achieved. Having said that, the overall layout of the KH decal is very simplified compared to far more accurate Red Fox part.

With any kind of rigid cockpit detail set, be they photoetch brass, vinyl or in this case acrylic, you need to prepare the kit parts by removing any existing raised detail. Kitty Hawk in the case of their 1:32 F-5E have actually done a pretty decent job with their molded on detail, which has to go.

A few minutes work with my rigid sanding stick and the bulk of the raised plastic detail is gone. This provides a flat surface for the Red Fox part to be fixed to with CA (Super) glue or your choice of the stronger PVA variants (such as MiG Ammo Ultra Glue, which I've taken quite a liking to recently).

The cockpit side consoles receive the same preparation steps. The rounded throttle quadrant housing on the port side has to be worked around as Red Fox do not provide parts for this. I imagine this is due to the limitations of the rigid acrylic material in that unlike PE or vinyl replacement parts it cannot be curved to fit such a part.

Once cleanup is complete the Red Fox parts simply drop into place. These can be left off until after interior painting is complete which is another attractive feature of these type of sets.

The "completed" cockpit detailing shows off just how quickly you can achieve a "paint ready" cockpit. Each of the Red Fox parts was a perfect match for the Kitty Hawk plastic, a testament to the quality of the detail set.

CONCLUSION - Red Fox Studio 1:32 F-5E Tiger II - 3D Acrylic Detail Set (32017)

It's good to see more manufacturers entering the 3D printed market. I personally really like these cockpit detail sets and see them as a natural evolution of the brass photoetched sets we have been using for decades now. Could I build and paint all these detail myself, probably yes, but I (like many of you I suspect) appreciate having the option to use a set like this if I want to. After all, I only have so much time and oh soooo many models to build.

Red Fox is based in Hungary and have partnered with MiG Ammo for worldwide marketing and distribution, a pretty smart move I suspect.

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