The world’s first and most-produced supersonic trainer, the Northrop T-38A Talon has trained over 5,000 military pilots since its introduction to service in 1961. Of the nearly 1,200 T-38A’s produced, the US Air Force continues to operate over 500 of the type as of 2014, of which most will be upgraded to T-38C configuration with new wings and improved avionics, including heads-up display and inertial navigation systems, and will continue to operate them until at least 2020.
Following up their excellent T-38A (WP10001) with this “Premium Edition” variant, Wolfpack Design ups the ante with photoetch, resin, and a metal pitot tube. All-in, the kit features 100 exquisitely molded styrene parts with finely recessed detail, a fret of PE details for cockpit and exterior, and resin ejection seats. For good measure, a metal pitot tube and die-cut canopy masks are tossed in the mix. Decals include markings for 3 companion trainer aircraft from Holloman AFB, NM, for F-117 and F-22 flight training support. This is one of 3 currently released Wolfpack Design T-38 variants.
As noted, plastic parts are beautifully molded in light grey with very fine panel line and rivet detail. Clear parts are well defined, but have some surface aberrations, which require buffing and leveling with a coat of Future floor wax (or whatever its brand name is this year).
Cockpit detail is nicely done in styrene, with the option to upgrade instrument consoles with PE faces. Instrument panels feature raised and recessed details, which may be overlaid with decals and their pre-printed instrument faces, or painted by hand. Another bonus feature of the PE fret is canopy rail seals and canopy frame internal structure and frames – including rear-view mirrors. While the standard styrene ejection seats are nicely presented, the resin seats bump things up a notch with harness detail, more realistic cushion contour, and additional exterior detail.
Landing gear and speed brake detail is adequate, and some detail is provided in the wheel wells. A PE nose wheel door option is also provided. Struts, however, seem just a tad “chunky” when compared with photos and other modern T-38/F-5 releases currently on the market.
Taking a page from Wingnut Wings’ playbook, Wolfpack includes a handful of color reference photos of the seat, beacons, landing gear, and canopy detail in close proximity to their respective assembly steps. The A4-sized manual also includes full color painting and marking guides for all three markings options, with GSI Creos Mr. Color references. Interior colors are called out using Mr. Color and FS references.
Decals are printed in-register.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Finally, after a half-century absent of truly excellent T-38 kits, we’re blessed to have a number of modern, high-tech offerings available to us, including this gem of a multi-media kit from Wolfpack Design. Needless to say, I highly recommend Wolfpack’s T-38A Talon ‘Holloman AFB’ (Premium Edition) to intermediate and advanced modelers looking for a one-stop shop for an authentic reproduction of the all-time greatest supersonic trainer.
Many thanks to Lucky Model for the sample kit, and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to provide this review.