After the withdrawal of the F-16N's, the Navy found itself lacking a high performance adversary aircraft, and the decision was made to re-introduce the F-16. Fourteen airframes, ordered by Pakistan in the early nineties but never delivered to the country because of a weapons embargo, were taken out of storage and delivered to the Navy. Since the aircraft were stored at AMARC straight from the production line, these airframes have a very low airframe life, making them useful for the demanding aggressor task. These aircraft are also the last Block 15s ever built, and are more advanced than any other F-16A/B stored at AMARC. No wonder the Navy wanted them.
The box lid photo was taken at on the ramp at NAS Fallon on February 12th, 2007 featuring two F-16A's and two F-16B's a little mouth watering taste of what is in the box. The box is packed with sprues in various shades of grey, not quite as colourful as the old Matchbox kits, but it does have a nostalgic feel seeing those different shades of plastic. There are around 400 pieces included with this kit, quite a number. Contents include
-13 x plastic sprues.
-1 clear sprue.
-1 x 1 and place canopy.
-1 x 1 two place canopy.
-1 x decal sheet.
-1 x 18 page instruction manual.
of both A & B versions feature one piece tubs. First impressions are of some awful ejector pin marks and tooling marks left from and untidy mould. The two seat tub is particularly bad, with some interesting marks, as if they had been created using a Spirograph. It is not impossible to clean up the marks, but annoying that you have too. Not what you would expect to see on a modern mass produced kit. There is a separate rear bulkhead to add to the 'A' and 'B', the 'B' has an additional separate partition between the two crew positions. The low relief detailed side panels are well done, they fit on the blank side panels of the cockpit tubs. The instrument panel has similar good low relief detail. The rudder pedals, side mounted control stick and throttle lever are separate and are well detailed items. There is moulded cockpit detail on the inside of the fuselage of the 'A' and the front cockpit of the 'B', the same detail is provided as separate parts for the rear seater of the 'B'. The hoods of the instrument panels are nicely detailed.
The six piece ejection seats look good although there are no straps and harnesses.
The HUD's are made from clear plastic and includes the body of the HUD as well as the screen.
are clear and thin, but not the tinted type as seen on the box lid image. The top of large canopy of the F-16B has the slight double bump of the real thing. Unfortunately the top of the larger canopy on my sample has two small stress fractures, they may disappear with a soaking in Kleer. There is a slight seam running along the length of both canopies, either ignore it or rub it down and polish it out. The canopies feature separate canopy seals, but these are only added if you are having the canopies displayed open.
the great benefit of this release is the opportunity to create either the F-16A/B, something that Hasegawa and Tamiya would never dream of doing. The fuselage is split horizontally, the wings are moulded onto the fuselage halves. The lower fuselage is almost the complete length of the aircraft. The upper half extends from the leading edge of the wings back to the trailing edge of the airbrakes. Forward of the leading edge fits the separate single and two seat parts of the upper fuselage. The joint between the forward and rear upper fuselage has a very generous lip as well as a large locating hole for the large pin in the forward fuselage. A dry fit reveals a very good joint. The recessed panel lines are nicely defined, if a tad wide. The rivet detail is very restrained and looks effective.
The radome is one piece and separate. There is a slight seam that wont take long to remove. Around the nose there are three areas where separate panels are located. The top panel should be the panel with the smooth surface [there are three different panels for this area included with this kit], not the panel with the IFF blade antennae as indicated in the instructions. For the panel on the starboard side of the nose use part C12 as indicated in the instructions. The panel on the port side of the nose of the F-16A has two options, use part no C10. The alternate panel features a light, which is not fitted on this particular version. This is one of the problems with the instructions in that it does seem to miss some important information out about parts to use if you want to depict a 'NWASC' F-16 A/B.
The kit features a nicely moulded one piece small intake mouth of the block '15'. The air intake duct is two piece, the lower part has the front wheel well moulded with it. To the rear of the intake duct fits the separate primary compressor fan. There is some good detail, but there are four minor ejection pin marks to clean up. The outer section of the air intake/duct is two piece split vertically.
The jet pipe is made from seven pieces. The two piece jet pipe has some good ribbed detail inside. The jet pipe nozzle has some lovely if slightly exaggerated detail, the quality is almost resin like in detail. Also included are nicely detailed rear compressor blades and separate reheat matrix.
The air brakes can be displayed in the open position if you wish. This will involve cutting the airbrakes away from the airframe and re attaching them open. There is a separate actuator/hinge to add which will provide a lot of strength to the joint. The detail inside the airbrake is well done.
The separate vertical tail is made up from eight parts. The kit includes two different styles of tail base, use kit parts E1 & E2. The rear part of the fin base is separate to allow for the different styles. Completely ignore the instructions here and use parts E5 & E6.
Wings & Stabilisers:
One feature I have not seen before on a F-16 kit are separate leading edge slats. Each of the two slats are one piece featuring sharp leading edges and mechanism runners on the wing joint. As the slats are separate you can fix them open or retracted. There is no guidance in the instructions of possible positions to place the slats so you will need to consult your reference photos.
The flaperons are also separate, each of the two flaperons are one piece with some raised ejector pin marks that will need removing. Trailing edges are sharp, but there is a slight hint of flash that needs cleaning up. There are small holes in the wing where the wing pylons are located.
As this is a block '15' F-16 the kit features the larger type horizontal stabilisers and they are both one piece. One piece stabilisers usually come at the cost of ejector marks on one of the surfaces, not in this case. They feature nice sharp trialling edges and the static discharger's are moulded integrally. The one locating pin on each stabiliser look strong enough, but they are not linked to each other.
The forward undercarriage bay is nicely detailed. The location hole and pin for the front oleo don't look particularly strong. The detail on the oleo is a little weak, lacking definition. The actuating arm and torque link are separate. The wheel features a one piece hub, with some very fine detail. The tyres are two part and fit around the hub. A good idea and will make painting a whole lot easier. The inside of the undercarriage door is nicely detailed and there's an actuating ram to fit. To be accurate don't fit the lights on the gear door.
The detail for the main gear bay is very good and with the additional front and rear bulkheads and other well detailed parts should create a busy bay. The legs of the main undercarriage looks delicate and is one piece. The separate actuating rams will beef up the unit. There are two choices of hubs for this release: the 'early' and the 'new' type. The 'new' type of hub is the one to go for, although some of the NSAWC F-16's have perforated hubs, not featured in this release. The separate hub face on the inside of the wheels feature some good brake detail. The tyres similarly to the front undercarriage are two piece. I like the look of the detail on the inside of the big main undercarriage doors. There is a some minor shrinkage on the outer surface because of the detail on the inner face. A quick rub or two with the wet and dry will sort out the surface.
there is an interesting variety of ordinance included with this release, but only a few are applicable to the NSAWC F-16A/B. Its worth noting that the instructions would have you fitting just the ACMI pods on the wing tips. With a little research you could spice up your 'Adversary' and use the following included with this release:
-1 x 300 gallon centerline tank
-1 x AIM-9M Sidewinder
-2 x ACMI
-1 x AN/ALQ-167
The rest can go into your spares box:
-1 x Mk.82 low drag bombs
-1 x GBU-12 Paveway II
-1 x CBU-87
-2 x AGM-65 Maverick
-1 x GBU-24 Paveway III
-2 x GBU-32 JDAM
-2 x 370 gallon tanks
-1 x AIM-9X Sidewinder
-1 x AIM-120B AMRAAM
-1 x AIM-120C AMRAAM
-1 x ALQ-131
After looking at numerous images of NSAWC F-16A's/B's I have yet to see one with two ACMI pods fitted on the same aircraft. The ACMI can be orange/red also grey with various coloured stripes, consult your photographic references. There is no colour guidance in the instructions for the ACMI. The AIM-9M Sidewinder as carried by NSAWC F-16A's/B's I presume are training rounds as the bodies behind the forward fins are painted blue. I have seen a photo of one aircraft [90-094] with a blue painted AN/ALQ-167 under the starboard wing.
there are three options with this release: two F-16A's and one F-16B. The numbers are bort numbers assigned to each aircraft. If you don't fancy painting the wraparound camouflage schemes, there is one option that only has the three colour camouflage applied to the upper surfaces and a single colour on the lower surfaces. Markings are included for:
F-16B NSAWC 04
Top Gun 90th Anniversary 2009: camouflage of FS35109, FS35190 and FS36320 upper surfaces with FS36375 lower surfaces.
F-16A NSAWC 60
2006-2009. as the wraparound blue camouflage scheme during of FS35109, FS35190 and FS36320.
F-16A NSAWC 53
2004 has the wraparound brown camouflage scheme of FS30140, FS30219 and FS30279.
look very good and are produced by Fightertown and not Cartograf as advertised on the box lid. There is not a great deal of colour, not that you need it with the camouflage schemes. Good news for those that dislike applying stencils, there are not that many to apply.
as I have already mentioned the instructional booklet is not wholly appropriate for this release. Very little, in fact nothing at all is mentioned of the F-16A's and B's of NSAWC until the final three pages, with the payload fit of the ACMI's and the two page painting instructions. The instructions focus the European F-16A's and B's and differ somewhat to the NSAWC F-16's. A pity really. The black line drawings and exploded views are good. The painting guides are not coloured, but there should be no problem with identifying the camouflage colours on each aircraft. The stencil placement guide is a little thin on information.
I am very impressed with this release. The Adversary aircraft will appeal to many because of the unusual camouflage particularly for US Navy aircraft. The look of the kit appears first rate and there is so much good detail included. The real big bonus is having both single and duel seater in one package and the amount of ordinance supplied. The price is very reasonable as well. Is it the best 1/48 F-16 kit? No its not, but I would be more than happy to purchase other Kinetic F-16's. Instructions should be a lot more appropriate for the release and let the kit down somewhat. Now which one to go for, the two seater or the single? The blue or brown camouflage? Which weapons options?
Many thanks to Fred Boucher [JPTRR] for supplying me with this Kinetic kit. Thanks Fred.