Astra Decals released their series of Aviano F-16 decal sheets, packed with
quality decals and information, I immediately thought I might use them. I
originally fell in love with the sea horse design that adorns the fin of some
of the aircraft. With time, I changed my mind and my final choice settled on a
flagship aircraft sporting a map of Italy on its fin : maybe a tribute to my
many Italian friends.
had built a few 1/72nd scale F-16s previously, the last of them being
an F-16A MLU of the BAF based on the Revell model which was presented here on
feeling generally is that the Revell F-16 is the best Viper in 1/72nd
scale, the Hasegawa kit being a close second. Revell best release is their F-16C
boxing as it offer several option : unfortunately it was available during a very
short time span, and seems to be discontinued now.
also released two very interesting boxings in the form of F-16CG Block 40 and
F-16CJ Block 50 and these kits are packed with parts : weapons (!), but also
small and big mouth air intake, PW or GE engines, F-16A or C fin, small and big
wheels, bulged and flat main gear doors. In other words one of these boxes would
allow you to build any USAF version of the F-16 to F-16A block 15 to F-16C block
a sum up of what's above I would use Revell anytime I would build and F-16A/B,
Hasegawa whenever I would build an F-16C/D (that's until Revell re-releases
their F-16C boxing!!)
problem with the Hasegawa kits it that the moulds were originally released
decades ago now. Base is still accurate in shapes, recessed panel lines still
are very sharp, but over the years, the F-16 skin has received some vents,
auxiliary intakes, ECM suits that are not on the Hasegawa model. A good part of
this project was adding the bits that need to be added on the Hasegawa model to
build a good representation of an F-16C block 40, the version that is used by
the wing at Aviano.
images below to see larger images
starts with the cockpit. Hasegawa 1/72nd F-16 cockpits are a bit empty and flat,
decals being provided for all instruments panels and consoles. I like to detail
my cockpit either with resin or photo etched parts. This time I used the
excellently molded Aires resin cockpit. Details are sharp and accurate but
unfortunately, the Aires cockpit tub is a pain to install. Heavy cutting,
sanding, filing, thinning was done wherever I could, some parts being thinned to
silk paper thickness. The end result really is worth the job, but Aires should
really try to ease their dedicated parts installation. Their molding and details
are perfect but fit still should be improved. FS36231 dark gull grey is the main
cockpit color, black being used on instruments panels and consoles.
the cockpit is glued in position, construction of main fuselage is quite
straightforward. I just followed instructions. One other point of attention on
small Hasegawa Vipers is the adjustment of the jet intake. Beware the Block 40
subtype uses the wider
jet intake. Be careful to check parts and their position before gluing to main
fuselage : a few minutes of adjustment will save you filling and sanding time.
also prepared jet exhaust at this stage. Hasegawa parts are quite nice in this
area; they were further detailed with etched parts.
main airframe parts are glued together, I prepared surfaces for painting. A few
areas needed putty and sanding. All surfaces where later polished with micromesh
down to 4000 grain. That is also when I checked photos to find out what is
missing on the Hasegawa Vipers. I used plastic card and plastic rod to build all
the little air exchangers around the airframe. I also rebuilt the “beer
cans” sensors on the wing leading edge. Hasegawa provides them but I was not
convinced : Hasegawa beer cans are cemented beneath leading edge whereas the
real thing seems to go through the leading edge. Last surface additions are the
reinforcing plates that were added on block 40 Vipers. I used small Orion vinyl
plates which are very good and easy to use. I had to check reinforcement plates
configuration for this aircraft. From photographs I found it seems the aircraft
had the full strengthening suite.
is airbrushed Gunze acrylic colors. I determined that this aircraft was painted
in the 2 color camouflage ie grey FS36270 and FS36118. I painted main camouflage
first then I started weathering. No pre-shading.
was built over main camouflage. I kept it subtle as USAF machines tend to be
cleaner than USN aircraft and this aircraft is the boss mount. I did some
paneling with lighter shades of grey. Panel lines were enhanced with a dark
brown wash, a few prominent lines receiving a black wash instead. Canopy was
tinted with a mix of smoke and yellow translucent paint.
to the jet intake being a bit shallow on Hasegawa Vipers I decided to build a
FOD cover. I built it with tape and white glue. It was painted purple, one of
the Wing Squadron color.
are very sharp, well designed and easy to use. Much to my surprise they needed a
bit more attention than the Microscale decals (ie most US aftermarket decal
companies) I am more used to to avoid silvering. True, I do not gloss varnish my
models before decals application as I find that spoils my weathering effects but
that is normally OK with some other decals. Nothing difficult actually, just a
little more care with decal application and a little extra use of decal
I decided to depict this aircraft I found out that this aircraft is very special
as it downed three Serb Galeb fighters in the hand Capt Robert Wright, Feb, 28th
added a light weapon load to complete model.
images below to see larger images