Academy 1/48 F-16C 'Thunderbirds'




$17.00 MSRP


USAF Thunderbirds


Scott Van Aken




The winner of the fly-off between itself and the YF-17, the F-16 has become the best selling western fighter since the F-4 production line closed in 1978 after over 5,000 examples. As of a few years ago, there had been over 3,500 F-16s built in the US and Turkey, a pretty remarkable feat in today's high buck arms market.

It was a natural that the F-16 should be chosen as the next Thunderbirds mount after the T-38. Though no one likes to hear about crashes, when the four T-38s flew into the desert during practice, it was then decided to use the new F-16 as the next T-bird mount. Several F-16As were taken out of service and modified for the high G close quarters of the Thunderbirds display team. These soldiered on for a number of years until being replaced by the F-16C, the variant that the team now uses.



First thing you notice is that though the box art shows an A model, you can do either as the lower fin section for both are included.   What you do find is pretty much a clone of the Hasegawa 1/48 F-16 kit. The only other part I see that I don't remember from the Hasegawa kit are the two GE gun pods. These pods never made operational service (that I can remember) so are pretty well to be tossed.

As you might expect from a display aircraft, there are no weapons on the sprues, though it does include the long range tanks, something that the team uses when going from base to base for its displays. All of the pylons you might want for weapons are included as well, in case you want to build this as a normal F-16A. Should you wish to do a C model, you can do that as well as the little nose 'bumps' are included as are the extra launchers, though, as I said, no weapons. The canopy is not smoked as is normal with the F-16 so you'll have to do some careful airbrushing to accomplish that.

The instructions are more than adequate to finish the kit. Basically everything is white on the outside. That's why the white plastic, in case you don't want to paint your kit. The decal sheet is quite large and provides all of the markings you'll need. You don't even have to paint the nose as there is a decal for that section. Now, how well it will work I don't know. There are some pretty convoluted surfaces for it to have to snuggle over so it will be interesting. BTW, it looks from the fin decals that you'll have to build it as an F-16A unless you want to paint the additional area red.



It looks like a Hasegawa kit so should build pretty much the same as the Hasegawa kit. Probably the only area of concern is the decal sheet. It is a big one and will be time consuming to place. Other than that, there should be no surprises.


Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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