Hasegawa 1/72 F-16N
|342 (C 12)|
|Two aircraft; see review|
|Can be built as an F-16C|
Back in the early 1980's, the US Navy was looking for anaircraft that was a bit more modern than the A-4s and F-5s that it was using asan adversary (Navy's term for aggressor) aircraft. It was decided that the F-16would be a perfect airplane to fill that role. However, the Navy didn't need allthat useless USAF stuff cluttering up their aircraft so had the plane builtwithout the USAF radar, and without the gun (which wasn't needed). Theseaircraft were designated F-16N.
The F-16N was purchased in 1985 soley for use as aggressors in DACT(dissimilar air combat training). They have no combat capabilities and assuch were probably the most maneuverable F-16s produced. Basically block30 small mouth F-16Cs, the F-16N and two seat TF-16N were a pleasure to fly. TheNaval F-16s were flown by four units; FWS (fighter weapons school or TopGun), VF-43, VF-45, and VF-126.
Unfortunately, since these were basically USAF aircraft, they were unable tohandle the kinds of stress and strain placed on normal Navy aircraft. Havingprematurely reached their fatigue life, they were withdrawn from service in 1993after only eight years of service. Despite such a short active life, the F-16Nwore a number of interesting color schemes. Delivered in what is commonly knownas a 'glop' scheme of greys and blues, some wore desert and other interestingcamouflage schemes, especially during the last few years of service. Theseplanes are now sitting in storage at AMARC, providing parts for USAF aircraft.It is doubtful that they will ever fly again as they need major work on wingspars and other airframe parts.
This is a very typical Hasegawa kit. In fact, it is basicallytheir F-16C kit without weapons and with the Navy chin sensors and differentexhaust added. The kit even includes the full weapons suite of the F-16C kit.Underwing stores include drop tanks, bomb and missile pylons as well as twoAAMRAM and two Sidewinder missiles. There are also a couple of bombs and acenterline drop tank. Like I said, it is the F-16C kit. The only bits that arepeculiar to the F-16N are shown in the block in the image above.
Other highlights of the kit are the required engraved panellines, pilot figure and canopy that can be displayed in the open position ifdesired. The instrument and console panels are represented by decals, which isadequate in this scale. Instruction sheet is the usual excellent one thatHasegawa has used for years, giving nice clear build sequences. There is theusual color callout using FS numbers where applicable and relating all colors tothe Gunze range.
Decals are givenfor two aircraft, one from Top Gun and the other being the ceremonial scheme forthe first aircraft delivered. They are in-house Hasegawa decals so are a bitthick, but should work ok as long as you don't use setting solution on it. Myluck with setting solution and Hasegawa, Fujimi or Tamiya decals is not good,that is why the recommendation that you don't use them.
Despite the age of the molds, which must be nearing15 years bynow, this will make into a very nice model. Back when I was heavily into 1/72modern aircraft, I built a lot of F-16s and this one builds just like its bigger1/48 brother. If you don't want to build this one as an F-16N, just delete thechin sensors and grab an aftermarket decal sheet!
Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!
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