Skunkmodel 1/48 F-16XL
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The General Dynamics F-16XL is a derivative of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, with a cranked-arrow delta wing. It was originally conceived as a technology demonstrator, later entered in the United States Air Force's (USAF) Enhanced Tactical Fighter (ETF) competition but lost to the F-15E Strike Eagle as the USAF wanted a larger, twin engine aircraft. Several years after the prototypes were shelved, they were turned over to NASA for additional aeronautical research. Both aircraft are currently stored at Edwards AFB.
When I first opened the box and looked over the sprues and instructions, I thought it was a Kinetic kit. Perhaps Skunkmodel and Kinetic are part of the same group of companies. I don't know. There are so many sprues in the box that it is pretty much impossible to keep the box from bulging when putting the sprues back in after inspection.
This is the single seat version and can be built either as a test aircraft or as one with the zillion (actually 21) hardpoints. Intial construction is just like every 1/48 F-16 I've built. A tub accepts a beltless bang seat, instrument panel and HOTAS controls. Then the intake assembly is built. This includes the nose gear and provides trunking up to the main gear assembly, which continues this to the first compressor stage.
These items are installed in the lower fuselage section. This includes much of the lower wing as well. Once the afterburner section is installed, the halves are closed. A parabrake style F-16A fin is built and installed along with the leading edges slats, which can be posed raised or lowered. Flaps, ailerons and rudder are also separate with the first two being able to be installed raised or lowered. Canopy can also be posed up or down as you choose. It is not smoked as on the real deal so that will have to be done by the builder.
The rest of the build involves attaching all the pylons and loading them up with ordnance. There is a considerable variety of bombs, missiles, sensors, and fuel tanks. Since the holes are already opened for the pylons, they will need to be filled if you don't want to install the pylons. This would be appropriate for the NASA option, but not for the others.
Speaking of which, besides the NASA option, the box art scheme is also provided. The other three are 'whiffers' with the 23rd FG, Israeli AF, and 57 FW. The decal sheet is huge and you also get another smaller sheet (not shown) for weapon stencils. It is produced by Cartograf so you know it is well done.
It is a very impressive kit, especially with all the weapons that are included. Dan Lee built this a while ago so you may want to search the archives for it to see what the build was like.
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