|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
I'll dispense with the usual stuff about the F-16 andconcentrate on the ones built in Europe, specifically the Dutch and Belgian AF.These are basically early A models. Were they USAF ones, they'd have 78- and 79-serial numbers. Now one of the nice things about the F-16 is that they arerelatively rugged and are able to handle all sorts of updated to even theearliest airframes.
After a good twenty years of service, these F-16s were gettingto where they needed to be replaced. In those intervening years, the cost ofmilitary equipment had skyrocketed. It was decided that the best thing to dowould be to upgrade the aircraft. As with most modern military planes, thismeans basically an avionics upgrade allowing the F-16 to operate new weaponssystems. Thus, the Mid-Life upgrade (MLu). The upgrade involved over 300airframes and will extend the life of these planes until around 2015.
This is not the first boxing of this kit, but it is one of the latest. Not surprisingly, the SRP is more than double what the first release sold for back when it was originally issued. The parts themselves have held up quite well as I saw no degradation in the quality of the pieces (such as flash). Parts are crisply molded and up tomodern standards. As you can see, the sprue is set up for atwin-seater as well, though I do not recall ever seeing one on the store shelves, though I have been told there have been two boxings.
Let'stake a closer peek. The cockpit is quite adequate offering the option of decalsor not for the instrument and side panels. Seat looks ok to me and the kit comeswith a pilot! The canopy section is the one that appears to be interchangeablewith a two-seater and I'm not sure how this part will fit until the kit getsbuilt. You have two different fin housings but you will only need the one for the Belgian aircraft on this build. As you can guess, this kit also has bits for a Dutch plane if you wanted to toss the decals and go that route. There is a cutout in the upper nose forthe 'road warrior' antennas that are part of the MLU.
The canopy can be positioned eitheropen or closed, though there is no ladder in with the kit. There are nine pylonssupplied with the model. Thanks to the single piece wings, you have no optionregarding opening holes for these as they are already molded open for you. So,what can you load on this aircraft? Well, there is a centerline tank and twolarge drop tanks. The kit comes with both Sidewinders and AAMRAMS. You can do'winders on the tips and the others under the wings or vice versa as the propermounts are provided. What you don't get are anything for the midwing racks.These would normally carry bombs, so you need to raid the spares box for these.
Instructionsare more than adequate and very good. What is the reason for being of this kit is the huge decal sheet. This one is for a Belgian Tiger Meet entry for the 2009 competition. The sheet itself is superbly done and will eventually cover most of the airframe. Doesn't mean you do not have to paint it, but not much of your paint will be visible in the completed model.
Overall, it looks like a very nice kit, and if you can handle the SRP, it is one that I am sure you will enjoy. model.t just arrived in the local hobby shops and is sure to be a good seller.
August 2012Thanks to me for this one.
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