|KIT:||Academy 1/72 KF-16C Falcon "ROK Air Force"|
|PRICE:||$30.00 MSRP - $23.95 at www.greatmodels.com|
|DECALS:||Multiple options. Actually, you can do just about any ROK KF-16C|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
In today's world of ever increasing costs, it is important that a combat aircraft be able to perform a variety of missions. Gone are the days when one has different airframes for interceptor, light bomber and reconnaissance. One aircraft with the required add-on pods needs to be able to do it all. The F-16 is such a plane. It is a combat proven machine that performs all of its missions with effectiveness.
As such, it has been chosen by a huge number of air arms, probably only second to early MiGs when it comes to jets and the P-51 when it comes to any combat aircraft type. Several countries build the aircraft under license and it has been the basis for some home-grown combat types
Before this Academy kit came along, in 1/72 there were two good kits of the Falcon. The older of the two is by Hasegawa and has been around for seemingly ages. The other is by Revell and when it was released about 5-7 years back, it was touted as being the best that has been done so far. I'll leave it to others who know the subject to comment on accuracy, but to me, this one is every bit as nice as the Revell kit and nicer than the older Hasegawa offering. Detailing is of the usual engraved marks, including the screw and rivet detail. You either like it or you don't. Seems to be no middle ground on this.
Starting with the cockpit, one gets a passable ACES seat and raised instrument detail on the main panel and side consoles. No decals for instruments on this one, but there are decals for the MFDs and for the side of the bang seat. The intake is even a bit more convoluted than the Hasegawa offering as the trunking is separate. Perhaps this will make it easier to smooth out the horizontal seam. Landing gear and wells are nicely done also with about the same level of detail as with the other kits.
On the fuselage, there are inserts for the newer IFF antennas and for the gun opening. The one-piece wings and stabiliators are attached with hefty tabs. There are different options for the fin area under the rudder, but this kit does not use the parabrake option. Optional front formation lights (one set extended as on some Israeli F-16s) are provided. A full array of pylons and things under wings are included. There are centerline and wing fuel tanks, a pair of Sidewinders and a pair of AMRAAMS as well as a pair of HARM missiles. LANTIRN targeting and navigation pods are also included. I should also mention that the wings have the little 'beer can' antennas on the leading edge.
Instructions are well done with multiple paint company options as well as generic and FS 595 references. Nicely done construction drawings will carry one through the build with no trouble. Any optional areas are called out. All of the markings options are in an F-15 style camouflage scheme of FS 36320 over 36375. There is an excellent data placement sheet and one has enough serial numbers and data styles to probably do any ROK F-16C that one can find a photo of. These planes seem to be devoid of any unit or special markings, making for a somewhat boring looking scheme. Apparently Academy has taken to heart the complaints about their decals as this sheet is printed by Cartograf. The printing is so fine that the aircraft data block can be read with a magnifying glass. The sheet includes a bank of spare numbers so that those who still have their sight can add in the appropriate miniscule serial number to it. That is all that teensy stuff on the lower right of the sheet. There are F-16D data blocks in there so apparently a two seat kit is on the way.
This one looks really good to me. It is well detailed, provides a number of modern features not found on earlier kits and should build into a super model. About the only thing I'd add would be an aftermarket seat with belt detail. Some may blanche at paying nearly $25 for a 1/72 single engine jet, but with all the bits and the level of detail, perhaps it is worth it.
You can find this kit and many others atGreatModels
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