Entex 1/48 F-16 Fighter
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1977 Reboxed Otaki kit|
The F-16 was designed to be a multi-role fighter that was fairly inexpensive to build and yet would perform the fighter-bomber role that was then being done by the F-4 Phantom II. The F-15 was to be the air superiority fighter while the F-16 was to move mud and be able to take care of itself.
To say it was successful would be an understatement. The type is still in service and still being produced for overseas sales. There is also a considerable amount of talk about the USAF buying more of them as the F-35 has proved to be something of a disappointment. So far, over 4,500 aircraft have been produced and if production continues, it is possible that it will exceed the numbers of F-4s produced.
This is a reboxed Otaki kit, which was released in 1976 while the F-16 was still in prototype and preproduction stage. In fact, the markings provided in the kit are for the two prototypes. As such, anyone wishing to build a very early F-16 should look to this kit. It is the reason I sought it out.
There are several differences between early and later production aircraft. The most obvious is the shape of the nose, which on the prototypes is quite small as there was no radar installed. Later in life this was upgraded as were several other smaller things like the dual nose gear doors.
If you have ever built any of Otaki's other kits, then you will find this one familiar. All the panel lines are engraved, something fairly rare in the 1970s. You have a single piece cockpit tub with a three piece seat and the control stick. Decals are used for the instrument panel and this is attached after the fuselage is closed up. The fuselage halves are split horizontally and traps the cockpit in between the halves. No nose weight is indicated, but I'd add a bit anyway. The intake is five pieces and includes the nose gear well. Both of the ventral fins are on a single piece and slip into the aft fuselage.
Exhaust is three pieces and with the burn can molded closed. Wings are an upper and lower half with the flaps and slats molded on the upper section. If you don't want to install the pylons, then you need to fill the slots that are already opened for them. Once those are assembled then they along with the stabs and fin can be attached. The canopy is shown as closed, but perhaps you can pose it open if you want. Landing gear is fairly well done though the wheels look a bit toy-like. This kit offers the split nose gear doors of the prototype as mentioned. The rest of the build is bombs, pylons, drop tanks and wingtip missiles.
Instructions are nicely drawn and proved 12 construction steps on two pages. You have two markings options. One is the box art plane in 'light grey' and 'blue-grey'. The other is in a prototype scheme of white fuselage and tailplanes with red wings and upper fin along with a lue spine. The decals don't look half bad, but considering their age, they have to be treated with caution. Recently Caracal Models did a sheet of the prototype and pre-production aircraft which I'll be using with this kit.
If you want a standard F-16A kit, then look elsewhere. If you want to model the prototypes and preproduction aircraft that were not upgraded, then this is the best option out there.
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