Hasegawa 1/72 F-16D (Block 52 Advanced) "Tiger Meet"
|PRICE:||4400 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Two complete kits (2016 Limited Edtion)|
The F-16C/D Block 50/52 plus' main differences from the standard Block 50/52 are the addition of support for conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), a dorsal spine compartment, the APG-68(V9) radar, an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), and a JHMCS helmet.
The CFTs are mounted above the wing, on both sides of the fuselage and are easily removable. They provide 440 US gallons or approximately 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) of additional fuel, allowing increased range or time on station and free up hardpoints for weapons instead of underwing fuel tanks. All two-seat "Plus" aircraft have the enlarged avionics dorsal spine compartment which is located behind the cockpit and extends to the tail. It adds 30 cu ft (850 L) to the airframe for more avionics with only small increases in weight and drag.
Poland took delivery of its first F-16C Block 52+ aircraft on 15 September 2006. The "Poland Peace Sky program" includes 36 F-16Cs and 12 F-16Ds. All 48 aircraft were delivered in 2008. The Hellenic Air Force took delivery of its first F-16C Block 52+ aircraft on 22 May 2008. The total Greek order is for 20 F-16Cs and 10 F-16Ds. The remaining 26 aircraft should be delivered by March 2010. The Israeli F-16I and its Singapore equivalent variant are based on the block 52+ aircraft. In March 2010 it was announced that the Egyptian Air Force would purchase 20 Block 52 aircraft (16 F-16Cs and 4 F-16Ds), the first of which arrived for testing in April 2012.
Interestingly, none of these aircraft are operating with the USAF, nor has the USAF adopted the conformal fuel tanks for its Falcon fleet.
Hasegawa certainly has gotten a lot of mileage from its F-16 kits. This one started many decades back as a standard F-16A+ with the broader horizontal stabilizers and through the addition of the appropriate sprues, has worked its way up through the F-16C/D series and various blocks until we get to the most recent iteration of the type.
Those who are into Hasegawa F-16 kits will realize that this is pretty much their F-16I boxing with the new sprues for the fuselage spine, conformal tanks, and the updated missiles. You get the usual B style cockpit with a pair of seats, control sticks, instrument panels and crew figures. Decals are used for instruments.
Typical of F-16s the fuselage is split into upper and lower halves, trapping the cockpit assembly and main gear well assembly in place. As usual, there are holes to open for these versions and n nose weight is required. The separate intake is four pieces that does not include full trunking and has the nose gear well as part of the subassembly. There is trimming required, but nothing major.
This trimming also extends to the wings, which are a single piece on each side. The Sidewinder rails on the wing tips will need to be removed and the later missile rails installed. The fuselage spine also has some work that needs to be done with inserts for the chaff/flare dispensers. The CFTs are only attached solidly at one hole in the rear of the fuselage that you made before closing the halves. The rest is just putting it where it fits the best. I've not seen these in person, but if they are like the F-15 CFT's a gap would not be abnormal as the Eagle ones had a rubber edge around them where the fit on the fuselage.
Bits like the the Road Warrior IFF antennas are separate and you do have the option of having the canopy open or closed. One boarding ladder is provided. For things under wings you have a centerline tank, two wing tanks, a bomb pylon, Sidewinder and pylon as well as an AIM-120 for the wing tips.
Instructions are typical Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. Both grey Polish Air Force F-16s are painted the same. Unusually, only two markings options are provided. Both are Tiger Meet planes from 2014; one in color and the other in greys. These markings are limited to the CFTs and the fin. They are well printed and like modern Hasegawa decals, will work fine with most setting solutions.
If you wish to do the most modern F-16 around in this scale, this would be a pretty good kit for you. It offers colorful markings options and if you don't want to use those, then there are aftermarket ones for the Greeks and others. As with other Hasegawa kits, it should be a pretty troublefree build.
Late note: It has been pointed out to me, and quite correctly, that the PAF insignia is shown in the instructions as not having the correct position. When Poland left Warpac, it shifted its insignia 90 degrees. If you look at the box top photo, you will see that the white check is forward, while on the fin decal, it is not. It is simple enough to correct if only building one of the Tiger meet schemes as you can use the wing markings for the fin. There are aftermarket insignia from Kagero or Techmod, for instance, to take care of this if doing both.
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