|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
F-16C (single seat) and F-16D (two seat) variants were introduced in service in 1984. The Block 25 was the first C/D block. It added all-weather capability with beyond-visual-range (BVR) AIM-7 and AIM-120 air-air missiles. Block 25 introduced a substantial improvement in cockpit avionics, and improved AN/APG-68 radar. Block 25s were first delivered with the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 engine and later upgraded to the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E. A total of 209 Block 25 aircraft were delivered. The F-16C/D had a unit cost of US$18.8 million (1998).
Block 30/32 was the first block of F-16s affected by the Alternative Fighter Engine project under which aircraft were fitted with the traditional Pratt & Whitney engines or, for the first time, the General Electric F110-GE-100. From this point on, blocks ending in "0" (e.g., Block 30) are powered by GE, and blocks ending in "2" (e.g., Block 32) are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines. The first Block 30 F-16 entered service in 1987. Major differences include the carriage of the AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-88 HARM, and the AIM-120 missiles. From Block 30D, aircraft were fitted with larger engine air intakes (called a Modular Common Inlet Duct) for the increased-thrust GE engine. A total of 733 Block 30/32 aircraft were produced and delivered to six countries.
Block 40/42 entered service in 1988. It is the improved all-day/all-weather strike variant equipped with LANTIRN pod; also unofficially designated the F-16CG/DG, the night capability gave rise to the name "Night Falcons". This block features strengthened and lengthened undercarriage for LANTIRN pods, an improved radar, and a GPS receiver. From 2002, the Block 40/42 increased the weapon range available to the aircraft including JDAM, AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) and the (Enhanced) EGBU-27 Paveway “bunker-buster”. A total of 615 Block 40/42 aircraft were delivered to 5 countries.
Block 50/52 F-16 was first delivered in late 1991; the aircraft are equipped with improved GPS/INS, and the aircraft can carry a further batch of advanced missiles: the AGM-88 HARM missile, JDAM, JSOW and WCMD. Block 50 aircraft are powered by the F110-GE-129 while the Block 52 jets use the F100-PW-229; said aircraft are unofficially designated F-16CJ.
This is the old tried and true 1/48 F-16C kit that has been built by tens of thousands of modelers over the years, if not more. It provides no real surprises. One thing it will do is provide you with a number of spare parts for the kit supplies both GE and P&W intakes and burner parts, and you'll only need one. You'll also have most of the weapons and pylons as spares. This is an aggressor unit boxing so most of those 'things under wings' won't be needed. Means you'll also be needing to fill some holes as Hasegawa has already drilled out those for you.
Despite the sheer number of pressings, the kit molds have held up superbly with little in the way of flash or other age-inspired glitches. One thing that is different about this particular kit that I've not seen before is that there is an etched fret that provides some reinforcement plates. The instructions on attaching these are included in a section that is not in the standard construction sequence so if you were not aware of it, it might be missed. This is shown to the left. The box touts "Metalinlet parts are included". They must mean this fret.
The decal sheet that comes with this kit is very large for an F-16. It includes what looks to be at least 7 options, though I could only decipher five of them on the decal placement guide on the back. Some of the colors on these planes require you to mix paints. This is probably because the shade is not part of the Gunze line and so no FS 595 reference number is available for it. The small photo you see in the history section shows two of these aircraft. While the pattern is basically the same, there are three color combinations provided by the color and markings guide. The decals themselves look to be superb so using them should be no trouble at all.
So here you have it. Yet another nice limited boxing of a popular kit. In fact, the F-16 still seems to garner a considerable number of new molds and reissues, so its popularity is quite high.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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