Kinetic 1/48 F-16 MLU
Scott Van Aken
Tiger Meet 2009 Boxing
I'll dispense with the usual stuff about the F-16 and
concentrate 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 are
relatively rugged and are able to handle all sorts of updated to even the
After a good twenty years of service, these F-16s were getting
to where they needed to be replaced. In those intervening years, the cost of
military equipment had skyrocketed. It was decided that the best thing to do
would be to upgrade the aircraft. As with most modern military planes, this
means basically an avionics upgrade allowing the F-16 to operate new weapons
systems. Thus, the Mid-Life upgrade (MLu). The upgrade involved over 300
airframes and will extend the life of these planes until around 2015.
have not heard a lot about this
Kinetic kit, though I can tell you that it has quite a few parts and the molding
is pretty much like all of their other kits, which is very good. I did notice
some rather tall ejector towers in a few parts, something one does not normally
see in other mainline injected styrene kits. I can also tell you that this one
has quite a few inserts, undoubtedly to allow the myriad of other F-16 boxings
that have been and will be done. As with just about all modern F-16 kits in any
scale, this one has a separate upper forward fuselage to allow for the two seat
version to be kitted.
To show you what I mean by lots of inserts, the cockpit has four console inserts
that fit into the tub. Add to this the usual rudder pedals, control stick,
instrument panel and other bits. A portion of the intake run contains the main
gear well onto which all sorts of small pieces and bulkheads are added before
installing the first compressor stage and putting it into the lower fuselage
section. All of the control surfaces are separate though they can only be
cemented properly in the neutral position. This includes the slats. The
speedbrakes, which are rarely open on the ground, can be posed open or shut. The
kit also comes with photo etch reinforcement plates for block 25 aircraft, but I
did not see any part in the instructions where these are to be used.
There are several inserts on the nose section for different nose ESM equipment
and for the upper nose IFF antennas. The forward section of the intake carries
the nose gear well as in most F-16 kits. Getting the seams on the intake to
disappear will take some doing and because of the way the kit is designed, an
aftermarket seamless intake will not really be possible. Two types of wheel are
provided and these are trapped between the inner and outer tire halves so there
is no real way to prepaint these as the seam in the tires will still need to be
removed. As a note, the static dischargers are molded into the trailing edge of
the ailerons and the rudder. The instructions warn the builder to be careful of
these. No need on my kit as four of the
six on the wings had already been broken off during shipment. Kinetic could
learn much from Hobby Boss and Trumpeter, to name a couple, about
packaging and protecting delicate parts.
The seat is nicely done and while pretty basic, very much looks the part.
The canopy has an inner frame piece that will look
much better than just clear plastic as you get on some other F-16 kits. A rather
complete set of weapons is included, though for this boxing, all that is needed
are the outer wing tip Sidewinder bodies. Still, you get some bombs and AIM-120s
and a pair of wing tanks in case you want to do another scheme.
Instructions are well printed and assembly sequences are easy to follow. The
color information appears to be in Gunze paints, but there are only numbers
provided with no chart to indicate what is what for those of us who either
cannot get or do not use Gunze paint. The decal sheets are truly huge. Most of
this aircraft will be covered by decal and that is nicely printed. It looks like
standard two color scheme. If the markings guide can be believed, the upper
surface is in H 305 while the underside is in H 305 forward of the wings with
the rest in H306. Radome is in H 308.
It seems to me that this will make a very nicely
detailed model when you are finished. It seems to be a bit overly fiddly to me
and it also seems that quite a few model companies are going this route simply
to provide a high parts count. But there you have it. I did not buy this kit to
use the scheme so I will be following the suggestions of the aftermarket sheet
company in terms of colors. Regardless, if you want a kit with this level of
detail, here it is.
Thanks to the late, great Greatmodels and store credit
for the preview kit.
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