Kinetic 1/48 F-16 MLU

KIT #: K48036
PRICE: $60.00 SRP
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 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 earliest airframes. 

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. 


I 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.

February 2013

Thanks to the late, great Greatmodels and store credit for the preview kit.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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