|PRICE:||$35.99 which included shipping from Japan|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The second generation of F-16 was the F-16C/D. This aircraft differed from the initial variant in having substantially improved avionics, a more powerful F100-PW-220E engine and for a visual clue, a longer fin fillet. The block 30/32 was different in the engines used. The block 30 had the General Electric engine while the block 32 continued with the Pratt & Whitney. The type entered service in 1984 and while quite a few of these aircraft have since been relegated to long term storage, a few are still flying the highest time F-16 is an F-16C with over 7,000 hours on the airframe, something of a rather remarkable feat for a tactical jet. As the years went on, the type was upgraded with more modern avionics and the ability to carry a wider range of stores. The aircraft were also reinforced so it is not unusual to see strengthening plates on various parts of the airframe. A second major upgrade was performed on ANG aircraft and this modification can be most easily seen by the inclusion of the 'road warrior' IFF antennas on the upper nose of the aircraft. This upgrade included much of the avionics included in the block 50/52 airframes, making these quite capable aircraft.
Tamiya's first F-16 was the F-16CJ that was widely embraced by modelers as being the best so far. True to Tamiya's usual excellence in engineering, it proved to be a very popular kit, despite its rather high price tag. Indeed, this one retails in the $66 dollar range, making it quite pricey unless one does some shopping.
Not surprisingly, the kit has quite a few inserts. For instance, on the nose are inserts on the side of the forward fuselage for the ESM antennas found on every F-16C/D. Just above them is an insert for the 'road warrior' IFF antennas. If doing an earlier plane, then the smooth plate would be used. There is also an insert on the upper left fuselage for the gun. Other inserts are on the upper rear fuselage and on the underside near the tailplanes for the flare/chaff dispensers. I should also mention that several panels are required to be filled in as it seems that Tamiya is using the same fuselage as for the block 50/52 kit and there are differences.
The vertical fin has a separate rear section to allow for future kits with the extended parabrake housing. This feature seems to be held in place by poly-caps and short rivets so there are additional parts to fit into the lower fin base. The upper fin consists of two parts which slots into the lower section. Not a simple two part fin as provided in the Hasegawa kit and others, but perhaps this is all in preparation for a future F-16A/B series.
Wings will require the pylon holes opened as will the lower fuselage piece that fits over the main gear wells if you wish to have it loaded up. A very nice selection of stores is included, with the majority of them being in a darker plastic from the rest of the kit. There are two styles of AIM-9, AIM-120s, Targeting Pods, GBU-12 LGBs, ALQ-184 ECM pod as well as centerline and wing tanks.
The kit provides both a clear and slightly tinted canopy, which like all good F-16 canopies has a seam running down the center of it that will need to be removed. In the cockpit the bang seat has no belts, but the kit does come with a pilot figure.
Instructions are well done with the usual Tamiya-only paint references. These should all be in the simplified two grey scheme, but are shown in the older three-greys version. Take your pick. Two of the planes are from the 194 FS, California ANG from 2006/7. Both are 144 FW boss birds. The 2006 option is a block 25 with a standard color fin and the 2007 version is a block 32 as shown on the box art with a black fin. The third option is from the 188 FW, Arkansas ANG with a red fin. This aircraft is a block 32 from 2006. Decals are nicely done with all the markings you'd need for both the plane and the various stores.
Tamiya has not made a poorly fitting kit in probably 40 years or more so while this one has a pretty high parts count, I'm betting it will be a trouble-free build. It is nice to see that their initial F-16 kit was successful enough to do the earlier F-16C. Falcon fans can only hope that they decide to go even farther back in the plane's history and do the F-16A. I'd say that this kit makes the previously kitted versions second or third best, but as mentioned, all this comes at a price which apparently a lot of folks are willing to make.
Thanks to me 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 Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the
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