Monogram 1/72 F-16XL






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Issued once, in 1983


Back in the early 1980s, there was a design study on the 'cranked' delta wing. The theory was that you'd get improved aircraft performance and the ability to carry a lot of ordnance. Much of this was due to the larger lifting area provided by the new wing. This was a factory mod of one of the no longer used  preproduction aircraft and did not involve any military funding for the project. While the USAF was interested in the idea, they had no real need for such an aircraft, especially since they had decided to go with a ground attack optimized version of the F-15 which eventually became the F-15E Strike Eagle.

With no customers for the aircraft, it has spent its days doing various tests involving modifying portions of the wing and other aerodynamic testing with NASA. I'm not sure if it is still doing test work or not, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't still being flown.


The F-16XL kit is very much a Monogram kit. It has raised panel lines, and generally good overall detailing. The cockpit has the seat integrated with the tub and raised detail on the consoles. The instrument panel is molded with the upper fuselage half and you are given a pilot figure. Wheel well detail is also fairly good. A full weapons load of two Sidewinders and six AMRAAMs is included. Monogram has thoughtfully opened all the holes in the underside of the wing for these missiles and for the two wing drop tanks. The canopy is a heavily darkened single piece construct.

In reality, there are not that many parts to the kit so construction should be quick and pretty painless. There is only one set of markings for the plane and that is shown on the box art. The red, white and blue markings will have to be painted on by the builder and the thin white striping around this area of color is not provided on the small sheet. The sheet itself is well printed and very glossy. If it is typical of the era, then it will not be able to handle any setting solutions.

Critics of this kit (and all other F-16XL kits out there) point to the fact that the tail section does not have the characteristic upsweep on the lower side that is on the prototype. I've also been told that the intake is too far forward by about 2 scale feet.  This does require some work to fix, but I believe that a past issue of FSM or perhaps the IPMS/USA magazine had an article on how it could be fixed.



If you want a kit of the XL then there is this one in 1/72, a 1/144 LS kit and one in 1/32 by a smaller Japanese company to choose from.  One thing for sure, it is different.

Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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