|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/48 F-16C 'Alabama ANG Special'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The most popular modern fighter in the world today is undoubtedly the F-16 in its many different variants. Surpassing the old favorite, the F-4 Phantom II in the number of countries using the aircraft, it still has a way to go in total numbers of the planes produced to catch up with the 'Rhino'.
It seems that the average life span of an aircraft in the US inventory is about 15-20 years. Several years ago the last of the F-16As were retired and so aside from some F-16B models and perhaps an A or two with the Arizona ANG or at Luke AFB (who both happen to train foreign pilots), it is the F-16C and D that are carrying on. I've heard of an F-16E/F version, but as I don't keep up with those things, I'm not really sure that any are in US service.
The Hasegawa F-16 has for decades, been the only really well done F-16 around, until the recent Tamiya version, which is really only a specific sub-variant of the F-16C. Hasegawa, on the other hand, took its F-16A and made whatever mods were needed to bring it up to F-16C/D specs. Of course, by using the base F-16A airframe, there were panel line differences that had the experts up in arms and decrying the criminal lack of anal retentivity. Well, since those people make up a tiny, but vocal minority of modelers, Hasegawa ignored them and the rest of us still had a very nice F-16 kit to build.
Over the years, Hasegawa had done what it could to provide different burner cans and intakes for the different block numbers as well as those airframe mods that did not require total retooling of the kit. this has resulted in a lot of new sprues, many of which are in this kit and from which perhaps only a few parts are needed. Because of all those sprues, I've not shown the usual layout of actual parts on a background, and have reproduced the sprue images from the instruction sheet. Just about all of us have built a Hasegawa F-16 at some time or another so know what the parts look like and how well they go together.
This aircraft from the 160 FS is, from what I gather looking at the sprues, a 'big mouth' version (you can tell as the intake looks more like an open-mouthed smile than the other). It also includes a number of pods and weapons, which is something that is a bit unusual about Hasegawa jet kits as they'd rather have you buy their additional weapons sets. Now there are no bombs, just a set of Sidewinders shown as used, but the sprues also have AAMRAMs and their pylons. Since they are shown as not used,apparently the 160th is a ground attack unit. Other things to stick under the wings are a centerline and wing fuel tanks. A targeting pod is provided to attach to the right side of the intake.
Instructions are typical Hasegawa and use Gunze paint references. There is some surgery required to remove the old Sidewinder mounts on the wing tips, but nothing major. The lone set of markings is to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and the city of Tuskeegee (which is in Alabama). The decals are nicely printed and look to be the good kind as the white is not ivory and the red is not too bright. You have the option of painting the fin if you wish and Hasegawa has given you separate markings for that. If you use the separate markings, you'll need to be a bit cautious as Hasegawa decals don't have totally opaque white and you'll get some bleed-through. It is difficult for any white to totally block intense colors like red and orange.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for providing the review kit. Get yours at your local hobby shop or ask them to order one for you. These special boxings don't last long.
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