by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American multi-role jet fighter aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multi-role aircraft. The Falcon's versatility is a paramount reason it was a success on the export market, serving at least 24 countries.
Packed in a small sturdy box the HobbyBoss F-16C is moulded in light grey plastic. There are two main sprues and two additional sprues holding a different tailplane and the fuselage with the wings already attached. The box contents are finished off with the instructions, a colour paint and decal guide, decal sheet and the two clear canopy sprues.
The HobbyBoss 1/72nd scale propeller kits are aimed at the younger end of the market with minimal assembly, and HB have continued this with these kits. even though the parts count is greater, 50 parts, assembly of the top half of the fuselage and wings is taken care of as they are moulded as one piece.
Flash is non existent and pin marks will be pretty much hidden. A few can be found on the inside of the wheel well doors, but shouldn't be a problem to correct.
Interior detail for the cockpit is basic, with the "bang seat" not having any harness's moulded on. The instrument panel and side consoles are flat and devoid of any detail, but decals are provided for the instruments.
Wheel wells have a few basic looking spars moulded into the wells, with the front wall of the main landing gear wheel well having recessed piping imprinted on it, which does seem a little strange. The undercarriage is again pretty basic, with the front undercarriage leg as one piece and the main undercarriage broken down into five parts. The landing gear doors have some raised detail on the insides.
The air inlet is broken down into three parts and has an insert for it to stop the "see right through the aircraft" problem. At the other end the exhaust has a raised detail for the exhaust fan, and the afterburner pipe looks fairly good.
The fuselage, wings and tailplane have some nice recessed panel lines, even if they are a bit on the heavy side, but should good with a few washes. As already mentioned the top half of the fuselage has the wings already moulded onto it. The fit of the lower fuselage half is pretty good with only a little sanding along the fuselage join but a little filling will be needed where the wings join.
All the control surfaces are moulded into a neutral position so major surgery would be needed to reposition them.
Only a couple of drop-tanks are provided for the F-16, but weapon pylons are provided for the rest of the aircraft so additional stores will have to be bought.
Instructions and decals
The instructions are the usual black line drawing affair, with construction broken down into about twelve stages. Construction is pretty straightforward and shouldn't pose any problems. Internal colours are given along the way for the Mr Color range of paints.
The painting guide is a full colour sheet with full profiles of the two aircraft that can be modelled. There is a handy guide to the paint colours needed for the aircraft along with a conversion table for Mr Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol paint numbers.
The decals look to be thin and in-register. Previous experience with HobbyBoss decals show they conform well to details with the help of setting solutions.
Markings for two aircraft are provided, both of which are USAF aircraft. A quick Internet search for both these aircraft, I managed to find out the block numbers and a few pics. Now only having a basic understanding of the block number system, and the different configurations of the air inlets, tail-planes and gawd knows what else that keeps changing, I'm not 100% sure I'm right lol.
The first aircraft is for the 125th Fighter Squadron "Tulsa Vipers". The standard two tone grey camo adorns this aircraft. This I believe is a F-16C block 42 aircraft, and all the pics I have found of this aircraft has the shorter spine on the tailplane, and not the longer one that the kit instructions tell you to use. There is a shorter spine tail included with the kit, but whether its the right one for this plane, I don't really know. It will certainly need an Ariel added to the base if you use it.
The second aircraft and IMHO a better camo scheme is for the 64th Aggressor Squadron which are called "Aggressors" or "Gomers". This aircraft has a disruptive two tone grey camo scheme. Again I believe this is a F-16C block 32 aircraft and the one pic I did find shows the aircraft having the longer spine.
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