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. The F-16D is a tandem two-seat training version of the F-16C.
The F-16D kit is basically the same as the F-16C kit. The only differences being the inclusion of the 2 seat upper fuselage/wing part instead of the single seat piece, the corresponding canopy and a different tail section which isn't found in the F-16C kit.
I have decided to tackle this build with out painting, filling or decaling any parts, so you can see the kit finished, warts and all in bare plastic.
Internal colours are given along the way in the instructions, which are printed in the black line drawing we are mostly used too.
The build starts off with the cockpit, which is made up of 7 parts. Detail is pretty basic with the ejection seats not having any harness's moulded onto them. The instrument panels are devoid of any detail, but decals are provided for the dials. Construction is pretty straightforward. The cockpit section is then glued into the lower fuselage half along with the front main wheel well wall.
The front air intake and nose gear wheel well is tackled next. This is made up of 4 parts. The wheel well floor slots in-between the 2 air intake halves and is quite a tight fit. A good idea by HobbyBoss has the air intake opening as a one piece plug, which saves on sanding any joins inside the intake. The only problem with using the plug is that it does seem to push apart the two halves a little, so a little filler work will be required to eliminate the problem.
The rest of the parts for the lower fuselage are tackled next, with the main wheel well having a central spar, which has the centre-line fuselage pylon moulded onto it, inserted. The main undercarriage legs are made up of 5 parts. The undercarriage legs are moulded onto the rear wheel well wall, and with two struts and two wheels glued onto the legs construction is easy and proves to be quite sturdy. The nose undercarriage is moulded as one piece complete with wheel, and fits securely in the two pre drilled holes in the already assembled air intake section. This is then glued onto the lower fuselage half.. The three undercarriage doors are added and apart from two pin marks on the main doors, construction is simple.
The two tail fins are added and fit well at the appropriate angles.
Now if I was building this normally, I would hold off on adding the undercarriage, until after the main fuselage was painted.
Next up is fitting the upper fuselage, and apart from a little seam clean up at the rear the fit of the fuselage is perfect. Now before you get your hopes up, the fit isn't all sweetness and light, as the wings are moulded onto the upper fuselage half, the wing roots have a gap where they connect to the lower fuselage half, which will be needed to be taken care of.
Next stage of the build is adding the tail planes, tail section, exhaust and nose. The exhaust is a two piece affair with a raised detail fan blade inserted at the back of the exhaust, this is then glued into position on the fuselage. The fit is tight, but with a bit of pressure the part does line up.
The tail planes fit snugly and easily. The tail section on the other hand doesn't fit well at all and a pronounced gap is left along the entire length of the fuselage. This probably stems from the fact that HB have three different tails, of differing lengths that can be fitted, for various versions. Dry-fitting the tail and sanding it down to shape before gluing it on could help alleviate the problem (instead of gluing it straight onto the fuselage, like I did LOL). Filling and sanding will have to be done with care once the tail is glued on as there is a lot of panel lines around this area.
At no point in the instructions are you told to add any weight to the front of the aircraft, but erring on caution I filled the nose section with plasticine, which got rid of the problem of the plane being a tail sitter.
The clear HUD is added to the cockpit and then the one piece canopy is added. The canopy is clear and blemish free but doesn't have any frames marked onto it, so masking will have to be done to insure straight edges.
Last up for the build is adding the weapon pylons and fuel tanks. the fuel-tanks are split into upper and lower halves and fit surprisingly well. The corresponding pylons glue into the top. The rest of the pylons are fitted to the aircraft and as the same with the F-16C kit no weapons are supplied.
The painting and marking guide is a full colour sheet with full profiles of the two aircraft schemes that can be modelled. The first scheme and the box artwork is a F-16D of the Thunderbird display team. The basic airframe is white. The inclusion of decals for the rest of the colourful scheme of the aircraft is very handy as masking this scheme would be hard to say the least. Having used HB decals in the past I have found they react well to decal solutions well and snuggle down onto the model nicely. These are quite large decals for this scheme though so it should be interesting to see if they react the same as the smaller ones I have used before.
The second scheme is for an aircraft of the 480th TFS, 52nd TFW U.S.A.F.E. which I believe were based in Germany. A two tone grey colour scheme adorns this aircraft.
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