The F-16 is a current use, multi role fighter bomber used by many air forces around the world. There is too much information to include in a kit review, but for more details on history, variants and operations, I have found www.F-16.net
to be most useful. The aircraft is popular and well regarded by it's pilots and is a popular modeling subject. Israeli success with the F-16 played a significant role in it's adoption with the USAF, with the first US fighter wing to deploy the fighter being the 388th TFW, stationed at Hill Air Force Base, about 15 minutes from my home. The 388th currently operates the F-16CJ and CG Block 40 aircraft, which fly over my home several times a day. I never tire of seeing them, and always wanted to build a model of the aircraft.
Kinetics F-16C "Barak"
What I wanted to build was the F-16C Block 40, and Kinetic provides exactly that aircraft in this release. In brief, the block 40 was a mission specific variant of the F-16, with both ground and air attack capabilities. It is LANTRIN equipped, giving it radar and FLIR capabilities so it can operate in all weather/lighting conditions. It carries the F110-GE-100 engine with a wide mouth intake, and has sturdier landing gear to handle the increased payload weight. The landing gear doors are bulged to increase space for the wheels. The block 40 also features a large holographic heads up display (HUD) in the cockpit and the landing lights are on the nose gear door.
All of those features are included in the F-16C "Barak", along with some specific Israeli additions. There are enlarged sensor bulges on the sides of the nose panels, four countermeasures boxes that go on the engine forward of the nozzle and an extended tail fin base. The standard style parts are also included. There is an option for the bird cutter IFF antennas on the aircraft nose, or a smooth nose panel.
The kit comes in a large, sturdy top opening box with a photo of an Israeli F-16C "Barak", showing good detail from side profile. The aircraft is in flight. Inside the box are two large packages of parts. So many parts crammed into two packages got them here, but there is a risk of damage. I had one part knocked off of a sprue; on of the Israeli style side nose panels. I didn't see any damage on initial inspection.
There are 13 solid gray styrene parts sprues, plus the upper and lower fuselage sections, all in two shades of gray, one separate nose cone and two clear parts sprues, one with the lights, HUD and other small parts, and the other with the two part canopy. I don't have any other manufacturer's kit to compare to, but the molding appears to be fairly good. Panel lines look a little deep and some detail seems heavy, but I don't know what a coat of paint will do to it. There were some small amounts of flash that look easy to remove. I did not see any ejector pin marks on any visible surface, or any other serious flaw, other than in the main canopy, which has a moulding crease line visible, running diagonally across almost the entire part. The clear parts had a somewhat cloudy look to them but it could have been the lighting.
The parts look good, and I found some features in the kit to be very nice. All instrument panels are molded separately from the cockpit tub, allowing for very nice detail on the faces. If you get aftermarket upgrades, it also saves you having to remove a lot of excess plastic to make your own additions. The tires are molded in two halves, separate from the hubs, which should make painting easier. The engine is detailed front and rear, with the nozzle in four parts, also detailed inside and out. The inclusion of weapons to represent a full loadout is nice as well. The seat is a multi part affair, again to allow for good detail out of the box. Unfortunately, you will have to source your own seatbelt harness. There is no pilot figure. Decals are provided on two sheets, the first being stencils and placards, the other being the specific aircraft markings for four aircraft, 502 and 523 of the First fighter squadron, and 516 and 558 of the Scorpion squadron, all in the three color camo scheme of the IAF. The decals, printed by Cartograff, are clear and on register.
The instruction booklet is roughly 5" X 7" (125mm X 180mm) and contains a brief history of the aircraft and a basic paint color reference chart on the color. Paint colors are called out for GSI aqueous hobby color and Mr. Color. Sprue diagrams are provided on two pages and the instructions are spelled out over 11 pages, with assembly presented in 20 steps. There is a one page painting and decal assembly guide for the weapons and a chart on the rear with loadout for the aircraft.
The accessories included in the kit are:
370 gallon fuel wing tank
300 gallon fuel centerline tank
AN/AAQ 13 pod LANTRIN
An/AAQ 14 pod FLIR targeting pod
AAQ-28 pod LITENING
GBU-12 Paveway II
GBU-24 Paveway III
Mk. 82 dumb bomb.
I don't know enough about the aircraft to call out individual parts or identify if each panel line is in place. I purchased the kit because it looked like the aircraft and was the variant I wanted to model. I did a quick test fit of the upper and lower fuselage halves and they fit well. I'll see how the rest goes as I assemble the kit. Right now, I'm please with the contents of the box.
I purchased my kit at Lucky Model for $35.00 US, not including shipping. I saw it as high as $55 US before shipping, so look around before you buy.
There are a number of aftermarket products available to satisfy most every modeler's needs, from seat and cockpit displays to landing gear, payload options and decals. You should be able to build a nice block 40 aircraft, possibly a block 50 and a CJ CCIP variant from this kit.