This article uses the Hasegawa F-16CJ Block 50 kit, which is now over 20 years old and needs a lot of work to be correct to match newer blocks, as the kit is actually an update of the original Block 15 F-16A with some additional parts. I am building a Block 40 88-0444 from the 510th FS with tail code AV as used in Operation Odyssey Dawn during 2011.
Building a "proper" Block 40 requires a lot of effort in order to correct and improve some detail, but with work, it can come out with levels of detail like the Academy or Tamiya kits. The kit and accessories used for this build are shown below.
Modern Hobbies provides a nice resin cockpit set, although with photo etch. It fits like a glove! I also modified the canopy raising mechanism and the fire control box behind the seat. The only (minor) error with this cockpit set is the back wall which is angled backward rather than being vertical.
A number of panel lines on the fuselage around the nose need to be corrected.
There are also some panel lines under the nose which need changing.
The rear fuselage needs some work as the shape and angle of some of the panel lines is incorrect.
The fuel bay "saddle" panels need to be corrected to a "C" shape. Note the fuel tank pressurisation door (the circular panel).
Panel lines need to be added to the ventral area.
And more around the arrestor hook.
The panel around the gun is correct for an early F-16 but not for the F-16C/D. The existing gas vents were filled and new ones scribed.
The flaperons were cut out and repositioned at a 20 degree downward angle.
The GPS dome is missing from behind the cockpit, as is the navigation light.
The main undercarriage bay was replaced with a CMK resin aftermarket part. It is not particularly well detailed, but better than the Hasegawa part.
The exhaust was also replaced with a CMK part - this fit well.
The kit intake is quite complex and does not fit together well. It was replaced with a CMK one-piece intake.
Unfortunately the fit is poor and needs a lot of adjustment and filling.
Plastic card and expoy filler putty were used to fill the gaps.
The heating strut was added to the intake - do not forget this as it cannot be added once the intake is fitted to the fuselage!
The next step was to add rivet detail to the upper wing surfaces.
A small intake was added to the lower fuselage just behind the starboard undercarriage bay.
And a small exhaust was added behind the cockpit on the starboard side.
Work was needed to correct the "beer can" antenna on the front of the wings. The Hasegawa kit has them attached to the underside of the wings, but on the real aircraft they are on the wing centreline and wrap around both the top and bottom of the wing.
The Hasegawa kit does not represent the lightning strips on the nose radome very well - these were added from thin plastic rod.
The rudder base of the aircraft I was modelling has the BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) radio system. To replicate this, the small intake on the left hand side needs to be removed. I also added static wicks to the rudder.
Hasegawa models both stabilizers with an incorrect panel line which needs to be filled.
Wing and fuselage strengthening plates were added using the Cross-Delta set.
After adding the stiffening plates, I realised that the wing plates are not applied to the Block 40 aircraft, so these were removed.
Antenna panels under the nose were also from the CrossDelta set.
The subject of this build prerformed the PSYOP rtole during Operation Odyssey Dawn. The load out was therefore brochure canisters, air-to-air weapons, a jamming pod and fuel tanks.
The kit wingtip pylons were cut off and replaced with the later LAU-129 style to allow for the carriage of AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.
Stations 2 and 10 carry AIM-9L missiles on LAU-129 pylons with the AN/ALE-50 towed decoy systm. Both the missiles and pylons came from Modern Hobbies.
Stations 3 and 9 carried the PDU-5 leaflet bomb on the F-16-specific high-speed Triple Ejector Rack (TER). These came from the kit but with additional detail; the PDU-5 bombs were replicated using Mk.20 cluster bombs from the relevant Hasegawa weapons set.
The kit pylons for stations 4 & 8 need some surgery to update them. I replaced the kit 370 gal tanks with those from the Attack Squadron set as they have better details. I will make new tabs for the pylons.
Static wicks were added.
A small duct was added to the fuselage under the air intake.
The ECS exhaust was scratch-built from plastic sheet as the original one was sanded down during the joining of the one piece intake to the fuselage.
Brass and plastic card detail were added to the ventral area.
I used Master Model pitot and AOA probes. The pitot tube does not fit properly so a plastic card piece was added as a spacer. The AOA probes are nice.
Replacing the kit intake with the CMK intake means that the kit nose landing gear door will not fit. The CMK NLG door was therefore used, with some detail added, including the taxi lights.
The main landing gear wheels were taken from the Academy kit as they have much better brake details.
Ready for paint! I used GSI Mr. Surfacer 1500 for priming as it has very fine grain - as a result, the small panel lines and rivets are not overfilled.
Panel line wash, initial weathering and clear coat for decaling. I use Mr.Color GX100 super clear gloss for finishing.
After the clear coat is completely cured (after a few days), I sand down the top layer to make it smooth. Then I add another layer of clear, following this with the flat clear.
More weathering! "Soot" around the gun muzzle.
And more dust on the underside.
To build specific aircraft, I have to find decals from many sources. So, the color of the decals are different.
I fade paint over everything to make decals the same color. I mixed 20% of the base color into 80% gross clear and thinned it down about 1:5.
I overspray the mixed color after the clear coat. You may need to repeat this process 2-3 times until the decal color appear the same.
Finished! The gallery for the finished model can be found here.
Article and photographs by Nat Krairojananan from Thailand, reproduced courtesy of Aircraft Resource Center.