Tamiya 1/32 F-16I Sufa Build Review
By Eli Raphael
|Date of Review||October 2009||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Kit Number||60136 + Isra IC32007||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin|
|Pros||Builds into a unique variant in this scale||Cons||Requires some modeling skills|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||See text|
I decided to start this long anticipated conversion and give some breathing room in between decal projects.This conversion made by Isradecal and has many pros and a few cons that I will try to address.
The manufacturer recommends that you use the Tamiya Thunderbird F-16C kit, basically because of the small mouth intake and engine exhaust that will be used. I decided to use the F-16CJ Block 50 kit instead and order those sprues that have the Thunderbird kit thru HLJ.
I am not an instruction follower, so I started with the lower part of the intake. Isradecal does not provide the "bump" inside that's present on this version, made for the bigger nose wheel. Also, they don't give you a bigger wheel, so...I don't know how to resolve that issue.
Using the excellent Isradecal Sufa book, as a reference, I determined where this "bump" is located and a piece of tubing was cemented in place and filled. Apoxy putty was mixed and applied, wetting your finger to smooth it out and thus shaping it.
When epoxy putty had harden, a coat of white was applied. Then the upper part was glued in place and the join line puttied over.
Using a bunch of custom made sanding sticks, the join was smoothed over and painted.
Later, out come the dental burs and Tamiya's nose wheel bay details were sanded off to make room for the Aires resin bay. The Aires resin piece needs to be sanded al the way so that when placed, the kit's two intake outer lips can be able to close.
Decided then to go for the upper fuselage. Isradecal gives you the complete front resin conversion half. After cleaning the resin, it was tested in position. Decide to add a little plastic shim in the middle of the kit's fuselage so that the conversion would seat properly.
Very little filler was needed. The resin tail was placed in postion and slight sanding needed to seat properly. Out comes my dental piece and with a drill inserted, two holes were made to accept steel rods. Wouldn't like to trust glue alone on this heavy resin part.
Next comes the avionics spine. Here's were trouble began. It's a bit short. If you moved it touching the tail base a big gap would result at the canopy's fairing. If you moved it forward where it should rest, a huge gap appeared requiring a bigger plug. I compensated by centering it - the forward gap would be Apoxy filled and the back join with only a plastic shim. So, two holes were also drilled for the spine, fixed in place with steel rods.
CFTs - The conversion includes the tanks separated in halves and hollowed out. Thanks to the Isradecal Sufa book, I could determine where the tanks were located on the upper fuselage. There are no indications on where they go in the instruction booklet. I first located the front port side and adjusted it on the fuselage so that when the CA cement would was poured, it didn’t run out - I then zapped it into place. The back port tank was next and so on. The resulting small gap was filled and faired over.
Main landing gear well -Aires resin part was used here. Man, what a nice resin piece this is, but it really drove me crazy. A lot of cutting, sanding, and shoving this part requires it to fit properly. There is no indication on the tiny piece of diagram on where to attach it to the kit’s wheel well cavity. And that pouring block! It’s very hard to get rid of. It tool half a day just to make this piece fit properly in the aft exhaust section.
I discarded the Aires resin top main wheel well cover and opted for the Tamiya one. The Aires resin piece is too short.
The Isradecal resin lower aft engine section has been mated to the Tamiya’s exhaust section.
The kit’s cockpit has been installed in place. I used some Eduard PE sets to enhance some controls but basically it’s out of the box. The main console is from the Black Box set.
The resin back cockpit needs to be cut 1-2mm in order to fit. It rests on the Tamiya’s screw post behind the front one.
Since the Isradecal part doesn’t include a back or lower support, I decided to drill a hole where it rests on the kit’s post and 2 other ones on its floor. A spare screw was used to fasten it and I left it a bit loose so that I could move the cockpit sideways and vertically when the upper fuselage was attached.
Here you can see, where the 2 holes come in handy when moving the resin part in place.
Cockpits aligned and upper fuselage ready to be fastened in place.
The resin fuselage doesn’t match the lower kit’s part. Epoxy will come in handy to fill this bilateral gap.
Here you can see that there is also a gap between the resin back cockpit and the back wall that will need to be covered.
Note: Do not attach the gun well in place as I did, the extra cockpit interferes with it and will not let you close both fuselages. I have discarded it.
To be continued...