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F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit

Kinetic 1/48 F-16DG/F-16DJ Fighting Falcon Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2008 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject F-16DG/F-16DJ Fighting Falcon Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48005 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Well engineered and options never before seen in a 1/48 scale Viper kit Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit
F-16DG/F-16DJ Kit

For a quick history of the F-16, look here.

For a look at the differences between F-16 blocks, look here.

Lucky Model was kind enough to forward samples of this F-16DG/F-16DJ and the F-16AM releases for review and we did pour through the F-16AM kit in our review here. On opening the box, you'll see some serious details and tooling that are are not available in any other F-16D kit. We won't waste time rehashing the comparison of the Tamiya and Hasegawa kits, you can read all of that here). Let's quickly review the different USAF designations that are used interchangeably (and somewhat confusingly) with this subject:

The F-16A and F-16C are single-seat fighters. The F-16B and F-16D are the two-seat trainers. These trainers have all of the same combat capabilities of their single-seat counterparts save one - range. The second seat is occupying space that would have been one of the main body fuel tanks.

The F-16CG and F-16DG refer to the single- and two-seat (respectively) night-attack variants of the Viper in which the LANTIRN pods were developed to provide these aircraft with night vision. The advent of more modern pods and night vision goggles have given other Viper variants even better night attack capabilities now than the F-16CG/DG, but these are slated for CCIP upgrades once the F-16CJ/DJ have completed their upgrade cycles. The F-16CG/DG are also referred to as Block 40 and Block 42. Block 40 means that the F-16CG or F-16DG is powered by the GE F110 engine with the widemouth inlet, while the Block 42 designation means that the aircraft is Pratt-powered and has the narrow-mouth inlet.

The F-16CJ and F-16DJ refer to the SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) versions of the Viper in which the aircraft is fitted with the HARM Targeting System (HTS) pod on the starboard side of the inlet and armed with the AGM-88 HARM missiles. Block 50 F-16CJ/DJ Vipers are GE-powered with the widemouth inlets and the Block 52 F-16CJ/DJ Vipers are Pratt-powered with the narrow-mouth inlets.

The F-16 CCIP (common configuration implementation program) is a series of upgrades to the F-16CJ/DJ to modernize the avionics and weapons capabilities and add night attack capabilities. CCIP Vipers have the distinctive 'bird cutter' IFF antennas ahead of the windscreen and a number of subtle upgrades around the airframe and cockpit. These versions can retain the SEAD mission and still perform night attack by moving the HTS pod to the port (station 5L) side of the inlet and mounting LITENING or SNIPER on station 5R, or simply use one or the other as mission requirements dictate. F-16CG/DG Vipers are completing their own CCIP upgrades which will give them improved night attack as well as SEAD capabilities.

So what does all of that have to do with this kit? Kinetic has released this kit which represents the Block 40, Block 50, and the CCIP Block 40/50 variants, all in this one box. You can only build one variant from this kit, but you have lots of choices. The instructions have you build the Block 50 in the CCIP configuration and the Block 40 without CCIP, but you can do Block 40 with/without CCIP and ditto the Block 50.

The kit is molded in medium gray styrene and presented on 19 parts trees, plus two trees of clear parts. The breakdown of the kit is similar to Tamiya except they haven't tackled a two-seater (yet). The only F-16D prior to this release was from Hasegawa.

If you've seen the F-16AM review, you know that Kinetic produced a nice upper fuselage half, but for some unknown reason (to me), they did another one that has the same two upper fuselage panels molded separately from the starboard side below the vertical stab. Do any of you know of a reason why these panels would be molded separately? I haven't any idea.

This kit differs from the F-16AM release in the following details:

  • This is a two seater, the F-16AM is a single-seater
  • This is a Block 40/50, the F-16AM is Block 15/20
  • This is GE-powered, the F-16AM is Pratt-powered
  • This has the wide-mouth inlet, the F-16AM has the narrow-mouth inlet
  • This has the bulged gear doors, the F-16AM has the 'flat' doors
  • This has the mystery panels molded separately, the F-16AM does not

The kit cockpit is nicely done, though I can't wait to see some color photo-etch from Eduard for the instrument panels and side consoles. The ACES II ejection seats look good here as well though you'll want to grab some photo-etched belts and harness attachments from somewhere.

The kit features a full intake duct with some really nice details that go into the main wheel wells, just like the F-16AM kit.

The IFF antenna panel is an insert that goes onto the nose ahead of the windscreen, just like Tamiya's kit. Like Tamiya, the kit also has the plain panel if you really want to backdate the kit to a standard Block 40/50.

In a first for 1/48 Vipers, this kit molds the wheel hubs and tires separately. Finally, a set of wheels easy to paint! Two different styles of wheel hubs are provided, so check your references.

In another first, the leading edge flaps are molded separately as are the trailing edge flaps, so you can pose this model in-flight with everything 'hanging out'.

The canopy is as clear as I've ever seen in a kit. It does have the slight mold seam that plagues all F-16 kits, but this one will be easy to clean.

If this were a Hasegawa kit, the story would end here since Hasegawa doesn't provide much in the way of external stores in their kits. This kit has some impressive options.

External stores:

  • 2 x 370 gallon tanks for stations 4/6
  • 1 x 300 gallon centerline tank
  • 1 x AAQ-13 LANTIRN
  • 1 x AAQ-14 LANTIRN
  • 1 x AAQ-28 Litening (yes!!)
  • 1 x AAQ-33 Sniper XR (a first!!)
  • 4 x ASQ-213 HTS (station 5R)
  • 2 x ASQ-213 HTS (station 5L)
  • 1 x ALQ-131 (yes!!)
  • 1 x ALQ-184
  • 4 x AIM-9M Sidewinder
  • 4 x AIM-9X Sidewinder
  • 4 x AIM-120B AMRAAM
  • 4 x AIM-120C AMRAAM
  • 2 x AGM-65 Maverick
  • 2 x AGM-88 HARM
  • 4 x Mk.82 (slicks)
  • 4 x GBU-12 Paveway II
  • 2 x GBU-24 Paveway III
  • 2 x GBU-31 JDAM
  • 4 x GBU-38 JDAM
  • 4 x CBU-87

This is the nicest array of external stores that I can recall being included in one kit. You have enough external stores to bomb up this F-16, an A-10, and still have left-overs!

Did you notice all of the HTS pods (six!) in this box? The aircraft only uses one, but they molded all three pods on the same tree as the single AGM-88, so when they included two HARMs in the box, you inherited six HTS pods. Okay, so why three (times two)? Kinetic provides the late version of the HTS pod with integral pylon, one for the left (station 5L) and one for the right (station 5R). They also provide the older style HTS pod used only on the right station.

In addition to the HTS pods, this kit differs from the F-16AM in that it does not have the Penguin missiles, but it does have the HARMs and the addition of the ALQ-184 in case you prefer that pod over the ALQ-131.

If there is one glitch in this kit, the molding technology that they are using leaves mold tabs where the ejector pins push the sprues out of the molds. Not recessed pin marks, but raised tabs. This is actually a good thing as it is easier to trim and smooth out a raised pin tab than it is to fill a sinkhole.

Markings are provided for two F-16D Vipers:

  • F-16D-40H-CF, 90-0800, 555 FS/31 FW, AV, Aviano AB, Italy
  • F-16D-50C-CF, 91-0462, 13 FS/35 FW, WW, Misawa AB, Japan

The kit provides two sheets of decals including a nice set of stencils for the airframe, and one large sheet with the stencils and markings for the wide variety of weapons in this box.

Bonus

F-16DG/F-16DJ

For those who pre-order this Kinetic kit from LuckModel, they will include at no extra cost one turned brass pitot tube that looks nice and plugs straight into the kit's radome.

Musings

When Tamiya released the F-16CJ Block 50 and F-16C Block 25/32, you had all of the parts to do the Block 52 and Block 30 by mixing and matching the corresponding parts out of each kit. Block 40/42 could be done but you were on your own for the cockpit and LANTIRN pods.

Swapping parts between the Kinetic F-16AM and F-16DG/DJ Block 40/50, you have many more possibilities:

  • F-16A Block 15 (US and European variants)
  • F-16A ADF
  • F-16AM Block 15 (MLU)
  • F-16A Block 20
  • F-16B Block 15 (US and European variants)
  • F-16BM Block 15 (MLU)
  • F-16B Block 20
  • F-16C Block 25/30/32
  • F-16C Block 40/42
  • F-16C Block 40/42 CCIP
  • F-16C Block 50/52
  • F-16C Block 50/52 CCIP (including some export variants)
  • F-16D Block 25/30/32
  • F-16D Block 40/42
  • F-16D Block 40/42 CCIP
  • F-16D Block 50/52
  • F-16D Block 50/52 CCIP (including some export variants)

Not bad by swapping parts, but you can expect Kinetic to release more variants in the future. In the interim, we finally have a variety of options that were not available previously without having to acquire costly resin conversions.

This kit is about half the price of the Tamiya kit and about $15 USD cheaper than Hasegawa's Vipers (based on the MSRP prices of the latest releases). If the kit builds as nice as it looks, this series is going to be a big hit. Even if it doesn't, there are options in this box that you'd spend lots of money in resin to have in order to create variants previously unavailable in a production kit. I think Kinetic has done a great job with this one!

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!

References:

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