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F-16C Kit

Tamiya 1/48 F-16C (Block 25/32) Fighting Falcon Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2008 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject F-16C (Block 25/32) Fighting Falcon Scale 1/48
Kit Number 61101 Primary Media Styrene, White Metal
Pros The best F-16C Block 25/32 in 1/48, the only CCIP in 1/48, and has the ONLY AIM-9X missiles available in any scale (for now) Cons No provisions for Block 52 (Pratt-powered), no ALQ-131, seamline on the canopies
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $57.00

First Look

F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit
F-16C Kit

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

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

Here is Tamiya's second installment in its F-16 series - the Block 25/32. The first was the F-16CJ Block 50 Fighting Falcon (reviewed here) which was a scaled down version of their beautiful 1/32 F-16CJ Block 50 (reviewed here). Like the F-16CJ, this Block 25/32 was also previously released in 1/32 scale. In other words, Tamiiya is taking over the F-16 market, and quite effectively I might add.

Since Hasegawa previously ruled the 1/48 scale F-16 market, we can see that Tamiya has engineered this kit to not only backfill where Hasegawa has gone, but to provide versions (like the CCIP) where Hasegawa will probably not go. Rather than repeat the similarities and differences between the 1/48 and 1/32 versions of these kits, let's look at the possibilities that this kit and the Block 50 offer. If you are interested in the differences between scales, you can read the earlier Block 50 review here.

Like the Block 50 release, this kit is set up to be modular so they can swap parts to render other blocks in the future. It is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees, two new trees in dark gray styrene, plus three trees of clear parts.

If you note the box art, the ANG Viper depicted there is indeed an early block F-16C, but it also has the 'bird cutter' IFF antennas on the nose. These antennas are for the AN/APX-113 IFF system that is being retrofitted to the F-16C Blocks 40, 42, 50, and 52 Vipers as part of the Common Configuration Implementation Program, the F-16A/B as part of the Mid-Life Update (NATO and export Vipers), and also to the F/A-18 Hornet fleet. These are also standard equipment on new-production Block 20 F-16A/B and Block 50/52 and Block 60 F-16s.

These IFF units and other upgrades are also finding their way into the older Block 25/30/32 F-16s, especially for those units whose capstone mission is air defense and had traded their specially-modified F-16A/B ADF interceptors for 'newer' F-16Cs. The APX-113 provides better performance over the APX-109 system that first introduced 'bird cutter' antennas to the F-16 fleet. In short, these IFF antennas are correct on older C-models, just check your references to see if the machine you're modeling has been so-equipped.

The main differences between this kit and the Block 50 release:

Block 25/32:

  • NSI (narrow-mouth) inlet
  • Pratt & Whitney F100 afterburner nozzle
  • 'Flat' main gear doors
  • Landing lights on main gear struts
  • AAQ-28 Litening targeting pod
  • GBU-12 LGBs (4) on TERs

Block 50:

  • MCID (wide-mouth) inlet
  • GE F110 afterburner nozzle
  • Bulged main gear doors
  • Wider main wheels
  • Landing lights on nose gear door
  • HTS pod
  • AGM-88 HARM (2) missiles

Possibilities

You can see in the design of the tooling that the kit is very modular:

  • The upper section of the nose is molded separately. There are two-seaters in our future
  • The base of the dorsal spine is modular, we'll be seeing A/B models as well as parapack housings
  • The cockpit is modular. The HUD module can be changed so we'll have F-16CG Block 40/42. The instrument panel is also modular so it will support F-16A/B easily

You get the idea. But now that we have one GE-powered kit and one Pratt-powered kit, what can we do now?

  • Block 25/32 - this kit straight out of the box
  • Early Block 30 - this kit plus the GE nozzle out of the Block 50 kit (or an aftermarket nozzle). Check your references to see if your early Block 30 retained the narrow mouth inlet or was retrofitted with the widemouth
  • Block 30 - this kit plus the GE nozzle and the widemouth intake parts from the Block 50 kit
  • Block 40 - use the Block 50 kit with the Black Box F-16CG cockpit
  • Block 42 - use the Block 50 kit with the Black Box F-16CG cockpit and the intake and Pratt nozzle out of this kit
  • Block 50 - use the Block 50 kit straight out of the box
  • Block 52 - use the Block 50 kit plus the intake and Pratt nozzle out of this kit

You can also backdate this kit to an F-16A, but you'll need to have an A/B vertical stab base and these are available in the aftermarket. You'll also have to backdate the cockpit, but A-model resin cockpits are out there.

If you're patient, I'm sure Tamiya will offer all of these (and more) in the future, but AMS modelers can definitely start to mix and match parts to render versions that are not yet on the market. With the wealth of interesting aftermarket decals 'out there' for all of these blocks, it is nice to have options.

Decals are provided for three examples:

  • F-16C Block 32H, 87-0301, 144 FW, Wing Commander's aircraft, CA ANG, 2007
  • F-16C Block 25B, 83-1144, 144 FW, Wing Commander's aircraft, CA ANG, 2006
  • F-16C Block 32D, 86-0279, 188 FW, Wing Commander's aircraft, AR ANG, 2006

These Tamiya kits are still the best F-16 kits in 1/48 scale and would be the best in any scale were it not for their big (1/32) brothers.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!

References:

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