Tamiya 1/48 F-16C/N Aggressor/Adversary Kit First Look
|Date of Review||March 2009||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Kit Number||61106||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Fills in more holes in the F-16C line-up.||Cons||Still no ALQ-131|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$66.00|
For a quick history of the F-16C, look here.
For a look at the differences between F-16 blocks, look here.
Tamiya has been rolling out more variants of the F-16 Fighting Falcon since its first release two years ago. These include:
So when this latest installment was announced, the F-16C/N, I didn't initially jump on this release since I assumed that it would be a mixture of the existing parts previously released. Finally curiosity got the better of me and here we are looking into this new kit. Note: We'll look at those features in this kit that make this release different from previous releases. If you want to learn more about the kit parts that are common to the previous releases, check out any of the three review links above.
What we have in this box is what you might call a 'superset'. This is the first time all of the combinations of intakes, nozzles, gear doors and main wheels have all been released together. No more need to buy two kits to create one of these blocks. But is that all? What's new here are two small sprues:
Sprue U - not imaged, contains two clear parts to render the holographic HUD that is unique to the Block 40/42 Vipers.
Sprue X - imaged just before the canopies below. This tree has the distinctive parts to render the US Navy F-16N. The F-16N was an F-16C Block 30 with a strengthened wing and some avionics mods to support its aggressor mission. These distinctive avionics mods included the RHAW pods carried on either side of the engine intake as well as the ALQ-188 usually carried on the centerline station. USAF aggressor Vipers (I don't believe) carry the RHAW pods, but they do indeed carry the ALQ-188 as well and not always on the centerline.
In addition, this tree has some addition new parts that are noteworthy:
- New main wheel halves to replicate another wheel hub design used on the earlier Vipers
- Two ACMI pods carried by aggressors and combatants alike during training exercises as well as in combat operations over Iraq
- Two new AIM-9 missile rails - not the newer/larger types that can carry AIM-9 and AIM-120, these are the earlier pylons that have previously been in the kit, but for the first time, they've been molded with the rail detail so that they would look just as nice without a weapon or ACMI pod loaded
So now the Tamiya Viper scoreboard looks something like this:
- Block 25/32 - straight out of this box
- Early Block 30 - straight out of this box
- Block 30 - straight out of this box
- Block 40/42 - straight out of this box but you'll need to get LANTIRN and bomb up the aircraft from another source
- Block 50/52 - straight out of this box but you'll need to get the HTS pod and HARMS from another source
- F-16N - straight out of this box
With these new parts, I expect that we'll see the F-16CG Block 40/42 at some point in time, but this kit features a LANTIRN-less Block 42 as some of these aircraft have been reassigned to Aggressor duties.
The instructions also show you where the scab plates go along the dorsal spine of the airframe, though this diagram is a shameless plug for their optional photo-etched detail set available separately.
What is not in this box is the wide array of weapons that have been available in previous releases since this release is about unarmed aggressor Vipers. What is in this box though:
- 2 x AIM-9L/M
- 2 x AIM-120
- 2 x 370 Gallon tanks
- 1 x 300 gallon centerline fuel tank
- 1 x ALQ-184 ECM pod
- 1 x ALQ-188 ECM Pod
- 2 x ACMI pods
- 2 x RHAW Pods (for the F-16N)
Decals are provided for four examples:
- F-16C Block 30, 86-0314, Red 14, 354 FW Wing Commander's aircraft, 2008
- F-16N, BuNo 163271, US Navy Fighter Weapons School, NAS Miramar, 1993
- F-16C Block 32, 86-0272, 64 AS/57 Wing, Nellis AFB, Squadron Commander's aircraft, 2008
- F-16C Block 42, 89-2148, 62 AS/57 Wing, Nellis AFB, 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. These new options hint at more kit versions to come and also introduce (finally) the first production missile rails that look as good empty as they do loaded.