Caracal Models 1/72 F-16 CAS Vipers Decal First Look
|Date of Review||January 2015||Manufacturer||Caracal Models|
|Subject||F-16 CAS Vipers||Scale||1/72|
|Set Number||72031||Pros||Interesting marking options|
|Cons||Nothing noted||Skill Level||Basic|
Here is the latest release from Caracal Models providing eleven 'colorful' examples of the short-lived Close Air Support (CAS) F-16s. You may have heard in the news recently that the Pentagon wants to replace the A-10 Thunderbolt II with the F-35 Lightning II. They clearly didn't learn their lessons from previous attempts to retire the Hawg including this one - the CAS Viper. Lockheed and the Air Force went on a public relations blitz with these Europe I painted F-16s and how they were the future of CAS. The running joke on the flightline however was that these CAS Vipers had their radars removed and the radomes replaced with NERF rubber so these low-flying ill-suited machines could safely bounce back into the air on impact.
The Air Force even had a 30mm gun pod developed by General Electric, the GEPOD, which was supposed to give the CAS Viper the same tank-killing power of the GAU-8 Avenger gun in the nose of the A-10. Not only didn't it work as intended, the only unit to take the GEPOD into combat was the NY ANG (The Boys From Syracuse) and the pod was used less than one day in Desert Storm before they were discarded.
The aircraft presented in this set include:
- F-16A Block 1, 78-0008, 15 TFTS/388 TFW, Hill AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 83-1144, 33 TFS/363 TFW, Shaw AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 83-1128, 422 TES/57 FWW, Nellis AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 83-1129, 422 TES/57 FWW, Nellis AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 83-1130, 422 TES/57 FWW, Nellis AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 83-1131, 422 TES/57 FWW, Nellis AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 83-1132, 422 TES/57 FWW, Nellis AFB, 1980s
- F-16C Block 25, 84-1267, 422 TES/57 FWW, Nellis AFB, 1980s
- F-16B Block 1, 78-0096, 34 TFS/388 TFW, Hill AFB, 1980s
- F-16B, 75-0752, General Dynamics Technology Demonstrator, 1980s
- F-16B, 75-0752, General Dynamics Technology Demonstrator, 1990s
These aircraft were the few that flew with something other than the two or three-gray camouflage worn by USAF Vipers before their adoption into the Aggressor role. This decal set shows one aircraft that was later transferred to the 20th TFW and flew with the Shaw tailcode for some time before it too was repainted back into the dull grays again. Markings are also provided for technology demonstrator F-16B, both while Fort Worth was still a General Dynamics facility before they 'left' the fighter business after the aborted A-12 Avenger II program.
For more information about this set and the other releases from Caracal Models, visit their website at http://caracalmodels.com.
My sincere thanks to Caracal Models for this review sample!