Academy 1/72 F-16C Multirole Fighter Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|F-16C Multirole Fighter
Here is a new-tool kit from Academy designed for younger modelers. This is a snap-together model of the F-16C Fighting Falcon in 1/72 and was designed with few small parts. The kit is out of their MCP (multi-color plastic) series which theoretically means that you can display this model without painting and it will look just about right.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees plus one tree of another gray color, one tree of black parts, one clear part, and one tree of frosted clear parts.
You can see in the images that it will go together almost intuitively and follows simple design for ease of assembly. That means that the model is built gear-up and is displayed on the included display stand. The kit assumes the F-16 is a single color overall gray (USAF Vipers are two-color gray while earlier Vipers had three-color camouflage) and the weapons are the same color (if you use the MCP approach). The cockpit tub is cockpit gray as is the radome. The instrument panel, ACES seat, and engine nozzle are all black. From a distance, that's not bad.
The kit does provide external stores - a centerline external fuel tank, AIM-120 AMRAAMs on stations 1 and 9, and AGM-88 HARMs on stations 3 and 7.
There are no decals in this kit, just stickers and markings are provided for the flagship from the 8th Fighter Wing or the flagship from the 180th Fighter Wing. Both wings operate the F-16CM Block 42 which translates to updated avionics and displays similar to the Block 50/52. The CCIP Vipers were all supposed to share common avionics with the Block 40/42 Vipers retaining their holographic HUDs. While the Block 40/42 could carry the AGM-88, they don't carry the HTS (HARM Targeting System) pod and carrying the HARM takes away the usual weapons loads carried by the Night Viper.
When I first saw this kit, I was rather dismayed to see the IFF interrogator (bird cutter) antennas ahead of the windscreen. On the CCIP upgraded aircraft, the four antennas are mounted directly to the panel ahead of the windscreen. On the old F-16A ADF, these interrogator antennas were mounted to a plate that mounted ahead of the windscreen as depicted in this kit. Then I remembered the problem at CCIP where the Air Force didn't have sufficient funds to bring all of the Block 40/42 Vipers up to the same level as the 50/52s and many 40/42 aircraft didn't receive the IFF interrogators to save money. Evidently an upgrade kit was sent to the units to add the interrogars later and the antennas were mounted ADF-style which is the case for some of the Block 42s from the 8th FW (the 180th's Vipers did receive their interrogators at depot and are flush-mounted like the Block 50/52).
Nitpicks aside, this kit is intended for young modelers who could care less about CCIP updates but are looking for a fun project to put on their shelves. Did I mention stickers instead of decals? A die-hard modeler can make a nice display model out of this kit with with some help from Eduard and/or other aftermarket companies to showcase all of those interesting decal subjects without doing an AMS-level model for each subject.
For a look at this model built-up, look here.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!