Hasegawa 1/48 F-16I Fighting Falcon IDF Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2009||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||F-16I Fighting Falcon IDF||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||09857||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Fair kit out of the box||Cons||Broken canopy in my example; minimal armament, no targeting pods|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$64.00|
For a quick history of the F-16, look here.
For a look at the differences between F-16 blocks, look here.
Hasegawa has reissued their F-16D kit with some new-tool sprues to render the Israeli Air Force's F-16I Sufa. This release is molded in the standard light gray styrene and rendered on fourteen parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The surface detailing is scribed, but the detail is a bit soft in comparison with the more recent Tamiya and Kinetic 1/48 Viper kits.
The kit provides all of the parts for a standard Block 52 F-16D that we've seen before, but also includes the six parts trees new for this release and a few parts trees that were introduced into earlier late-block F-16 updates. There are other trees still that are in the box for one or two small parts, but leave lots of left-overs for your spares box.
Among the features and options in this box:
- Nice cockpit straight out of the box
- Optional crew figures
- Positionable canopy
- Small mouth (NSI) inlet
- Large moutn inlet (not used on F-16I)
- Pratt F100 nozzle
- GE F110 nozzle (not used on F-16I)
- Positionable speed brakes
- New-tool dorsal spine for F-16I and some Block 50/52+
- New-tool GPS dome
- New-tool conformal fuel tanks
- New-tool antennas for F-16I
- New-tool antennas NOT used by F-16I
- New-tool APX-113 IFF antennas
- Optional boarding ladder
With the production of these new-tooled sprues, we'll be seeing more contemporary versions of the F-16 coming from Hasegawa. This will be a welcome development for those who enjoy the way which the Hasegawa kit goes together, but this kit series has fallen behind the Tamiya and Kinetic kits in several areas:
- As mentioned above, the detailing is scribed, but it is soft and not accurately laid out as opposed to the newer kits
- The APX-113 antennas are individually molded, so you're on your own to get the four of them positioned, aligned, and properly spaced. Even so, I'd rather do these in styrene than the photo-etched versions that were the only other option for MLU and CCIP Vipers prior to the Tamiya and Kinetic kits
- Hasegawa still insists that you buy this kit and then buy the appropriate weapons sets separately. That makes this kit much more expensive than the Tamiya and Kinetic kits that come with a wide range of weapons and pods
Speaking of external stores, this kit comes with the older AIM-9 missile rails molded in place on stations 1 and 9 (wingtips) as well as with the AIM-9 rails and pylons for stations 2 and 8. Two of the sprues included in this kit did come from one of their earlier tooling updates are shown in the third image that include the newer missile rails for stations 1/9 that will allow for carriage of the AIM-9 and AIM-120 as well as the newer rails and pylons for stations 2/8 for the same purpose. These sprues also provide a pair of AIM-120s that are improvements over the AMRAAMs previously released in this kit (and are still on sprue F).
So in terms of external stores:
- 1 x 300 gallon centerline fuel tank
- 2 x 370 gallon underwing fuel tanks
- 1 x baggage pod
- 2 x AIM-120
- 2 x AIM-9L/M
- No air-to-ground stores
- No Israeli-unique air-to-air stores
- No Israeli-unique air-to-ground stores
- No targeting pods
While the Tamiya and Kinetic kits provided a nice selection of air-to-air and air-to-ground stores none of them have tooled up the weapons that are unique to Israel, so not having them in this kit isn't really a minus, but it was a lost opportunity when this kit is already behind the competition.
It is also worth noting that Tamiya has yet to produce a two-seat Viper, much less the F-16I, but their tooling is being used to contrast the state of the art along with the Kinetic kit (which does produce the F-16I). That is why we're hoping that Hasegawa will start arming their kits as well as exploiting opportunities to add some innovation in areas where the competition hasn't gone (yet). While the new-tooled conformal tanks and dorsal spine are nice additions to their tooling, they're too late to be innovative.
In the strike role, the F-16I carries the LANTIRN targeting and navigation pods, which are included in the Kinetic kit. These are mentioned in the instructions of the Hasegawa kit with the note that if you want the pods, you have to buy that weapons set as well. Bad move Hasegawa.
The major feature that changes with each of Hasegawa's special edition releases is the decal sheet, and here we have two nice examples to choose from:
- F-16I, Bat Sqn, IDF
- F-16I, Negev Sqn, IDF
When Hasegawa first released their series of F-16s, they were represented some of the best kits of the subject in any scale, and while Hasegawa has added to the tooling options to render more versions, they simply haven't kept up with their competition. Nevertheless, the kit still remains a simple build and there are still plenty of kits on store shelves at reasonable prices.