Kinetic 1/48 F-16D Block 52+ Polish AF Advanced Fighter Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2009||Manufacturer||Kinetic|
|Subject||F-16D Block 52+ Polish AF Advanced Fighter||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||48010||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Detail Media||Styrene, PE, turned brass||Clear Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Well engineered and options never before seen in a 1/48 scale Viper kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$64.95|
For a quick history of the F-16, look here.
For a look at the differences between F-16 blocks, look here.
Kinetic has released the next installment in their impressive Fighting Falcon series. This release represents the first production kit of Block 52+ in any scale. The subject in the box covers the new advanced two-seat Vipers that entered Polish Air Force service recently and share a similar configuration with those being flown by the Hellenic (Greek) Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, and others. You'll note that the Israeli Air Force also operates the F-16D Block 52+, but their aircraft do not have the extended vertical fin base that can house either a parachute or additional avionics. Kinetic addresses this in a different release of this kit.
The kit is molded in medium gray styrene and presented on 19 parts trees, plus two trees of clear parts. Kinetic continues to mix and match its parts trees to render these different variants. New to us are the conformal tank sprues and the full length dorsal spine. Also new in the kit (and not imaged) is a tab inside the box that contains a turned brass pitot tube and a small set of photo-etched insets for the sides of the conformal fuel tanks.
Given that this is a Block 52+, the kit has the Pratt nozzle and narrow-mouth (NSI) inlet. This airframe also has the extended fin base parts to replicate the parapack housing. Parts for the non-parapack housing (standard) version tail are also included in the kit but not used for this subject. In fact, you'll have a number of parts for your spares box because of all of the options you can't use all at once in this box.
The kit cockpit is nicely done, though I can't wait to see some color photo-etch from Eduard for the instrument panels and side consoles. The ACES II ejection seats look good here as well though you'll want to grab some photo-etched belts and harness attachments from somewhere.
The kit features a full intake duct with some really nice details that go into the main wheel wells, as well as a nice afterburner chamber.
For those of us who've been looking for aftermarket conformal fuel tanks, the search is over as these are now stock items in the appropriate Kinetic kits. Note that Kinetic didn't address the CFTs in their instruction book, they provided an additional sheet that shows you where to open some flashed-over holes in the upper fuselage part to allow for easy installation of the tanks. Take note of this because if you discover this sheet AFTER you've assembled your Viper, you'll have to install your tanks without the locator pins.
The IFF antenna panel is an insert that goes onto the nose ahead of the windscreen, just like Tamiya's kit. Like Tamiya, the kit also has the plain panel if you really want to backdate the kit to a standard Block 52.
This kit molds the wheel hubs and tires separately. Finally, a set of wheels easy to paint! Two different styles of wheel hubs are provided, so check your references.
The leading edge flaps are molded separately as are the trailing edge flaps, so you can pose this model in-flight with everything 'hanging out'.
The canopy is as clear as I've ever seen in a kit. It does have the slight mold seam that plagues all F-16 kits, but this one will be easy to clean.
As with the previous releases in this series, this kit provides a wealth of external stores options:
- 2 x 370 gallon tanks for stations 4/6
- 1 x 300 gallon centerline tank
- 2 x Conformal fuel tanks
- 1 x AAQ-33 Sniper XR
- 4 x AIM-9M Sidewinder
- 4 x AIM-9X Sidewinder
- 4 x AIM-120B AMRAAM
- 4 x AIM-120C AMRAAM
- 2 x AGM-65 Maverick
- 4 x Mk.82 (slicks)
- 4 x GBU-12 Paveway II
- 2 x GBU-24 Paveway III
- 2 x GBU-31 JDAM
- 4 x GBU-38 JDAM
- 4 x CBU-87
This is a nice array of external stores that will leave you external stores to arm this F-16, an A-10, and still have left-overs!
Markings are provided for two examples:
- F-16D, 4071, Polish Air Force
- F-16D, 4080, Polish Air Force
The kit provides two sheets of decals including a nice set of stencils for the airframe, and one large sheet with the stencils and markings for the wide variety of weapons in this box.
This is another nice release from Kinetic Models and we now finally have production kits of really current production Vipers! If you want to build a Block 50+ of the Chilean AF (FACh) for example, you'll need to grab the widemouth inlet and GE nozzle out of one of the other Kinetic F-16 kits that provide both in the box. With the wealth of options that are coming in these various releases, the possibilities of rendering just about any Viper is finally a reality.
My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!