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F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit

Kinetic 1/48 F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2022 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject F-16A MLU NATO Viper Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48100 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit
F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit
F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit
F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit
F-16A MLU NATO Viper Kit

For a quick history of the F-16, look here.

For a look at the differences between F-16 blocks, look here.

One of the earliest kits ever released by Kinetic was the F-16 series. While generous in its packaging by providing a wealth of external stores, the fuselage was plagued by inaccuracies that pushed the Kinetic Vipers into obscurity. Fast forward many years and Kinetic has released its first new-tooled F-16s with this kit. Released under its Kinetic Gold series, this tooling is all new and provides details not seen in the previous releases. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus a single tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in the kit:

  • Detailed cockpit w/decals for instruments and side console details
  • Nice ACES II ejection seat with crew restrains provided as decals
  • Positionable canopy
  • Correct dorsal spine for Block 15 OCU/MLU
  • Correct main landing gear struts and doors for Block 15 OCU/MLU
  • Narrowmouth inlet for Pratt power
  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable stabilators

The kit provides the following external stores:

  • AAQ-13
  • AAQ-14
  • AAQ-28
  • Sniper XR
  • AIM-9M
  • AIM-9X
  • AIM-120B/C
  • AGM-88
  • ALQ-184
  • GBU-12
  • GBU-24
  • GBU-31
  • LAU-129
  • 300 gallon centerline tank
  • 370 gallon wing tanks

The decal sheets provide markings for three examples:

  • F-16A MLU, FA-86, Air Policing Baltic States, Amari AB, Belgium
  • F-16A MLU, J-515, EEAW/EPAF, Kabul Airport, Netherlands
  • F-16A MLU, 680, 338 Skv, Kabul Airport, Norway
  • F-16A MLU, E603, Esk 730, Aalborg AB, Denmark
  • F-16A MLU, 15115, Escuadra 201, Monte Real AB, Portugal

Here are some preliminary observations on this tooling:

  1. The plastic inside the box is the same for nearly all versions of the Pratt-powered F-16. The options really include Block 15 OCU, Block 15 ADF, Block 20, Block 25, Block 32, Block 42 and Block 52. The only parts missing from the rest of the timeline are the early stabilators for Blocks 1, 5, and 10, and the various updates for the Block 52+. The only thing to know is which parts combine to recreate each version.
  2. No parts for the two-seat Vipers.
  3. The forward fuselage ahead of the canopy has the five bird-cutter antennas that were added as part of the Advanced IFF interrogator on all Block 15 MLU and Block 20. If you're modeling an F-16 that flew prior to receiving those updates, remove the AIFF from the nose. You'll also want to use the smaller/thinner missile rails on the wingtips and the Vipers didn't receive the LAU-129 modification to carry AIM-120 or AIM-9 on the wingtips until around those updates.

I'll revise this section as we go forward with building, but give this kit a good look as I believe this could the best F-16 in 1/48 scale!

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!