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F-16A kit.

Revell 1/48 F-16A 'Tigermeet '98' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review 1998 Manufacturer Revell
Subject General Dynamics F-16A 'Tigermeet '98' Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4543 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Based on Italeri kit Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

I have to make a confession. When I think of a 1/48 F-16 kit, I instantly think Hasegawa's series of Vipers. Then lo and behold, Revell released that the Belgian Tiger Meet Falcon. Now I was curious...

I was not prepared for what I found in the box. The kit is every bit as nice and the Hasegawa series, and the way it is molded, it can be rendered in any version of the F-16. Like the Hasegawa F-16, the fuselage halves are top and bottom, but unlike the Hasegawa kit, the Revell kit has the full span wings molded to each half, making assembly and wing anhedral a non-issue.

The ejection seat is a good ACES II, though without harnesses. The distinctive pitot heads on either side of the headrest are well done. The cockpit tub is a little spartan on detail, but then so is Hasegawa's. This is where the Black Box F-16 cockpit will come in handy!

One thing I find very nice in this kit is your choice of exhaust nozzles. Both are Pratt nozzles, but one is clamped down all the way, as it appears when at idle. The other is wide open. The wide open nozzle is two pieces, showing off the external and internal nozzle feathers. Both nozzles butt up against the afterburner chamber, providing very nice scale depth in the exhaust section.

Another very nice advantage of the Revell kit over the Hasegawa is the externals. The kit provides four AIM-120A AMRAAMS, two USAF AIM-9J/Ps, and two USN AIM-9G/Hs. The Navy AIM-9G/Hs were distinguished by their forward fins moved farther forward than their USAF counterparts. Pylons are provided for all six underwing stations and for the centerline. The kit also provides nice underwing and centerline fuel tanks as well. An older ECM pod, resembling an ALQ-119 is also included in the kit.

The canopy is clear, not tinted, which is fine for this particular aircraft. What is interesting is that the rules that we've followed for canopy tinting has changed, and radically. Before, all F-16A/Bs were equipped with clear canopies. All F-16C/Ds were equipped with the radar-cross-section lowering gold-tinted canopies. Then many of the F-16As were re-equipped with the tinted canopies as they went through mid-life updates or as spares came available. Even the NATO Falcons are retrofitting to the tinted canopies. To confound matters further, there are a number of F-16Cs that are reverting to clear canopies! These are birds that are modified to work with Night Vision Goggles. The moral of this story is to look at the specific aircraft you are modeling and tint your canopy accordingly.

Now for the show-stopper:

R/G F-16A Decal

This is the ultimate lazy modeler's paint scheme! These decals are as nice in real life as they appear. They should be, they were printed for Revell by Daco. All you need to do is paint the bird gloss black (if you're really lazy, the kit is already molded in gloss black) and apply these decals. Voila! You have a Tigermeet bird!