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F-16CJ Kit

Tamiya 1/48 F-16CJ (Block 50) Fighting Falcon Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2007 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject F-16CJ (Block 50) Fighting Falcon Scale 1/48
Kit Number 61098 Primary Media Styrene, Metal
Pros The best F-16CJ Block 50 in 1/48, the only CCIP in 1/48, and has the ONLY AIM-9X missiles available in any scale (for now) Cons No provisions for Block 52 (Pratt-powered), no ALQ-131, seamline on the canopies
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $51.00

First Look

F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit
F-16CJ Kit

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

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

Tamiya's 1/48 F-16CJ (Block 50) Fighting Falcon kit represents their first 1/48 F-16 release in decades. They produced the YF-16 in the early 1980s (kit 61022) and then remained silent on the subject until their stunning 1/32 F-16CJ Block 50 kit (reviewed here) released over two years ago, followed by the Thunderbirds F-16C Block 32, also in 1/32. These 1/32 F-16s are still the best Viper kits produced in any scale. If you are confused about the various designators (F-16CJ, Block 42, etc.) then you can do some catch-up learning on Viper genealogy here.

While their 1/32 F-16CJ is still my favorite Viper in any scale, this release is definitely scaled down from the 1/32 plans, though there are some pleasant differences as well as some mysteries in this box.

Until now, the Hasegawa 1/48 F-16 series ruled this scale, though the Italeri/Revell and Academy kits are also worth having. Unlike the others, Hasegawa has expanded their F-16 family tree to encompass almost all variants of the Viper. For now, Hasegawa still rules on Block 10 through Block 42 and Block 52. Judging from the way this tooling is laid out, I expect Tamiya to expand its 1/48 Viper domination matrix into other blocks, but we'll talk about this more later.

Like their 1/32 release, this kit is set up to be modular so they can swap parts to render other blocks in the future. It is molded in light gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus three trees of clear parts. There are definitely similarities to their 1/32 kit, but definitely some differences as well.

First of all, straight out of the box, this is the first CCIP Viper in 1/48 scale. This is distinguishable by the bird cutter IFF antennas ahead of the canopy. Tamiya made this section of the nose modular so you can build your Block 50 pre- or post-CCIP. If you aren't following the designations, go back to the Viper genealogy discussion here.

The kit has your choice of clear or gold-tinted canopies and these are molded on an interesting sprue tree that protects the canopy while still in the box. Interesting technique! On the downside, Tamiya has the created the same mold line down the center of the canopy that exists on virtually all other Viper kits. No big surprise, but one could always hope for some new breakthrough in injection molding technology.

Among the differences between Tamiya's 1/48 Block 50 and the 1/32 version:

Pros:

  • AIM-9X Sidewinders now included in addition to the AIM-9L/M and AIM-120C missiles - this is a first in styrene in any scale!
  • Pilot figure has two helmets, one with the standard lightweight helmet and a new one with a unique shape that houses the helmet-mounted cueing system. Another first!

Cons:

  • No engine in this kit
  • No open gun bay
  • No radar
  • Leading edge flaps are not positionable
  • No JDAMS
  • No boarding ladder

Features in common:

  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Movable/removable horizontal stabs
  • Removable vertical stab (making transportation easier)
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Choice of 300 gallon centerline fuel tank or ALQ-184 ECM pod on Station 5
  • AGM-88 HARMs on Stations 3/7
  • 370 Gallon tanks provided for Stations 4/6
  • Choice of AIM-120 or AIM-9 on Stations 2/8
  • Choice of clear or gold-tinted canopy

Decals are provided for three examples:

  • F-16CJ, 92-0895, 5th AF Commander's aircraft, WW, 35 FW, Misawa AB, Japan, 2005
  • F-16CJ, 91-0352, 52nd Wing Commander's aircraft, SP, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, 2005
  • F-16CJ, 91-0379, 79 FS/20 FW, SW, Tiger Meet of the Americas, August 2001

Possibilities

There is a wealth of aftermarket parts available for the Hasegawa F-16 and I did a little dry-fitting of these to the Tamiya kit. The cockpit is a bit longer in the Tamiya kit, but otherwise the Black Box cockpit drops right in. While I am sure that a purpose-designed seamless intake will be produced for this kit, I found that the Cutting Edge widemouth intake can be made to fit rather easily, which means that the narrowmouth intake can also be adapted. The Hasegawa Pratt & Whitney F100 nozzle fits perfectly on the back of the Tamiya kit. What does all of this get you?

First, if you replace the gear doors with non-bulged ones from a Hasegawa or other F-16A kit, swap vertical stabilizers, and engine nozzles, and plug in a seamless intake, and you can render a detailed F-16A Block 15 MLU or Block 20 Viper!

Swap the widemouth intake for a narrowmouth, get the Pratt nozzle, and you'll have a Block 52 Viper.

Do the same as above, add a wide field of view heads-up display in the cockpit and scab plates to the dorsal spine, and you'll have a contemporary Block 42.

I could go on with the possibilities, but you get the idea. There's no doubt in my mind that Tamiya will address some of this for us, but there are so many resources out there already that you don't have to wait.

Hasegawa versus Tamiya

So why is the Tamiya kit a 'trade-up' over the Hasegawa kit? When I hold the Hasegawa kit, I am still impressed with the engineering and detail in the kit, but when I put the Hasegawa fuselage against the Tamiya part, the difference is quite impressive. The Hasegawa surface has finely scribed details, but these are more representative in presentation than realistic. This is no-doubt due to the lack of up-close detailed photos at the time they engineered the tooling. As I understand it, Tamiya was assisted by Lockheed-Martin on this project and the additional detailing is instantly evident. The difference in the level of scribed detailing is quite stark. Tamiya is the clear winner on up-to-date details!

Mysteries

For some odd reason, Tamiya decided to produce two panels on the starboard side of the dorsal spine, right near the vertical stabilizer, as separate parts. I can't figure that one out as I can't find any imagery that shows a variant of the Viper with anything different there.

I can understand why some features don't scale down gracefully from 1/32 scale, but one feature that I'd hoped would make it to the scaled-down Viper was the positionable leading edge flaps. These were nicely rendered in 1/32 scale and compliment the positionable trailing edge flaps so you can pose your Viper in take-off, landing, or low-speed flight configuration. We can get out the razor saw and lower them the old-fashioned way I suppose...

This kit is the best F-16 kit in 1/48 scale and would be the best in any scale were it not for its big (1/32) brother. I have two more of these kits on order and will be using some of the possibilities listed above to render versions that were not easily done with the Hasegawa kit. Am I dumping my Hasegawa Vipers? Heck no! These will still build into nice models of the Viper, but the Tamiya kit will look better up-close on the contest table.

Here is a list of paints Tamiya identifies for use with this kit and the equivalent colors from other brands (Note: the first two colors are matches to the early war colors applied to USAAF aircraft, the remainder are the Tamiya-recommended colors):

 
AMMO
AV
GSI
HAT
LC
MIS
MRP
REV
TAM
TES
XTRA
Gray
 
 
H022
N022
 
 
 
 
 
AS07
XF53
 
 
White
 
71.279
C316
H316
A049
C049
 
MMP104
099
 
AS20
XF02
1745
X141
XA1141
Gray
0203
71.312
C308
H308
A037
C037
UA026
MMP073
038
A065
32143
36143
AS26
1728
X136
XA1136
Gray
0211
71.275
C306
H306
A054
C054
UA094
MMP118
039
A064
 
AS28
XF20
1725
 
Black
0032
70.950
C002
H002
N002
A125
C125
LC002
MMP047
005
A012
32107
36107
LP01
X01
1747
 
White
0050
71.001
C001
H001
N001
A528
C528
LC001
MMP001
004
A014
32104
36104
LP02
X02
1745
X141
Blue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X04
 
 
Yellow
0048
71.078
C004
H004
N004
A290
C290
UA042
MMP007
386
32112
36112
LP08
X08
1707
 
Metal Black
 
71.073
C078
H028
N028
 
 
 
 
 
LP40
X10
 
 
Silver
0195
70.790
C008
H008
N008
A003
C003
LC074
MMM006
003
32190
36190
LP11
X11
 
X038
Gold
0198
 
C009
H009
N009
 
LC025
MMC003
153
32194
36194
LP62
X12
1744
 
Metallic Blue
Aotake
0267
 
C057
H063
N063
 
UA136
MMP113
 
 
TS19
X13
2119
X355
Sky Blue
 
 
C034
H025
N025
 
 
 
 
 
X14
 
 
Cowling Color
N01
 
 
C125
 
 
 
 
 
X18
 
 
Smoke Gray
 
70.939
C101
H095
N095
 
 
MMP170
 
 
LP67
X19
 
 
Clear Green
 
70.936
C138
H094
N094
 
 
MMP169
 
 
X25
 
 
Clear Red
 
70.934
C047
H090
N090
 
 
MMP167
 
 
LP72
X27
 
 
Bright Green
Dilectric Green
 
70.970
C066
H026
N026
A327
C327
 
 
032
 
TS35
X28
 
 
Titanium Gold
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X31
 
 
Titanium Silver
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X32
 
 
Flat Black
0046
71.057
C033
H012
N012
A041
C041
LC002
 
017
 
LP03
XF01
1749
 
Flat White
 
71.001
C062
H011
N011
 
LC001
 
 
 
LP04
XF02
1768
 
Yellow
0125
71.078
C113
H413
 
UA140
MMP090
051
A036
32115
36115
XF03
2072
X213
XA1213
Flat Red
 
71.269
H013
N013
A132
C132
LC006
 
 
32131
36131
XF07
2733
 
Flat Blue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
XF08
 
 
Flesh
RAL 8031
 
70.843
C051
H044
N044
 
 
 
 
 
LP30
XF15
 
 
Aluminum
0194
71.062
C218
A078
C078
 
MMM003
009
 
LP38
XF16
 
 
Barley Gray
 
 
C334
H334
 
 
 
 
 
XF19
 
X017
Gray
0241
71.121
C315
H315
A048
C048
 
MMP069
 
 
AS28
XF20
1729
X137
XA1137
Light Blue
0063
71.257
C117
H417
A038
C038
UA509
MMP051
066
A050
 
AS05
XF23
2086
X208
XA1208
Deep Gray
 
71.314
C301
H301
A030
C030
UA030
 
241
 
XF24
1788
 
Khaki Drill
 
71.116
C055
H081
N081
 
 
 
 
 
XF49
 
 
Dark Green
RLM 83
0925
71.011
C123
H423
A022
C022
UA132
MMP054
072
A061
32168
36168
AS24
XF51
2091
X226
XA1226
Dark Earth
0070
71.323
C022
H072
N072
A009
C009
UA547
MMP078
108
32182
36182
AS22
XF52
2054
X002
XA1002
Metallic Gray
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
XF56
 
 
Tan
0200
71.327
C313
H313
A090
C090
UA201
 
226
 
XF59
1706
 
Panzer Gray
0008
71.056
H401
A224
C224
UA207
MMP014
034
A019
32109
36109
LP27
XF63
2094
X262
XA1800
Red Brown
 
70.984
C041
H047
N047
 
 
 
 
 
XF64
 
 
Green
0206
71.294
C309
H309
A016
C016
UA091
MMP058
101
 
AS13
XF65
1710
X114
Light Gray
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
XF66
 
 
Dark Green
Mitsubishi
H036
 
 
C124
 
 
MMP112
 
 
XF70
2116
 

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!

References: