Airfix 1/72 F-16A/B – ‘Classic’ kit Review part 1.

Although I’m hoping to get started on some more modern kits soon, I’ll always have a soft spot for the older ones. I find them enjoyable for many reasons – low part count, simple builds, nostalgia and the chance to do some scratch-building to name a few. I’m also very much a NON-Rivet counter or JMN, I don’t build models to create an accurate representation of the subject – I build purely for fun and relaxation. That’s not to say I don’t care what it looks like, but I’m happy if I can get it looking mostly like it’s supposed too and I don’t sweat the small stuff.

When it comes to a lot of the old Matchbox, Airfix, Monogram etc. kits though,  there’s not always much on the internet about them, asides from the odd comment on the forums which usually list’s them as the ones not to buy! This seems especially true when it comes to the modern jet kits.

So to counter this I thought I’d do a series of ‘Classic’ kit build reviews of kits mainly tooled before the year 2000. I’ll keep these strictly OOB (out of the box) if possible, and try and concentrate on how fun it is to build, rather than how accurate the kit is. Bear with me though- I suspect this’ll be a steep learning curve!

Anyway – onto the review!

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  • Kit: Airfix
  • Kit Number: 04025
  • Price: Approx £10-00 (I got mine from Ebay).
  • Decals: Amazingly the decals in this kit look useable…!
    • Option A: F-16A 127th TFW Michigan ANG
    • Option B: F-16A 138th TFS New York ANG (Gulf War)
    • Option C: F-16B OCU Squadron, 1st Wing, Belgian Air Force

The General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 Fighting Falcon series of aircraft shouldn’t really need any introduction, and there’ plenty of information about them available on the internet already, so I won’t waffle on too much. It was a lightweight fighter developed for the USAF in the 1970’s, first flying in 1974. It was designed initially as an air superiority day fighter to compliment the F-15, but has since developed into a very successful all weather multi-role fighter in its own right. It has been sold to countries all over the globe, and over 4500 airframes have been produced.

The kit itself is classic Airfix from the 1980’s and 90’s. It has some detail in the cockpit and undercarriage bays, moulded in soft greyish plastic and has a fair bit of flash and some annoying sink marks over the fuselage.  The panel lines as you’ve probably already guessed are raised – which isn’t a problem for me in itself, but there are a LOT of them. The biggest problem I can see is going to be around the nose, where the fit isn’t brilliant and some of the sink marks are located. There’s going to be a lot of restoration needed afterwards, as a if it’s anything like the Tornado F.3 kit I built a few years ago, a fair bit of filler and sanding will be needed.

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There are 3 grey sprues and one clear. The clear sprue is ok, it’s thin enough to see through, but badly scratched as it wasn’t in a separate bag.

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The kit gives you the option of building a single seat A model, or the twin seat B. Most of the third sprue contains the weapons and fuel tanks.  It has a good selection of them:

x6 AGM-65 Mavericks (plus the MERs)

x2 AIM-9 Sidewinders

x2 LGB (I think are supposed to be GBU-12 or -10 Paveways).

All of these are fairly well moulded and should look the part under some paint. The decal sheet includes weapons decals which is really good.

Amazingly the decals in this boxing look usable and give you two USAF Air National Guard F-16A options, and one F-16B Belgium Air Force aircraft. I was going to do the B version, but alas the twin seat canopy is short shot and unusable. So an A model it is – and it’ll be the 1991 Gulf war aircraft complete with mission markings.

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Sprue shots – as you can see – lots of raised panel lines! (If I wasn’t going to be doing this OOB, I might have been tempted to re-scribe these, even though I don’t mind them normally).

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All in all I think it’s a good representation of this classic aircraft with enough detail in it to produce a nice looking model – but time will tell. On with the build!

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