Media: Injection Plastic and Photoetch
Markings: TwoBobs 72-09/32-060 F-16ADF L’Ultima Diana
The Lockheed Martin (originally General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter. It currently serves in no less than 25 nations, with over 4,400 aircraft built. Commonly known as the ‘Viper’, it features innovations including a frameless, bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It is also the first fighter to be built to sustain 9-g turns.
The F-16 Air Defense Fighter (ADF) is a variant of the Block 15 F-16 originally deployed by the US Air National Guard for aerial interception. A total of 270 airframes were modified beginning in 1989. Modifications include the addition of Identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator, a spotlight installed on the port side nose below the cockpit and the ability to carry the AIM-7 Sparrow missile. F-16 ADFs began to be replaced by F-16C variants beginning in 1994 with airframes being retired or sold to other Air Forces.
The Italian Air Force (Italian: Aeronautica Militare) is the air defence force of the Italian Republic. Established in 1923 as the Regia Aeronautica, it switched to the current name after World War II. The Aeronautica Militare leased 30 F-16A/B ADFs from the United States for 10 years in 2003. These would serve until being completely replaced by new Eurofighter Typhoons. The last Italian F-16 would be returned in 2012, ending Italy’s usage of the aircraft.
This build depicts MM7236, an F-16A ADF from 5 Stormo wearing a unique color scheme to commemorate 5 Stormo’s planned disbandment in 2010. She wore this ‘Diana’ scheme from 16 April to 31 August 2010 and is in her QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) configuration armed with 1x AIM-120C and 1x AIM-9L. The Diana scheme was conceived by modeler, photographer and artist Pierpaolo Maglio.
Information from Wikipedia and TwoBobs info sheet
I’ve taken a look at the kit here.
Back in the 1990s during college, this same kit was one of my first ‘properly’ assembled kit: I fixed the seamlines, painted and added decals. Yes this kit is that old! Details are simplified in a few spots but thankfully, the fit is fine. It can’t really be compared to the latest offerings from Academy and Tamiya but at least this one builds up without much fuss with the only issue being the wingroot requiring some careful aligning and fitting.
The cockpit is simplified with decals for instrument faces and I made some harnesses out of Tamiya tape. The kit has new parts that converts the standard A to the ADF variant. These include the new tailfin with bulged base, IFF bird slicers for the nose and intake, AIM-120 wingtip missile rails and PE reinforcement plates (which have adhesive) for the spine. Hasegawa however has left out the port side spotlight. I simply used a circle template and painted it silver. Not very clear but it’s there. I also filled the pre-hollowed holes for rails on wing stations 4 and 7. MM7236 did not fly with pylons on these stations.
I managed to lose one of the drop tanks with the pylon (I think it fell into the trash can which got cleared out) so I ended up replacing them with the tanks from the Academy F-16 kit. These are more detailed than the Hasegawa ones and are shaped slightly differently. I made new connectors with 0.5mm brass rod so the pylons will fit the holes on the wings.
Colors & Markings
The F-16 color scheme is monotone but to weather the color scheme, I used salt weathering and 2 tones for each camouflage color. The same thing was done for the drop tanks. This particular F-16 also has a special all-black tail and nose pattern which was masked and sprayed. Based on reference photos, this aircraft’s exhaust ring had turned bluish which I replicated by spraying Transparent Blue (made more transparent with Vallejo Glaze Medium) over the Exhaust Manifold color. On a sidenote: modern missiles sure are colorful with the AIM-120 needing 5 colors and the AIM-9 needing 4. The refueling door was masked and sprayed with Model Air Metal Steel.
Markings are from TwoBobs’ 72-09/32-060 F-16ADF L’Ultima Diana sheet. The sheet includes complete stencils for 1x 1/72 and 1x 1/32 kit and complete information about MM7236. The decals went on very easily but some decals required stacking. I skipped some of the stencils on the bottom as they were really small.
First I scratched up the finish on the refueling door with a blunt toothpick. Then panel washing was done with Raw Umber oil paint on the light gray and was slightly darkened for the dark gray. I also filtered randomly and added streaks on the wings. The effect is quite subtle on the dark gray areas though. The same sludge is given on the landing gear before they are attached to the kit along with the horizontal stabilizers. The weapons and drop tanks were also attached at this point after given washes. The inside of the exhaust is completely bare so I added some streaks there.
I then added a final light coat of Vallejo Matt Varnish so it ended up being a satin finish. The formation lights were then handpainted with Metal Air Silver, Transparent Red and Blue and then glossed over with Future.
Last to go as usual was the masking tape on the canopy. Unlike some of my previous builds, the masking turned out great. Alas, there was a very thin strip of masking tape trapped INSIDE the canopy. Oh well. I then gave the canopy a final handbrush of Future and I’m done.
And so another Shelf Queen is complete. It only took me 5 years. Hahaha…
Number 11 of 2016
After another gloss coat over the decals, it was time for weathering. I went with Raw Umber oil paint this time and I like how it turned out. It’s subtle on the dark gray sections so I did the wash twice.
The weathering looks more obvious on the bottom.
Then the pylons, stores, landing gear and the small details are added with Gator Glue and superglue. I also added the port side nose light with a circle mask and silver paint.
All that’s left is a final satin coat, painting up the wing lights and removing the canopy and exhaust masking tape and I’m all set for build 11 of 2016!
It took a few rounds but the salt weathering is done.
It’s still a bit subtle but I think it should look better after some weathering with oil paints.
The F-16 I’m modeling requires a black tail and pattern on the nose so I masked and sprayed Black Grey for this. After a day of curing, it was time for a gloss coat. I managed to get my hands on AK Interactive’s new Intermediate Gauzy Agent Shine Enhancer. This went on really easily straight out of the bottle and doesn’t affect the hue of the color underneath. Plus it works for both metal and normal colors. Nice.
I managed to lose one of the drop tanks and its pylon so I ended up grabbing a new pair from an Academy F-16 kit. These have much better details than the originals but to be fair to the Hasegawa kit, it’s at least 25 years old. I decided to arm my F-16 with only 1 AIM-120 and 1 AIM-9 as per configured for QRA (Quick Reaction Alert).
The gloss coat dried to the touch within 10 minutes but I let it cure for 24 hours before starting on the decals. For this F-16, it will wear the special Diana markings from 5 Stormo from April to June 2010. Decals are from TwoBobs. As usual, these went on very easily. The roundels are typical of TwoBobs: 2 layers stacked on top of each other but the Diana markings themselves are single layers.
This particular F-16 had a very clean tail but the fuselage was quite weathered. Hopefully I can pull it off.
OK… another Queen off the shelf.
Painting begins with trying something new. While painting the P-51, I sprayed the leftover paint in the cup on the F-16 in a random pattern. The intention is to have a randomly colored base to cause some variation in the main colors.
I then smoothen the base coat with a 3M sponge. The AMI F-16 colors are the newer 2 tone grays: FS36270 and FS36118. I went with Vallejo Model Color Medium Sea Grey for the lighter gray and Mig AMMO Medium Gunship Grey for the darker tone. The Mig AMMO paint comes thinner than the Vallejo but coverage was still quite good.
The randomly colored base coat shows through on the light gray but it’s subtler on the dark gray.
I decided to try to make the camouflage more patchy with salt weathering. First an experiment with a tail stab. I sprayed water all over the part and then sprinkled table salt on it. Once the water has evaporated, I sprayed a slightly thinned mix of Medium Gunship Grey. I only did a light misting coat. Then I rubbed off the salt and wiped clean with water.
The effect works but I think an even lighter toned mist coat would work better. It’s a bit too subtle as is. Anyway, more work needs to be done.
Work on the cockpit begins. The consoles are all decals. Looks decent enough especially since I’m keeping the canopy closed.
Ejection seat next. There’s quite a few details missing like the prominent canopy breakers and the green oxygen bottle on the left side of the seat. I added seatbelts using strips of masking tape. They are held in place with white glue. Then it’s a simple of handpainting, giving a dark wash and then lightly drybrushing the details.
The kit comes pre-molded with the older AIM-9 missile rails. The Italian ADFs replace these with the LAU-127 rail which allows for the mounting of the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. Hasegawa instructions say to cut off the existing rail and mount this new rail that comes in a separate sprue. So I chopped off the old rail and cemented the new one on.
The Italians use the ADF for the air defence mission and they usually carry a maximum of 4 missiles (2 AIM-120s and 2 AIM-9s) for this purpose. The number 3 and 7 hardpoints are therefore usually left empty without even the pylons. The kit comes with the holes for the pylon pre-drilled. These need to filled up. I used liquid putty for these.
With most of the construction done, I can close the top and bottom halves of the fuselage then cement the wings and tailfin.
I then sprayed black gray onto the cockpit consoles and frame. Then the seat goes in.
Stores next. A pleasant surprise is that Hasegawa provides 4x AIM-9 Sidewinders (2 old, 2 new versions) and 2x AIM-120 AMRAAMs. I’m giving the F-16 a standard air-to-air load of 2x AIM-120, 2x AIM-9 and 2x 370 gallon external fuel tanks. From what I gather, their F-16s don’t normally carry ECM pods.
I also drilled out the back of the missiles to simulate their exhausts.