Written by 8:25 pm On the Bench

WIP : Academy 1/48 F-16A ‘TOPGUN 51’ Pt.3- Construction

Work continues wiith corrections and making my life easier after assembly.

The Aggressor F-16A usually flies clean without any pylons and stores. The kit comes with the holes for the pylons already open and will need to be filled.

First I closed up the holes from the inside with plastic plates.

I then inserted sprues that are trimmed to shape into the holes.

I then cut off the excess. These will need cleaning up during the ‘filling all the gaps’ stage.

There are very ‘generous’ gaps at the wingroot so more filling is required.

The bottom area is not any better.

To get a better fit, I added spacers on the fuselage side of the joint to fix the ‘height’.

I also added spacers inside the wings for a tighter fit. Without them, there’s a step all along the joint between the upper and lower wings.

I added 0.5mm plastic strips all along the wing root area to reduce the size of the gaps. For the slats, I only added 0.25mm plastic strips since they are moveable parts on the real thing and need to look separate.

The NSAWC F-16s have a square shaped GPS plate on the spine installed. This was replicated with 0.25mm plastic strip.

There are reinforcement strips around the tailhook which stand proud from the fuselage. These were made into panel lines by Academy. Again using 0.25mm plastic plate and a reference photo I cut out the shape for the reinforcement plates. Re-checking it though the shapes look right, but they are somewhat oversized.

I then trimmed them down. I don’t think the shapes are as accurate, but look more to scale. I also gently sanded them down to maybe around 0.2mm.

Since nothing else really fits, it’s not a surprise by this point that the horizontal stabs flops around when inserted into the slots. So I came up with a better solution using plastic plates and brass rod.

Though they won’t friction fit, these things aren’t going anywhere now.

The Block 15 F-16 has 2 chaff dispensers where the fuselage meets the the trailing edge of the port wing. The kit has only 1 square box in this location. I filled it up then scribed out 2 square boxes here. I won’t be trying to do the actual chaff cartridges themselves. I’ll just go with the explanation that these 2 dispensers were blanked off. 😀

And then of course, the starboard ventral fin pinged away into the ether. After cursing and swearing for a while I took stock and checked to see what I could do besides throwing the kit on the wall. It looks like nothing that some elbow grease and plastic plate couldn’t fix. So first I took some 1mm plastic plate and cut it into shape.

The leading and trailing edge on 1 side of the fin are sloped so I marked these out and then carefully sanded them down to a point.

Not bad!

Not bad at all! I just need to fill up the slight gaps later.

The landing gear doors are next. The nose gear door connectors were extended with plastic plates for a more solid fit.

There are prominent injection pin marks on the main gear doors and these were filled using punched 0.25mm plastic plates.

Forward of the main landing gear is the Environmental Control System (ECS) exhaust. It’s made up of 2 smaller vents instead of the 1 large vent that Academy has. So I added a piece of 0.25mm plastic plate.

Then a quick trim and I have a dual vent ECS exhaust. Note also the small white plastic plate around the wheel well. The area there came short shot.

So far there’s nothing that hasn’t been fixed. I hope it stays that way. On to the next challenge…

Build Log
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Construction | Part 3 – Construction
Part 4 – Construction | Part 5 – Construction | Part 6 – Painting & Finishing

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