Written by 4:43 pm On the Bench

WIP : Academy 1/48 F-16A ‘TOPGUN 51’ Pt.4 – Construction

Since I took the time to correct 1 aspect of the kit, I inevitably had to go ahead and try to correct the other more obvious ones.

Unlike the Hasegawa kit, the missile rails here are separate but was designed to fit in a strange way with the connecting point being visible. The tab also doesn’t fit flush to the rail.

The step is filled with 0.25mm plastic plastic and sanded smooth.

The F-16 has 7 static discharge lines running down its nose but the kit only comes with 4 of them. The distinct AOA (angle of attack) vanes on each side of the nose are also missing.

Since I’m cheap and don’t want to waste money on a metal pitot tube set for this kit, I went ahead and made some pitot tubes using safety pins.

Holes were drilled into the nose and the pins inserted.

To hold them in place I added plastic plate and secured the pins using CA glue. If you look at enough pictures of the F-16’s nose you’ll notice that there’s usually a diamond shaped panel line around the AOA vane. This is simply discoloration of the area around the AOA vane because they are usually covered up when on the ground. The covers are diamond shaped.

I used stretched sprue to make the long centerline static discharger.

The bottom of the nose is missing a pair of anti-static lines. More stretched sprue to the rescue. They look somewhat off-scale and I’ll need to slowly sand them to shape later. The instructions don’t call for it but I also added fishing weight into the nose and secured it with blu-tack just in case.

After cleaning up the seams and giving the areas that will be hard to reach a spray of black I fitted a piece of rod as a spreader at the back end of the intake.

The spreader ensures that the intake to the fuselage joint won’t require too much sanding down to get a flushed fit.

I was told by some fellow modelers that this kit doesn’t sit straight with the landing gear attached so I did a quick test. Luckily I think it looks OK. However, I noticed that the shape of the intake viewed from the front is not symmetrical: the starboard is slightly wider than the port side. Since I don’t know how to fix this short of just replacing it with a resin intake I decided to close 1 eye and move on.

The landing gear legs didn’t fit solidly into place so I went ahead and extended the pegs with plastic rod. I also filled the ejector pin marks on the wheels with disks punched out from 0.25mm plastic plate. These will be sanded to shape later.

A closer look at the extended connecting tabs for the gear legs. Notice how short they really are out of the box. There’s not much real estate for cement to have purchase.

I’ve also noticed that the nose gear didn’t sit quite right in profile giving the whole kit a somewhat nose-up look.

Pulling out a reference photo it’s clear the nose gear sits too straight up.

I sanded the top of the gear leg at an angle and inserted a piece of stretched sprue to replace the original tab that was cut off. I also extended the drag brace by about 1.5mm.

I think the ‘stance’ looks better now.

It’s been a lot of work so far but I’m heading towards the home stretch. There should be just 1 more construction post after this one. Fingers crossed.

Build Log
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Construction | Part 3 – Construction
Part 4 – Construction | Part 5 – Construction

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