Written by 5:18 pm On the Bench

WIP : Academy 1/48 F-16A ‘TOPGUN 51’ Pt.5 – Construction

It’s been a long WIP but it’s finally the last post for this one.

The kit only comes with decals for the console details although it comes with detailed foot pedals. Very odd choice by Academy.

There’s no open canopy option although I’ve always intended to keep this one closed anyway so I’ll live with the decals.

Hey look a smiley face on the instrument coaming!

The HUD glass was given a brush of Future to shine it up and I added a disk punched out of aurora film for the HUD projector below it. Not sure how accurate that looks but it adds some visual interest.

Once given a satin coat and covered up I think the console decals don’t look half bad.

The kit comes with a few AIM-9s for weapons. I intended to ‘arm’ my F-16A with an inert AIM-9L and an ACMI pod so I took out a set from the Tamiya kit as reference. Some work will be required to get the kit AIM-9 to look closer to the Tamiya’s.

I sanded the seeker head down and added the prominent vanes on the fins with styrene plate.

I’d originally wanted to modify an AIM-9 into the ACMI pod but have decided instead to just use the Tamiya’s. I drilled and added stretched sprue into the pylon and then drilled corresponding holes on the ACMI pod for a better fit.

My F-16 is finally taking shape.

Compared to the rest of the kit, the canopy is very nicely done and is a drop-in fit.

However, TOPGUN 51 features a tinted front and clear rear canopy.

I tested both Tamiya X-19 Smoke vs Mig AMMO’s Crystal Smoke clear paints on some plastic spoons first. Putting the paint on the inside will make life much easier.

I settled on Tamiya X-19 Smoke as it dried into a warmer brownish tone. I then gave the inside a generous spray of thinned Future to add some shine and was given a few days to cure properly.

The ejection seat was handpainted with various acrylic paints. Note the added air speed probes on each side of the headrest. During this time these were still always extended. I managed to lose 1 of the resin ones so I replaced both with styrene rods and plates so they will look the same.

It turns out that I can’t leave off the exhaust to paint separately as it’s molded with part of the fuselage. I had to sand flat a bit of the top edge for a better fit. Even then, it required some elbow grease to hold the exhaust in the right position until the cement cured.

Painting begins with XF-2 Flat White for the inside and Tamiya X-18 Gloss Black for the outside.

The main exhaust petals were sprayed Vallejo Metal Color Pale Burnt Metal. Once dry I carefully masked off the petals.

The exhaust rings and the tip were painted in Vallejo Metal Color Jet Exhaust. The ring closest to the petals at the bottom was Jet Exhaust tinted with a few drops of Model Color Transparent Blue to replicate a bit of the bluing that the part likes to get in real life.

Once the exhaust was masked off and attached it was time for the tedious gap filling and sanding portion of the hobby. Needless to say this took a bit of time because of the amount of gaps. I also addressed the starboard sensor bump which I didn’t attach straight. I ended up cutting it off, re-attaching and having to smoothen the whole area around it. The panel lines that were sanded away were all re-scribed back.

Attaching the starboard horizontal stabilizer I found a small gap at the connection point which was absent on the port side. Ah well. This was filled with styrene plate.

To prepare the canopy, I first masked off the clear areas, then sprayed XF-1 Flat Black on the frame. Checking the photos, the canopy has a thin black outline between the glass and the frame. So I carefully added an offset and masked again taking this line into account. I then slapped on liquid masking to make sure all the masking tape stay in place. Hopefully I didn’t mess up this black line since I can’t tell until the masking has been removed at the end. Fingers crossed.

Oh hey, look! An F-16!

The main gear bay doors were temporary attached with blutack. The nose gear can’t be attached so I masked the gearbay off instead.

Now I’m ready to paint!

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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