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.