While waiting for a spare canopy for my F-100F build, I decided to start on another SEAD aircraft, this time a 480th TFS Blk 30 F-16C based in Germany and deployed as part of a Hunter-Killer team with F-4Gs in the late 1980s. At this time, the HTS Pod hadn’t been developed yet so the F-16C fired the AGM-88s based on information passed by the F-4G. The kit is the venerable Hasegawa F-16 kit that I’ve built a version of before.
I begin with the simplistic ejection seat. The F-16 canopy is big and the lack of details on the seat can be clearly seen so I added 0.7mm masking tape for the belts and various bits of plastic plates for detail. Note the flash around the seat: this mold has definitely seen better days.
The F-16C I’m modeling will have the same loadout as this reference picture I found. The picture shows a pair of AIM-9L/M Sidewinders and AGM-88 HARMs. It also carries 2 wing tanks and an empty rail on the centerline.
The kit of course doesn’t come with the AGM-88s, for which I raided a Hasegawa Weapons Set for. The Weapons Set strangely leaves out the LAU-118 launcher rail though which means I have to scratchbuild a pair. I based the look from the LAU-118 included in the Tamiya 1/72 F-16CJ kit, which is a much more modern molding of the F-16C (highly recommended BTW).
I went through 2 iterations using plastic plates. The rail itself is 1mm while the ‘other stuff’ are 0.25mm plates.
It should look the part after paint and a wash to bring out the panel lines.
I also prepped all the stores at this time. The AIM-9s came with the kit and I added some detail on the rear fins using masking tape. I added pins to the fuel tanks for easier installation down the road.
Learning a lesson from my previous F-16ADF build, I have to install the exhaust at the beginning of the build to prevent an over-scaled panel line where it joins the fuselage. This was quickly painted with Vallejo Metal Color Pale Burnt Exhaust and Jet Exhaust over a gloss black base. Once cured, the whole area was masked off.
To reduce the gap around the intake when it plugs into the lower fuselage, I added a length of sprue as an expander at the back of the intake. I don’t remember the intake of having a bad fit previosly but I had to spend some time to get all 4 parts of the intake to align properly. As usual, the intake also requires pre-painting before installation.
With the expander in place, the intake fits quite well with minimal gaps around the join.
Everything else came together quite easily. I decided to cement the pylons in place at this stage as I’ve found it troublesome to do it after painting which tends to result in messy melted paint. If I do it now, cement is sticking bare plastic together which is a much stronger fit.
The kit comes with a clear canopy but during the 1980s, F-16s had tinted canopies (see ref pic above) so I went about tinting mine using Tamiya X-19 Smoke. I thinned the paint with Mr Hobby Levelling Thinner and mist coated several passes on the inside of the canopy.
Something I’ve tried and failed so far is to replicate the thin black seals around the base of the canopy glass. This detail is quite obvious when I see photos but in 1/72, it hasn’t been easy to do. In any case, I’m trying again here. I first masked off the canopy leaving about 0.7mm gap all around the base.
I then sprayed black on the frame.
And then I added more masking tape for the black line using 0.7mm tape. Will this work? Only time will tell…