Ok time to put paint onto plastic. For this build I’ve gone back to doing pre-shading: in this case, it’s black preshade over a base primer coat of light gray.
In the 1980s, F-16C was still in its original sccheme of 3 shades of gray. I used AK 3rd Gen Pale Grey for FS36375 (bottoms, Model Color Medium Sea Grey for FS36270 (lighter gray on the upper surfaces) and Model Color Dark Seagreen for FS36118. The F-16 nose color runs the gamut of grays so I just used Mecha Color Medium Grey for it. FS36375 and FS36270 is quite close in hue and I only really can spot the difference because I know they are different.
This is the first time I’m using AK Interactive 3rd Gen paint and so far it’s quite good. I had found the original versions to be more finicky in use but not the 3rd Gen.
Once cured and given a gloss coat, it’s time for decals. I’ll be using sheet X00872 from Xtradecal for this kit. Specifically, the sharkmouth markings worn by an F-16 in the late 1980s in Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
Xtradecal only provides the main markings which reacted well to Mark Setter and Mark Softer. I made a mistake and cut off a bit of the white bar on the on the port tailfin band. I’ll need to fix it later.
The sharkmouth came as 1 piece and the instruction calls it to be cut into pieces so I cut it up into 4 and aligned them back on the kit.
The stencils are all from the kit and to my surprise, the gray of the walkways are too yellow. And this is not due to the decals yellowing as the rest of the non-gray stencils are alright. I didn’t have an alternative so I went ahead with them.
And of course, I had some disasters with the decals. The first is the port stars and bars cured with part of it folded. The other is the walkway on the port side which I again trimmed too closely and basically sliced it in half.
I decided to replace them with the decals from another box in my stash. Hoarding is good. Lol. Before proceeding to the next step, I carefully handpainted over the stencil so the eyes look like they were painted over the them instead of under them. I also had to fix the sharkmouth so that the lines meet up at the bottom.
The more I looked at it, the more overly yellow the stencils looked. Time to tone them down.
I first sprayed Mig AMMO Shader Grime and Starship Filth over the stencils. I then misted thinned Tamiya X-19 Smoke to knock the tone down even more. I hope I’ve done enough as the panel wash would tone down the color even more.
I then had to fix the mistake on the tailfin band. I used Post-its since they can stuck over decals without the fear of lifting them. Then it’s a matter of carefully spraying the white color.
With that done, the panel wash is next. To prep for that, I first misted a satin coat over the kit.
The panel wash is done with my usual diluted AK Abteilung Starship Filth oil paint.
Due to its lighter color, the bottom really pops once after the panel wash. Note the lines of the sharkmouth that meet. I had to ‘connect’ them with some careful handpainting.
With the same oil paint, I added staining at the back of the bottom fuselage.
I then removed the masking tape on the canopy. First, my attempt to add the black outline around the canopy didn’t work and secondly the starboard pitot antenna on the seat headrest had popped out and is now wedged in between the canopy and the instrument coaming (the small white rectangle in the photo). I could try to pop the canopy open and re-attach the antenna but I decided against faffing with the canopy some more. I’ll just suck it up as a mistake I’ll live with.
The masking tape on the exhaust can finally be removed and everything was given a wash. The lack of details inside the exhaust nozzle is particularly obvious in this shot. I’m not sure what can be done without resorting to an aftermarket nozzle though.
Looks good enough I think, especially the walkways.
Next are the landing gear and the stuff under the wings. These I slowly attach with cement and CA glue, letting each part set before proceeding to the next. I ended up extending the pins on the main landing gear legs using stretched sprue like what I did with the Academy 1/48 F-16A. The stores were attached next and last on were the antenna and the pitot tube on the nose.
After some minor disasters, the kit is done. It’s still one of the more straightfoward builds I’ve done even though the kit is already decades old.