WIP : Tamiya 1/72 F-16CM Fighting Falcon Pt.1 – Construction

Next on the factory floor is this Tamiya kit which looks to be as shake and bake as it will ever get. This is the 2nd release where Tamiya added the pylons, underwing stores, armaments and targeting pods.

Checking the parts, I realized that by adding 1 component, I can model the F-16CM, an upgraded version of the venerable F-16CJ. Before that though, as usual, I have to assemble the cockpit first, which is quite nicely done. The kit comes with decals for the belts but I decided to make my own with 0.7mm masking tape.

Once painted, the seat doesn’t look bad at all.

But me being me, I decided to add some details using stretched sprue, plastic plates and rod. The green tank on the side of the seat is particularly prominent in pictures.

Looks better now IMO.

Then the seat was given a wash with Citadel Nuln Oil Gloss to give it some depth.

Once cured, I did some simple highlighting with a silver pencil. The cockpit looks sufficiently busy once painted, washed and weathered.

I’m not quite sure how visible it will be under the closed canopy though. Hah!

Like its 1/48 brother, Tamiya designed the intake trunking as 2 part top and bottom halves. The difference though is this one is not full length. The problem with designing it this way is of course the seamlines on the inside of both sides of the trunking.

I did the best I could to remove the seamlines till about 1/3 into the intake.

The whole intake is made up of 4 parts: the trunking, 2 side halves and a section up top.

These need to be prepainted but come together without much problems.

Again like its 1/48 brother, this kit also oddly leaves a small section on the back of the fuselage blank for an insert. I still can’t figure out why.

The fit is good but still, why have it an insert in the first place?

I’m modeling a CCIP (Common Configuration Implementation Program) upgraded Block 50 F-16CJ which the USAF would unofficially redesignate as the F-16CM. The most prominent part of this upgrade are the AIFF ‘bird slicers’ in front of the canopy and a 2nd mounting point for a targeting pod on the intake. These are all included in the kit.

The CCIP update also added the ability to carry the BRU-57 smart bomb rack. With this bomb rack, the F-16CM can consequently carry the CBU-105 WCMD (Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser), the precision guided version of the CBU-97 cluster bomb and precision guided bombs like the GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition). However, the Tamiya kit doesn’t include these racks and munitions so I bought a resin aftermarket set of BRU-57s from Reskit.

Details are very nice and the casting is very sharp. It even includes very tiny parts made from photo-etch. Since these are so intricate and small I decided to keep my sanity and just go with installing the sway braces to the rack.

I decided to arm my CM with a pair of CBU-105 cluster bombs. The cluster bomb I have comes from a boxing of the Hasegawa F-15E Strike Eagle. These look to be CBU-100 Rockeyes and requires modifications to look like the CBU-105.

So I cut off the nose and sanded the remaining tip into a rounded bevel. I then added a small length of rounded rod on the tip. Based on the dimensions, my result is about 1mm shorter and 0.5mm narrower scale-wise than a true CBU-105. Close enough for me.

The resin BRU-57 rack is to be butt-jointed onto the kit pylon so I added a tab on the rack so it can slot into the hole inside the pylon. The fit will be more secure this way.

Not too shabby for an evening’s work. I’ll need to clean up the CBU-105s as pictures show that their bodies are quite smooth all round but I’m done tinkering with this.

Along with the AGM-88 HARM, the F-16 will have 2x AIM-120 AMRAAMs, 2x AIM-9X Sidewinders, 2x drop tanks, a centerline mounted ALQ-184 ECM pod, an AN/ASQ-21 HARM targeting system pod on the right intake mount and an AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod on the left intake mount. Definitely a heavily armed Viper.

Who knew a ‘shake and bake’ kit will require a multi-page build log? 😀

Build Log
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Construction | Part 3 – Painting | Part 4 – Finishing

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