It’s August again and time for my annual TNI-AU (Indonesian Air Force) build to coincide with Indonesia’s independence day on 17 August 1945. This time it’s the Lockheed Martin (then General Dynamics) F-16A Fighting Falcon (or Viper) Block 15 OCU delivered to Indonesia in 1989. i’ve had this boxing of the venerable F-16 kit for close to two decades and had always planned for it to be a TNI-AU F-16. The difference is that I have finally decided to do up this kit in the F-16’s original striking delivery scheme. Let’s go…
I first dressed up the bare ejection seat by adding details using plastic plate and restraints with masking tape. The seat was then handpainted with acrylics and given a wash with Citadel Nuln Oil Wash.
The instrument details are decal only but with the kit being that old, I wasn’t sure if the they would still work so I first sprayed a layer of Mr Hobby Lacquer Gloss coat over the whole sheet to help it along. I lucked out and they worked OK with help from Mr Hobby Mark Setter. They have yellowed but look fine under the tinted canopy.
The canopy is clear and needs to be to tinted brown. I used light passes of thinned Tamiya Smoke for this.
This was my fifth build of the same molding and one of the biggest issue is getting the main wings attach straight. To help that along I added plastic strips inside the slots to act as alignment jigs.
The wings come with the holes for the pylons already opened up. As I will only attach the middle pylons I filled the rest with plastic rod.
This kit comes with a resin extended parabrake housing that a lot of international air forces opted for.
Depending on the user, the extended housing can be for a drag chute or additional equipment. Surgery is required for it to fit onto the tailfin.
Unfortunately a testfit showed that the resin piece was warped.
Otherwise though the fit looks good.
Not bad although the broken tip section will require filling.
After cutting off the fin section from the kit tailfin I drilled out and added pins onto it. Note the tip of the resin housing which broke off when i tried bending it straight. I also added a pin into this to help with alignment.
Another dodgy fit are the horizontal stabilizers which don’t have much mating surfaces for a good fit. I added plastic plates inaide the cavity and will flood it with sprue glue to get a solid fit.
Another area of concern is the landing gear struts. If you attach only at the end when everything has been painting it will get messy and the join won’t be strong. I decoded to try attaching them upfront even before pittong rhe fuselage together. This way I can make sure the join is strong first. Here’s hoping I don’t accidentally snap them off mid-build.
TNI-AU F-16s usually don’t fly with wing tanks or outer pylons so I went with thw centerline fuel tank (which they always carry), wingtip AIM-9Js and 3x Mk.82 bombs on TERS under each wing. The missiles are from the kit while the bombs are from the Hasegawa Weapons set. To help with fitting I also added pins to the TERs and plastic plates on the bombs.
The exhaust has to be pre-painted then masked off before being attached to the fuselage.
Some careful fitting is required to make sure there’s minimal cleanup where the exhaust section joins the fuselage.
I was advised that upon delivery, the TNI F-16 already had some reinforcement plates installed. Luckily I had the Cross Delta reinforcement plate set handy. Only two specific areas were reinforced: the middle of the wingroot with part 1 and around the RWR blister on the nose with part 8. The set is nice, it’s PE but is self adhesive.
The F-16 is finally taking shape. With careful dryfitting and prepping for fitment of the wings, the main gaps I really needed to focus on were the tailfin join and the intake.
After checking photos and talking to friends, I found out that the extended tailfin is accurate for the RSAF F-16 but not the TNI. Specifically, the back end of the tailfin is wrong. There should be the tip of the parachute at the end and a pair of RWR blisters on each side.
The RWR blisters are a half cone shape which would be hard to make from scratch so I scrounged around my parts bin to see if there’s anything that will approximate the shape. What I found were: the tailfin from the Italeri F-16A kit, the intake light from the Revell F-16AM kit and the wheel arch from the engine trolley from the Fujimi F-14A kit.
In the end, the wheel arch got me closest to the shape of the blisters.
The parachute pack was made from a very small piece of epoxy putty.
Between waiting for parts to cure and gap fixing, I prepared all the other parts for the build too.
I like how the ejection seat turned out. Just some small plastic bits adds much detail to the whole cockpit.
The canopy was masked off and attached to prepare for painting.