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F-16C Fighting Falcon
Block 40

by Adrian Davies


F-16C Fighting Falcon Block 40


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F-16CJ is available online from




The F-16 hardly needs an introduction to the readers of this website.

My goal was to use the Hasegawa kit and detail it to a level I would be happy with. I started to build this kit four years ago while living in London, but real life crept in, and after emigrating to the States I finished the model in the first six months of 2003. The hiatus allowed me to utilise the recently released Czech Master interior and exterior detail sets, Eduard’s recent etched brass set designed for this kit, and no less important was Danny Coremans’ superb book on the F-16.


The aircraft I chose to model is the Wing Commander’s aircraft of the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano AFB in Italy. The period I wanted to show is the summer of 1999, after operation Allied Force, because the airframe was still marked with its Purple bomb tally, and wears nose art on the radar access panel and EPU door.



F-16 in 1/72 Scale


The Hasegawa F-16 is a bit of an old war horse. About 11 years ago I built their F-16N release. After all this time, it has stood the test of time pretty well. While building the Hasegawa model I bought the recent Revell Monogram kit and was impressed with it. The next time I build an F-16 I plan on using it.


Czech Master Detail Set

The Czech Master details are released in two sets--an interior and an exterior--and while finely detailed and cast they are not without problems. To start with, the cockpit detailing bears no resemblance to any F-16 I’ve seen. The instrument panel is woefully inaccurate and, I know this is 1/72nd scale, but other manufacturers get it right. The cannon bay is very good and accurate enough for me. The radar is almost right and can easily be modified to represent the current collection of black boxes carried by the F-16. The exterior is better, with the “Big Mouth” intake, main landing gear bay and engine exhaust all detailed (although the main gear bay shows the battery in the wrong position and the green liquid Halon tank is missing altogether). You also get dropped flaps, offset rudder, and various wheel and nose door options, which I did not use.


Eduard Photo-Etched Set

The Eduard set is one of their most impressive. With three brass frets, one acetate, one printed piece and seven sides of instructions it is a truly comprehensive set. It is one of the recent “pre-painted” sets, with colours screen-printed onto the brass. This is a very impressive achievement, but to my eye a bit of a waste. The cockpit side panels and instrument panel look little better than decals.





Construction is pretty straight forward and I won’t bore you with all the details. Instead I’ll highlight a few of the things that I did.



Most of the cockpit is scratch-built. I used the tub from the Hasegawa kit, and fabricated all the instrument and control panels from styrene. The seat is a Neomega item with modified cushions and Eduard ejection handles, who also provide the rudder pedals. I painted the cockpit with Humbrol enamels and did all the detail painting with the excellent paints from Vallejo.

Both Hasegawa and Czech Master get the rear cockpit bulkhead wrong. It should be vertical, not sloping to match the rear of the seat. I only discovered this error when the cockpit was finished and decided to let it go. The Revell kit is correct in this area.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Before joining the fuselage halves, I submitted the kit to some major surgery, including the removal of the nose for the radar, the opening of the cannon bay, and removal of the speed brakes. I also modified the cannon nozzle to better represent the current configuration, added the Radar Absorbent Material panels to the area between the flaps and the fuselage, and rebuilt the instrument coaming, an area I feel that Hasegawa got completely wrong, it being too small.

Moving to the underside of the fuselage, I used CMK’s intake and main wheel bay, detailed with Eduard parts. I also removed the arrestor hook detail, planning to show the hook lowered.

I couldn’t resist adding hydraulic details to the tail (there are far too many detail photos in the Danny Coremans’ book not to use), so a couple of hours with some styrene and copper wire, and here is what I produced.


The CMK radar details are pretty good, but I didn’t think they truly represented the real thing. Again using styrene and copper wire I modified the parts, and built a new interior for the CMK nosecone, a new rear for the radar panel and scratch-built the egg-crated RAM panel to sit in front of the bulkhead. I did this by scoring a cross hatch pattern onto styrene then cutting out the panel.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Moving on, I attached the wings to the fuselage, drooped the flaps, and painted the interiors of the radar, hydraulic and cannon bay. I also added the exhaust. (I further detailed the coaming and used the canopy seal from Eduard.) During the final push to get the fuselage ready for painting, I added various intakes, exhausts, and from the Eduard set the plates that were retrofitted to F-16s to strengthen the fuselage.


Other Details

During the construction of the fuselage, work continued on other details, including the undercarriage, using Eduard parts. The under-wing pylons and stores, which came from various Hasegawa weapons sets, were detailed and the fins replaced with styrene. I also drooped the seeker heads of the laser-guided bombs to represent how they look on the ground.



The most involved job on the stores was the modifying and detailing of the kit-supplied drop tanks. I added domed rear faces, the flange that curves around them, the strengthening plates and new fuel filler caps.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

I decided to show the speed brakes open. For this I used the Eduard parts with scratch-built petals and hydraulic rams. During the building of these I managed to lose both the actuator arms.



A quick plea for help on the Hyperscale forum was answered by Roger Fabrocini, who was kind enough to send me the two from his set. Thank you so much, Roger.



Painting and Markings


Before painting the main camouflage colours, I sprayed the engine exhaust with Humbrol Metalcote polished Steel, then when dry I polished the petals with a tiny amount of aluminium powder from SNJ. Over this I applied the black decals provided in the Daco decal sheet, and gave the whole exhaust a covering of Future floor polish. This was then masked for the main painting.

This was the first time I finished a model using acrylics. Previously I had always used either Xtracolor or Humbrol. I painted this model using Gunze Sangyo, and have to say I was greatly impressed by its ease of use, coverage, and drying speed.

I lightened the colours with about 20% white, for scale effect. When the base colours were applied I sprayed over the centre of the panels with a further lightened and much-thinned colour to break up the flatness and give the colour a bit of depth. When dry the whole model was given a coat of Gunze’s clear gloss for decaling. (I know that the paint is already semi-gloss, but I fear decal silvering.)

To build the plane I wanted, I used the Daco Decals sheet. The research that Danny puts into these is phenomenal. Two problems, though. Firstly, the decal sheet doesn’t include nose art, which I remedied by drawing on the model with coloured pencils. (The original was drawn with wax crayons so coloured pencils worked quite well.) Secondly, the decals are printed by Cartograph, and while the printing is superb, I found it difficult to get them to adhere to the surface. (I read Randy Lutz’s article on his Catalina, and agree with his assessment of Cartograph’s decals.)

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

After finally getting the decals to adhere, I airbrushed the entire model with another coat of gloss, then a top coat of matte. I left this to dry, then using a mechanical pencil with a 1H lead drew in the panel lines. I also used a little dark grey pastel to show the graphite oil that streams back from the wing slats. I tried to keep the weathering to a minimum. When finished I sealed it all in with another coat of matte varnish. Then on with final assembly.



Final Thoughts


With everything painted, it was time for final assembly, which was as straightforward as it was enjoyable. I included the RBF tags from Verlinden, and a ladder from PP Aeroparts (now there’s a name not often mentioned).



On the whole, this F-16 was a very enjoyable model to build.





I could give a list of all the references with which I started, including the Verlinden Lock On, the Walk-around, and various other books and magazine articles. But as the project progressed I relied mostly on one book, Uncovering the F-16 by Danny Coremans and Nico Deboeck. I cannot praise the book enough. I found one other book useful: Aviano by D. Mattiuzzo, F. Smith and M.Torcoli. This little book provides a fascinating picture of Aviano during this period.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Adrian Davies
Page Created 05 August, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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