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by John Chung


Fictional Drone Fighter


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Being fictitious, this model really doesnít have a fantastic history, as would normally a what-if model. I suppose I built it with the intention of enjoying the modeling part of the hobby, not to conjure up a story.

Nevertheless, as an author starts a story and the reader finishes it, Iíll let the readers here enjoy their imaginations on what this aircraft might have been.



1/72 ERTL/AMT F-16A In the Box


For the project Iíve chosen the 1/72 ERTL/AMT F-16A as the base kit. The kit was a beast to say the least, much like its F-15 cousin by the same company.



The panel lines are finely recessed. Landing gears is quite nice, though the wells are sparse. All external stores and hard points are best replaced including wingtip launchers. This goes for the exhaust as well, which in my copy was a short shot. The cockpit was a moot attempt. The plastic is somewhat soft, so careful attention is called for. If a modeller is to construct an actual F-16 out of this, much work will be required. Since I wasnít, it didnít really matter.



Creating a Fictional Drone


As can be seen in the photos, the significant modification is the pilot-less drone cockpit. This was made by filling the canopy opening with plastic cards, superglue, Milliput and finishing with Surfacer. The pitot tube was taken from a 1/72 Hasegawa FSD F-18 release, modified slightly to a more desirable appearance. The cannon port on this model was removed and filled smooth. An elliptical antenna from the nose of a 1/48 F-18 placed on the aft Canopy piece finished the forward fuselage.

On the main fuselage, Iíve made two cylindrical antennas fore of the main wing root akin to ROCAF Ching-Kuo. Two smaller antennas on the back are painted grey. The fuselage was otherwise unmodified except the nozzle, which was taken from a 1/72 ERTL F-15 kit.

An intake cover was fashioned to hide the crude details within.

The main wings had their wingtip launchers removed and extended in width with plasticard.



The horizontal stabilizers and ventral strakes were scratch built to a slight different configuration than the F-16. The vertical stabilizer had a grey protrusion installed on the leading edge as a camera device. A second camera device may be found under the intake.

The undercarriage was constructed as per kit instructions, though the door actuators were left off. Drop tank was constructed out of the kit parts, heavily modified to a more acceptable shape. The two under wing pylons were fashioned out of 1/72 F-14 Phoenix shoulder launchers cut short, with sway braces from a 1/48 F-18 kit.



 The black ECM gear under the port wing was modified from stores in the spares bin. The cruise missile and its adaptor on the starboard wing were also scratch built.



Painting and Markings


The paint scheme was the most interesting part of the ordeal. It is purely fictitious, designed by yours truly. Iíve wanted something eccentric, not the ubiquitous grey that dominates contemporary jets.

Scale diagrams of the model were made and used to test various paint schemes. This was the result.

Being a test aircraft, it has all its trademarks; pitot tube, day glow tanks, and XT markings, perhaps the scheme was even evaluational.

Paint application was freehanded with a Badger 150 airbrush equipped with a fine spraying tip. Paints used were Tamiya and Gunze acrylics thinned down with approx 70-80% Isopropyl Alcohol. Decals were sporadic from the spares box.





It was an enjoyable build that ended up a unique and contrasting subject on my display shelf.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by John Chung
Page Created 03 June, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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