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