F-16CJ Block 50 Fighting Falcon

Published: March 17th, 2015     
Product Image
Box Top
Reviewed by: Bob LaBouy - IPMS# 3064
Scale: 1/72
Company: Tamiya
Price: $52.00
Product / Stock #: 60788
Product provided by: Tamiya America

The Aircraft

This is the second release of the 1/72 scale F-16CJ [Block 50] Fighting Falcon now with parts depicting underside equipment used on the aircraft! The versatile F-16 Fighting Falcon's adaptability to both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions makes it one of the cornerstones of the U.S. Air Force today. With over 4,500 F-16's completed since it's introduction in 1976, there have been numerous models of this aircraft in most model scales to date. Block 50 evolutions of the aircraft were deployed from 1991, F-16CJ fighters being fitted with radar countermeasures. The aircraft's capabilities have also been extended to include night fighter functionality.

Equipment (depicted using new parts)

  • Centerline fuel tank
  • Wing underside fuel tanks
  • ECM counter measures pod
  • AGM-88 HARM missiles
  • AN/ASQ-213 HTS targeting pod
  • AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles
  • AIM-9M & -9X Sidewinder missiles
  • AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR pod

The Kit

This kit is an absolute gem of a kit. This is the most accurate kit of the Fighting Falcon I have had the pleasure to build. This is a review of Tamiya's most recent kit, the Lockheed Martin F 16CJ [Block 50] Fighting Falcon, with Full Equipment, Kit # 60788. It's basically a rebox of their prior kit, Tamiya F-16CJ (Block 50) Kit # 60786, with the additional kit steps from #19 onward being all new (those dealing with the pylons, weapons, ECM pods and fuel tanks).

This kit also appears to be dimensionally correct in its basic length, width and height. From every appearance I can see it's shapes and forms are all correct (at least in the eyes of this reviewer). The engineering and fit is of the highest quality and a tribute to the folks at Tamiya.

Some of the detailed finishing aspects of this kit are very small and may not even seem obvious. A good example the wings have a built-in small shim where the wings join the fuselage to insure the tight fit to fuselage. The wings are well engineered to capture the very thin nature of the wings. The numerous small antennae, pitot tube, angle of attack sensors, the strakes below the canopy, static drains along the wing trailing edges, the 'big mouth' intake and the detail around the tail hook are all some of indications of the care the design engineers at Tamiya can take great pride in.

Their prior kit, #60786, includes only the AIM-120C AMRAAM and A-9M Sidewinder missiles, whereas this kit provides several more significant assets for the F-16CJ aircraft. These include the AMRAAM, AIM-9M and -9X Sidewinders, AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods, AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Pod, the AN/ANQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management System and the necessary pylons for each of these weapon systems.

The Build

This kit's build process is well thought out and one that I followed closely. There are a couple of spots where a pen vice and drill bits are needed to provide for subsequent parts. The sequence of parts assemblies is also well laid out and from my experience I suggest order and assembly method laid out in the instruction sheet. I previously mentioned the minuscule size of several parts. As a rather ham-fisted modeler (with large hands to boot), I found some of these parts to be particularly challenging. My Achilles heel came light when attempting to place the two very tiny and clear navigation lights to the sides of the jet intakes. I hand to surrender and give into using small spot of color 5-minute epoxy to accomplish this task.

There are some small ejection marks (especially on the missiles and ejector racks) though for the most part these are easily removed by light sanding. While the kit's instructions call for the modeler to use a 'modeling knife' in several steps, I have come to the conclusion that a set of side cutters is a preferable approach.

Painting

I painted the F-16CJ with Model Master paints. While the only suggested colors are from the Tamiya range, I chose to use as close as possible from Testors. I encountered no real issues in the kit's painting instructions; thought there is some tricky masking details, for which I utilized the Tamiya yellow masking tape.

Decals

The kit's decals are also very clearly printed and all the registration was perfect. They went on without any noticeably adhesive issues and fit all the shapes very well. I deviated from the kit's contents in one major aspect--that of the cockpit presentation, where I used a third party' side consoles. For some reason, which escapes my logic, there aren't any decals to provide for the small but well laid-out dash and side consoles. This is also puzzling because there are decals that provide both shoulder harness straps and seat cushions. With the comprehensive markings for 3 separate aircraft provided, this the instruments and side console seems be a puzzling omission for the otherwise great and highly detailed kit.

Final Assembly

As mentioned previously, every aspect--the overall fit, finished model, stance and appearance fully exemplifies the F-16CJ. I encountered no real issues, aside from those of my own personal limitations.

Overall Evaluation

For anyone interested in what I believe is the definitive version of the F-16CJ, I strongly recommend this kit. I believe it's a an outstanding model in the best traditions of Tamiya models. My thanks to the Tamiya Model company and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to build this gem of a kit.

  • Left View
    Left View
  • Right View
    Right View
  • Tail Detail
    Tail Detail
  • Underwing Detail
    Underwing Detail
  • Cockpit Detail
    Cockpit Detail

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