The AN/APG-66 radar system was developed by Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) in the 1970’s for use in the General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon, and entered service in 1979. The radar was utilized in both the A and B versions of the F-16, and was later replaced by the AN/APG-68 system. The AN/APG-66 weighed in at 362 pounds and was a multi-role, x-band unit with a range of 160 nautical miles. In addition to the F-16 A and B, variants of the radar was also installed on the F-4EJ (Japanese export version of the Phantom II), British Hawk 200, US Navy T-39N, and New Zealand A-4 aircraft. The modes of operation were range-while-scan, track-while-scan, velocity search, and gun director.
Earlier this year, the Czechoslovakian company Eduard added resin to their already well-known line of photoetched accessories and plastic model kits. This was my first experience with an item from the Brassin line, and what an experience it was. As with their other products, the packaging is nicely done for this line with a clear plastic container that has two sections, one for the resin parts, the other for the photoetched ones. I, for one, appreciate having the ability to see what I am purchasing, rather than just a photograph of a completed product, or a photo of the parts themselves. The instructions are printed on two sides of a single sheet of paper folded in half. This particular release consists of ten resin parts and a photoetch sheet that contains another ten items. I should mention here that several of the items on the photoetched sheet are extras, as the small items can easily go airborne if one is not careful.
The construction is straight-forward, with one side of the instructions dealing with the assembly of the radar unit itself and the other with the radome and its installation on the plane. I have been using Gorilla Glue brand super glue for a while now, and it seemed to hold the resin parts together just fine, as well as attaching the PE items. There are parts available to install one of two options for the angle of attack probes on the radome, one being resin parts, the other being PE. I would personally recommend the resin option here, as the PE parts will look flat instead of rounded. The builder will need to provide his own piece of wire that will lie against piece R8. I used some 28 AWG that I had on hand, which looks a little big.
Let me preface my next comments by letting you know that I have been building models for the better part of the last thirty-nine years. I have worked with resin after-market parts on several occasions, and have constructed a few all-resin kits. With that stated, this kit did a fine job of humbling both me and my abilities. The resin pour stubs are about 1/8 inch thick, and many of the details are molded onto the front of the parts. What this led to was items breaking off while I was attempting to remove the excess resin, two of which I have been unable to locate. I think that they are somewhere in my model room, but I do not know if I could prove it in a court of law. My sample’s nose cone had some scratches on the underside (not just from the pour stub area), and I did need to use some Mr. Surfacer 500 to fill them. When tackling an aftermarket kit like this, I would highly recommend having some experience first, as a novice could become easily frustrated by the complexity.
As far as my hits of this kit are concerned, I think that the level of detail is as good as anything else put out by Eduard. The radar and radome are very nicely done, and make a fine representation of the AN/APG-66 radar used on the early F-16’s. The resin is grey in color, which I personally like, and the photoetched parts are well done, especially the antenna itself. Although this is the early radar set, I set it up against the nose of my Tamiya F-16C, and it lined up perfectly (I did not cut of the two tabs on my plane for this check, as the directions would have you do).
For my misses, I would have to start with the size of the pour stubs. They certainly gave me headaches for parts R2 and R8, and I hope to one day find the items that were catapulted during my clean-up of those parts. I am surprised that there were no painting recommendations for the instructions (check your references, but white, gray, and the antenna colors appear to be all that are required).
I do not know that I would classify the resin as a miss, but it is very brittle to work with when compared to other companies’ items that I have used in the past. I also found it odd that part R9 had a spot on the back to line up with an opening on part R8 during construction. What was odd to me was that R9 had a pour stub around this spot, which made the removal a little more challenging. Again, I am not calling this a miss so much as just making others aware of what they will be working with when purchasing this item.
In conclusion, I would still recommend this after-market item for folks who want to add the AN/APG-66 radar to either an F-16A or B variant. Although I had some issues in constructing my sample, I will certainly try other items from this new line. Finally, as always, I would like to thank the folks at Eduard for providing this sample to the IPMS-USA for review, and thanks to you for taking the time to read my appraisal.