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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Big Mouth Viper: 1/48th Hasegawa F-16C

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

It took a bit for the model manufacturers to come out with a "Big-Mouth" Viper as the 1/48th scale model F-16s to this point had been "A" versions (Block 15 or earlier) or the "C" versions, based on the Block 25/32 smaller Pratt & Whitney F100 engine intake and exhausts. First to market with a late-model F-16C in any scale was Hasegawa with this 1/48th scale series aircraft. The General Electric F110 engine provided 5,000 pounds more thrust than the F100, and required a larger amount of air. This in turn required that the area of the air intake be increased - Hence Big-Mouth.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit (although it represents the earlier blocks)

  • Finely engraved external panel lines and details

  • Boarding ladder accessory included

  • Wide-mouth inlet and nozzle for the GE engine (Bonus: the standard inlet and P&W nozzles are still in the kit)

  • Wide main gear wheels and bulged main gear doors

  • RWR antennas on leading edges of the wing

  • Acceptable (but not great) gear well details

  • Block 40/42/50/52 taxi/landing lights on the nose gear door

  • Two nicely done AIM-120 AMRAAMS complete with wingtip launch rails

  • Two AGM-88 HARMs with correct launch rails for the "Wild Weasel" versions

  • HTS pod (Bonus: spare HTS included)

  • Pilot figure included

Build Inspiration:

After these Block 50/52 Vipers were released, a set of 1/48th scale Two Bob's decals (48-088) featuring the Shark-Tooth versions, based at Pope AFB - North Carolina, caught my eye. I was now all set to build a better F-16 for my ongoing collection (as I hadn't quite done this aircraft justice in the past).

Heads-Up Report:

  • The cockpit represents the earlier block F-16s. (If you want to correct this Black Box / Avionix and Aires have replacement cockpits for this kit)

  • The intake assembly results in a lot of seams, both inside and out, that will take a fair amount of filing, sanding and smoothing to get this area cleaned up

  • The canopy has a mold seam down the centerline which must be removed (Note: this is present in earlier releases of their F-16s as well)

  • The canopy is not tinted in this kit (and in many cases should be tinted...maybe I will get to correcting that missed detail later ;)

  • Disappointingly Hasegawa has continued the wing tanks fit utilizing odd & highly visible notches in the pylons, which leave a noticeable gap that requires some work to correct

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • This kit was built Out-of-the-Box with the exception of the replacement decals

End Result:

I selected a 74th Fighter Squadron Big Mouth Viper (part of the 23rd Wing which afterwards flew similarly adorned A-10s) to feature on the display shelf as I already had a number of Shark-mouth aircraft in the Hangar. The paint scheme for this aircraft is the standard FS36118 / FS36375 / FS36270 application. Minimal weathering was done on this aircraft based on photo evidence of a clean finish. Still missed a few things with this build, however it was an improvement over past examples. Maybe I will get it all nailed down with my future Aggressor Viper builds I have planned... when I have the kits, the time and the display space.

The After-Build Report:

Despite the noted downfalls, I would still recommend this F-16 kit as a good one for a Viper build. The Tamiya "C" kit is suppose to be an improvement over the Hasegawa one, however it does come with a much higher price tag here in Canada. The Kinetic F-16s have been critiqued as challenging builds with some shape issues depending on the release. (Note: I have not built either the Tamiya or Kinetic, so this is just hearsay Breaking News: I couldn't resist picking up a 1/48th Tamiya F-16C/N at my local hobby shop... now I just have to build it for comparison sake :)

Completed build #98 - December 2008 using the 1/48th scale Hasegawa #PT32-07232 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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