Big Mouth Viper: 1/48th Hasegawa F-16C
It took a bit for the model manufacturers to come out with a "Big-Mouth" Viper as the 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
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).
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
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 I haven't yet been inspired to pay the high price tag here in Canada for one. 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 ...but every time I am in a hobby store and see that Tamiya F-16C/N, I am tempted :)
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