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F-16 Color Scheme Questions

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I found the following article on the web regarding the F-16 gray camo pattern scheme changing over the years:

USAF F-16 Paint Schemes

How to paint for your F-16

On the first glance, all USAF F-16s are painted in the same scheme. But this is not correct. Before you start building your Fighting Falcon, you have to know exactly what you are going to build. Are you building a F-16A, or a F-16C Block40 in the Balkan Theater? Even when you know the exact version of your F-16, make sure you are painting it in the correct scheme for the year your F-16 was in service. There have been several updates, including the color of the markings or the font of the lettering. Some markings, especially on the tanks used to be high-vis red, during time they were changed to faded orange, and now they are subdued, like the rest of the aircraft. And the data all over the aircraft has been changed from Stencil to the new Helvetica font.

The major colors used on the F-16 are:

FS 36375 Light Gray

FS 36270 Medium Gray

FS 36118 Gunship Gray


I have put up some examples of every paint scheme. They are very close representations of the real thing, but as with every model, please take a look at real pictures for further reference. I had this page redesigned, but modelers, including myself, did not feel comfortable with the new design. Therefore, This is the old design again, with my new 4-view profile drawings as a bonus. A picture of the actual paint scheme is available by clicking on the images.

The first F-16As and F-16Bs can be distinguished from all subsequent Fighting Falcons by having a black radome. However, most of these F-16 were later upgraded and refitted with a grey radome. The upper two colors are FS 36270 and FS 36118, while the color on the bottom is FS 36375.

On Block 5, the gray radome was introduced, which became standard for all later Fighting Falcons. Pilots flying the early Block F-16 complained that the black radome made it easy for the enemy to visually acquire the F-16. Due to weathering of the special rubber-paint on the radome, the radome color is somewhere between FS 36320 and FS 36173. The european F-16 MLU are also painted in this scheme.

On the F-16C/D, the frst major change has been made to the paint scheme. The FS 36118 is now painted more to the front, starting just aft of the canopy beam. The base of the vertical fin has been enlarged, therefore there is a FS 36118 stripe on the fin. The walkway markings on the top fuselage and wings have also been omitted.

About 1997, another change was done. All light gray FS 36375 on the bottom was replaced by FS 36270, resulting in a two-tone gray scheme. On some F-16s the FS 36118 on the ventral fin was also replaced by FS 36270. This scheme is known as the "Hill Scheme".

The next change was introduced in 1999 (the first time I saw it). The FS 36118 curve is now painted well aft of the canopy, just like on the F-16A. Since the canopy frame is now painted all over in one color, it facilitates interchanging the canopy with other F-16s.

On F-16s, painted at Ramstein after 2003, the FS 36118 now extends forward of the aft canopy again, and the ventral fin is all-over FS 36270.

My questions are the following:

1. Why has no kit company got it right for F-16 kits produced over the past 12 years that there is no more Light Ghost Gray on the bottom of the aircraft any longer? For sure Tamiya as they had intense research granted by Lockheed Martin for their kits, but if you look at Kinetic/Hasegawa they are still showing this 3 tone gray paint scheme, even aftermarket decal companies, I find this very strange.

2. With this new paint scheme since 1997 one thing I can't find is are all the hard points on the aircraft also painted Neutral Grey FS36270? And what about the fuel drop tanks and missles, would they remain Light Ghost Grey?

Edited by Viper Ace
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